Falling Rain

Molly is gripping my hand tightly, jumping in every puddle we pass and drenching the bottom of my jeans. I should really blame myself. I had ignored the forecast, as well as my Mother’s constant reminders that it would be pouring. Unlike Molly, who decked herself out in more weather friendly attire –raincoat, gumboots and all- I had not dressed for the oncoming storm. At least I brought my umbrella.

She pulls me along, slowly walking up the slight incline that leads to Nanna Evelyn’s house. She smiles up at me, baring her missing front teeth. Her messy blonde hair is matted to her head and her mud coloured eyes are widened, making her look ridiculous. Even though I don’t say it, she looks a lot like me.

Molly squeezes my hand. “Maddie? Are we there yet?”

“Nearly,” I say, shifting my grip on the umbrella. “After the crossing we’ll be there,”

She nods and continues to skip along until we reach the crossing. Standing on the footpath, I can hardly see two metres ahead, but I can see a silhouette of a child in the middle of the road. It looks a little like Molly, but... it isn’t. The child has their hands cradling their head and is shaking uncontrollably. Why is she crying? More importantly, why is she in the middle of a busy road? If I were to run across now, would I be able to make it? I can hear far off car engines over the storm. The crossing is dangerous even when it’s not raining. It would be a thousand times worse in this weather.

Molly stares up at me and gives my hand a pull. “Maddie, who’s that?”

I know she’s waiting for an answer but I can hardly speak. “Umm, I-I, don’t know,”

I hear cars approaching. If I run now, I might make it, but I know the cars won’t stop. And I’ve already wasted so much time. I think of what would happen if that little girl was hit... if I was hit. And most of all I think of what Molly would think if she saw either happen. I know I have to get her off the road. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t. But time is passing and my feet feel frozen in place.

Heart pounding, I squeeze Molly’s hand and kiss her cheek. “Stay here.” I let go and running across the street, I can see the cars getting closer, not slowing down. The rain is drenching my clothes, the water running down my face and blurring my vision. I take one glance back at Molly who is screaming my name, begging me to come back. I call out to the girl, who I’m slowly being able to see is even younger that Molly, and is sobbing violently. Before the car can hit her, I reach out my arm and push with as much force as I can. And then, squeezing my eyes tightly, I fall.

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