The Rain --- by Kate Dunn

It had been a long day at work. Jo sat in her car waiting for the lights to turn green. The rain fell in what seemed like a continuous sheet, and rolled down the bonnet and into the gutters. The gutter flowed like a river as the rain exceeded the capacity of the drains.

At last the light changed. Jo slipped the car into first gear and eased her foot slowly off the clutch. The car engine quietly responded, and the car moved smoothly away from the lights, and on towards home.

As she drove she was aware of the hustle and bustle of the town. Shoppers armed with umbrellas rushing from shop to shop, queues of people waiting at the bus-stop for their bus to come, children rushing home from school. She smiled, glad to think she would soon be out of the town, and into the quiet countryside where she lived.

The town began to disappear, the houses getting larger, and the roads becoming quieter as she neared her turn off. She flicked the indicator to turn left. The regular tick-tick the only sound now. Turning she began the trip through the country lanes.

She flicked her headlights to full, for now she seemed to be alone on the road. The rain kept falling.

As she drove there was a loud clap of thunder, and bright forked lightening streaked across the sky. The rain got harder. The wipers were moving at their fastest and it barely kept the screen clear.

Jo rounded a corner and there in the light of her car headlights, there seemed to be a child stood in the middle of the road wearing little more than a cotton summer frock, and open toe sandels. Jo hit the brakes, and the car stopped.

Jo peered through the windscreen at the girl before turning off the engine, and getting out of the car. She walked over to the girl.

"Hello, what's your name? Do you live near here?" she asked.

The girl didn't answer, but stood smiling at Jo.

"Do you want a lift? You must be getting soaked." Jo queried aware of the rainwater penetrating her blouse, and running chillingly down her back. The girl smiled and nodded.

Jo opened the car door, and the girl got into the car. Jo quickly got in, and shut the door. She wiped away the water which was trickling slowly down her face from her hair which was now drenched. She turned to look at the girl, and was surprised to see that the girl was completely dry, with not a drop of rain on her.

Jo asked the girl, "Do you live near here?" The girl shook her head, still smiling. Puzzled Jo suggested that the girl came with her to her house and contacted her family from there. The girl thought for a moment and then nodded.

Jo turned the key, and the engine sprang into life. Turning on the heater, Jo set off down the lane towards her house. The young girl sat there saying nothing for the whole journey. Jo turned into her drive, and pulled up infront of the house.

The girl followed her in, totally silent, but still with the smile. Jo indicated to the girl where the phone was, and then went into the kitchen to put the kettle on. She filled the kettle and looked out of the window at the rain which was running down the window. She plugged the kettle in, and flicked the switch. Leaving it to boil, she went into the hall to see if the girl had finished her phonecall. The girl wasn't there. Jo went into the lounge to see if the girl had gone to sit by the fire, and was startled to see that the girl was stood on the windowsill, with the windows wide open, rain pouring in, singing to the sky.

As Jo entered the room the girl turned, and spoke for the first time since Jo had met her. Her voice was strange, as it was deep and gravelly.

"Thank-you, I have contacted my family, and they are coming to fetch me." Jo smiled nervously, and said.

"Fine. Why are you stood in the window?"

The girl smiled,

"I thought you had realised. I am a child of the rain, it cannot harm me. I have to stand here so my family can find me."

Jo nodded, though not really understanding the childs meaning. What could she mean by a child of the rain. She recalled how the girl had been totally dry, despite the ferocity of the rainfall. As she tried to comprehend there was a tremendous clap of thunder and lightening filled the sky. The lights went out momentarily, and when they came back on the girl had gone.

Where she had stood was a small green rock, unlike anything Jo had ever seen before, and with it a small piece of paper with a note saying,

"Thank-you. For your kindness I have left you this. It is a rain-stone. It will protect you from harm in the rain, it will mean you are never without water, and it will remind you of me."

Jo closed the window, and sat down holding the rock. She put the rock on the mantlepiece, and tried to work out the logic of what had happened. She decided to go to bed, perhaps after a nights sleep it would be clearer, and maybe she would find it was all a dream or an act of imagination.

The next morning, when she awoke, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. She remembered the events of the night before and shook her head sure that it had been a dream. She went downstairs, and into the lounge. Looking around she spotted an object on the mantle piece...the green rock. It had been real.

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