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art by Liz Clarke

A Different Rain

You can follow Mari Ness either on her blog, at mariness.livejournal.com, or on Twitter at mari_ness.
Mary had spent her entire life on the dropships. This was only her second rainstorm, and it was as terrifying and wonderful as the first has been. So much water, and so loud. She had seen them on the vids, of course, and she and Ronald had even sometimes stood in the shower and pretended to see and feel the rain, letting the water run on and on (a near criminal act on the dropships), but it hadn't been the same.
The others in the room hardly seemed to notice, even when another bolt of thunder sounded, sending tremors through her body. But then again, they hardly seemed to notice anything, the air, the way the surface constantly changed between your feet, the sunlight. They had sun equivalent light on the dropships, but that, too, hadn't been the same.
Nothing had been the same.
She had to feel it on her skin.
She darted out the door, quickly, before anyone noticed, before anyone could stop her, or do anything other than start to stand up. She pulled off her jacket as she did so, dropping it on the ground, letting the water hit her skin. Cold. Wet. She giggled. She opened her arms wide and tilted her head back and spun, the way the people had done in the old videos, dancing in the rain. She imagined someone kissing her in the rain, their hair wet, water pouring down their faces, and laughed again.
The wind had picked up by then, forcing the rain into small pellets that pierced her skin. It hurt, but she laughed, and began to run into the wind and the rain, arms extended.
By the time she returned, half crawling, half limping, she could not even scream. The bones of her fingers pounded against the diamond window, and shattered, as the acid of the water slowly worked through skin and muscle and bone.
The others came to the window, and watched, as Mary's skin melted into the rain, as her bones made a final slow spin against the wind, and shattered across the ground.
"You didn't tell her," said a woman. Not a question.
Her father's voice was soft against the thunder. "I wanted her to believe the Earth was a beautiful place."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012


I probably shouldn't admit this, but the children next door can occasionally be rather loud, and every once in awhile, I wonder what it might take to shut them up... ...thus this story.

- Mari Ness

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