Long Stories Short, by Marc Nash

Here is Marc Nash’s third flash fiction in a series of five – “Microclimate”, from his collection Long Stories Short, which you can buy here (UK version) or here (US version).



Marc Nash

The wind was blowing the sheet rain away from the vertical. Where the trajectory propelled through the wash of the streetlamp, it was briefly illuminated like tracer fire. Then it dived back out of the spill into the blackout just above the ground. Only the volleying of its bombination against the concrete, evinced the continued substantiality of the drops.

The occasional dipped car headlights bounced their skittering rays along the slicked road. Cast an illusion of the rain recoiling upwards off the tarmac, spiting gravity. Even from those headlamps with their own runty wipers to keep their lenses clear of waterborne refractions.

The cars precipitated a further, less transient coalescence in their wake. Those miniature rainbows formed in oil stained puddles by the kerbside. Molecule to molecule interdiction with the forsaken slick perdus, while the rest of rainwater sped by through the gutters plunging towards the sunken storm drain.

As with the car headlamps, the mound of matter on the pavement was wreaking a distorting effect on the local meteorology. Its bulk served as a levee, damming up the water coursing across the paving flags. Until the flow reached critical volume and spouted like a cataract, further inroading the gutter.

The blood running with the runnels of rainwater failed to break up into any rainbow spectrum. Blood being thicker than water but not oil, it just sat there in its own immiscible layer, gradually diffusing through the sheer volume of the rain.

That blood was seeping from a body. Where the bullets of rain hit that body, their soft-tipped heads penetrated the sodden clothing and bit into the flesh. In the dark, it appeared that the prone chassis was being riddled by gunfire.

As the body lay there with its mouth draggled open, the rain zeroed in. Maybe the corpus would be extinguished by drowning rather than exsanguination from the hole in its gut. But the water kept sluicing back out through the downturned corners of its mouth. The prostrate being seemed like it was trying to speak, but only liquid words poured out.

The wind was also whipping through the anatomy. As if the skin breach was a vacuum sucking in the air trying to staunch itself. The street litter propelled along in the gusts brushed the carcass, but none would stop to seal the hole. The magma eruption of blood that had attended the initial piercing, had ebbed as the tectonic waves of pain subsided into equipoise. The body’s internal pressure now effaced by the sensation of the driving rain against the numbed flesh. The body’s temperature had dropped closer to that of the surrounding atmosphere, so that the weak puffs of expiration emerging from the mouth no longer condensed against colder air.

Inside a building, another corporeality was drumming its fingers against the window sill in syncopation with the rain striking the pane. A cloud had descended upon that body and occluded the previously warm front. A storm was surely building.

Copyright (c) Marc Nash 2014

Read Marc’s “Geiger Countering” right here