It is always raining.

I don’t know how many days it’s been, now. Or maybe it’s been a matter of hours. Minutes, even. I don’t know. All I know is that the deep, mind-numbingly repetitive tap tap tap of the rain against every surface has drilled its way into my skull. It will never, ever leave me. Sometimes I can escape it, steal a few hours of sleep, but even in my dreams, it’s there, to the point I can no longer tell whether I’m awake.

I don’t know what I did to deserve this.

The power’s been out since the first time I woke up. My phone must not have charged very long before it went out, because it’s been dead the entire time. I can’t hear any of my neighbors, not even the man above me who has a revolving door of sexual partners, or the couple below me whose young child cries incessantly through the night. I am completely alone in the world.

There is only the rain.

Sometimes I can hear the distant rumble of thunder, but in the end, the only constant is the tap tap tap of the rain.

When I first woke up, I assumed it was before dawn, so I laid back down after doing my business and tried to focus on stealing a few more hours of sleep. The constant slap and patter of the rain made my heart race more than I like to admit, the fear closing like a vice around me, but eventually, I did manage to drift off. It was still dark when I woke up again. Okay, I thought, maybe I just didn’t sleep that long.

After a few more repeats, I realized something wasn’t right. There was no way it could still be nighttime. I thought about knocking on Mrs. Hendrick’s door, asking if her power was out, too - surely it had to be, since every apartment in the building was hooked up to the same grid, you see - but decided against it. This was my off weekend at work, and damn it, I wasn’t leaving my apartment unless I absolutely had to. And so, with nothing else to do, I went back to sleep.

I don’t know how many times now I’ve woken up to the goddamn rain pounding against the building. It’s there, it’s there, it’s there and it won’t leave me alone. No matter where I go in my home, the rain follows, sounding for all the world like it’s about to break through my ceiling. Even in the rooms without windows, I can hear it, and I swear to God it sounds louder, like it’s angry that I tried to slip away from it. I’ve started trying to count the seconds, minutes, hours, but I always lose track. The steady assault of the rain always breaks through. Always, always, always. It is always raining.

I tried to leave, once. I stepped outside of my door, expecting to find myself in the dark, familiar hallway of my apartment building, but found myself in an almost pitch-black meadow. Ice-cold rain lashed against me and stung my skin, and I was soaked to the bone in seconds. I turned to go back inside, but there was nothing around me but mud and grass and the trees circling me bowing and creaking in the wind and the sound of the rain still tap tap tapping away. The wind hit me in gusts that threatened to knock me over, driving the rain hungrily towards my flesh, and I felt like it finally had what it wanted.

It had me.

I don’t know how long I stood there, in that half-drowned meadow, the never-ending rain pelting against me with a ferocity and malice that almost made it feel alive. Predatory. After a while, I forced my stiff legs awake and started walking. The only sound was the spattering of the rain and the squish of my bare feet through the mud. Despite the fact that the treeline couldn’t have been more than a minutes’ walk ahead of me, I swear I walked for hours and it never got any closer to me. I started running, sprinting until my legs ached and my lungs burned and I stumbled over my own feet and still the treeline seemed no closer. Shadows began to emerge, peeking around the corners of trunks and giggling to each other. I couldn’t hear their taunts over the sound of the rain, but I had the idea that they were talking to me. I don’t know what planted the idea, but I was convinced they must have put me here. They must have started the rain.

I must have screamed myself hoarse, hurling pleas and then insults and eventually threats at them. At first, they showed no sign they had heard me, although I swear their shapes began to swell and bulge, as if they were feeding on my words. Eventually, though, they turned those ever-shifting faces towards me; they had no eyes or mouths or noses to speak of, but I got the distinct, crawling feeling they were looking at me. And that they hated me.

They crossed the clearing in their lumbering sort of way, not quite walking but giving the impression of doing so. I realized out of nowhere that I had stopped walking. Had I even been walking in the first place? I couldn’t move, some combination of fear and awe as they drew nearer, one of them at last reaching out a not-quite hand. Its “fingers” dug into my jaw, cold and clammy and still the rain pelted the both of us, but it didn’t seem to feel the assault. It leaned in close, its voice the hiss of rain through a drainpipe. “Don’t try it again.”

When I woke up, it was still raining.

3.8.24 - added "the rain"
3.7.24 - changed the layout ^_^
table of contents
i. "the rain"
ii. "the most divine game" (coming soon!)