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Jedidiah

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A Little Rain

 

 

"Sometimes the rain falls down

Sometimes thunder rings from the clouds

It drips and draps with all its despair

A little rain never hurt anyone."

 

I

 

His mother used to tell him this everyday before he went to bed. And why not? A little rain never did hurt anyone. It only killed. Well, the rain never killed straight forward, but rather like a child throwing a stone at a car. It itched its way over; tapped on the shoulder of its victim; attacked him while his guard was down; and quickly escaped into the night. That was what the rain did. It chased you until you could not be chased anymore, then it swallowed you completely like a Great White.

His mother was long dead now. She had died from that rain. It only carried the misfortune with it â?? it never caused the misfortune itself. Pneumonia was a depressant - sometimes even a happy drug â?? but once you got better, it ripped out your heart and fed it to the fishes. 'Tis fair in the world to turn your back on one another. 'Tis fair to reenact with a cold heart. 'Tis fair for the rain to fall eternally. Never was fair to see your own mother die before your eyes. This was the motto of Ethan Stephens.

 

He was a mild mannered man who was taught right by his mama. She was a good woman, and was until the day she died. On that night he remembered her reciting those same few lines she had told him for so many years when she was healthy. That was back before she stepped into the cold; back before she seemed to feel invincible. Why wouldn't she? She was young, healthy, and smart - all the descriptions that fit a horrible ending such as this.

She died right before New Years. Close to 11:56 PM they think. It was a strange ending for her, says the doctor. She was as healthy as an ox until it came close to midnight. Around 11:30 she began to feel light headed, and by 11:56 she was dead. "And not just 'bring-back-to-life-dead', but 'dead-dead,'" were his exact words. "The son showed no sign of emotion, surprisingly. After I told him she was dead, he just looked at me with those bright blue eyes of his and left. I haven't seen him since."

 

But of course Ethan knew where he was going...right? His car was a piece of garbage but it still got him places. The engine revved every now and then, and the gears grinded every couple of miles, but it still ran. Why throw out something that ain't broke? Exactly. He just wanted to get away from it all, and that was it. His speedometer rose quickly, and then fell as he neared the speed limit. It was always dangerous to ride in these rainy towns. Accidents were bound to happen. Cars were bound to rust from it. Lights flashed on both sides of his vehicle as he passed by a town that resembled a modern day Los Vegas, except not so many lights. It would be brighter if the damn rain hadn't destroyed some of the wiring. There was a restaurant to the left of him that displayed an overly large sign reading: "Eat At Joes," except the "J" was out and the "A" was capitalized. There was a man standing inside that seemed to be yelling at three men. They were all on the ground clutching their heads. He must have been doing one hell of a yell.

 

"There are no sanctuaries I can go to."

 

It blasted through his mind like a bullet through thin skin. It hurt. Bad. The car skidded on the wet gravel that the people around here called a road. Luckily, Ethan was about to gain control of the car again and headed past the restaurant. That was weird.

 

"Hotel del Toro, ese."

"Room 314."

 

There it was again. The same agonizing pain, but this time it was stronger â?? more dangerous. Hotel del Toro? Room 314? Wasn't that just up a couple miles? Who was saying this? It wasn't his own voice, that he was sure about. Maybe he would check it out. Those voices had danger vibrating through them. Violence was evident. Caution was on his mind.

 

Just up ahead, he thought, Hotel del Toro.

 

II

 

The rain never seemed to stop. In fact, it never did. Why would he think it would? It had rained his entire life. From the day he was born until the day he would die it would rain. Would it rain in Heaven, too? It didn't matter now, he had a job to do. Life would be hard soon, but it would be for the better. Life ended; as did the difficulty. The gun in his hand felt warm, as if it fired once before. It hadn't, but it sure felt like it. The images and thoughts in his mind swarmed like bees in every direction. Should he do this? Was it right? Where would he go?

He wasn't the only person in this. At least he had something to be thankful about.

 

"Hey, asshole, let's go."

He looked up at the figure saying that abusive phrase.

"Yeah, I'm ready."

"Well, then, let's go."

The doors to the hotel swung open and Gerald Deep and Ralph Leroy entered. It was magnificent, perhaps even fit for a king, but tonight it was fit for a blood bath. The bellhop nodded at the two men, but quickly returned to his duties. He didn't want to be fired. The man at the desk was suspicious of the two men. They both wore trench coats and had no emotion expressed on their faces.

"How may I help you gentlemen?"

"We're here for Room 314. Can we get a key?"

"I'm sorry sir, but I can't allow that."

"Just give us the damn key."

The man didn't want a problem, so he handed the key to the men. They hurried along towards the elevator, never once thanking him.

"Ungrateful ingrates," he whispered once they were gone.

 

The hallways in the hotel were small and unpainted. They reeked of old age, and screamed of ignorance. The doors were battered and scraped. This place was pure shit. It was that easily put. Nothing came close to this place. What made matters worse was the fact that this was the only hotel in town. To everyone in it, this place was the Hilton. That's what irked these men. The littlest things made fires blaze in their eyes.

Their room was up ahead. The door was battered and looked worn down. The numbers "3-1-4" showed dully on the door. Gerald took the key out from his clenched palm and placed it in the lock; turned it slowly; and opened the door. Inside the room were two rooms: one containing the bed and a disgustingly old television with rabbit ears, and the other holding a bathroom with a grungy sink and even more stained shower. This place was a home away from home. A lovely place to be. Deep hated it.

It was cold in the room for there was no heater; no furnace. He shivered from the sheer cold and from the melody playing in his head. It was a distinct â?? plain creepy â?? melody that seemed to never end. It was like one of those fucking merry-go-rounds. The thing just kept going in circles and circles. Someday soon, it would drive him mad. For now, he just felt nothing. Numbness had completely taken over his body.

 

Please, God, just let it be over soon. Just let it end. I don't want to be stained for eternity.

 

Too bad God would not hear the prayers of murderers or those stained with anything that wasn't spaghetti sauce.

 

By now, the sleek blackness of night had fallen over the city. The hotel was just another shadow in a shadowy town of itself. Lights flicked off in houses not far by, and a little boy wandered aimlessly around town. The town was drenched in downpours, but this boy seemed saved from said rain. Nearby, a dark blue car drove through the rain with haste to a hotel he knew nothing about.

 

Leroy and Deep were in their room now, with the door shut behind them. In about 15 minutes the fun would begin.

 

"What do we do 'til then?"

"Sit down, dipshit."

"Oh, yeah."

 

Leroy looked at Deep with deep consideration. Was he the right man for this job? If acted out right, this could either change their lives or destroy them. Perhaps Deep was too weak for the job. He, of course, was. Leroy had planned this for months. This travesty would change his mind.

 

I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy.

 

That was all he could think. It seemed the littlest things set him off. He remembered one time when he was hunting. The woods were deep with solitude and deer ran free. Ralph carried a rifle. Just a plain rifle. Sometimes it jammed, and sometimes it misfired. He was lucky to have all of his body parts. A deer ran past him â?? a very small fawn â?? and without thinking, he fired at the thing. It collapsed onto its side and began to breathe heavily as Ralph ran over to it. When he discovered what he had done, he becomes emotionless. The damn thing had gotten in the way. The bullet wasn't meant to hit that thing â?? it was meant to go somewhere else.

He stood before the almost eternally sleeping fawn and went from emotionless to extreme anger. His foot lifted back and Ralph kicked the thing in the stomach. It jolted back and coughed up some blood. He kicked it again, this time straight in the stomach. The deer winced and the wound near its stomach â?? right near where Ralph had kicked the second time â?? opened from a small thumb nail sized hole to a fist sized hole. Blood began pouring to the ground. Some of it even got on his "kickin'" boot. It lay there as Ralph picked up his belongings, took a rag from the bag around his waist and wiped his boot â?? dying. He felt no remorse for it. The thing died because of its own stupidity. It should have known not to mess with a higher species. He was greatness in the making. Perfection was a close second.

 

Ever since that day, Ralph became a sort of animal himself. The rage inside him seemed unnatural and whenever he freed it from inside him, he felt happiness soon after. It was peaceful to allow all of your anger to soothe its way out of your body with one thing: violence. That was why he did this. For peace. Sure, he would have to buy new clothes when he was done, and if worse came to worse he would have to burn his fingers to change the prints, but in the end, he only felt one thing: peace.

Leroy chose Deep out of friendship. They had been close friends for many years. Since college, even. What Leroy was afraid of, though, was that Deep would chicken out ("Pussy out," as he liked to say), and rat him out. He wouldn't, though. He was sure of it. Even if he did, before Deep would even have the chance to pick up the goddamn phone, he'd be dead with three bullet holes in his chest. That and if he tried to tell anyone, there would be no money for him.

 

"What are we gonna do with him?"

"Anything I feel like doin'" replied Leroy.

"Goddamn, you're ruthless."

"Ain't I always?"

 

III.

 

Somewhere, far away, a man was driving in his car to stop something that he was unsure of. Still, he drove on. Trees passed by him at the speed of light. Slowly, the speedometer below his vision began to rise. A certain type of wariness began to develop in the back of his mind. He could hear a phone ringing. It wasn't a cell phone. His mother never allowed him to own one. This sound came from the back of his mind as well. It rang the usual four times and then ended.

 

Fughettuboutit, he thought, it isn't anything.

 

The road ahead was long and dark, never once showing artificial light. That was behind him now. The man probably stopped yelling in the restaurant, and that boy walking was probably long gone. Probably even home - with his mother...

The rain splattered on his car window, making him turn the speed of the wipers up to "mach 10" as he used to call it as a child. It made him smile. Seldom things did make him smile. The phone rang again, this time a little louder. Ethan blocked it out of his mind entirely and turned his attention back onto the road. There were no other cars on the road, and his by far was the loudest. The land looked black and emotionless. The road was dark and full of unmarked territory. This place was a land of its own. This place led up to the Hotel del Toro. This led to Room 314. This led to what he wanted to know.

 

His car traveled over a hill, and slowly drove back down, revealing a town of less light than the one before. It was the complete opposite of where he had come from. It looked desolate and unawake. No one walked the streets, and it still rained. A few seldom cars were parked along side the road, and a few houses appeared from the grips of night.

The sidewalks were white and drenched. All of the stores along side the road had bars along the windows and doors. This town looked dangerous. The slight glimpse of light ahead gave Ethan some hope that at least one person was alive in this town. It was the Hotel del Toro. His car edged to a stop, and he extinguished the power from the car's chasm of power. The engine died and he opened the door, letting the rain fall onto his navy blue suit jacket. He never carried an umbrella. The doors to the hotel were automatic, but they creaked eerily as he entered. The rain dripped from his pant leg as he walked up to the service desk. The man there looked calm, cool, and collected.

 

"May I help you?" he asked.

"Room 314," replied Ethan.

 

The man suddenly turned cold. Hadn't two other asked for the same room? This man certainly did not look like one of them. What was all this about?

 

"E-Excuse me?"

"Room 314."

"S-Sure."

 

The man at the desk turned his back to the man and looked at the numerous keys hung on the wall. There were always two for every room. If you needed more than tough shit, that was his motto. Room 314 was down on the right. He picked it from the hook it was on, and turned back to the man.

 

"Here you are, Room 314." He placed the key in his hand.

Ethan looked back at the man and nodded his head. His bright blue eyes stabbing right through the man's soul. He didn't feel so good.

 

The elevator looked nicer on the outside than it did on the inside. On the outside, it was bright, made of brand new steel probably. There were no dents or scratches on it...yet. When the doors opened, though, it reminded Ethan of a smoker. The fabric along the walls was a horrible burgundy color. The buttons were worn down and half of them didn't even show a number. The lights keeping the box lit were all but out now. One of the last two flickered every now and then. As Ethan stepped into the elevator, the thing shook a little and creaked. It was a lovely sound.

Room 314 was on the eighth floor. The carpet here was the same as the elevator: burgundy blech â?? just like the elevator he had just gotten off. Doors lined the terribly painted white walls. Each one looked the same â?? old and deteriorated.

 

Room 300.

 

He passed by door after door with either scratched numbers or numbers completely ripped off. The floored creaked and the walls moaned with exertion.

 

Room 310.

 

The room was just up ahead. Never once had he thought about what might happen when he opened that door. Now, though, he did. His hands began to shake, and beads of sweat began to form around his temples. He untied his tie to get more air as he stood before the door that might (or would) change his life.

 

Room 314.

 

Ethan Stephens stared at the three numbers shining dully in his face. Part of him wanted to knock on that door. The other half wanted him to flee like a child. Slowly, though, he lifted up his hand â?? still trembling â?? and knocked on the door. He quickly returned his hand to his side and waited for an answer.

 

"The door is unlocked," cried a voice from inside the room. It sounded gruff and shaky. Maybe even afraid.

 

Ethan put his hand out once again and wrapped it around the handle. It was smooth in his hands, and felt cold. He turned it slowly, and listened as it creaked open with that same eerie sound he had heard when he first walked into this devilish place.

The lights were out inside the room. There was a smell of smoke in the air. Perhaps someone was smoking. He shut the door behind him and took a few steps into the room.

"Hello?" he asked, "is anyone there?"

There was no response from ahead of him. The bathroom light was on. A strange melody echoed in his mind. Like a merry-go-round. The thing just kept turning and turning, never seeming to stop. It agitated Ethan. He scratched the skin on his right arm.

"So nice of you to -"

Be here.

"-be here."

A face appeared in front of him, the moonlight that barely showed ricocheted off his face. The melody played louder. It sounded like a child's little nursery rhyme.

"What are you -"

Looking at?

"-looking at?"

The thoughts came rushing in like an overflow at a dam. Most of them came not from the man in the moonlight, but rather another source. There was someone else in here, and it came from behind him. He was scared. He was a coward.

 

What am I doing here? I don't want this. This gun feels strange in my hands. God, please help me. Stop this madness.

 

"God takes no pity on those who commit violence. He takes no pity on the hearts of demons," was what surprising escaped his breath. The man in front of him grew shocked. In all his years of living, no one had ever spoken to him like that.

"My my. It looks like the pussy's got some bite to him," replied the man in the moon.

"Why so cruel? Why so much malice? Can you think of nothing else?"

"Think of what?

"A life less threatening. Where you don't kill people without a reason."

 

He had figured it out.

 

"Am I right, doctor?" asked Ethan, a fire now burning brightly in his eyes.

"The bitch deserved to die," stated Ralph.

"That bitch was my mother."

 

Ralph grinned. This was something he had not expected. Somehow, this man â?? this dipshit â?? had gotten out one of his darkest secrets. His utopian world â?? clear to everyone â?? sat right in front of his face. It was about to come crashing down. No criminal record. No history of his past. No birth certificate, address, or social security card. It was all very simple.

 

"So tell me, what's your real name?"

"Why should I tell you when you already know?"

 

The light in Ethan's eyes burned brighter. Here was a murderer. A destroyer of worlds. He could see that this man sought for something he was quite unsure of.

"How many worlds have you been to?" asked Ethan without thinking

"What?"

"How many worlds have you been to?" it escaped again.

It caused pain to have your mind read. It destroyed your character and your privacy. But to find out that your entire life story lay in the hands of some lunatic that seemed to be there by chance and luck was a nightmare. Ralph drew his gun. The pistol pointed straight at Ethan's head. He grinned.

"You don't want to shoot me. I can see it in your eyes. I don't even need to read your fucking mind."

Perspiration began forming on Ralph's forehead.

Why doesn't Gerry â??

"Do something?"

A look of shock appeared on Ralph's face. The gun shook in his hand. His finger seemed to slip from the trigger. As did he sanity. The world around him spun in opposite directions. One portion spun right while the rest turned left. This man in front of him, however, seemed to stay at the center of his vision. He moved neither left nor right. It was bewildering to Ralph as much as it was to Gerald, who now had pissed in his pants.

 

Leroy lowered the gun, but the fire in Ethan's eyes grew wider. The bright blue had now been replaced the darkest black imaginable.

"You are a demon," said Ethan.

"If I am, then what does that make you?" asked Ralph.

"A saint."

 

In one quick motion, Ralph gained back his rage and pointed the gun back at Ethan. By now, though, Ethan had dug too deep into his mind. He dropped the gun and grabbed his head. Something was clawing at his brain. His memory seemed to drop from his ears and his motor skills slowly disintegrated. The balance of standing became uncharted territory and talking went from coherent to babble. The last thing he did before he died was shit his pants. A very grand way for a perfect man such as he, Ralph Leroy â?? the man of many faces. He never screamed. He never stood a chance.

Ethan looked at Gerald Deep â?? innocent and shocked.

"Get out of here."

Without a second thought, Gerald "Gerry" Deep dropped his weapon and gunned his way out of the room. He never once stopped to look back.

The memories of Ralph Leroy flushed through his mind like a slideshow. They showed horrible things. They showed beautiful things. However, something caught his subconscious before it could escape. It was a desecrated land different from ours. There stood the boy he had seen earlier - walking along the road. There stood the man he had seen yelling at three men in the restaurant â?? lying dead on the ground. Strange enough, there stood Ethan Stephens next to them all. He looked desperate and ruthless. A name flashed from the memories to his mind. He could not make it out, but it gave him chills. Something was bound for him. Something away from this rainy place.

 

"A little rain never heard anyone," his mother used to say, but she never spoke of what happened to the mind. Deaths occurred from this rain. Insanity was twice more common. Towns were empty. Building dilapidated, and stores closed eternally. This rain seemed a revolution for him. This rain was the end of one world and the beginning of the next. The borderline was crossed and now Ethan Stephens was in a completely new ball game. He liked it. The rain felt good on his shoulders and face as he heard that same creak of the doors. No one ever saw him again as he walked out of reality...

 

 

The body of Ralph Leroy had disappeared while all this happened. There was no point in God's eyes to keep a body that kept no memory. Satan himself dreaded it even more. Purgatory was an even worse place to keep it. They tossed the terrible thing back to where it belonged. In a place where life seemed to never end, but faster than normal, it was deteriorating from the inside out. It was like cancer. Ralph Leroy lived in a world of cancer. He tried to escape however, but was picked simply by the winds of chance and forced back â?? not by the mortal initiations, but by the divine and most heartless. Perhaps there is a judgment for all of us. His life was now meaningless.

 

 

Ethan Stephens was a simple man. A simple man with a gift that outwitted even the most powerful saints and those who swore they had the "power of God." What he had just done was deliver a sinister being the bottomless pits of Hell. What he did not know was that this would begin the end. The end of what, you ask?

 

The End of Everything.

 

"Sometimes the rain falls down

Sometimes thunder rings from the clouds

It drips and draps with all its despair

A little rain never hurt anyone."

 

Those words we said to him once by his good ol' mama. They would stick with him for the rest of his life. Maybe not in this world, but they would sure follow...

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