Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the FANTASY and/or SCI FI Genre (10/16/14)
TITLE: Cry For Rain
By Sara Harricharan
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Sundancer came over to me at once, tossing his head in the afternoon wind.
I threw my arms around his neck, clutching at his mane as I swallowed back the sobs building in my throat. “It’s a lie,” I told him. “It’s all a lie. It always was. I knew it, but I didn’t think—I didn’t think that-”
He nosed at my shoulder and stood still. He didn’t flinch when I released him and opted to clamber atop his broad back without any of the usual riding gear. He was used to it—used to me. Guiding him with my legs, I made our escape from the corral and to the open fields out back.
Cool wind greeted us. The blueness of the sky met the green-gold of the grass.
Sundancer slowed to a walk and an eventual stop. I slid from his back to collapse on the ground, curling my fingers through the sharp blades of grass to dig into the dry dirt. I hated dirt. I hated air. I hated everything that was around me in that moment.
Mostly I hated my father.
My supposed father.
The sound of his hand on Mama's face wasn’t something I had ever wanted to hear. His accompanying words were just as terrible.
“Adopt a weather child. It will bring us good fortune, you said. What kind of fortune do you call this? Drought means death—you want us to die out here?”
“She’s only a child-”
“She’s old enough.”
The words echoed forever inside of my head. A stabbing pain in my chest forced me to stop scrabbling in the dirt and claw at my shirt inside. It had been years since I’d felt this sensation.
This time was worse.
Like poisoned knives, they struck true to my heart.
The tears came first, the sound came later. I cried until my eyes burned. Eyes the color of sunset. Eyes that made me the outcast among those in Anoka Valley.
My hands twisted together until they were clasped, palm to palm. Hot tears dripped over my fingers. The meager wetness did nothing for the rock-hard ground.
Thudding hooves announced a rider’s approach.
I hunkered down, hugging my arms to myself, doubled over until Mama's shadow fell over me.
“Aicha,” she murmured, dropping to her knees beside me.
I shuddered in her warm arms. The chills came next. “Mama…”
Gingerly, she pressed her cheek to my shoulder. “Don’t you listen to him,” she whispered. “You are mine. I only have one daughter. You.”
I squinted up at her to see the bruise forming on her cheek. “Your face.”
“It’s okay. It’s okay.”
“No. No it’s not. Mama, we should leave-”
“He owns us, baby girl.” She rocked me in her arms. “I couldn’t take care of you on my own.”
“It’s alright. Shh. It’s alright. Make it rain.”
“I can’t. It hurts too much.”
“I love you. God loves you. You are loved. So very loved, Aicha.”
A bone-deep ache followed her words. I choked. That was a different kind of pain. I’d made it rain before—years ago. Each time had been worse than the last. Each time, my heart shrank and crumbled a little bit more.
One last call for rain would break me.
No one person was meant to hold the sorrows of the land and the people on it. No human. Only God.
Pain coursed through my veins as the tears slowed to a stop. The howl began to burn in my throat.
“You deserve so much more” she murmured. Her shaking hands tangled in my curly hair. “I’m so sorry, baby girl.”
Her pain became mine. The wind began to whisper.
I let my head fall back. My lips parted and I screamed to the bright blueness, begging it to turn grey.
Thunder rumbled in the distance. Air grew heavy. The sound climbing out of my soul was proof of my heart breaking into its final piece.
“Flood the valley,”
I sucked in my final breath and sent her wish upward. Storm clouds hovered overhead. The Earth cried with me.
The sky opened up.
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