I really hate it when it rains.
When I left the house this morning, there were dead bodies everywhere. They lay on the damp concrete, twisted and shriveled almost beyond recognition. I didn't see them at first. Only when I dropped my keys and bent to pick them up did I notice the carnage.
I dropped the keys again, out of shock. They landed on a grotesque, pinkish-brown corpse just before me. I cringed as I bent and retrieved them, flinching as I touched cold flesh. I tried without success to avoid seeing the other dead. How could I? There was a victim to the elements sprawled every few feet in any direction.
I swallowed and just headed to the car, pointedly ignoring the massacre below. I started the ignition and backed out. Every bump made me flinch. I could be running them over. Sure, they were dead, but the thought of breaking those backs and crushing organs made my stomach turn. I just prayed I would avoid most of them going down the driveway.
The drive to work was calm. I saw no deceased on the road, so I nearly forgot the disturbing scene at home. I turned the windshield wipers on a low setting to clear away the drizzle. My mind turned to the upcoming tasks at work.
I pulled into the parking lot at Marv Co. As I exited my car, I remembered. Here, even more bodies were scattered on the sidewalks and asphalt. A few were still struggling, weakly. I dry heaved and stepped back. A sickening squish shuddered through my shoe. Pale, I lifted the foot to see that I had stepped on a little one. It struggled weakly on the ground and fell still.
There wasn't enough air around me. The rain was choking it out and falling hard on my shoulders. It punished me for what I had done. "I didn't mean to," I whispered, looking down in shame. "Help me make up. What do I do?" I begged...whatever beings might be watching me.
Movement caught my attention. Ten feet to my right, on the surface of the parking lot--someone was still alive! I rushed over, to see the tortured soul writhing on the yellow paint of a crosswalk. Gingerly I picked her up. Her light brown skin was slick from the rain, and covered in dirt. I gently cleared a bit with my thumb, murmuring absentminded comforts as I wondered how best to help her. Could I bring the little thing inside? Of course I couldn't! Not in her state, naked and dehydrated. Everyone would think I was crazy. But would she be safe anywhere out here?
I looked around, unsure. My watch beeped 8 o’clock. It was a minute fast but I would never get into work on time from here! Panic seized me. I tensed automatically, pulling my arms and their precious burden closer. What do I do what do I do! demanded my racing thoughts. I stared at my new friend indecisively.
She curled up. The little one's nose rose in the air. She was probably searching for somewhere safe. I gently stroked her head. I wished I could reassure her; she was probably terrified.
On the left by the building was a small square of grass. It was tall and lush, perfect for her to hide in. I strode quickly to it, and tossed her in underhand. I didn't see where she landed, but I assumed she would recover and sleep soon. I dashed into work.
"You're late," grunted Christine.
"Sorry," I said reflexively. I half-meant it, but the other half of me was distracted. There could be so many others out there that needed saving. I glanced out the window as the boss preened irritably.
Devon punched me lightly on the shoulder. "Rain slowed you down this morning?" he chirped, eyes playful.
I smiled. "You could say that." My head screamed at me to find some excuse to get me out of here. They were all dying outside! It didn't seem like anyone else cared enough to save them. The thought of facing so many lifeless remains made me shudder.
Christine glared at me and jerked her head toward my desk. I had to get to work. No time to even think about this any more. I scuttled over and hunched in focus.
I rationalized with myself the whole day. No one would judge me for ignoring the innocent. It was their own fault; who is stupid enough to go sit in the middle of the road under any circumstances? It was simple natural selection. I was doing nothing wrong.
As the rain pounded harder, I focused on the important tasks of work. Calls, meetings. A deadline was approaching to have a certain client set up. I should make it, but I still worried about what could go wrong. I thought the stress would kill me.
I stayed in for lunch, which was a rare thing. But the rain wasn’t letting up. I felt so trapped inside. Whoever said they felt free in the wet must be lying. Rick, the janitor, and I talked while he cleaned the break room. He whistled and told jokes about his once-beautiful head of hair as he hopped about the room, dusting. My friend’s optimism lifted my caged spirits, making the rest of the workday tolerable and even enjoyable.
Devon and I walked out of work together at 5. He opened his mouth in a sigh of pleasure, tasting his freedom. I perked up a bit too, until a sickening flash of brown reminded me what surrounded our feet. I kept my vision unfocused. I would not see any more of those bodies.
The sun slid out from behind a cloud. The rain was finally over!
"Gross," I heard beside me. Devon slammed his foot down and I heard that all-too-familiar crush.
My coworker looked up at me. "Don't you just hate how they always come out of hiding like that? It's bad enough seeing them dead. That baby one was still crawling. If you can call it crawling." The ginger interrupted himself to chuckle at his joke. “Good thing I killed it while it was still little. They're so much worse when they grow up. You agree?"
I nodded, trying to ignore the rising nausea. I caught a glimpse of who he had squished. It was her--the one I rescued earlier. Devon had killed my innocent little friend.
My fist clenched, but I kept my face relaxed. "Totally with you there, Devon. It's so annoying how their bodies get everywhere." My insides twisted with every word.
We said goodbye. Devon joined some other employees to go get drinks. I got in my car, turning on the radio. I drove and ignored the sting in my throat, my eyes.
I returned home quickly despite the wet roads. Too quickly, it seemed. Against my better judgment, I scanned the driveway once more for corpses. Thankfully, there were no more dying. Just the bodies from before. I drew the curtains once inside. I prayed the sun was out to stay. Every freaking time it was like this! Seeing all those dead and dying worms was always so stressful.
I really hate it when it rains.