Featured Fiction: In the Rain
Here, where nothing grows, Ell and I drive down the shimmering blacktop, en route to Las Vegas. We move with all great haste, coming down on the gas like the grooms at Jewish weddings, with the joy of motion animating our next step. Way out, in the ether to our east, arises clouds, clouds of black promise. We keep going, determined to avoid whatever gift they bring. We are too late, the promise is kept, and the deluge moves forward. We pull to the side, where nothing grows, and attach the tarp, near forgotten in its dusty bag, back to the top of the vehicle. The lightning, then the thunder, and the wrath pouring down, they give us cause.
Somewhere, some two hundred miles south, lay four very dead people, supine in a sea of viscera and casings. Somewhere, some time before, six people had entered a room intent on exiting richer. Four brought white capital, two brought green. Two of the four rose above their station, and carried their comrades with them. Two of the four were thus taken down to Heaven against their will, latched onto two who would not make the same mistake again. We left knee deep in dissatisfaction and sullied product. We left them knee deep in their own insides.
We continue along headed for points west, some desert city. The sky is an aurora of unresolved flares, now punctuated by falling bile, pounding thick against the protective Tallis over our heads. We see the colors, the dark clay on our sides fading slowly but inevitably into the dark grey of the road, the grey of the sky collapsing into our horizon. We drive into a bottle, bound for black seas.
We are in the thick of it when the very concept of it breaks apart, shatters completely, if our eyes are to be believed. Where road was is sky, and where sky is now falls angels, seraphs, the thousands countless hands of the Throne. Warm, dappled, pulsing, positively serrated against our hearts and minds comes the parade. It is unending, unyielding to cars and trucks who weren’t there before but now seem to be in a great rush, who drive right through like knives in fog. Heavenly hosts ascend and descend, right through our windshield, the wipers providing a blinking frame to the procession at hand. The very gate to Hell appears floating somewhere near the drivers seat, maintaining pace with our hundred miles an hour. Heaven, Heaven seems somewhere else, but we can’t quite make it out, can’t quite see it. When It opens, the very space of time and life subside, ebb out in little gray drops against a snow white background, and we in the same mire. When the song of Ages plays, we laugh and cry, and point in the opposite direction, and build our home away from its banks, its spheres of influence. When the Sun sets some time after, we set along with it, dipping down the horizon in a blur of everything and red.
We come to, and Ell tells me we are quite nearly there, with a slight grin and shy expectation in his eyes. He nods toward our bag, and then the four’s and promises himself a meal, a bed, a woman. I still hear the sounds, see the lights of All That Was, when he looks at me quizzically and asks softly, where exactly am I. We had a big rain and all, some intense thunder, but where am I? My gaze focuses on him, a gaze as sharp and as wanting as any I’ve ever given, my eyes boring in, interrogating, begging to not be let down. When he looks away, when he snorts, I shine my wrath upon him, shattering the glass aside his head, red rain in God’s desert.