For some people, rain is refreshing. For others it’s annoying, or cold, or wet, or fun.
For him, rain was refreshing if he wanted a quick exit from this world. It was annoying when it dropped on his fields. It was inhumanly cold when it doused a school. It was wet with blood.
It was never fun.
Rain was never fun in his village.
Rain was the bombs dropped in the middle of the night. It was the missiles that struck their homes, their cattle, their friends. Rain was death.
This rain didn’t come from clouds, at least not traditional watery ones. No fluffy white air sheep, no blustery gray oceans shed those drops of mechanized ruination. The cloud that loosed man-made thunder was electronic, and it was a cloud that spoke to the gods.
It was not Nergal this cloud communed with, nor Morrigan, nor Hades, nor Hel. It wasn’t Osiris, or Kali, nor even YHWH, God or Allah. It was with a god named John. And he was just doing his job.
The man heard a distantbuzzing, an angry swarm of the deadliest bees. He wondered what angered the masters of the skies. He did not know. He never knew. No one did. Sometimes, the drones would not come for weeks. Other times, they would not stop for days.
His radio spoke of large numbers of insurgent deaths, and the government cheered that none of their own was lost. They could not be scratched, they said, because drones were unmanned.
The man never saw insurgents. He saw the dead children. Shattered families. Maimed mothers and siblings and grandparents. And he knew, because the radio let him know, that there was no recourse. Because of the drones and their inhumanity.
This inhumanity caused his heart to skip when he felt the staccato drone-hum, vibrations first felt, then heard. This inhumanity caused his children to cry, his goats to die, his wife to to crumble.
An aircraft approached. He hid his children away, as usual. He kissed his wife, as usual.
And he disrobed.
His people were not exhibisionists. They wrapped themselves with respect and modesty. The man knew this, but he disrobed all the same.
His worn windblown skin, unwashed for many drought-filled days, was nearly the same shade as the countryside. His was a natural camouflage.
His thin, muscular frame took him into the heart of the village, near a well in the wide-open and dusty plaza. Wind tugged his beard, and he was aware of the breeze flitting through his pubic hair and around his penis.
He did not care.
He stared up, eyes seeking out the incoming chariot of death in the bright midday blue. He saw wings glinting in the sun. And the craft came closer.
He could feel the eyes of hidden villagers, boring into him, taking in his nakedness, but not seeing it. All they saw was a man, a well-liked man, but a man ready for the death’s refreshing embrace.
Villagers tsked and clucked, but they did not stop him. They were not selfish. Perhaps the gods would be appeased by the death of this one man, and perhaps they would be safe. For a time.
They did not know that the man did not wish to die.
The man lifted his chin skyward. The buzzing was louder, nearly overpowering. The drone was ready to loose its rain of fire.
” ” said the man, eyes closed. Splaying his arms towards the sun, warmth tickled his palms. He savored this small moment.
The god called John was confused. He could see the man as if he were standing in the same room. John knew the man could see him. The flying robot him. He knew the man could see the death machine, but the man didn’t move. The naked, dusty man did not move.
Drones didn’t care about clothes. Drones weren’t human, weren’t built to be human, and therefore had no questions about inhumanity.
John, however, did. For a moment, for a slight hiccup in time, John realized that perhaps what he was doing was, in some small way, inhumane. Perhaps, by killing this man, John would be doing no one a favor. Not his country. Not his family. Not his conscience. No one.
The god called John punched in the tab on the top of a can of cold Mountain Dew. And the god shrugged. A quick twitch of the wrist; it was done. John drank his electric green soda while piloting the craft back to the base. He’d be home in time to have breakfast with his kids. NIght shift was a bear.
John pulled his car out of the lot. It was drizzling. A thunderstorm loomed, a giant summer spectacle that he loved dearly.
For some people, rain is refreshing.