It wouldn't rain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
An elderly lady unwittingly creates a drought

Submitted: June 28, 2015

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Submitted: June 28, 2015

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IT WOULDN’T RAIN

On the day of her son’s wedding, Mary Brown put a small effigy of the Niño de Prague outside the front door and the kitchen door of her cottage. That was an ancient custom which meant the rain was warded off until the wedding was over, and the happy couple were on their honeymoon. Mrs Brown was a very busy lady and she forgot to bring in the tiny effigies for a few days, which began a dry season in the area of the country where they lived.

One day, when in previous years it would have been raining cats and dogs, and no possibility of getting home safe and dry, she remembered the two effigies and took them indoors until another wedding occurred. It was a dry day and the soil was gasping for a drink, the cows were in desperate need of water, and the water was becoming less and less as the days went by.

The two tiny figures rested in a small box in Mrs Brown’s wardrobe. The area where the Brown family lived, was used to torrential rain, but it was as if those clouds that control the rain and mist were no longer in control. The local waterfalls and rivers, which attracted millions of tourists every year, were too dry to attract anything other than flies and other small insects. Nobody seemed to know the answer to the problem, so nothing was done. Some planes went up in the air higher than the clouds to shake them up, with the hope of getting some rain falling. Sometimes  it worked, and a light shower fell during the night or early morning.

 

Clark was Mary’s son and the husband of Yvonne. He was always on edge when his mother revealed her superstitions to those who had no idea whatsoever what she was going on about. Clark’s job was with security at football matches. The local team had a firm rule of not allowing alcohol during the games. Just like his mother, Clark liked keeping to the rules. It was while he was working in a match that he saw a woman drinking a colourless liquid out of a bottle. “Madam, I suppose you are aware that drinking alcohol is not permitted during a match. Would you let me have a look at the contents of that bottle you are holding, please?”

The woman in question was a feisty old lady, who wasn’t accustomed to exchanging words with a worker at the football ground. She looked Clark straight in the eye and said, “What do you think it is? Gin and tonic?”

Clark reached a hand out to receive the bottle, but the woman launched the contents into his face.

“Tastes nice, doesn’t it, the G and T?” the woman shouted, as she put the bottle back into her bag. Clark felt a real fool, he should have known better than to challenge such a woman.

 

Chastened beyond his wildest dreams, Clark left the football field and went to his new home, where Yvonne said, “Oh you poor thing. I’ve got some tea for you. That’ll take your mind off it. Fancy you meeting up with such a violent woman.”

“It’s my job. It’s easy to meet up with anybody. Where’s my tea? Is there any news of rain?”

“It seems that the rain has abandoned us, for the summer at least. We’ll have to use the hose pipe to water the lawn,” Yvonne said, busy with teapot and cake.

“Isn’t there a hosepipe ban around here?”

“We can always water at night when everyone is watching television,” declared Yvonne.

 

Mrs Brown hadn’t been accused of causing the lack of rain, yet, but enough people had known about her putting the effigies outside her house. As it became increasingly difficult to do much in the rivers and without waterfalls, as soon as one of them became quite dry, groups of young people went climbing around the rocks and the highest points of the normally wet and unseen river beds. The sun beamed down relentlessly on the whole area, the rocks became grey and white, their natural colours. The little water that lingered in the river was almost warm. There wasn’t anyone swimming, of course.

 

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One day, Mrs Cornish, Mrs Brown’s neighbour, went into her garden and found some goats had eaten the last of her lush green grass that, once upon a time had formed a beautiful lawn, when the rain had come more or less to order and had watered all her plants. Never was there a drought, nor any other kind of dryness in the whole area.

Mrs Cornish was visibly distressed at the sight of her garden. She tried shooing the goats out, but they stood in front of her and bleated so much, it almost drove her to distraction. She wondered what the owner of the goats would say if she took the goats to a butcher’s and tried selling them. She didn’t know who the owner of the goats was. How could she possibly find out who they belonged to? After a lot of pushing and shoving she managed to get the goats out of her garden and onto the pavement. She went back indoors and shut the front door, but even from inside her house she could still hear their bleating. Mrs Cornish rang the police and informed them that some goats were running loose in the street. The desk sergeant said he would send someone round to pick them up. She put the phone down, and looked out of her window, and saw that the goats had gone, vanished, disappeared.

 

Mrs Cornish ran out into the street just at the moment when a police van turned the corner and stopped outside her house. A young policeman got out and asked Mrs Cornish, “Where are the goats? We received a phone call a few minutes ago that some goats were running loose in this street. Do you know anything about there being goats around here?”

Mrs Cornish was at a loss for words. The goats had taken her by surprise, and now the young policeman’s question even more so. What on earth was she supposed to say?

 The young policeman’s phone rang. “OK. Yes, that’s correct. I’ll be right over.”

 He explained to Mrs Cornish, “Sorry to have troubled you. Some goats have been seen in the garden of a house a few streets up from here. There must have been some mistake. Good afternoon.”

Mrs Cornish wondered what was going on with all those goats running around in her district. Of course, by the time the police van arrived to get the goats, they had eaten their way through another unfortunate lady’s lawn, and they were on their way to another lush pasture.

 

While the water in the river and the waterfall was drying, the locals took to camping in the riverbed and in the spot right where the water used to fall. The riverbed was covered with large stones and that meant that the water, when it was there, was transparent and not at all murky, as it could have been if the riverbed had been earth. There was so little water left down there, that the spot became the haunt for the local youth, and the older folk who fancied being naughty. The whole riverbed covered quite a large area, so when dry, it was as if it had grown two or three times its normal size.

News spread when riverbed parties were publicized all over the nearest villages. People attended them, coming from far and near, to enjoy the wild and strange atmosphere of dancing and making the most horrendous noise day and night. Down there in the riverbed, nothing anybody did, annoyed the paragons of peace and quiet. Every day it was getting drier and drier and noisier and noisier, due to the constant music coming from the sound-blasters that the general public took to the riverbed.

It occurred to those who visited the area, that it might be of interest to explore the riverbed, to see if there was anything there worthwhile. At the beginning, several bicycles were found, half buried beneath the rocks and some whose tyres were missing. All of them were in an oxidized condition and so frail that, just by touching them, they almost fell apart. Further along, parts of cars were found, also in a disastrous condition. There were no complete vehicles, so it didn’t make much sense to take them home. What were of great interest, were the number plates of the vehicles, some of which were found loose in the riverbed and unattached to anything. Where had they come from, and what had they come from? Once the police had the number plates in their possession, they checked them out on the computer in order to find out their origin. Much to their surprise, they discovered that some of them were false, and some had been used in criminal activities. The biggest problem was to find the original owners. That kept the local and county constabularies very busy for the next weeks.

 

A bicycle that had once belonged to the local famous cyclist, was one of the most important objects found. Ten years had passed since Jason Jackson had been the best cyclist the county had seen. He had raced abroad and had earned a fame that went beyond being just a good cyclist. He had in fact been - the best. Jason opened fairs, local charity events, and organized cycling events for children. He actively encouraged children to cycle, and always appeared with his pristine bicycle. He also set up a bicycle shop for buying and repairing bicycles. Jason’s photo was to be seen in many places when any sporting event was to be held. But first and foremost, cycling was the big thing he was associated with. For many years the name Jason Jackson was unanimous with ‘cycling’, and his bicycle was like a famous racehorse. Jason and his bicycle were inseparable.

 

One morning, the day after Jason had arrived back from a cycle tour abroad, he went into his garage to find his most prized possession had gone. He tore his hair out in despair and ran indoors shouting, “Which of you has taken my bike?”

His parents, Beryl and Martin, stared at him in disbelief, and then went outside with him to see the garage door open, and the bike gone. Martin said, “That door was locked with a padlock, so I can’t for the life of me make head nor tale of the bike just going missing like that.”

The police went to investigate, but found no fingerprints or evidence that the door had been forced. The local press also arrived at Jason’s parents’ house, and asked no end of questions. Had a bike been kidnapped? Had Jason received a ransom note? Could it be the act of a jealous ex-boyfriend of Jason’s girlfriend?  All kinds of hypotheses arose, but the bike remained missing, and with it, Jason got angrier and angrier. He refused to get another bike, but not because of anything other than that it should never have been taken illegally. It took the insurance company nearly a year to pay up what Jason had insured it for. By that time, he was not so famous and his work was appearing at sports events, and talking about how he had won so many races.

Jason and his parents were not at all happy with the police procedure, or what they considered the slowness of it. The trio was more than fed up with the fact that after nearly a year, there was still no news about his bike. The Jackson family made the decision to move away from the district they had lived in all their lives, as discreetly as they could. The property was put on the market and sold after they had left.

 

There had been no news from the Jackson family since they had left. Jason’s bicycle was given a long look-over by forensics, from which they learned absolutely nothing. There was no evidence of how, why, or who had put the famous bicycle in the river. It was photographed and the photos were placed on the front page of the newspaper. Everyone hoped that Jason would come forward to claim his bicycle after all that time.

 

The summer weather became too warm, and the number of those camping in the riverbed grew and grew. The light-hearted atmosphere never stopped, in the riverbed it was cool and comfortable. Barbecues and other kinds of open-air eating were the order of the day. When not looking for unclaimed treasures, there was a truly laid-back air to the whole place. The sound of water insects buzzing about, and the sight of something gleaming in the parts of the river where there was still water, always came as a surprise.

Every once in a while a scream was to be heard, “Look what I’ve found!” It all turned out to be something that was just another tea pot, bicycle pump, or a small device for a car. But those who were keen never minded, they were enjoying themselves and it was the most economical summer holiday they had ever had. No need to go abroad when there is so much sunshine at home. There was a struggle to find a decent place to bathe, and groups were formed to find deep enough water to jump in and cool off.

One day a place was found in a more wooded part of the river, and those in the know cleared off for a bathe. Some of the more astute, followed through the trees till they found a large enough group jumping up and down in a small pool of water, which was obviously not going to last much longer with so many bathing in it. The sun blazed down on the rocks making it impossible to sit down on them during the day. The tents were therefore occupied to keep the visitors out of the sun.

 

The smells of cooking rivalled those of nature, and created a false feeling of an open air restaurant. After a few weeks some decided to make tracks and go where there was water, or go home. There was a slow movement every day as those who were on the edge of boredom began the way home, or to water. Those who decided to stay, thought that those leaving were spoilsports and not interested in having a fun time without spending money. The dried-up waterfall proved to be of less interest that the riverbed. Some had climbed up to see inside the cave, and had come back down, declaring that there was nothing up there except a cave, and no one was keen on exploring it. They all preferred to be back down in the riverbed.

Towards the middle of August saw the appearance of small clouds but then they disappeared as quickly as they had come.

 

It wouldn't rain_Booksie large Mrs Brown

 

Mrs Brown was also fed up with all that sun, and felt that she had been, in part, to blame, putting the two effigies outside her cottage the night before Clark and Yvonne had got married. Mrs Brown wasn’t a silly woman and made an enormous effort to try out as many spells as she could, to get the rain to return. She found an article on the internet about spells to procure more rain. The jam-jars and other receptacles she found in her kitchen, and then she needed something to make a ‘clatter-bang’ kind of noise. Mrs Brown was alone at home all day, everyone else being at work, so she dedicated herself to practicing the spell. It was very tiresome, much harder than putting effigies outside the cottage. She threw herself into making rain, the same way she did everything - a hundred per cent.

That evening, before her family arrived home for dinner, Mrs Brown hid all the paraphernalia under her bed. When everyone was watching television, she went to bed utterly exhausted.

 

Before going upstairs, she had put out some food and drink for the fairies, just in case the new spell didn’t work. Mrs Brown, satisfied that she was on the right track, fell asleep straight away, and never witnessed the dry storm that took place. Not a drop of rain fell, but the elements were angry enough to create lightning and thunder, which lasted until just before dawn.

 

A few hours later, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue and the sun shone once again. There was no sign that there had been thunder and lightning a short time before. The campers in the riverbed got up and brewed water for tea and coffee and made sandwiches and put out cereals for breakfast.

Mrs Brown, unaware of the dry storm, finished the washing up and putting the breakfast dishes away, and then went upstairs to her bedroom. From beneath the bed, she pulled out all the things she had used the day before. She then switched on her laptop, and looked for more spells to make it rain. It wasn’t that she had no faith in the first spell, but was firmly convinced that a stronger one was needed to clear the air, and fill all the rivers and ponds with water. She gazed out of her window and saw Mrs Cornish staring at her unsightly garden, and knew she had to do something about the situation - and fast.

Mrs Brown went into the bathroom with all the things she had used the day before, plus some new components. It was a good thing that what she needed was to be found in almost every household. First the window had to be darkened and then the performance began.

There was a lot of noise and Mrs Brown was afraid that Mrs Cornish would be able to hear her chanting away in her darkened bathroom. But poor Mrs Cornish was drinking one of her numerous cups of tea, that enabled her to get through the morning till lunchtime, when she sat down and closed her eyes for a small rest. She had dreams of waking up one morning and seeing her lawn saturated in water and her flower beds drowning in water, and made herself a light lunch. Television was a poor consolation for Mrs Cornish, showing visions of other people in their lovely summery gardens full of flowers.

 

In the meantime, Mrs Brown was putting all her energy into her new spell, and yesterday’s spell too. She believed in giving everything a chance, after all, you never knew what might have a good result.

 

Jason Jackson was sitting in a comfortable cane chair on the veranda of his house situated in New Zealand. He was looking at his laptop and a British newspaper. His eyes ran down the list of interesting articles he might like to read, and that was when he read about the drought in the area he had lived in before emigrating. His eyes lit up at the news that his old bicycle had been found in the dried up riverbed, which had been lost ten years ago. He smiled to himself, and went indoors to see his family and tell them the news. He was married to his girlfriend and had two children. His parents lived in a separate part of the house. They had a huge flock of sheep and lived very well. He said to the adults, “Take a look at this article in the online edition of the newspaper.” And they crowded his laptop.

His mother said, “Now it’s been found, will we have to return the insurance money?”

“No, Mum, I shouldn’t think so.”

“So that’s where you got the money from, for us all to come here?” said his wife.

Jason just smiled and went outside to his garage, where he kept a prize collection of racing bicycles.

 

Nobody was really interested in Jason Jackson or his famous racing bicycle, and the police were not even bothered to try and track him down after all those years.

 

Mrs Brown was so busy making rain-spells, she didn’t notice that the sky was clouding over and getting darker by the second.

 

Mrs Cornish was dozing in her favourite armchair, and when she woke up, thought it was night time. When she saw how early it was, she looked out onto her garden and saw a slate-grey sky. Happily, she went into her kitchen to make a cup of tea, believing her dreams were about to come true.

 

Down in the riverbed some were playing music, some were eating and drinking, and others were just chatting. There were others who had chosen that afternoon to climb up to the cave that was normally hidden by the waterfall.

 

Meanwhile, Mrs Brown’s son Clark, and his wife Yvonne, were sitting in their nice little home not far away from Mrs Brown. What they didn’t know was, what she was up to, as they knew nothing about the two effigies on their wedding day. The sky suddenly was almost navy blue.

“Clark, looks like the weather is changing and we’re going to be in for a storm. Just look at that sky,” Yvonne said.

 

The climbers had got to the cave when the heavens opened up, and a flash-flood came directly out of the sky over the whole area, especially the dry river bed. Those campers who were still down below were saturated in a matter of minutes, and they had to struggle like mad to get out of the riverbed, that was now bubbling over with the welcome water. Tents were left behind due to the shortage of time to get out of the downpour and into cars. Those who had walked or cycled to the riverbed had it worst of all, they couldn’t avoid getting soaked to the skin. The rain was the heaviest anyone had ever seen, but they all came to the same conclusion, that it had been due to the long dry spell.

 

Mrs Brown was really exhausted, and only wanted to have a light supper and go to bed. When she left the bathroom, she took all of her spell-making gadgets and went into her bedroom. She struggled into her pyjamas and then went to the kitchen. While she was waiting for the kettle to boil, she looked out at her back garden and saw the vast amount of water that had fallen. Thank goodness! All that effort had been worth it.

 

Mrs Cornish was zombie-like in her stance by the back windows. She could almost hear the grass growing, and the trees and plants already had the appearance of being newly washed.

 

High up on the waterfall, those who had climbed up had been trapped, so they went into the cave for shelter. It was so dark they had to switch on torches to see where they were. The light from the torches played on the cave walls, and they saw a lot of shiny and glittery bits in the earth walls. They closed in on the walls and gradually walked the length of the cave. The glittery bits and pieces finished, and they came to a huge rock that seemed to be a kind of barrier against anyone going any deeper into the cave. One of the climbers, who was a big beefy kind of man, said, “Let’s try and move the stone and see what’s behind it.”

The others, who could barely make each other out in the dim light from the torches, said, “Yes,” in unison. No one was carrying picks or shovels, but they used their combined strength to push and shove against the rock. They put their backs against the rock, and pushed and pushed until they felt that they were unable to do anything else towards shifting the hard lump of stone.

“I think we might be moving it in the wrong direction, so why don’t we try rocking it,” suggested another man in the group.

Once again the men agreed and they grouped around the rock and began rocking it till they felt it start to give. They rocked and rocked, till they managed to get it to begin to roll into a corner of the cave. They shone their torches around the gap left by the now cornered stone, and their eyes fell on an enormous chest, that from all appearances was very ancient.  It was made of blackened wood, and was armoured with strong iron bands. They realized that they wouldn’t be able to move it, so one of them went back to the mouth of the cave and called the police and the firemen. They all sat in the semi-dark, listening to the heavy rain falling down and recreating the waterfall, while waiting for the authorities.

The whole waterfall area was surrounded by ladders and uniformed men. As the day wore on the rain was not so heavy and became lighter, till it was just a drizzle. Large search lights were set up on the ground near the waterfall. The chest was lowered down on an extending platform by the firemen. It was then placed inside a huge lorry to be transported to the museum where it would be examined by the local historians.

 

The climbers were treated as local heroes and feted. The chest had been the protector of gold coins, that had been stolen hundreds of years ago by one of the local landowners. The said man had accumulated the coins by thievery, and at the same time making a show of being a good citizen. The contents were sent to an important museum to be displayed.

 

The climbers were given publicity and money as their reward, and they were more than satisfied.


© Copyright 2018 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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