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32 min read

Red Rain

Author since 2015 1Story 0 Followers
Red Rain

1. Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Ryan had taken brief notice of the family of five that entered the mostly empty diner. This was his favorite place to go when reviewing business cases because it was quiet, usually empty between noon and late evening, and famous for their strawberry rhubarb pies. He’d done his best work here, and had come to the diner to study over a very lucrative business case.

The three young girls, the oldest not a day over nine, had concerned him as he observed them taking their seats. However, the children were very well behaved, and had remained no louder than the other murmurs coming from the other two diners.

Soon he’d forgotten entirely about any of the people around him, absorbed in the world of pesticides, their production, and their safety habits. When he heard the piercing scream, followed by a loud shatter, his mind immediately snapped to the family sitting across the diner from him.

He became confused when he saw concern on all their faces as well, directed at Marnie, the waitress of the diner. Ryan noticed the coffee pooled at her feet, and first thought she’d screamed over dropping the coffee. However, the horrified look on her face, staring out the large open windows looking down the hill that led to the main part of the city told him different. Ryan glanced out the windows, and his mind froze.

Despite being a cloudless and perfectly sunny day, it was heavily raining malignant drops of red water. Later, Ryan would be horrified to find he thought it was actually beautiful, like raining rubies. However there was nothing beautiful about the people writhing in pain outside, previously just simple pedestrians enjoying the day.

Ryan, a man whose job still was to pay attention to detail, quickly saw what was wrong. The red rain, whatever it was, was eating through the people as the drops fell on them. His stomach churned as he realized that whatever this was, it was essentially a torrent of highly corrosive acid.

The people in the diner, even the children, were unable to neither look away nor utter a sound.

A woman at the corner of the road in front of the diner was holding the pole of a stop sign, struggling to stay standing. The rain soaked through all areas of exposed skin, quickly wearing her hands down to bone. She fell soon after, lifeless.

Several others were suffering similar fates, unable to react quickly enough, cut down within moments before being able to react. Perhaps the worst of these however, was the elderly couple who had moments before, been admiring the marigolds outside a flower shop across and up the street a few yards.

The elderly couple had briefly been protected by the awning of the flower shop. The rain seemed to curve, as if severe winds were accompanying the rain, though no flowers bent or swayed to this wind. The first droplets hit the elderly lady’s legs first, causing her to fall immediately. The relative safety of the awning had given them a brief chance to see the effects of the red rain on the other pedestrians. They may have found safety inside the flower shop, but the wife fell forward, headfirst out into the rain.

The elderly man tried to help her up, but he saw the red rain already melting her hair, and soaking into her hands. Without hesitation, the elderly man laid upon his wife, shielding her from the rain. Ryan observed with horrid fascination that the man was moving his body like a worm, trying to slide his wife back to the door of the flower shop. He was trying to slide her to safety as he was pelted by piercing needles of acid.

The man eventually ceased moving. The rain had melted most of his body. The elderly lady was somehow still alive, under her melting husband. Her hand gave one final thrust forward, squeezing and opening, as if hoping for a friendly hand to grab hold and pull her to safety. Then her hand, mostly bones now, dropped lifelessly to the pavement. All movement had ceased on the street.

The rain began tapering off rapidly, and was nothing more than a barely visible drizzle. It had all but melted seven people, in a downpour lasting a little more than three minutes.

2. Rollin’ On the River

The silence in the diner after the sound of the violent downpour was a thick, almost physical presence. It was finally pierced by a scream with the qualities of an ice pick to the ear. It was one of the three blonde girls, the one who looked to be the middle child.

“Guess I was right about the loud screaming from the kids after all,” Ryan thought with bitter humor.

Things moved quickly from there. The other two girls began crying, the parents rushed to try to hug all three girls at once, and almost comically, Marnie had begun collecting the glass shards from the broken coffee pot, as well as mopping up the coffee with her dishrag.

Ryan took note of Bruce, the chef and owner of the eatery. He was turned away from the open floor of the diner, wiping his face and eyes with a dish towel. He then turned to see the other two customers. One was a petite lady with wild, carroty red hair. The other was a young man Ryan judged to be just barely out of his teen years. He still had one earbud in his ear, the other dangling uselessly down his chest.

Ryan glanced briefly outside, then away. The crumpled humps of people were not a sight he could stare at for very long. He sighed, and blew it out. He’d been in the Air Force, and immediately recognized someone was going to have to take charge in this crisis. One more sigh, and he came forward.

“Everyone, let’s gather together. We need to talk about what just happened.”

The customers and employees alike looked towards him, with various levels of shock still written on their face. Ryan knew that in times of tragedies everyone wants someone to take care of things, which gives them a sense of safety. The people slowly moved towards him, unconsciously forming a circle.

“First things first, we should give our names. My name is Ryan. Marnie here has been the head waitress for 15 years running. The big guy behind the counter is Bruce, the owner of this establishment. I’ve known him for years; don’t let his size scare ya. He still cries during Bambi.”

Bruce let out a choked sound, and turned a pale shade of red. Everyone witnessed this, even the children, and the youngest tried to stifle a small giggle. This was what Ryan had hoped for. A good laugh, even at something lame, helps bring them out of the shock. He knew from experience a person in shock isn’t much use in a crisis.

“The rest of you, I know nothing about, so let’s start with you two,” Ryan said, nodding his head in the direction of the two parents, both of who were still trying to keep their hands on all three girls all at once.

“My name is Sarah. My husband here is Rick, and our three beautiful girls are Angie, May, and Jill from oldest to youngest.”

The three girls looked at everyone shyly. Jill waved timidly.

The wave caught in Ryan’s throat. He suddenly realized these very young, very innocent children had just witnessed a very violent and horrifying scene. He put his hand out to all three, and they shook with him, one at a time. They seemed more relieved, as Ryan knew they would.

The fiery haired woman introduced herself as Rebecca, and said no more. Ryan noticed her voice seemed steady, but her face still looked shocked.

“I’m Devon,” said the younger guy. “Now that we’ve all had the meet and greet, can anyone tell me what the f-,” he stopped short, looking to the kids, and then corrected himself. “What the heck just happened?”

“Maybe we should try to go out and see if anyone is still alive, and needs help. It seems to have stopped…” Rebecca said. To Ryan, it sounded more like she was talking to herself than everyone. Still, he thought, it was a valid idea. It was possibly a dangerous one too.

“For now,” he said, “let’s just look out the window and see if anyone is moving or needs help. That… stuff came down without a cloud in the sky, so there’s no guarantee it couldn’t happen again, or any warning. Unless, did anyone happen to be looking outside when it started? Was there any cloud cover, or darkening of the sky? Perhaps even the sound of a plane or helicopter flying?”

All of them seemed to think, but all realized they hadn’t been looking out until Marnie had screamed.

“I didn’t see it start,” she explained. “I just heard the sound of rain, and looked outside and saw… that red stuff, falling from the sky.”

“Oh fuck,” said Devon, forgetting the kids. “Maybe it’s that Armageddon crap my granny was always going on about!”

“Hey, don’t even start talking that load of crap. You’re gonna scare my kids! ” Rick, said, glaring at Devon.

“Please don’t use foul language in front of the girls,” Sarah added.

Devon seemed to consider Rick then Sarah, and closed his mouth, mumbling something that resembled an apology.

“Daddy, what’s army getting? Is this a war?” asked the youngest one, her voice more curious than worried.

“No baby, it’s just a grown-up word. It means everything’s going to be fine, sweets.” Rick picked her up, and held her against his shoulder.

The mother glared at the kid, and then said, “I think leaving is a good idea, it’s clear outside, and we can get in our vehicles quickly and get out of here.”

“What if the acid messed with our vehicles?” Bruce asked.

“It didn’t seem to mess with anything except people. Look, all our vehicles are perfectly okay.”

Sarah looked around defiantly, looking for anyone to challenge her.

Ryan began to say something, when a scream pierced him from his thoughts for the second time this day. Only this time, it was Bruce. Perhaps it would have been comical, such a high pitch scream coming from such a man who could only be called burly. However, as if merely waiting for this moment, everyone stared outside instantly.

At first no one saw anything, and then all of the piles of what used to be humans began twitching, and moving. There appeared to be red snakes running in streams toward all the piles, and were puddling under them.

“What the fuck!” Sarah said; her request for the cancellation of foul language forgotten.

“Oh God, it’s the water! All the water is streaming towards them!” Rebecca moaned.

They realized it was true. The ‘snakes’ were actually streams of red water. There were hundreds. Ryan realized again with a touch of shock that it was actually quite beautiful to see; bright red lines twisting and converging in all directions. He was so awestruck that he almost didn’t notice several were slowing down and stopping in front of the door. He saw that, were they snakes, their heads would be looking right at the door to the diner.

“Get something wedged in the crack of the door; coats, jackets, dishrags, anything!” He yelled.

Not waiting to see what the others would do, Ryan immediately removed his suit jacket, and began stuffing it in the crack between the door and the ground. He turned around to ask for more, and saw Marnie and Rebecca standing behind him. Marnie was holding out her apron and dishrag, and Rebecca was holding out her green blouse she’d been wearing.

“I have this black tank top under it, I’m still decent,” she explained as she saw the look on Ryan’s face.

He grabbed all three from the women, taking note they had reacted quickly. Already he felt himself assessing all of them, seeing who would be the most useful. It had been a long time since Kosovo, but old habits die hard, he thought.

“Or perhaps really good training,” he mumbled as he stuffed the garments and rag into the remaining gaps, making sure they were all under the door, and not merely in front of it.

“Pardon?” Rebecca had a curious look directed at him as he stood up.

“Nothing. We need to keep an eye on that, see if they can eat through it as fast as they did everyone outside.”

They all stared at the pseudo barricade, waiting to see it disappear. Instead, it stayed as it was, and amazingly, dry.

The others had crept closer as well to observe, and now they all stared outside again. The red streamlets had abandoned the door, and continued on to more ripe of a bounty. To the horror of everyone, they realized the street had become almost as a river, now quickly carrying the bodies down the hills, toward the center of town below.

“Okay, this is some seriously F’ed up S!” Devon said in almost a whisper.

Everyone stayed silent, watching. There was no need to say more; he’d spoken true. Within a minute, all the bodies were gone and out of sight, as was all the water. The street and day looked normal, peaceful, and inviting, just as it had half an hour earlier.

They all retreated closer to the bar.

“Well, how do you feel about leaving now?” asked Marnie, looking to Sarah.

“The bodies are gone, there’s no water out there now, and this would be the perfect time to leave!”

Everyone stared at her, and then back outside.

“There were tons of bodies floating by. We were all focused on Ryan working on the door that we didn’t really notice, but I glanced up once. There were at least ten more bodies going by than what was out there. I believe they came from farther up the street. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it almost look as if the water was… .harvesting them,” Rebecca said. Ryan noticed again how steady her voice remained while delivering such grim news.

“What a load of crap! It’s over! We can leave now!”

Ryan heard the panic in Sarah’s voice, realized it was close to hysteria. He looked to Rick, hoping he might step in and calm his wife, but he was sitting on the floor against the bar, holding all three of his girls to him. His face was white, and his eyes glazed.

“Fuck,” he thought. “The wife is about to become hysterical, and the husband is in full blown shock.”

Outwardly he said, “Okay, let’s just keep calm. This is a dangerous situation obviously, and we don’t know anything about it. Going outside could be a big mistake.” He moved closer to her, trying to keep eye contact, his face calm. He’d had to do this before; surely he could disarm a hysterical soccer momma.

“Fuck this, watch me! “She said, disproving years of strict military training, and walked towards the door.

She put her hand on the handle, and one of her girls, May, shrieked, “Mommy! Don’t go! Please!”

Sarah had her hand on the door knob, stopped and looked back.

“I’m just going to step outside baby, to show everyone it is safe outside. I’ll come right back in and we’ll leave. “

She turned back to the door, kicked the barricade out of the way, and stepped outside. She took a few tentative steps at first, gathered herself up, and walked out to the middle of the street. She walked to the center of the street. She seemed to look up the street, then to the other side, and finally down the street that ran downhill, perpendicular to the street the diner was on.

“Hey,” she shouted, “I see other people! They’re coming outside too! It’s fine!”

She had a big grin that looked to Ryan more relieved than triumphant. He noticed a couple of people peeking out of the flower shop, staring at the middle aged blonde woman, and took tentative steps of their own outside. Ryan recognized the woman as someone who must work at the shop, as he’d seen her a few times going in and out in his many times working from the diner.

The door had closed automatically behind Sarah, but they were able to hear her perfectly well through; her voice carried through clear and strong.

“Well,” said Bruce, “maybe we should try to leave. Maybe gather at the police station, or a hospital.”

“Don’t have to ask me twice! My car is just down the street!” Devon said, and then jogged out the door, breaking into a full run and waving at Sarah. “Good luck!” He shouted over his shoulder, and disappeared.

Rick stood slowly, and Ryan noticed the horrific look on his face. “What’s my wife doing outside? Who let her go out there?”

Ryan stepped forward, putting an arm around the distraught father’s shoulder.

“Everything’s okay, man. She went outside to make sure it was safe to move your children to a safer place. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

“Yeah, I suppose so. She always was the smart one.” Rick turned to his children, gathering them together.

“Hey, what are you guys waiting for? Let’s move! Rick, have the car keys out of your pocket and ready!” Sarah jumped and waved the others towards her. To Ryan, she looked like a woman about to piss herself.

“I wish I could manage to feel that excited and happy, after what we just saw…” Marnie mused.

“She’s got her children to worry about. Protecting her brood always makes a mother feel better, no matter the crisis,” Ryan explained.

“You’re awfully good at analyzing and managing people, if I may say so,” Rebecca said.

“Just comes from good charm,” he said, smiling. “Now, does everyone have a vehicle? And how far is it? We need to group up by who has enough seating and is close enough for everyone, incase things get hairy again.”

“I have a van. I can see the SUV Sarah and her family arrived in from here. Between those two vehicles, we should all be able to squeeze in,” said Rebecca.

“Where is your van?” Marnie asked?

“See that blue one down just past the flower shop? It isn’t far.”

They all nodded, and started moving towards the door. Rick gathered his children, and moved them toward the door behind the other three.

“No offense to the merchant, but I’m beyond ready to leave this place of business,” Rick said.

As they all moved forward, they all snickered at Sarah, who was cheering at the sight of all of them gathering to leave.

That’s why all of them saw it when the red rain began flooding from the sky, down onto the streets, down onto the flower shop survivors, and down onto Sarah.

All three children screamed, along with Rick, who let out a shrill sound and dashed forward, towards the door.

“Sarah!” he screamed.

The only thing that really saved those three children from seeing both mother and father skinned alive by the malevolent downpour, was Marnie’s quick reactions. She popped her foot out from her, tripping Rick as he fell forward, barely catching himself before his head slammed into the floor.

Ryan quickly stepped forward, hit the ground, and began shoving the cloth barricade under the door.

“Bruce! Hold Rick down! Don’t let him get up! Marnie, Rebecca, for God’s sake take the children! Don’t let them see this!”

Ryan knew people wanted leadership in a crisis, and thankfully, these people responded to it.

Bruce kneeled, down, mumbled, “Sorry, old chap,” and plopped his rather large body on top of Rick’s more slender one. Marnie and Rebecca managed to herd the screaming children back behind the bar. Everyone was focused on their task, so only Ryan really saw what happened. He was stuffing the cloth barrier in, got it tight, and looked up.

The ruin of Sarah was still in the middle of the street. Even through the thick veil of red, he could see she was almost completely skinned by the acid, her blonde locks already gone and disintegrated. Bone could be seen through several parts of what passed for her skin. One of her hands was pointed towards the diner, and Ryan’s stomach churned as he saw it bunch into a fist, as if grabbing something, and open again. He saw the head look up slowly, and saw one eye was entirely melted away, as was her nose. Somehow one eye remained clear, perhaps because her head fell into the cusp of her arm, protecting it. It looked at Ryan, and then her head fell forward, and moved no more.

He tried desperately to turn his gaze away, only to see another ruin on the street, and a person struggling and screaming under the awning of the flower shop. In his own shock, he marveled at the fact he realized he’d been hearing the screaming for a while, but hadn’t actively noticed it until now.

It was the trim Asian lady who worked at the flower shop. Obviously she’d been very close to the awning when the rain started, and only got a blast from it, and had fallen backwards, into safety. She was clawing for the door, though several strips of skin were missing from her hands and arms. Ryan realized she must have seen the elderly couple from earlier, saw how the rain had begun gusting towards them.

She got the door opened, and dragged herself in. The door slammed quickly, probably because she’d kicked the door in with what was left of her feet, Ryan assumed. He realized the other ‘body pile’ must be the other man who had stepped out with the flower shop clerk. Ryan slowly crawled backwards, using his hands and feet, trying to get away from the scenery on the street, but unable to stop looking.

Then, he did something he’d never done in his life. He fainted.

3. Don’t Fear The Reaper

When he came to, he became immediately aware. He popped up instantly; somehow ashamed he’d fainted, and took stock of his surroundings. He noticed he’d been dragged behind the bar, where he saw the three girls sobbing against Marnie and Rebecca. In the opposite corner, he saw Bruce sitting next to Rick, who was asleep at his side.

“Had to knock him out, I’m afraid. Sorry about that,” Bruce said, looking ashamed; blushing.

Ryan nodded at him, unable to find his voice. He briefly noticed a small gun on a shelf behind the counter. It was probably illegal as hell, but such things weren’t his problem.

He slapped himself once, trying to snap himself out of his loose thinking.

He slowly pulled himself up using the top of the bar counter, and glanced outside. It was clear, and the streets looked clear. He didn’t have to ask. He knew the red rain had carried off its harvest again. His stomach turned over again at the memory of Sarah, staring into that one aware eye, and locked the thought away.

“We think it’s… .an act of God. We can’t decide anything else,” Marnie said lowly. The two girls at either side were trembling, but seemed to be crying themselves into sleep, or shock.

“How did you come to that conclusion?” Ryan asked.

“Think about it,” Rebecca chimed in. “The stuff melts humans. Or eats them away. Whatever. It doesn’t eat anything else, including clothing, wood, stone, and metal. We watched the third rain carefully. It was easier since nobody was in sight this time, though we did hear some screaming…” she trailed off, then recovered and said, “In the last harvest, we saw what we’re pretty sure was Devon. Couldn’t be too sure because… well, he was a mess.” Rebecca closed her eyes, and laid her head back.

“It isn’t effecting anything else. If it’s an acid, then it is extremely disciplined,” Marnie said. “Although we did hear other screams, as Rebecca said. We also heard… loud rumblings from downtown. It was as if something large hit ground.” She shrugged. “Maybe a plane crashed, who knows. “

Ryan shook his head a bit, and said, “Wait, third rain? How long was I out?”

Bruce said, “About an hour. We dragged ya back here, and discussed all this while you were asleep. At first Rick was actually okay, strangely. Then he freaked out wanting to go gather up his wife, see if maybe she was still alive… the children became even more hysterical.”

“Knocking him out was wise, don’t worry. Listen, this rumbling you said, as if something landed down town… is there any way I can get up to the roof? I want to see if I can get a glimpse downtown.”

“Ryan, what the hell? Why would you want to go up there? That’s outside, and outside isn’t a wise place to be these days,” Bruce said.

Ryan glanced at the children, judged they were deep enough in shock sleep, and said, “What if the stuff does eat other materials? Maybe the rumbling you heard was a building collapsing. Remember 9/11? Several people said at first they thought something had crashed into the city. The red stuff might work slowly on various building materials.”

Rebecca, Marnie, and Bruce looked from one to another, this new horror jumping from one to the other.

Bruce sighed. “Well, back in the kitchen, is a ladder that goes straight up. I had it put in to go up and view the city while I read. Since we’re uphill, the view down on the city is amazing. Anyway… you can get up there that way. But what if the rain starts back up?”

Dodging the question, Ryan said, “Wait, you live here?”

Bruce nodded. “I also own the second floor. Most people don’t even notice the building has two floors. They just assume it’s one big building. Anyway, that’s where I live.”

“Okay. Well, I’m sure the latch opens from outside, or else you could get trapped up there. I’ll go up, close it behind me. Take a quick look, and then come back.”

Bruce tilted his head, as if listening for something, and said, “I don’t know if I can let you do that, man. It’s just not safe. I’ll feel like I murdered you.”

From a distance, came another loud rumbling that went on for twenty seconds. They all felt the ground vibrating several times during it.

“On second thought, I guess we need to know something about what’s going on.” Bruce stood up, opened the swing door into the kitchen, and motioned Ryan through. The smells of the kitchen made Ryan’s stomach rumble.

“It’s either feast or famine with my stomach. Either I’m near puking, or starving,” he said.

Bruce laughed, but not like he really found it funny.

They reached a door, which opened up onto a small area with a ladder going up.

“There’s a latch that pops out of place to let you in. Please be quick. My sanity can’t take another friends death.” Ryan was shocked to see the red rings around the kindly chef’s eyes. He’d never consciously thought of Bruce as a friend, but realized it was true. Over the years, the few words they’d passed piled up, forming a familiarity.

He patted the man on the back. “Don’t worry; I’m faster than I look.”

He began going up the ladder, moving quickly and with ease. He reached the top, unlatched it, and took a deep breath. Then he opened it, and went up. He had been looking forward to breathing fresh air, but instead noticed it smelled odd, almost sickeningly sweet. He walked slowly towards the edge of the city, already feeling his heart sink from what he could see. At least three buildings were down, large plumes of dust and smoke rising from them. He got to the edge, looked down… and felt all hope leave his body.

Bruce looked at his watch just moments before the hatch opened back up, and Ryan came back down. To Bruce it had felt like hours, but in reality Ryan had been gone 5 minutes. He’d heard another of the loud noises while Ryan was up there, and nearly went up there to check on Ryan.

“Man, I was starting to panic!” He said as Ryan reached the bottom. He saw Ryan’s face was sickly, and pale.

“What happened? Are you okay?”

Ryan nodded slowly, as if barely listening. “I need to get to my messenger bag. There’s something I need to get.”

Bruce gave him a puzzled look, but Ryan just walked past him, back into the dining area. He walked around the bar, ignoring the curious glances from the two women. He walked to the table he’d been sitting at previously, sat down, and opened his bag. They saw he’d grabbed a small notebook, and dug a pen out from a side pocket. Bruce came out of the kitchen slowly, as the two women rose up, gently laying the children’s heads on the ground.

“What happened, Ryan?” Rebecca asked.

“Give me five minutes. I’ll explain everything then,” he said, almost angrily.

The two women looked to each other again, worried. Bruce started to say something, paused, and closed his mouth.

Ryan wrote in a notebook for close to ten minutes. During this time, the rain had begun again. Although as the others moaned in fear, Ryan seemed not to notice. He just wrote furiously. Finally he closed the notebook, and leaned over the side of his seat, and dug around in his bag. This time took nearly five minutes. The other survivor’s attention was divided between Ryan and the rain, not noticing something Ryan seemed to shove in his pocket.

Ryan stood up, and slowly walked behind the bar. Everyone turned to look at him, scared to hear what he’d experienced up top. Instead of talking, however, he handed the notebook to Rebecca.

“You seem to be the most level headed and calm, so I want you to take this after I’m done, and then you’ll have a decision to make. I’m sorry; I can only do it so many times. I’m already responsible for more deaths than I’d ever care to remember. The rest will be up to you.”

Bruce looked perplexed, and Rebecca said, “Wait, what are you even talking about?” Her voice became shrill as she noticed Ryan had been crying, with tears still slowly rolling down from one eye.

Ryan looked at her, closed his eyes, and then went to work.

Bruce saw what Ryan took out of his pocket, even recognized what brand it was; the black metal with stainless steel cylinder caught his eye. It was a Taurus brand revolver, five shot instead of the usual six. He had enough time to begin forming a question, when Ryan turned and quickly put a bullet in Rick’s head. Then, he let out a primal scream that was filled with pain instead of rage, and put a bullet in each of the three girl’s heads. Before Marnie or Rebecca could begin screaming, Ryan placed the gun against his temple, and pulled the trigger.

“What the fuck! Oh shit, what did you do?” Bruce hit his knees, looking at Ryan’s crumpled body as if it would answer.

Marnie had fainted.

Rebecca stood in shocked silence, a small trail of Ryan’s blood across her cheek. Her ears rang from the sounds of the bullets. She watched Bruce, crawling on the ground, crying. She glanced down at the notebook in her hands. The shock in her brain made it look like a foreign object, some unidentifiable nonexistent item of vast importance.

She placed it on the bar, and calmly began to read.

I’m sorry for putting you in this situation, Rebecca, but I can only be responsible for killing so many people. When you read the rest of this, you’ll understand why I did what I did.

On the roof, I saw downtown. Half of it was flooded with the red water. I noticed it didn’t move the way the water didn’t move like normal water. I realized it was concentrating itself around one of the taller buildings. I saw it do this terrible squeezing around the building, and literally cracked part of the building over. I saw men and women go flying out the window, towards the water.

Instead of falling into it, and presumably melting like everyone else, I saw a mouth open in the water, catching the people. The water solidified, and became sickeningly green scales in the shape of a mouth. There was no body, just a mouth open into a horrid black abyss. I didn’t notice them at first, because they were almost the shade of the water, but it had eyes, red eyes, that were only a slightly darker shade of red. And I heard it laugh.

I began to run back to the hatch, and I saw more streams of red, bringing more bodies to the center, into the now lake of red rain. Then it grew, the water rising several feet.

If three rains makes it grow that many times, we won’t survive very long. As I write this, my plan was to write my confession out, because I plan to prevent the suffering of as many as I can if one more rain comes. I was going to hold out for one more rain before doing this, and the Red Rain began again.

I carried a handpicked team into Kosovo once. I lost all of them, and had to kill two to put them out of their misery. Their ghosts, as well as that of my wife, have all chased me for the rest of my life since. I will lose what’s left of my sanity after I begin killing, I know. I already feel most of it has disappeared, right down the mouth into that horrid water. Or no, it’s not water really; it’s a creature, building itself off the corpses of human beings.

I will kill the children, as they have suffered enough, and don’t deserve such a painful, brutal death.

I will kill the father, as he shouldn’t come to and find that his daughters are now dead. He’s suffered enough.

Then I will kill myself, as the gun only carries five bullets, and, as stated above, I won’t be able to keep my sanity after killing three innocent children.

Rebecca, there are bullets sitting right on top of everything else in my bag. You can load it. There is no surviving this thing, and the death it will give us is far worse than the one I’m giving you the option of.

The Red Rain is growing. The Red Rain is hungry. The Red Rain is alive!

May God be with you.

Rebecca looked up, and out at the window. The Red Rain (she couldn’t help but now think of it as a name, rather than a thing) was still falling. She also heard more rumblings from afar. She closed her eyes, now having the mystery of those rumblings solved.

Bruce was unaware of Rebecca calmly walking towards Ryan’s table. He was too busy trying to revive Marnie. Rebecca heard him muttering something under his breath, something she wished she hadn’t heard.

“Please wake up; the man didn’t take you from me. I promise I’ll take you up on that dinner, just please wake up. I can’t lose you too.” He cried on and on.

A tear was falling down Rebecca’s face. “Ryan and I could have been twins in tears,” she thinks madly. She loads the gun unobserved, and calmly walks back towards the bar. She never questions if she can do it, she knows she can. Something in her mind has snapped, she vaguely realizes, but it doesn’t seem important. She knows how Ryan felt, madly writing away. Perhaps this is even a part of the creature, some madness that is catching, like a virus.

She shoots Bruce almost point blank in the top of his head, and quickly aims at Marnie, and then takes a breath, and puts a bullet in Marnie’s head. Her tears flow now, and some form of sanity rushes back in. She hits the ground, crying. The loneliness hits her, as she realizes she’s alone in a room full of dead people and children.

Hand shaking, she slowly pulls the gun up to her head. Her hands tremble, and she forces a deep breath in to calm the shaking. She sucks in a sob, and takes one final look around. She looks to the children. Seeing the children, she knows, will help depress her enough to do it. Ryan wasn’t the only one who knew a thing or two about psychology.

One last breath is taken.

One more rumbling sound begins, this time very close by.

Right before she pulls the trigger, she hears a dark, chuckling laughter from close by.

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