Written in 24 hours. To include: Raining forever, tinseltown, sweets and dust bin.
|It had been raining forever. It was all anyone remembered. Heavy downpour to light mist, there was never anything but the rain. Every man, woman and child was bone-chilled and water-logged. They’d forgotten their tinseltown dreams, drowned them in the slowly growing puddles seeping through the city.
The longer the rain fell the more people got used to it. But she didn’t. She used to love the sound. It used to get up inside of her and calm her right down. She could see a pool in her heart and the rain would stir it up in the nicest way.
Now though, now the rain was like nails falling. Every sound struck and she just had to get out. She scrambled through her purse, pulling out everything that she didn’t need. She had to take her life in a handbag. Anything else and they’d know she was leaving.
She tripped on the dust bin and it skittered across the floor, the scrape of it, for a moment, drowning out the rain. Her hands shook. She struggled with the safe combination twice before she managed to pry it open. She grabbed her mother’s ring, the only thing she’d brought with her when she’d come here. She’d come with the clothes on her back, her dreams and this ring and Eli had taken them all.
She pushed the thought of him away as hard as she could. She took everything from the safe that she could carry, money and jewels. Payment rendered. She took off her heels and snuck down the steps into the back alley behind the club.
“Hey, now.” She froze at the sound of his voice. “How you doin, toots, sweets, sugar pie? What’s shakin’?”
She turned to look at him. He leaned against the gray brick under an awning, the smoke from his cigar twisting around him.
“Oh, just the usual, Eli. Ain’t nothin’ or nobody comin’ to no good.” She felt the weight of the bag on her shoulder.
He huffed. “Ain’t that the truth.”
She started to slowly wander further into the alley.
He stood up from the wall. “Where you headed though, doll? Little late for you to be out here all alone.”
“Just taking a stroll.”
“In the rain?”
“Well, that’s the only way to take a stroll these days.”
“I suppose that’s true. How’s about I go with you?” he said.
She stopped and looked up at the sky. She thought hard about what she’d left in the bag before she started filling it. A small pistol nestled on top of her train ticket. Light, but it would get the job done. The thought of having to use it made her sick but the thought of having to stay here another day made her sicker.
“When’s the last time you saw the moon, you think?” she asked.
“Hell, I don’t know. Nothing but clouds for years now.” He stopped and looked up too. She used the opportunity to slip into the shadows. It worked in her favor, that she often strolled. She knew the best routes, the quickest and quietest ways to get around.
He started out cool, like looking for her was a game, using that honeyed voice he’d had when they first met. But the longer it took without finding her the harsher he became. He was screaming but she was already far enough away that it couldn’t hurt her.
She raced through the turns in a journey that she’d played over and over in her mind every night for years. Maybe, by now, Eli had gone up to the safe. Maybe he was sending cars after her. Maybe they would catch her at the station.
But maybe he hadn’t. Maybe he’d stopped at the bar to drink down his rage. Maybe he’d make it worse. If she was lucky, she’d never have to think about him and his maybes ever again.
Soon she could smell the trainyard, the heavy odors of oil and people. Her heart was beating like mad, like a bird against the bars of a cage and she ran. Faster and harder and better than she ever had. It was a blur, handing over her ticket and going through the door. She fell into her seat, damp and exhausted. The train jerked into motion and clacked down the tracks. The further it went the better she felt. Rain was still pelting onto the window next to her when she fell asleep, lulled by the rocking motion beneath her.
She dreamt of sunlight.