|< Back to Phoophie Tales||Tales from the Dark Side >>|
"Rain, rain, go away,
"Rain, rain, go away,
In the seventh month of 1907, an event occured that would terrify and shock people of that time, and all the way to 2004. A local man of a suspicious manner had lived in a small house by a lake for many years in Northern Carolina. His name was Fred Jerahld--he was a big man with dark brown eyes and long black hair wriggling down to his shoulders. He was slightly hunch-backed and tall, his face was long and jagged, his nose was abnormally large and his mouth--abnormally small.
The snide residents had never seen such a hideous man. They would mock him--filled with loathing and nastiness. Oh, the man was so weird--and he always kept to himself--he would never talk, he would just walk alone with his black rain-suit around him, the hood pulled down over his eyes--even when it wasn't raining. And when it was raining, the man seemed even more lonely--always swiftly hurrying down streets and going straight to his precious home by the lake.
When Fred had been silently walking along, a fat, rude man named Donald stopped him. Donald had been a neighbor in the small town for years--he had many people that looked up to him. "Hey, hey, hey, big guy--where you goin'?" Don teased as he stepped in front of Fred. Fred tried to round Don, but each time the man kept getting in his way. "Off to go to your house? Drown yourself in that lake?"
Fred was insistently side-stepping Don, but remained blocked. "Well, you just go home then. Huh? Just go home and take off that rain coat of yours!" Fred surrendered, turning the other way and began walking. But Don had planted his fist firmly in the middle of Fred's back. Fred crumbled to his knees, gasping, "Why?"
"Oh, so you're gonna talk now?" Don landed another blow right in Fred's cheek. He screamed. "Why are you doing this to me?" he yelped in a low, raspy voice. "Why?"
Don smiled. He aimed a kick at Fred's nose--Fred's hand clenched firmly on Don's ankle--he twisted sidewards--using his leg like a pendulum--ripping it out of socket. Don shrieked in agony and fell to the ground. He looked up at Fred--into his cold eyes and clammy skin--yelled, "You'll be killed for this!"--screamed for help! Fred quickly turned around and started to jog home. He was scared in the confusion--he entered his house and sat down without taking off his rain coat. He nearly cried--death actually could be an option.
Within minutes an enraged mob started banging on his door. Further terrified, Fred hurried out back. He swung open the back door and stumbled down to the edge of his lake. Too late, the mob was already in his backyard--weapons such as baseball bats and knives clenched in their hands. "You sent Donald to the hospital!" one screamed. "Kill him!" ordered another. With a tremendous roar, the mob closed in on Fred--he did not even have last words.
No one could see how Fred was killed--no one knew if it was a deadly cut or a bash over the head. Without sorrow or remorse, all the town's people dumped Fred's corpse in the lake. The man who loved the rain was dead. His black rain coat was floating atop the murky, green water.
* * *
The body of Fred Jerahld was never recovered. His body rotted in the putrid water. He was left in the lake for so long, his entire body--skin, bones, and all--eroded in the lake. He was completely vaporized from existence. And that's what made the horror begin.
As you know--the water cycle goes: evaporation, condensation, precipitation. The water in a pond or river evaporates in the air. It is condensed as liquid form again in a cloud, and then it comes down again. Well, that pond water--containing the molecules of Fred's body--was evaporated up to the clouds. Along with the water--Fred was condensed. He was in liquid state, but the confusion started as the condensation made him water and solid.
All the rain plummeted to earth again. The water exploded when it collided with any object. Fred was merely a puddle on the sidewalk.
It was a very rainy day at Lockling Middle School. It was only two 'o clock, but the sky was very dark from the furious clouds overhead. It was fifth period--nearing the end of the school day. It was the begginning of the year--even the teachers were excited for the end of the day.
At this moment Principal Brown and the rest of the office faculty were really doing nothing. Nothing happened at the end of the day--no clinic slips, no hall passes, no parent phone calls. All this happened frantically in the morning. Mr. Brown had become prepared for the morning rush; maybe he even enjoyed the morning rush a little--the middle and late-day times were when you just didn't have anything interesting. All the kids wanted to stay for the end of the day if they had already gone through three quarters of it.
Mr. Brown simply leaned back in his chair, wishing it would recline. All the office was quiet. Brown closed his eyes... listened to the downpour outside... then a phone rang... It was actually the school phone; Brown snatched it off the hook and pressed it against his ear.
"Lockling Middle School," he answered irritably. A deep voice was on the line--the Chief of Police, Steven Daer. "Brown? Drake?"
"This is he," Brown answered. He shifted in his chair--pressed the phone farther to his ear. "Well, you might wanna lock up," Daer informed. "A convict has escaped."
Brown drew in breath, and blew it out for a long time. This was just what he needed. Last time the school was on lockdown, the kids had been screaming and crying, ducking their head under their chairs with the lights turned out. The threat had not even gone near the school. And somehow, that upset and relieved Brown at the same time. "Thank you, Chief," Brown said in a exhausted tone. He tossed the phone back on the hook.
"O.K.," he addressed the faculty, who were all glancing at him with tired faces. "I have an idea." The faculty brightened a bit, but were still silent. "It's raining. Hard. And I just got news we have to lock-down."
There were worried sighs of 'ooohh' and maybe even a boo from a joking staff member. "But since it's raining so hard, we can call it rainy day dissmissal. Where we keep them quiet in the gym, you know, until their car arrives. But it'll really be lockdown--they just don't know, and won't worry," he continued. He got up out of his chair and walked to the intercom immediately--he didn't even need approval from the rest of the faculty. He jabbed his finger on the button.
"Attention, students," he said calmly over the intercom. "It is lightning outside, and raining. Today we will have rainy day dissmissal, so after seventh period, report to the gym--this will only last a few minutes." Brown trudged back over to his chair and flung himself in it. Then the faculty exploded in clapping, and Brown laughed.
They assumed they had covered the criminal up with the rain.
But the criminal was the rain.
It was dark. It was raining. The dark alley was blurred from the pounding precipitation. Rain imploded when tiny drops smashed against the ground. A puddle was slowly growing as water drops broke the glassy surface. The puddle shimmered violently as the rain kept pouring on.
The alley was soaked slippery--there were no rain gutters. The puddle absorbed more water--it jumped upwards. The puddle splashed to the ground--then bounded up again, taking the form of a leg. It splashed--jumped--down--up--it took the shape of a man! The water was flowing in mid-air, a man stood in the water, still as stone.
Then the liquid turned to solid--took the color black for the rain suit--deadly white for the man's skin--he was human again. Fred Jerahld was solid and breathing--from 1907 to 2004. He looked at his hands--they were cold and clammy. He glanced at his rainsuit--it was sopping and had water and algae dripping from it. He put his hands to his face--his hair--his neck--he was whole.
Fred was losing his strength again--he fell into white-blue liquid again. The puddle was splashing across the sidewalk. At an alarming rate, it hurried to the street. It bounded--in mid-air Fred was formed again, then kept sprinting at the same pace. He awkwardly ran across the street--he looked to his left and two headlights flashing into his eyes. Boom. Splat. He exploded into a fountain of water and pelted onto the car and street. The car screeched to a halt.
"Hey!" a voice called. It was a man; he stumbled around to the front of the vehicle--all he saw was water dripping from the hood. Then an enraged Fred formed quickly in front of him and clamped to his neck. The police officer quickly unholstered his gun while gasping for air.
The muzzle of the gun erupted. Water splashed from Fred's chest--his grip was even more vice-like. The officer choked and gargled--another officer approached from behind and tackled Fred. Once again, Fred splished apart and fell to the ground with moist splotches. The two officers slipped around, trying to gain footing. The water jumped down one officer's throat--into the lungs--drowning him. He oozed back out--turned solid--it wasn't raining any longer--Fred tried to liquify himself--but it wasn't possible. The rain was no longer coming--he was stuck solid.
Fred was quickly brought down by the other policeman. He felt sharp handcuffs digging his skin raw. He groaned as he was quickly hauled to his feet and jammed into a police car. He sat uncomfortably in the small seat. Fred slowly leaned back on the cushion and glanced out the wet window. The officer was carrying the corpse with tears running down his face.
Fred's small mouth formed a grin.
All this happened around third period at Lockling Middle School.
* * *
The thick prison bars swung open without sound. Fred was launched into the tiny cell--landed flat on his face. He laid there for an eternity, wondering why he had not been able to dissolve. It had stopped raining, so maybe he could only be liquid when it was.
He painfully removed himself from the floor. Fred seated himself on the bench. He looked out the steel cylinders confining him to the small space. He groaned. As Fred laid back, he felt powerful again. His hands were deteriorating--his face was melting--his legs were turning to liquid.
He quickly looked out the window. The rain had picked up as quickly as it had died out. The angry grey clouds swirled in the firmament. A guard entered his cell. Fred quickly spun and saw a fist collide with his nose. He jerked in recoil--the guard screamed, "You killed an officer!" Fred let out a rough, low, chuckle. "You better be nice to me," he warned. "It's raining again." The guard lifted his baton high and brought it down on Fred's jaw.
The guard hollered in terror as Fred's entire face imploded with a wet splash. The guard, believing he was covered in blood, stumbled backwards. He screamed again--again--Fred's face quickly re-assembled. He approached the man--his black rain coat shimmering with water. The guard shrieked as the man of the rain approached him.
Hundreds of kids piled into the gymnasium. The cacophony was unbearable to the ears of Drake Brown. Above all the commotion he activated his megaphone-- The noisiness slowly died out. "Okay, kids," greeted Brown, his voice amplified, ringing through the gym. "This is rainy-day dissmissal. No talking, no eating, no playing. If you want to read, that is fine. If you want to draw, that is O.K. But if I hear one noise, then we will just sit and wait. Do you understand?"
'Yes' and 'Yeah' boomed through the gym. As Brown stepped from the bleachers, he walked to the other side of the gym. There was still a lot of talking--mostly whispering, but still talking--only a few kids pulled out a book, and some of the skater-boys had been drawing logos and monsters. He pressed his cell phone to his ear, and clasped the other with his hand to drain out the chaos.
"Hello? Chief Daer?"
"This is Drake Brown."
"Oh. Well I assume you want to know if we have gotten the criminal?"
"Yes," answered Brown in a feeble tone.
"No. But we have a general idea where he's headed."
"Uh-huh. He's on the run. So he's probably near a rural area."
"I'm at Lockling. We're in a rural area."
"Well. . .don't worry. He's probably not even near."
"Yeah. Just lock up. We're on his trail, so don't worry."
"Yeah. I guess."
Click. Brown closed the cellular phone. He put it on vibrate and deposited it in his pocket. The principal strode over to his megaphone--snatched it up--screamed, "No talking!" The commotion immediately stopped. "You will be quiet!" he commanded. "STOP TALKING!"
The children gasped--they had never seen a faculty member act this way. Brown slammed down the megaphone and snuck behind the students. He quickly killed the lights. At this, all the students looked around, startled. "The rain made the power go out," quickly excused the math teacher. He nodded towards Brown. Brown nodded back--if a criminal was coming, he'd have to see them to hurt them.
The rain was coming down harder than ever. A silent man in a black rain coat was unable to be seen. He would sprint across the sidewalk, morph to water as he jumped in rain pipes and slithered up to the rooftops. He would come out again and bound across the buildings, merely a shadow in the downpour. As the man leaped from roof to roof, he pondered. I need a place to hide, he told himself. But where?
The man looks around. What's here? He saw houses, cars, hotels, a forest, some shacks, a rain gutter--a rain gutter. He ran to the edge of the building and dived without hesitation. He exploded into particles when he impacted with the ground. Without missing a beat, he was quickly up and running again. He jumped head-first towards a rain gutter and dissolved to water. The liquid dripped down into the sewer.
He was again solid, splashing around in green muck. Hiding in there had been a bad idea. The stench was unbearable. Fred leaped out of the gutter. He stood in the rain for a moment, to wash the muddy green liquid off. He got it off his body--but forgot to clear his shoes. He sped off again down the street--and into the forest.
Twenty minutes later, police found muddy green boot-prints leading straight to the forest, and right next to Lockling Middle School.
* * *
Brown wiped the sweat from his forehead. The gym was stifling. He still heard whispers from the students, but did not want to pull himself from his chair. A few students had already been picked up from the school--the one's who's parents were near--but most of the students were still there, because their parents were at work.
Brown was miserable and tired. He was still worried that the convict would come near. Nonetheless, he swiveled his chair around like a rotary, his eyes closed. The cool air blowing from his spiral calmed him. He could just drift off, right now. . .no one would care. . . Mrs. Nokli entered the room. She approached Brown, perspiration dripping from her nose. "Drake?" she said. "Drake, there's a man outside the school."
Brown's eyes shot open. He quickly bolted upright and went to a nearby window. A man in a black rain coat was sopping wet, staring at the school distantly. Instinctively, Brown withdrew his phone. He dialed Steve's number. One dial tone. Two. Three. "Ring, dang it," he muttered under his breath. On the fifth tone, a voice said, "The number you have called--"
He dialed again. On the third ring, a voice answered.
"Steve, this is Brown."
"We haven't seen him y--"
"What does he look like?!" Brown cut him off.
"Umm. Well he has black hair--"
"To his shoulders?"
"Uhh, yes." Daer's voice was anxious.
"Umm, black rain coat. Big nose. About forty years old. Albino."
"My God, he's here."
"He is? Quick where are you? Drake?"
Drake held the phone close, whispering. "Lockling, Steve. The criminal's here, and everyone's about to freak out. We're locked up-- Okay, so you're coming? Good, good. How long? I don't have ten minutes, Steve. Five? Okay--"
The phone was quickly closed and in Brown's pocket. He was panicking--he stared out the window. The gigantic man was just staring at the campus. Then he mouthed something-- Brown gasped. The man liquified instantly. Water was rolling around the ground where the man stood. It oozed towards the front doors.
Brown breathlessly flickered his eyes towards Mrs. Nokli. "The doors are covered with glass. Aren't they?" Nokli shook her head in horror. "Steel bars," she admitted quietly.
Brown nearly snapped.
A seventh grader named Harry Brims was reading a book. He silently wiped sweat from his face. He was upset that it was so hot, but he wouldn't complain. Harry had always been classified as one of the "good-kids." He never swore or broke rules. He obeyed his parents and teachers. He was an A-B student--he even liked reading and writing. He wasn't like some other kids.
Harry was also a good listener. He was the first to hear the song that would haunt him for the remaining minutes of his life. As he flipped the gray pages of his novel, a tune came to his ears--pounding into his eardrums--drilling into his brain.
The voice singing it was low and raspy. Not a kid or teacher there could make that voice. It had to be someone else.
Waaaants to plaaaay
Iiin the meeaaadow byyy the haaay."
That time it was louder. Some other kids and a few teachers had heard it. Harry detected where the sound was--it was coming from the bathroom. He stood up--walked to the bathroom--opened the door. . .
The bathroom was empty.
Harry raised an eyebrow. He checked the stalls--nothing. He went inside a stall. After seeing nothing but profanity on the walls, he stepped back out. He went to the sink--those stalls were filthy. He turned on the cold water, and it started pouring from the faucet. He soaped his hands and felt the chilly water. As he scrubbed, he saw something in the water. It was blurry--it was wavy--it was--a face! Two strong arms snatched Harry's neck and pulled down hard.
Harry screamed and kicked as he plunged into the soapy water. He continued to thrash around. A deep sucking noise--the boy went limp--the two arms dissolved with the rest of the liquid--the boy slumped to the tile floor.
* * *
The singing continued. All the children were in panic. Brown had calmed several of them--but needed to go to the restroom. He quickly trudged through the crowd of scared kids and to the bathroom. He opened the door. It was pitch black. Brown felt for a switch--flipped it.
The small Harry Brims was on the ground, soapy water leaking from his mouth. A tall man in a black rain coat simply stood behind him, staring coldly into Brown's eyes. Brown yelped from shock--sank to his knees--cradled the poor Brims in his arms. His eyes welled up--he buried his face into the boy's chest. After sobbing, he looked into the murderer's face. "Why?" he whimpered gently. He became overwhelmed again, and cried into the corpse.
The heartless man felt no pity. "You treated me like this," he answered. He began to sob, too. "All of you treated me like this. You thought nothing would happen." He sniffed--wiped his eyes. "And now--" he choked, a lump in his throat, "You're all gonna pay."
He replaced his sadness with rage.
"You're all gonna get this," he threatened.
"You're all gonna get the same treatment."
Brown felt the liquid rush into his lungs--it gurgled from his mouth.
He fell onto the boy--his last scream still carved upon his face.
All of the children were still on edge. One had been even so panicked he had been asked to lie down on the floor and take deep breaths. All of the teachers were convinced everything was fine. The police would be here in less than two minutes. For all they knew, the criminal was stuck outside. That was, until the singing started again, and a horrifying man exited the bathroom.
"Hello," he said.
His body split into seven waves of crashing water. The liquid poured across the slick gymnasium ground. All of the boys and girls got to their feet and shrieked in terror. The teachers took the students by the arms and flung them behind themselves, shielding the thirteen-year-olds with their arms. After the water jumped across the floor, it all leaped together again, and Fred was walking towards the teachers. He stopped in front of the math teacher, Mr. Boggs.
He grabbed Boggs by the throat.
"Do you like the rain?" Fred asked as water slithered from his fingers. The water traveled into Boggs mouth, up his nose, and into his lungs. Water poured from Fred's eyes and ears, all slowly sliding to Boggs.
He fell to the ground with a groan.
All the kids were screaming their throats raw. "Do you like that?" intimidated Fred. "Is it cool? How about this one?" He liquified before them. The waves of water leaped into eight kids' open mouths. They all grabbed their throats and fell to their knees. They spit up the water--fell to the floor--dead! Fred pieced back together. "Interesting."
He repeated the proccess. All of the children and faculty froze in shock. Most of them dropped with a wet gurgle. Twenty children were left standing. Another dose of drowning took fourteen more. Dead bodies littered the moist ground, their blank eyes leaking out water.
Six children worked up the courage to run. They sprinted across the gymnasium. Fred tackled one--they heard a wet choke. Water shot into one's mouth and suffocated him. One poor girl simply tripped and was quickly dead. Another boy tired out.
One by one, they were picked off.
A single boy had been left alive--he made it to a cramped janitor's closet and locked himself inside. The poor boy twisted the lock and tried to hush his breathing. He rested his head and sobbed. He was going to die--
Liquid spilled through the crack of the door. Fred stood right next to the boy, and there was an eerie moment of silence where their eyes connected. Then a horrible whine of misery from the boy--a terrible scream of raspiness that seemed like it would never end.
There was a wet splash.
The screaming stopped.
* * *
It was no longer raining. Fred was solid.
But he was not worried.
He strode across the gymnasium. Fred skipped over his new victims. As he was exiting--police bursted in from the opposite door. A deafening boom--clumps of shrapnel penetrated Fred's flesh. Red liquid gushed from the wound, and pain struck through him. The substance pouring from Fred's shoulder was too red and thick to be water--it had to be blood. Fred fell to the floor in disbelief.
He was quickly handcuffed. Heaved to his feet. Pushed out the door.
It was raining again.
On and off, it rained.
Fred dissolved through the hancuffs.
"Monster," insulted an officer. He turned to look back at the death and carnage.
He fell to the ground, water dripping from his mouth. Fred turned to face four other policeman. He swung a blow at one. The officer slammed to the floor--recovered--lifted himself up. Fred punched again--kicked another attacking officer. One fell unconscious. But three enemies were to much, and they fell upon him, wildly thrashing about.
Fred eroded into liquid.
The three slipped into the water--drowned-- Fred morphed back to himself. He looked at the three corpses--just new members of his victims. He trampled them as he walked out the door.
It was time for a last stand. Fred walked across the street. He ignored all the chaos around him. He walked along the road, which led to a dirt path. Fred slowly traveled--peaceful. When he came to the end of the road, Fred saw where he had lived. His rickety old house had been destroyed--but his pond was still there.
Fred nearly cried. He stumbled to the murky green water. Visions of death and violence flooded into his mind. Fred was being stabbed--beaten--thrown into the lake! Tears of anger flowing from his eyes, he morphed to liquid--into the pond.
The police had followed Fred. Sirens rang in his ears. Blue and red colors flashed in his eyes. Fred rose from the water--a giant mass of liquid in the shape of a human. Dozens of gunshots rang out. Small splashes formed on Fred's torso. He brought his fist down on some of the policemen. They were crushed and drowned immediately.
Fred picked up a vehicle and smashed it. He punched and crushed in a frenzy--the world was blurring--his vision split--all he could see was piles of dead bodies and liquid smashing into things--so much rampage--so much--he destroyed--he crushed--he annihilated! Most of the police men were dead--cars were torn apart-- One lone officer approached the lake.
Fred was about to end this foolish man--but then he spied the big square machine in his arms. The small text read, The Evaporator. The giant thing was thrown into the pond--Fred tried to grab it, but was too late--he let out a confused, "NO!"--
The entire lake evaporated.
Steam and fog poured into the air from the newly-emptied pond. The white smoke rushed past the officers, who shielded their dry eyes. They stared into the whiteness until it faded. The pond was dry. No sign of water. One officer approaced the gape in the earth. He jumped down into the dirt-filled hole. All was empty.
All but one black rain coat laying limp on the ground.
The man was never seen in the rain again.