Again, a short story in warm up for my novel. Again, first draft; excuse any errors. Experimenting with repetition in this one. Please let me know if you feel it’s too overdone.
There was a lone man walking in the rain.
It was the well into the night and she would never have seen him if she hadn’t been gazing aimlessly out the window. Raindrops hammered the house relentlessly, filling her ears with a sound like static. Her vision was hampered by the crisscross of the rain outside, driven at different angles by the wind. But a small patch of illumination struggled bravely under a streetlight and surely, there was a man walking through it.
What was he doing out in that kind of weather? It was getting dangerous.
The man reached the edge of a faint circle of light and melded into the darkness. She waited breathlessly for him to reappear at the next light.
As she waited, her eyes began to widen and her heartbeat began to race. It was so mysterious and exciting, and so very surreal. Surely, he knew what he was doing. Nobody in their right mind would walk through such dangerous weather.
Just as the man reappeared, a strong gust blew a sheet of rain into him. He staggered as she heard a crescendo in volume. By the time the sound faded back to its usual static, the man had disappeared again.
She felt uncertain now. Maybe he needed help? She couldn’t see him clearly but what reason could anyone have to be out at this time in the middle of a storm? What if nobody else had seen him except her? She could be the only one that could help him right now.
As she hesitated, a flash of lightning lit up the darkness. She saw the man hunched over a bundle in his arms. He was wide eyed, as if he were in panic, but determined to protect whatever he was holding.
He disappeared then promptly reappeared again at the streetlight right outside her house. She could see a tiny hand reach out of the bundle as he struggled on. The road was ahead of him; she lived on the corner of an intersection. He didn’t slow a beat as he continued on his path.
A peal of thunder crashed overhead, making her jump. It rang and crunched and crashed in her ears. It drowned out all sound for two long seconds as she saw a pair of headlights appear out of nowhere. They collided with the man and just as suddenly, both were gone from sight.
Running out of her room, she crashed into her mother who was coming in to check on her.
“What’s wrong sweetie?”
“There was a man! Outside, in the rain! He’s dead. He just got hit by a car!” Inexplicably, tears overpowered her and she couldn’t breathe. As she struggled to regain control of her heaving throat, her mother pulled her close.
“Even after all these years you still can’t forget how your daddy died?”
A moment of surprise hit her. Her dad had never crossed her mind. “No! I mean it; there really was a man outside!”
“It’s ok baby, it was a terrible experience for you. And it happened on a night just like this.”
Angry now, she shoved her mother back and ran to the window. It was too dark to see anything, so she pressed her cheek against the cold pane and craned her neck for a better view.
“I swear … I really did see him.”
Her mother shook her head sadly. “It’s just the rain, dear. It’s a horrible, strange rain that brings back bad memories.”
She heard her door click shut behind her but she kept peering out the window. Nothing. No sign of anything.
Maybe it really had been just the rain.