[Child of God]: 416.Famous First Lines - Contest.Rain

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2006-06-15 01:34:06
short story
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The air smelled of dank silence and mystery in the early hours of the morning. Oblivious to the surroundings, the figure trudged silently down the dirt road. No colours painted the sky with the dawn, only grey darkness with the promise of a storm, as though a tribute to the storm raging within. Confusion, disbelief and sorrow clouded all coherent thought. The wrinkled clothes clung to the figure, soiled from days of confinement within the four walls that had imprisoned them.

Only hours before the voice of an angel had graced the distraught mother’s ears, a voice that was now silenced forever. Her fingers unconsciously tightened around the crumpled photo in her right hand as the first rain droplets began to fall, though her glazed eyes showed no indication of having noticed. Her eyes saw only the horrors of hours past. Her ears heard only the sounds that would forever haunt her. Her hands felt only the coldness that had replaced the warmth she had only hours before held in hers. What remained of her was vacant and numb, unflinching as the bitter November wind bit at her body while her mind replayed the event over and over.

She sat in the chair, looking on helplessly as the small chest rose and fell unsteadily. Machines beeped around her, but all the young woman could hear was the sound of her daughter’s labored breathing. As the child began to cough, the sounds of the machines increased and began to grow urgent, drawing the attention of numerous others as they rushed into the room.

The woman stopped, her mind vaguely registering a bridge ahead. The rain now came down harder and the winds increased.

Standing on the bridge, she looked at her reflection in the river below, placing a hand over her swollen stomach. Fear, doubt and anger surrounded her as she thought of her future or now lack thereof. Left to face this uncertainty alone, despair again began to overtake her.
It wasn’t fair! She was still far too young, still a child herself.

The haze began to clear form her eyes as she stopped onto the bridge. Her red hair whipped around her as low thunder rumbled overhead. Her left hand grasped the side, trembling slightly.

Angry tears rolled down her cheeks as she pounded the railings with her fists, a sob escaping from her lips. What was she going to do? As she looked in to the running waters below, her body moved as if on its own, her mind not registering what she was doing. Vaguely, she noticed water droplets beginning to fall.

Janet stood in the same spot now as she had eight years ago, gazing into the same waters.

‘I don’t want this! I don’t want this life! I don’t want this child!’ She thought vehemently, grasping the railing which was now behind her, aiding to balance her on the tiny ledge of the bridge on which she now stood. The rain began to fall harder as a flash of lightning lit up the sky.

Her hand lay across her now empty stomach, tears once again rolling down her cheeks, the rain once again falling upon her as despair once again filled her heart. In the back of Janet’s mind, she noted how it had been exactly eight years and eight months to the day of her last encounter with this place. Once again, her child brought despair upon her, only this time not in it’s pending birth but subsequent death. Once again, she found her hands gripping the railing behind her, looking down at the rushing waters below as she balanced herself on the tiny ledge.

‘There’s nothing for me anymore. It’s all over.’ The thought almost saddened her, while at the same time relieving her. Now she could end everything that troubled and tormented her. Her family and friends had abandoned her; she could end the pain without inflicting it upon anyone else.

She had done it. She had raised her daughter on her own for almost 9 years. But what did it matter now? These 9 years had been for nothing. Now more than ever, she was utterly alone.

Closing her eyes, she loosened her grip on the rails.

Leaning forward, she braced herself, willing herself to welcome the relief that would follow.

A cry startled her, causing her hands to automatically tighten once again around the rails. Looking to her right, she saw a small child at the edge of the bridge watching her.
‘What is she doing out this late in such a storm?’ Janet sound she was asking herself. Wearing little black shoes, a navy sweater and jeans, the yellow umbrella barley covered her small body. The dark curly hair was tied back loosely and her green eyes stared intently at Janet, tears running down the child’s face.
“Go home!” Janet shouted at the little girl. The child seemed to recoil slightly at Janet’s tone, looking hesitantly behind her as though she wanted to leave, when a clap of thunder caused her to jump and start crying again.

As though hearing the cries of eight years ago, Janet glanced to her right. Her eyes widened at the sight before her, causing her to almost loose her balance. There stood a girl of about fifteen, watching her at the edge of the bridge. A yellow umbrella barley covered her black shoes, navy sweater, jeans and long dark hair. Janet felt her knees weaken as her hands tightened into a death-grip around the railing, looking into the green eyes that once again watched her.

Janet felt herself climb awkwardly over the railings and start toward the child who backed away, unsure of the approach.
“Go home” she again told the girl. Sniffling, the child’s reply was almost lost in the wind.
“You’re lost?”
The child nodded, looking as though she would begin crying again. Janet stood there, looking down at the girl, unsure of what to do.
“Which way do you live?”
The child turned and pointed behind her.
“So keep walking that way until you find a house and ask them for help.” Janet turned and began to walk back onto the bridge. Another clap of thunder clashed and she heard the child start to cry again. The cries caused Janet to pause and look back at the child, who had dropped her umbrella and now stood crying in the storm. Turning away angrily, she started to stomp back across the bridge. This child was not her problem! Nearing the center of the bridge, she paused and looked over her shoulder again. The child still stood there crying.
This isn’t her problem!
This isn’t her problem!
Letting out a frustrated, defeated yell she turned and walked angrily toward the child. Bending down awkwardly to pick up the umbrella and, handing it to the hand, she grabbed the free hand and began walking in the indicated direction. They walked silently at first until the child’s voice interrupted Janet’s thoughts.
“You’re gonna be a mommy.”
Janet didn’t reply as her other hand went unconsciously to her stomach.
“My name’s Jenny. What’s the baby’s name?”
“I don’t know.” Was the annoyed reply.
“You should name her Serenity. It’s a pretty name.”
“How do you know it’s a girl? I don’t even know what it is!” Janet growled angrily. “That’s stupid!”
The child smiled and touched Janet’s stomach, startling her.
“It’s a pretty little girl. She’ll look like you too.”
Ignoring the girl, Janet angrily swatted the small hand away and continued in silence.

It had been eight years, but the girl still looked the same as she did before, only slightly older. Janet clutched the railing like a lifeline as Jenny cautiously approached. Shaking, Janet made her way slowly back over the railing onto the bridge.
“Are you ok?” Jenny asked uncertainly.
“I did it.” Janet told her, even more tears flowing from her eyes. “She did look like me. We had the same eyes.”
Jenny stopped and looked at the distraught twenty three year-old before her.
“You were right Jenny. Serenity was a pretty name.” Janet’s voice cracked as her legs gave out, sending her to her knees as sobs racked her body. Jenny stood there stunned, watching the women before approaching her. Using the yellow umbrella to shield Janet from the rain, Jenny took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Giving the young woman a hug, Jenny asked,
“Are you lost?”
Janet nodded, unable to answer. Rubbing Janet's back, Jenny led her across the bridge.
"I'll take you home."

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