Friday Fictioneers – Mandolin Rain

(Author’s note: Currently dealing with work issues that crop up like rocks in a plowed field. Gotta pick them and toss them, and keep chugging away. I’ll have more stuff soon. In the meantime, enjoy this Fictioneers post. BTW, if you’re in Australia, Germany, Mexico, Japan, or New Zealand, you won’t be able to watch the video. Look for Bruce Hornsby and The Range – Mandolin Rain)

 

© Mary Shipman

Mandolin Rain

by Miles H. Rost

We walked into the house, clothes soaking wet after a downpour that we didn’t expect.

“Honey, take your clothes off before going into the living room. I don’t want the carpet to get water on it.”
“So where are you going to put them, since we don’t have our dryer yet?”
“We’ll go Korean-style.”
“Where ya going to hang them from?”
“The rafters? The chandelier?

I took a breath, and looked around.

“Well, at least it’s not going to be occupied.”
“By whom?”
“Well, I was thinking…”

My face turned beet red. She started sputtering.

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Friday Fictioneers – Teardrop

(Author’s note: Things are crazy, and final exams are coming. I won’t likely be coming out with anything new besides Fictioneers stuff until after early November, due to how much energy I have to spend on writing essays. So here’s today’s Fictioneers.)

 

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Teardrop

by Miles H. Rost

Travis stood in the middle of the parking lot. He looked up, as drops started to fall onto his face.

The phone in his hand started ringing, as the rain started to pour down quickly.

“Hello?”
“Travis, this is Mike from Allied Textiles. I just wanted to call you and let you know that you have a job. Come in for orientation on Tuesday morning.”
“Thank you.”

He hung up the phone and gave a small smile, then started to cry. He opened the door of his truck, climbed in, and pulled a blanket around him.

As he slept, he cried.

Friday Fictioneers – Suddenly Last Summer

Author’s note: Hey everyone! I keep promising more stuff on the blog, but school and job hunting gets in the way. Once something comes along, there will be more posts. Otherwise, you get to enjoy Friday Fictioneers from me! My good blog-father, David Stewart, got the picture for this week, and I think it’s a beauty! Enjoy the story!

 

                                                               Photo Prompt © David Stewart

Suddenly, Last Summer

by Miles H. Rost

The rust on the gate was quick. Brand new last year, now tarnished.

Only one rainfall came that summer, but it was a blessing. A year’s worth of crops came in a month. It was incredible.

Then they came to the house. Claimed all sorts of charges, all sorts of lies. They said the rain didn’t want to come. I asked them how they knew the intent of the rain.

They didn’t tell me much, didn’t even allow me the chance of getting a lawyer.

Now I’ve been kicked out. My life is in ruin.

The rust shows my life.


I’m No Stranger To The Rain

by Miles Rost

Lacey Opheim sat under the bus stop canopy, trying her hardest to stay out of the downpour that was currently plaguing the city she lived in. Summertime was always a worrysome time for the rains, especially if they came early. On this early July afternoon, the rain was coming down in buckets and showed no signs of letting up.

It fit her mood perfectly.

She sat and looked out over the rice fields of her city, trying to make sense of all that had happened. She looked out and sighed heavily, knowing that when she arrived at work, hell was going to break loose and she was not going to be all that pleased about the results. As the editor of a foreign language newspaper, it was her responsibility to take care of errors and issues, and she had a big one run through the morning edition like a runaway freight train.

She sat under that canopy as though it were a dark cloud. She barely even noticed when a young man walked in from the rain.

“Mind if I sit here?”

She waved him in, without taking a second look at him. An awkward silence filled the air

“Looks like today it’s really coming down,” he said, leaning back and relaxing his elbows on the railing behind him.

She didn’t say anything, and just kept staring at the rice fields across the road.

The man just smirked.

I can spot bad weather. I’m good at finding shelter in a downpour. And, I can also see when someone’s got a whole lotta world on their shoulders.”

She looked up at him with a face full of ‘go away’ written all over it.

“And I’ve seen that face too many times to mention,” the man said.

Lacey saw that the man was Asian, either Japanese or Korean. She didn’t really know the difference, as she was “one of those ignorant foreigners”. She also noticed that the asian man was wearing a stetson, but otherwise was soaked through.

“You’re going to catch a cold if you don’t take care of those wet clothes,” she responded, hoping that he would leave her alone.

“Young lady, I’ve been through too many rainstorms to have to worry about my clothes. I make it a regular event to walk in a downpour.”

She turned her head back to the rain and the fields.

You’ve got a foggy feeling, you’re feeling down. If you don’t clear your head, you just may drown. In your gloominess, that is.”

“So what are you supposed to be, sir? Some sort of a rain-soaked counselor?”

The man just chuckled.

“Well, I reckon that I am merely here waiting for the bus downtown, and that you have something going on that you are just wanting to get off your chest.”

She sighed, as he hit the nail on the head.

“I made a major error. One that could get me fired. And it wasn’t even something I knew about. It was just automatic approval.”

“What was it?”

“If you saw the front page of today’s newspaper, you’d be likely to see the error.”

“You mean the headline story about how the mayor was suspected of having an illicit affair even though everyone seems to know that it was not true?”

She groaned at this.

“What if I told you that when you go into work today, you’re not going to be fired? You’re not going to be yelled at. Nothing will happen to you.”

Her head swiveled towards him quickly.

“What do you mean?”

I’m no stranger to the rains, lady. I’m a friend of thunder, lightning strikes me and I don’t get hurt.”

Lacey blinked at him, waiting for the punchline.

“Let me put it another way. The story was not in error. And just before you exit the elevator on your floor, the floor with the editors and the desk jockey journalists, you will be given a notice about a developing story about the mayor’s resignation due to accusations of sexual assault by no less than five teenage girls.”

Her mouth just dropped.

“How do you know this? How the hell do you know all of this?”

The man chuckled, as he pulled out his cell phone and smiled.

“I’m the mayor’s chief of staff. I know his secrets, and I’ve been waiting to tell them to someone.”

Lacey looked at him, and fell backwards into unconsciousness.

The news, simply, overloaded her brain.

I Wish It Would Rain Down

by Miles Rost

The Rainbow Bridge glowed at this time of night, the reds, whites, and greens eminating from each of the towers like christmas lights on a tree. The beauty of the bridge shadowed the pain and hurt that was present on its platform.

Yumi sat on the sidewalk of the center span, looking out over the tossing waters of Tokyo Bay. The rain just started as she sat down, and the drops pelted her slowly. It seemed as though even the sky was giving her grief.

She was alone, again.

So this is what Saya felt all those nights ago, she thought, staring at a freighter passing below her, Again, I am alone. When my parents died, I was alone. When I was rude to my sempai, I was alone.

She sniffled, as the rain started to pour down upon her. The storm in her heart was raging, the emotions filling up her heart like a rain barrel. Her body ached, her left index finger most of all. She knew these signs, of what was to happen, and that there was no controlling it.

Why am I always alone?! Why do I do this to my friends? Why do I always hurt like this? I don’t want this! I don’t want this burden!

Her mind panicked, her heart raced, as the sobs she knew were to come finally announced themselves in a groan and a cry of pain. She wrapped her arms around herself as she shifted her body, giving her more room to grieve. The war inside her heart was fierce and intense, and the emotions continued to overflow.

In her mind, a flash of memory shot out from nowhere.

Yumi-chan, you’ve buried your emotions,” Sayaka said, as Yumi remembered the conversation from the previous day, “You show bravery on the outside, but you haven’t reconciled yourself inside. The only person who can change you is Iesu. He’s tough on the heart, but he also shows you that you’re never alone, and that change comes from trusting.”

She looked at Tokyo Bay yet again, and continued sobbing. The pain of her heart joined the pain in her head, feeding her tears. At the same time, another thought pierced her.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Sayaka’s voice cut through the anguish of her thoughts, with passages she had read to her earlier in the day.

“These words were from the great King David. He seemed to be like you, in a lot of ways, Yumi-chan. He was stoic, and very ardent in battle. But he had his problems too. And his petition there, that was his confession to God.”

Yumi looked at her now soaked uniform, and the drops of water off the leather tote-bag she carried. Her sobs continued, as she looked at the towers to her sides.

“Kami-sama,” she cried out through her sobs, “I have failed.”

The rain suddenly started pouring heavier, the sounds of thunder in the background calling a chant, seemingly echoing her cries.

“My life has been filled with pain, Father. My parents, my sempai, all those who left me, they gave me nothing but pain. And you, you gave Saya hope. You gave her something that I did not have before, something that I don’t have right now.”

Yumi breathed in a heavy breath, as hail started to fall on the bridge. She stood up, and bent her knee to the concrete. The pain that shot through her knee was temporary, and caused another flood of sobs to come through, even after the pain subsided.

“I don’t want this! I don’t want this burden, this load that I am carrying. Iesu, I want you to carry this with me. I want what you gave Saya those weeks ago. I ask of you to come into my heart, and take the pain, the anger, the strain, and transform them into something that can be used.”

Yumi clutched her fingers until they were white, as her prayers rang out like a tolling bell. The hail continued to fall, as the rain cascaded down like a waterfall.

“Lord…savior…You have the power to make me whole again. Take my life and make it whole, make me the warrior that I was before all these events. In your holy and saving name, Iesu, I pray this…”

A peal of thunder in the background shook the bridge as she held steady. Her cries were done, and she held her ground against the thunder’s call. Her face turned serious, as she uttered the final words.

“Amen.”

As the word rolled off her tongue, a bright bolt of lightning split the sky from north to south. After a minute, the hail stopped as the rain kept falling.

She breathed in the air, the damp rainy air, and looked around at the bridge. As she stood up, the rain slowed down from a waterfall to a steady but barely soaking shower. Yumi was soaked fully, her ponytail hanging low from the weight of the water. Her seifuku was fully drenched, and as she walked back towards Minato-ku, she felt the squish of water in her shoes. Her mind was on other things, though.

She needed to see Sayaka, and she needed to see her right away.

*************

Sayaka sat at her table, working on homework. The scrapes of her mechanical pencil as it drew across the paper filled the room with a sound that was previously filled with the sounds of the rain on her roof.

I hope Yumi-chan is okay, she thought, I don’t know why, but it seemed like the only thing that could be done was to let her go off on her own.

She put down her pencil, and reclined back a slight bit, remembering the events that unfolded earlier in the day. She remembered the pain and bewilderment on Yumi’s face, the similar pain and bewilderment she felt weeks before.

“Yu-chan, I hope you haven’t done something crazy…”

At that moment, Sayaka folded her hands and closed her eyes. She felt the need to pray, and the moment for it was then. As she sat there, a picture of peace and patience, she was silent and focused.

Suddenly, a conspicuous knocking at her door caught her attention. With a quick ‘amen’, she stood up, bowed, and walked into the main hosting room to check and see who it was. As she opened up the screen, she was greeted by a soaking wet, crying, and broken Yumi.

“Yumi-chan!”

“Sayaka,” she sniffled, “I didn’t know where to go, but you’re the first person who would understand. So here I am.”

“Come in, come in. You’re soaking wet! Did you walk all the way over from your apartment?”

“I want to tell you everything, but I need something to drink first.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll get you something to drink, and a dry kimono to slip into. Head into my bedroom and wait there.”

Sayaka quickened her steps into the kitchen area, where she started boiling water for tea. As she quickly walked towards her room, she heard sobbing and rushed to see Yumi on the floor, head in hands, letting her tears fall. Sakaya immediately rushed to her closet, grabbed the nearest kimono, and rushed to the fallen girl’s side, giving her a tight hug.

“I’m here, Yumi. I’m here. Just let yourself go, and I’ll take care of you,” she whispered, with concern and warmth. For a short while, she sat with her friend, someone who she never thought would ever look broken, and just let her sob into her shoulder. As the sobs died, Sayaka slowly moved away and looked at Yumi.

“I will be right back. But, when I get back, I need you to tell me everything. In the meantime, put on the kimono.”

Sayaka walked to the kitchen and came back a minute later with the white tea that she always brewed.

“Yumi-chan, tell me everything.”

She sat in front of the small reading table, the dry, greenish-colored kimono wrapped around her cold frame. Her hair was still wet from the rain, but seemed to be starting to dry.

“I…I…” she stammered, as she tried to recollect her thoughts, “After the confrontation, I just started running. I ran…so far away. I was alone, as I usually am. I was so wrapped up with anger and guilt, the memory of my parents and my sempai came back to me. I ended up on the Rainbow Bridge. I actually wanted to jump. I wanted to end it.”

Sayaka’s eyes opened wide, and she gasped slightly.

Yumi told her the full story about what happened on the bridge, not leaving a single crumb of detail behind. In between descriptions, she would cry for a moment, then start speaking again.

“As I left the bridge, I was in shock. My heart was flooded with emotion, but I couldn’t cry. I had nowhere I could really go, nowhere that I could have a safe haven with. So I walked from the bridge to here. The only thing I could think about was talking to you about what happened.”

Sayaka gave her a giant hug, and looked her square in the eye.

“Yu-chan, I’ve been hoping for this for a while. I thought you’d be the most resistant to His message, but now I see you here. You don’t even know how happy I am that you were able to come here and trust me with this.”

“Really?”

“Really. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had anyone that I can trust come visit. But, it’s not just that. You came here after something that you know very few have gone through. This is going to be new for you, and I think that it might be good to have you stay here for the night.”

Yumi looked around, and sighed.

“I think I can do that,” she replied, “I don’t have to be at school early.”

Sayaka smiled, as she sipped her tea.

“At least now I have someone around who doesn’t think I’m crazy.”

Yumi looked at her, and smiled slightly. Then the sneeze hit.

“Oh no. You’re not getting sick!” Sayaka chuckled, as she walked to the bath and started some running water.

While she ran the water and got towels ready, Yumi looked at the Bible that was open above Sayaka’s homework.