Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP & Brat

 Rain fell and fell and fell.

Brat wondered if it had got into her skin and replaced her blood. She hoped it would keep falling.

When she’d snuck out of the hole she’d dug, he’d been heading for his bottle. She hoped he drank it all the way to the bottom. Even if he went looking for her, he wouldn’t be able to chase her. His thinking wouldn’t be clear enough to find her hole.

He would think demons were messing with him again and hiding her.

Then when he’d recovered enough, he wouldn’t remember.

If the rain kept falling, he wouldn’t be able to follow her. She knew he tracked animals for food. He always complained about how the rain messed up the tracks.

She tried to hide on those days, but her closet wasn’t big enough to hide.

He told her she was lucky. He fed her, gave her a home.

She didn’t feel lucky.

But how was she to know?

Maybe all the places were like this one. Maybe some of them were worse.

If it was worse, she didn’t know how it could be.

But he told her it was.

She knew trees because they were everywhere she looked when she got to look out the window. Was there anything else?

Brat slipped on the mud again but didn’t stay down. She had to keep moving.

And moving.

When she couldn’t walk anymore, she crawled.

And still the rain fell. Hiding her path. Hiding her.

Her hands bled so the rain hadn’t changed her blood yet.

She pushed to her feet again and kept walking, never looking back.

When the trees disappeared, she stopped. This was new. She didn’t know what it was. Didn’t have the words to tell.

The rain kept falling. Brat kept walking.

When she fell again, there was no mud for a soft landing. It was hard and more blood came from her knees and hands.

Brat swallowed hard and then pushed to her feet. Kept walking.

A noise broke the air and light broke the rain.

Brat couldn’t make her feet move. More noises she didn’t know.

Then a voice. “Are you okay? What are you doing out here? Are you hurt?”

It wasn’t him.

Was it worse than him?

Another voice. “You’re bleeding honey. Come on in the car. We’ll get you to the hospital and get you some help. Don’t worry.”

Brat didn’t know all the words, but the hands on her didn’t hurt.

Brat went with the voices while the rain continued to fall.


Tagline: A hard rain is just what she needs

The above is part of the #WEP April Challenge: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

I have to admit I'd never heard of this song before the challenge. It's an intense song with some pretty dark lyrics. I struggled for a bit. And listened to it several times. And still struggled.

The song reminds me of court jesters who were allowed to speak harsh truths disguised as entertainment. We all interpret songs/poetry differently, but this song broke my heart. There's such cruelty in the world.

All of this finally brought me to the story above. I'm a romance author, I'm a teacher, I'm a believer in the power of hope and love and kindness. There will always be a light at the end of my tunnels.

I hope you'll check out the link to find the other stories written for this prompt. And I hope you'll join in!


Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost said...

I always saw A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall as a metaphor for the Vietnam war and a scathing critique of the leaders who allowed it to continue. Having been born in 1965, I grew up in the shadow of both the Vietnam war and the Cold War. It colored both the way I write and the way I have experienced life.
The story describes the experience of abuse victims very well. People who have experienced abuse as children often remark that they thought every household was like that and they are surprised when they visit a household without the abusive dynamic.
I wasn't physically abused but there was a lot of yelling in my house when I was growing up. My parents were always yelling at each other. I think outsiders seeing their dynamic would have wondered why they weren't divorced. For them it was status quo. I always found it stressful. I had to learn as an adult not to be so volatile. It drives people away.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm sorry that's how you grew up. I was so lucky as a kid to live in a functional, happy home. As a teacher, I've learned not everyone was so lucky!

Olga Godim said...

Poor Brat. I want to know more about her. Who she is and who her abuser is and how they got together. And what is going to happen next. This snippet needs to be expanded into a full-blown story, IMO.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so very glad that there is light at the end of Brat's tunnel. And hope it shines even brighter as the days go by...

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Olga. I hadn't thought of that, but it would be an intriguing one to flesh out!

Jemi Fraser said...

Me too, Sue!

N. R. Williams said...

Is this the POV of an animal? Regardless, it's intense and interesting. Well done.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good she finally got away.
Court Jesters speaking hard truth? We need more of those right now.

Carrie Ann said...

Heartbreaking but the ending was very satisfying! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

LOL - I was envisioning a small girl, but as a reader it's always up to you!

Jemi Fraser said...

We do!! Although the ones who need to hear, so rarely do

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks - I wanted Brat to find a way out

Nilanjana Bose said...

I'm glad the little girl has escaped her abuser. Very powerful use of the child's POV, loved it, Jemi.

I think the song was written in 1962 but Dylan didn't tie it to any specific conflict. I heard it growing up in the 70's as well as his other songs - Blowing in the Wind, Masters of War etc and they gave me goosebumps, then and still now. The most meaningful protest anthems and the pinnacle of perfection in American folk song-writing, imho. :)

JeffO said...

Very nicely done, Jemi. I had one of these creepy feelings that it was going to get worse and worse, but glad to see there's hope. Next hope is that the System doesn't put Brat right back where she came from!

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Nila!
There were an incredible amount of powerful songs written during that era. Art in all its many forms is one of the best ways to protest!

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Jeff! So nice to see you online again!
The System is so often overwhelmed but there is always hope!

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, that was painful. I'm really glad there's a hopeful ending!

Jemi Fraser said...

Me too!!

L.G. Keltner said...

I could feel Brat's desperation to get away from her terrible life, and I'm so glad she found something hopeful at the end of her journey.

Damyanti Biswas said...

It's always such a comfort to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I like how this instills a sense of hope :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Laura - me too!

Jemi Fraser said...

We definitely need the light!

J Lenni Dorner said...

I didn't know the song before, either.
You did a good job. I like the imagery.

A Hundred Quills said...

So glad Brat found help in the end. The light at the end of the tunnel makes life worth living. You created a great atmosphere that pulled me in.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, J Lenni!

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Sonia. I need that light!

Kalpana said...

A hopeful story. I'm glad Brat made it although my heart bled for her bleeding knees.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks, Kalpana! I do like hope :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm glad the story ends with a hopeful rescue for Brat. Is that her name because it's all she's used to being called?

Jemi Fraser said...

I think she needed some hope - that's all she's ever known as her name