It was a quiet day in the middle of nowhere. The only sound that could be heard all around the dry land was a high whistle that lasted forever. And far into this cracks-in-the-ground-nothing-to-do-here place, there was a house; a farmhouse that looked like it was stuck in 1930. The steps leading up to the front door were rotten and the door itself had a small cracked glass residing in it. Wallpaper had a life of its own in the hallway. Then there was the dining table, made of wood, however, only small peaks of it could be seen as a worn-down bed sheet posed as a tablecloth. The whistling came from a rusty kettle in the kitchen.
Sometimes a family has the same energy and fit perfectly together like the lights in a chandelier. Some families have totally different energies and they can’t live together, like the wallpaper and the wall. This family was a little bit of both. They used to fit together, forced to stick like the wallpaper to the walls. Wearing down and letting go with time. They were different than any ordinary family. However, that difference can only be seen in the most difficult times.
Once in seventeen days, water came from the sky. There were no clouds, no breeze, just water. But all that changed since mom died. Her legacy was the drought that followed.
Father called me a visionary kid, I described everything I saw. And sometimes he would get annoyed, yelling at me, telling me to be quiet. I didn’t know if it was father’s grief taking over or the strange-looking herbs he would sometimes put in his hot water, or both.
I sometimes ran away into the distance of this light brown landscape, trying to find anything at all. Nothing. That’s all there was here. In a straight line, I followed the cracks in the ground. However, I would always return to the place I wish was home. It’s been different now that she’s gone. It feels warmer every day, and not the good kind of warm. It’s the kind of warm I felt after a day of running towards nothing but drought. Dry dust on my face, headaches causing me to hallucinate.
Then the whistling stopped, and a man poured the steaming water into a chipped grayish mug. He opened the top cabinet, which was locked, and took a small box from it. The box used to be full of blue-orange-looking herbs. Now, there were only three left. The man took one and let it fall into the hot water. The pointy leaf sank halfway and the water turned into a mixture of orange colors.
As a kid who was always looking for adventure, I wondered what was out there. Riley told me there was nothing but us and our home. I didn’t believe that. At night I heard voices, wasn’t father or Riley. A woman’s voice and another unrecognizable voice stripped me of my night’s sleep. At first, the voices were soft, then they turned into loud, screaming voices. They said things I vaguely remember. However, these two words echoed in my room every night. Tell her.
The man sat down in the creaky chair and slowly sipped from his mug. The hot water didn’t bother him, he had gotten used to the heat by now. A boy that was around 8 or 10 years old and a teenage girl were sitting at opposite ends of each other. The man was sitting in the middle, at the wide part of the table, which had an oval shape with some crooked ends.
The man drank the last drop of water the family had left, his selfish greed has taken over since she died. He crumbled, like the house. Every wooden plank and every piece of wallpaper perished along with him.
Yesterday I saw someone in the distance, I ran towards it but I couldn’t get closer. Then it disappeared and I felt this strange tingle everywhere, wasn’t the heat. It felt cold. Suddenly a droplet fell on my hand. It was water.
Tell her. It was still echoing in my mind. Riley and I always told each other everything, I told her about the voices and she told me about the things she saw.
I was outside even though father told me not to. Riley hadn’t returned all day, so I planned to find her. I wandered the eternal desert. I looked behind me, home was getting smaller, till it was nothing but a speck of dust. I was now alone out here, even though Riley had to be here somewhere. I grew tiresome of the hot sand. Then I saw a dark cloud on the horizon and my feet forced me to run. There hadn’t been water in two years, and these clouds could finally mean an end to that eternity.
I was in the middle of the desert and I saw the person again, it was a woman. She looked lively and vibrant. She didn’t say anything, she only stood there. Suddenly she moved her hand, reaching out to mine. At first, I was hesitant, but then I lightly placed my hand on hers. It felt like water was flowing through her. In the blink of an eye, the sun disappeared even though it was the middle of the day. I looked up and saw dark clouds forming. A shadow cast upon us, I felt a gentle breeze, and then a small raindrop landed on my freckled nose. It’s been two years since I felt that with mom. At that moment, I noticed the woman looked like her.
The clouds grew bigger. I saw rain! My feet hurdled and almost tripped over each other, but I made it. I laughed and danced, tasting the rain until I noticed Riley. She was sitting on the ground. My face changed instantly, the rain didn’t matter anymore. Riley did. I put my hand on her shoulder. She knew I was there but didn’t look back. I sat beside her on my knees and took her hand, which was still dusty and full of sand but the rain had washed most of it off. I could see Riley had been crying even though it was raining now. She whispered. Mom. I saw mom.
Carson had found me and saw that I had been crying. My head told me not to cry in front of Carson, cause he might feel sad, and then I might feel sadder because of that. I thought that I was supposed to set an example for my little brother. But then I thought about what mom told me. Our strength can be found in our tears, it connects you to each other.
After I told Carson I saw mom, he told me he heard her at night. I squeezed Carson’s hand and got up, he followed. We danced in the rain till nightfall. Even after the moon shimmered in the puddles, we were still there, in the presence of the everlasting rain.
Inspired by Reedsy Prompts: Start your story with the whistle of a kettle.
(Contest #160: A Watery World)