Monday, May 02, 2011

Tornado Relief Challenge: Who'll Stop The Rain?

Daniel has begun a flash fiction challenge, 1000 words, based on the theme of rain. Here's my entry, "Who'll Stop The Rain".

Kayla Bennett was up before her alarm. She had laid out her full uniform- underwear, socks, shorts, top, shin guards- the whole thing. She was up, changing in the dark, assembling herself, rushing into the bathroom to brush her teeth in case her mom decided to check. She came down the stairs, stepping carefully so her cleats didn't make any noise.

She came through the kitchen, her mother already at the table, staring down into a steaming cup of coffee. "Oh, honey," she said. "It's raining. No game today." She sounded really disappointed, even though Kayla secretly felt like her mom hated soccer, all the chaos and the driving and the waiting.

"It's going to stop," Kayla said.

"I don't think it is, baby."

"It will."

Kayla walked past her mother and into the living room, looking out the giant picture window. Her younger sister Kara was already there, ragged blanket in one fist, staring dumbly at the TV from one corner of the couch. Kayla looked outside. It was a dark, angry rain, pouring out of a cement gray sky. Kayla knew it wasn't going to stop, just like that blonde woman said on the news last night. She could hear the narrator on the TV talking about how bananas were yellow. Kara was always the first one up, but she, like her mom, needed a little time to warm up before she was ready to talk.

Kayla stood very close to the window and looked up, hoping for a break in the clouds, a line of sun that would signal a possible game today. The sky gave her no hope, a uniform gray with rolling black bubbles. It looked angry. Evil. She stared at it, willing it to split, commanding the clouds to part. She sighed, looking down at the tips of her cleats against the wall. Stupid rain.

Kara was beside her now, looking up at her, her tiny fingers playing with the hem of Kayla's soccer shorts. Kara was always fascinated by the satiny finish.

"Rainin," Kara said. She was annoying at times, but she was so cute it was hard to stay mad. Kayla looked down at her disordered hair and wide eyes.


"Gonna play today?" That was unlikely, Kayla admitted to herself. The rain was pouring down in sheets, and even if it were to break right now, Kayla thought, the field would take hours to dry. She'd play in the rain- she'd play in anything. But nobody else would.

"No, Kar."

"Why you got your 'form on?," she asked.

"I was hoping it would stop raining."

Kara looked outside, her tiny face screwed tight with a look of concentration. "Stop, rain!" she commanded.

"Thanks, Kar. I don't think that will work." That was sweet of her.

Kara went back to the couch, resuming her previous post. Soccer was really the only thing she was good at, the only thing that made her special. She wasn't the prettiest girl in her school, or the nicest, or the smartest. Kara got all kinds of attention, being the baby, and Katherine...she got attention for another reason. Soccer, especially if Katherine and Kara stayed home, was her time to shine, her time when Mom and Dad looked only at her.

She kicked the base of the wall, very softly. The toe of the cleat made a satisfying thunk. She kicked it a little harder, delighting in the solid sound it made.

"Don't do that," Katherine said behind her. "Dad'll make you clean it if you make a mark." Her older sister had come in to the living room, phone in hand, texting madly. Kayla watched her walk, almost waddle, her belly now sticking out so far her sleep pants, black ones with moons and stars on them, were constantly slipping, leaving a crescent of pale, tight skin. Kayla shivered with the weirdness of that. She could hardly imagine there was a whole person inside her sister's body. Kayla stopped kicking.

Katherine sat on the opposite end of the couch, her belly resting between her legs. Kara looked at one sister, then the other.

"Baby come today?," Kara asked. She asked this every day.

"I don't know," Katherine said dismissively. "Maybe."

Kayla heard her father's low voice in the kitchen. A moment later, he came out, already wearing a Red Sox cap along with a gray shirt and blue sweats. "I don't think there's a game today, Punkin," he began, looking at Kayla with wrinkled eyes.

"I know," Kayla said, a little louder than she intended. She stalked out of the room, not caring how loud her cleats sounded. She walked through the now empty kitchen, and started up the stairs, hauling her uniform top off as she went. She opened the door to her room, then shut it hard behind her. Acting mad seemed to only make her angrier as she stripped off the uniform piece by piece, setting the shoes and shin guards down but hurling the pants, shirt, socks, and underwear around the room. Finally, her momentum spent and a little bit ashamed, Kayla Bennett crawled under her covers again, unwilling to face another long Saturday as the third kid.


  1. I hated rained out games when I was a kid. I think my mom was secretly happy. Nice story.

  2. I hated rained out games, too. Good story.

  3. Aw, really good portrayal of the chracters. Really nice slice-of-life. :)

  4. Great character study and brings back lots of memories of those awful rainy days when you couldn't shine. Loved this.

  5. Really like the contrast between the characters. Great "family portrait" piece!


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