November Rain

Adam stood separate from the others who huddled like a rookery of penguins in their funeral best, as if the frigid downpour were acid and only the rainbow of mismatched umbrellas could save them. He smiled at the contrast of clothing versus accessories—one solemnly selected and the other haphazardly pulled from a closet or vehicle trunk in desperation.

Evie would approve, especially of the one sporting her alma-mater.

He refused to hide and welcomed the November rain, its ice pelting his face, sneaking beneath his collar, the cold already caressing the skin beneath his suit. It simultaneously invigorated and numbed him, reminding him how little time remained.

The preacher’s voice was hoarse and the herd leaned into him, straining to hear from under their sheltered cocoon. Adam ignored the words, focusing on the tall man in front and the deceptive mask of grief covering the man’s face—the perfect picture of a distraught father—hiding the mean drunk who’d been driving that night.

The mourners had no idea, or if they did, they pretended to believe the lie to cleanse their souls of any guilt.

The sky cried harder and the crowd squeezed the air from their ranks, tightening, as the preacher’s lips sped up, racing to the finish line.

Adam waited, patient, his face now tipped to the sky, savoring the beating from above.

How many times had Evie grabbed his hand, pulling him from warm safety into the storm, dancing around him until he surrendered and joined her?

“It won’t last forever, Adam. Live a little.”

People scattered, cockroaches seeking haven from the deluge, the normal teary good-byes and etiquette abandoned. None glanced his way or acknowledged his presence, as if the rain cloaked him from view.

Adam walked to the casket, the saturated ground warning him away by pulling each step deep into its embrace. His focus was so strong he almost bumped into the figure leaning against the carved wood.

A white grin flashed upon the stranger’s face even as the rest of him faded to shadow, like a human Cheshire cat. “You’re here. I must say I am surprised. Most try to avoid paying their debts.”

“I am a man of my word, if you keep your end of the bargain.”

The stranger cackled. “An hour with your beloved in exchange for your life. As agreed.” He waved his hand, parting the rain, carving a dry space as the sealed coffin sprung open. He reached inside, placing his hand over Evie’s heart and mumbling an incantation before whirling back to Adam. “Sixty minutes, lover boy. Tick tock.” The man walked into the opaque rain curtain and disappeared.

“Adam? What’s going on?” She rose from satin lining, confusion and fear lacing every syllable.

Adam smiled and held out his hand. “Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.” She laughed, the magic words erasing her fear, her hand grasping his as she climbed out—fire to his ice. “Dance with me, Evie.”

~o~

This is for the Write on Edge week 45 writing prompt. Guns ‘N Roses “November Rain” was given for inspiration.

I tried to write out of my comfort zone this week. What worked? What didn’t?

Concrit always welcomed.

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The Canvas

Her teeth rattled as Adele crooned at top volume, the tiny speakers of her Civic distorting the sound. Lacy sang along, her off-key voice and altered lyrics swallowed by Adele’s.

“I set fire, to the pain! Watched it pour as I smashed your face!”

The car swirled with her anger, its cloak of protection the only thing holding back another round of tears.

The cloak blocked everything else. The darkening pastures full of grazing cattle she sped past. The brilliant hues of sunset painting the clouds above her.

The orange warning light on her dashboard.

She saw none of it until darkness covered everything except the steam escaping her hood.

“Shit!” Lacy slammed her brakes, the squealing tires loud enough to break through the music. She skidded to a stop.

She stared at the front of her car, willing it to magically fix itself.  When that failed, she searched her car for her cell, finally finding it on the passenger’s floor.

She shuddered as she caught a glance of her face bathed in the overhead light of the rearview mirror.

Her brown hair had escaped from the French twist after sleeping in her car the first night. The following two days of not showering meant her natural curly hair shot in every direction, rather like she’d electrocuted herself.

Mascara and dried tears blended to form a navy waterfall beneath her green eyes, spilling off the circles surrounding her eyes.

She ripped her eyes from her image and flicked on the cell phone’s screen.

She glanced at it. “Great. No service. So much for AAA. Now what?”

She could hear the sizzle of the steam now, the sound growing louder as she exited her car. She held her phone up to the sky, pointing it different directions, trying to find a signal.

And failing.

“Mooooo.”

She jumped, glaring in the direction of the noise. “You sound like my mother. ‘Always carry an emergency kit, Lacy. Did you know the Smith’s son is single, Lacy? I need grandbabies, Lacy.’ Well look where she got me!” Her voice echoed and a few cows answered.

She scanned the area for lights, wishing she’d paid closer attention while driving.

Nothing. She could barely see ten feet from her car.

She looked at her outfit, her red Versacci dress paired with the new Manolo Blahnik’s she’d given herself as an early birthday gift. “I’m screwed.”

Lacy blinked back another round of tears threatening to escape. “No. He isn’t worth it. I will find someone to help me, get my car fixed, and then eat an entire chocolate cake.”

She looked to the sky, as if it held an auto mechanic just waiting to be dropped to her aid.

And froze.

The sky was not the sky, but a work of art—a black canvas dusted perfectly with glitter—her first view untainted by city lights.

Lacy was stranded, alone, and had no idea where she was, but she smiled.

“Happy birthday to me.”

* * *

I’m a bit rusty. Any concrit is welcome as always.

   

 

This week’s prompt from Write on Edge had two photos to use as inspiration for up to 500 words. I chose this one:

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