Rain Rain Go Away

 Surprise!  I un-lazied enough to type another one up already.  This one's a bit of a style experiment.  I'm about as far removed from being an 8-year-old girl as you can get, so I decided to see if I could do anything from that mindset.   It's up to you to decide if I succeeded at all.  This one gets creepy but isn't one of my sex 'n' violence ones, so no warnings needed this time.  Hope it'll still bug you, in a different way.

Maybe more to come later, I dunno.  I have some written, just not typed up and and revised.  Not sure if anybody wants more for a while, anyway, but, eh, we'll see what happens.

Just to keep things handy, here's the usual Table of Contents for other stories you can find here.

My stuff:
And little descriptions of actual nightmares I’ve had


                                                              Rain Rain Go Away


                Kasey had used the key she was really good at keeping up with to let herself into the house she didn’t really like, and she’d eaten the sandwich Mom had left her and watched Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch and Bewitched and Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. and now the news was on and Mom still wasn’t home.  Mom was always home before Gomer was over, even if she had to stop at the store.  And now the stupid boring news was almost over and Kasey was feeling dread, thinking bad thoughts, looking out into the rain.


                They’d moved into this house two, nearly three years ago.  Kasey could keep track of that because she and Mom had had her sixth birthday here with UHaul boxes still crowding the place.  Mom had dug the pans and stuff needed to make a cake out of the KITCHEN boxes and they’d had a party all by themselves because neither of them had had friends yet in this town.  It was still a happy birthday because Dad wasn’t there.  Dad had gotten obsessed with some politics ess-aych-eye-tee on the Internet and had turned into another person, one who screamed and made threats all the time if you said anything but “you’re right, Billy” when he said crazy things.  And Mom wasn’t a you’re-right-Billy kind of a woman (and neither was Kasey, Kasey had decided) and after Billy shoved Kasey one day when he lost his temper over something “the media” said about something one of his heroes had done (and he had done it, too, Kasey had seen it) Mom had gotten them the-bad-word out of there.  Dad didn’t love either of them more than he hated people he didn’t know and Mom said that was no person to live with.  Kasey agreed, especially since she suspected he’d shoved Mom, too.


                Kasey had been glad to get away from Dad but she still didn’t like this house much.  Mom said it was amazing that they could afford it and it was a house not an apartment so they didn’t have to deal with creepy neighbors (like Mr. Wesley who’d always pinched Kasey’s legs when she wore shorts) but this place was old, like a hundred.  It had an old smell, like old books, like maybe the walls were stuffed with things nobody wanted to read.   And the house, Kasey thought, acted like it was trying to sleep and didn’t want you waking it up by living too loud in it.  When you moved in it the floorboards always complained with creaks and cracks, and Kasey had learned where most of the squealy ones were but there was always a surprise, like you hit a nerve and made the place yelp.  Mom said that gave the place character but Kasey wasn’t sure she was a big fan of character.  She liked a house that’d shut up and just be a house.   But when this place was quiet it was really quiet, so the quiet became a presence, like something hiding and waiting and watching, and that was almost worse.


                So she never really liked being here alone but it was only a couple of hours after school while Mom was at the car dealership and she had the castaways and the Bradys and the Stevens-es to keep her company.  But now Mom wasn’t home (why?!) and there was nobody on but the news guy, talking about politics and Kasey thought a thousand-miles-or-whatever away in Denver her dad would be having a tantrum at what the guy was saying.  There wasn’t much comfort in it.


                And the rain was getting worse.  It had already been almost dark as night when she got in and now it was night and the rain was worse.  You could hear it on the roof and tapping at the windows and the house cracked like firecrackers as the wind bullied it.  And Mom was supposed to be home but wasn’t.


                Even though she didn’t want to be a baby, when the news was over Kasey tried calling Mom’s office, but the dealership had closed for the day.  She texted Mom but got no response, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything, the way Mom’s cellphone had been working lately, batteries dying and not finding a signal and you-name-it.  Mom said it was always a lemon, which meant piece-of-crap.  She dropped it a lot which didn’t help it not be a lemon, either.


                The Andy Griffith Show came on after the news.  Kasey watched it and bit her nails.  Then it finished and still no Mom.


                The show coming on was some boring crime-scene show and she didn’t bother to look for another channel, she just put a Wonder Woman DVD in, since that would calm her nerves.  Kasey thought or hoped that she might have a chance to look like Gal Gadot when she got older.  They had the same kind of hair and eyes.  Mom said she was lots prettier than Gal Gadot but come on, moms always said stuff like that.  It was nice but you couldn’t really believe it.  Maybe, though, she could get close.


                Diana got her magic rope and stuff and Mom still wasn’t home.  Still wasn’t answering any texts.  It’d be a big baby move to call the police or something, but something was wrong.  It was raining hard but not hard enough to strand anybody.  And if there was car trouble Mom would call.


                Mom was dead. 


                Of course she wasn’t, but Kasey kept thinking it.  She thought it a lot, it was her biggest scary thing to think about.  Not just because she really loved and needed Mom, but because she wasn’t going to go live with Dad.  Of course, if Mom ever did die it’d be because crazy Dad killed her, so he’d be in jail.  Then she’d maybe have to go live with Dad’s mom, who wasn’t much better, having been the one who raised him.  Mom’s mom and dad were dead.  Mom had a brother but Kasey had never even met him, he worked in Egypt.  She didn’t want to live in Egypt, even if he’d take her, which he probably wouldn’t.


                Mom didn’t answer texts again.  Kasey felt like she’d eaten a lot of ice, her tummy cold and tight.  Her blood wiggled.


                The rain made the house pop a lot.  Creak-crack from down the hallway.  There was a guest bedroom down the hallway – never used even once – and Kasey had bad dreams about that room.  She never liked going there.  The rain on the window in there was especially loud, like fingers tapping at it, like a lot of weak people trying to get inside, and it gave her the creeps.  There was a cemetery up the road and she thought of people digging themselves up and walking through the rain to visit.   Stuff like that didn’t happen, she knew, but it scared her anyway.  


She looked out the front door again but there was nothing but the porch lit up and the rain like static through the floodlight.


                Was Mom in a wreck?  They’d call her if she was, right?  You probably couldn’t have a bad wreck between here and the car dealership, there were no fast roads, and a lot of stoplights and traffic.  You couldn’t get up enough speed for a killing wreck.  Maybe she’d break a leg or something but she’d be okay.  Her friend Tim’s mom had had a wreck down the street.  Did the car up pretty good but she’d just gotten a bump on the head, no big hairy deal.  They made cars tough now.


                She did a search on her phone for wrecks in this town.  There were a few mentions but they’d all happened years ago, and only one said anybody died.


                Something in the hall went crick-crick-crack-crick like the boards would do if she ran on tiptoe, but of course nobody was there.


                Or probably not.  She hadn’t looked.  She hadn’t gone in that part of the house since she came home.  And she didn’t want to now.  She could see the door into the hallway, but she’d have to get up and look around the door to actually see down it.  And she’d have to turn on a light, because the hallway was dark.   And the guest room was at the end of it, with the big tappy-tap window and the bad dreams in it.  She couldn’t remember the dreams much, but they were weird and bad.  One had been about something like a big ball of white, wet hair in the room, moving like something was inside it.  Kasey knew that was a really bad dream because mom freaked out and wondered how her brain (still six years old at the time) had even invented something like it.  Kasey just hoped she had invented it, rather than sensed it somehow in her sleep.


                There could be somebody in the hallway, she thought, hearing another sneaky creak.


                And there could be somebody out in the rain, tapping at the window.


                There could be a huge ball of white hair in that room, squirming.


                Kasey was mad at herself, scaring herself.  Why would anybody want to tap at the window or break in just to sneak around the hall?


                Why would Mr. Wesley want to pinch a six-year-old girl’s legs?   People were weird, that’s why. 


                Out in the hallway there was a sneaky creeeeeeaaaak and then a sharp POP! of a board, and then silence that sounded like waiting.  Your move, Kasey.  She thought she heard muffled laughter.


                Kasey knew that board.  She’d hit it a few times, but she usually had to be running to set it off.  It was a board that usually only talked to Mom. That board needed weight. 


                Weight, waiting.  Waiting weight.


                She wanted to mute the TV and listen but then whatever was there would know she was aware of it and listening for it.  As long as it thought it was getting away with its sneaking it would keep sneaking instead of doing anything.  Besides, it’d be hard to hear sneaking with the rain going, pattering down the windows.  The whole house sounded like sneaky things everywhere, at the windows, in the walls, on the roof.  The sneakything in the hall could blend in. 


                The streetlight out the side window was the moon in a field of stars now, caught in all the rain on the window.   A tree was whipping in the wind like a ghost in a ragged sheet, like something trapped and struggling to free itself so it could come into the house.


                Like I need more problems, Kasey thought.


                Wonder Woman wouldn’t sit here and wonder what was in the hall, Kasey thought, looking at the TV.  Despite her name, Wonder Woman never wondered about anything, she just did it.  Gal Gadot wasn’t really Wonder Woman but she wouldn’t sit here, either.  Neither would Mom.  Of course, none of them were almost-nine, they all had certain authority just by being grown-ups, but if Kasey had to she could run really fast.  She was the fastest for a girl in her whole class except for this girl named Alice and she’d almost caught Alice a couple of times.  If someone was in the hall she could outrun it and get down the street to Mr. Johnny’s house.  He was a nice guy who was always fixing stuff for her and Mom and not even charging anything.  He wasn’t a leg-pincher, he talked to her like she was smart and grown up, what Mom said was “respect,” and she knew she didn’t have to be scared of him.  He’d let her in and get the cops if someone was in the house.


                So Kasey got up, real sneaky, and crept to the edge of the door to the hallway.  She leaned around and peeked out. Darkness.  She flicked the light switch and got a better view of an empty hallway.


                And, off to the left, the open door to the room with the tapping on the window, where the wet white hair lived.  It was dark in there.


                It probably ducked in there when it saw me peeking, Kasey thought, then frowned.  She was just scaring herself.  She couldn’t remember ever going into the white-hair room when Mom wasn’t home but she was being dumb worrying instead of looking so she walked down the hall and turned on the light.  No one was in there, just a bed and dresser and a couple of chairs and some boxes of stuff Mom could move out if they ever got a guest.  The tapping was rain on the window and some wet branches, not a bunch of fingers or creepy people from the cemetery.  Mr. Wesley wasn’t out there, grinning and trying to get in to pinch her legs.  A pair of socks – Kasey’s Garfield socks – were on the bed.  Maybe Mom had been folding laundry there and forgotten them.


                Even though there was nobody in the room, Kasey still felt a feeling, the same one she had when she was playing hide and seek at Tim’s house and she was “it.”


                The closet door was slightly open but almost shut.  Someone could be in there, waiting, holding its breath, grinning with the suspense of getting away with it.


                She could hear it snickering, mingled with the static of the rain.  Sneaky laughing.  For some reason, hiding and being sneaky always made people want to laugh.  Maybe because being sneaked-on was scary, so it was fun and mean being on the other side of the situation.  If she opened that closet door it’d jump out and grab her so it could laugh while she screamed.


                She ran back to the living room and the TV.  She called Mom again. No answer.


                If her phone melted in a flaming car wreck it wouldn’t even ring, she thought.  The phone still existed, so Mom still existed.


                Kasey sat very still and watched the television, waiting.


                There was a creak, from the kitchen this time.


                Two of them?  Or one that could get past her and move around the house because it wasn’t a person, it was something like wet white hair or the other things she’d bad-dreamed about.  She remembered another dream about that room, about a box that was in there with something writhing inside it,  something soft like a big worm thrashing around, making crying noises like a hurt sheep.    Now it might be out of the box, out of the dream, and here in the house, playing hide and seek with her. 


                You’re it!  You’re it, Kasey!  Better find me!  Hee hee hee!


                She got up and checked the kitchen.  The rain was loud in here, especially in the alcove where the washer and dryer were. She turned on the light in there, looked around, nothing.


                Kasey cut off the lights and went back to the living room, threw herself back on the couch, annoyed at herself for getting scared like a big stupid baby.  Mom being late just had her nervous.


                Then she noticed one of her Garfield socks on the couch.  She only had one pair of Garfield socks and she’d just seen them in the back bedroom and cold smooth white shot through inside her and squeezed.


                Something in the hallway laughed.  It had a gurgly, hoarse laugh, dry and wet at the same time.  A bully-playing-a-mean-prank laugh.


                Maybe the sock was a way to tell Kasey that the game of hide-and-seek was changing, and because she was too timid to seek, it wanted to be “it” now.  It had lured her to the kitchen so it could plant the sock to make its announcement.


                The rain was steady and she wondered if Mr. Johnny would be home if she ran down the street in the rain?  Mom would come home and wouldn’t find her and she’d be scared, as scared as Kasey was when Mom didn’t come home at all.  And Mom would walk into the house not knowing she was in a game of hide and seek with the wet white hair or the squealy-worm thing from the box.  If Mom didn’t know she was playing, they’d get her.


                And those socks hadn’t come from the laundry.  Kasey remembered now that she’d worn them a couple of days ago and they’d been on the floor of her room.  Her “playmate” had put them in the guest bedroom as a tease, as a way to say “I’m really here, Kasey!  Find me!”


                If she were to seek, what would she find?  If she hid, what might find her?


                WHERE WAS MOM?!


                She didn’t want to play.  She dialed Mom again.  The phone rang, nobody answered.  She could call the police but that might get Mom in trouble, and besides, it was big-baby-stuff, calling 911 because you found a dumb sock.  Maybe it was okay to be a big baby when you weren’t quite nine but it wasn’t okay with Kasey.


                She had heard that laugh.  She was pretty sure it wasn’t a rainstorm trick.  Then the floorboards in the hall gave little rapid squeaks, squeakle-squeakle-squeakle, a dog-with-a-chew-toy sound that said I’m waaaaaait-innng.  Play… with… me!


                Kasey ran to the kitchen, turned on the light, then darted into the alcove and squeezed herself next to the dryer, pulled the plastic trash can they used as a laundry basket in front of her.  It was a mistake, she knew immediately, she’d cornered herself.  She held her breath and listened, her palm pressed to her chest, feeling ba-boom-ba-boom-ba-boom.


                Nothing.  Silence.  For a long time.  Just rain sounds.  Water was giggling in puddles outside, flowing off the roof, chuckle chuckle.


                Then creeeeeak.  Creeeeeak-POP!


                Kasey held her breath as long as she could, then tried to breathe quietly, but she wanted air so badly it was hard to control and it felt too loud.  She felt a presence, right on the other side of the wall from her.  It must be right by the oven.  Another board popped and she choked on a scream and she thought she heard a laugh.


                Who are you? she thought in a smooth white panic and a voice in her head whispered I am the rain.


                She smelled rain, but bittered by being soaked into rotting old boards, and under it, just for a second, she caught a ripe, dirty-person tang.  Once, after he’d been shouting at her and Mom over something that had made him scary enough to start her crying, her daddy had picked her up and tried to make her make up with him, when she hadn’t wanted anything but to get away from him.  He had smelled like that, sweaty and boozy, a mean smell, which should be in Denver, not in this house.


                Then it was just rain again, and the sound of rain, like an army of rats marching across the roof, giggling rat-giggles.


                Light spilled in from the doorway to the kitchen and she watched it intently, waiting for a shadow to cross it.


                Minutes passed, and there was no shadow, and no noises, but all that proved to her was that maybe her “playmate” was very skilled at being still and waiting, or perhaps it was the kind of thing that didn’t cast shadows.  She held her breath, trying to hear its breath, but maybe it didn’t need to breathe.  Maybe it had died a long time ago.  A visitor from the cemetery up the road.


                Or maybe it had died just a couple of hours ago. Maybe it was Mom and she was dead but trying to be home.


                No!  She pinched herself, mad because she was scaring herself and that was helping it.  It was only here because she was afraid.  The rain and Mom not being home made her afraid and the fear drew it to her, like a bully.  It was always here but couldn’t do anything because it was usually too weak.  Her weakness was its strength.


                There were little creaks. It was tiptoeing away, looking elsewhere.  Or drawing her out.


                She felt certain it knew where she was, so why didn’t it just come in already?


                Because then the game would be over.  The game was all it had.  Other than giving her bad dreams while she was asleep and vulnerable, this was all the fun it had.


                Kasey eased the laundry trash can away and stood up.  She stepped out.


                Nothing was in the kitchen.  But Mom’s bedroom door, which adjoined the kitchen, was closed.  She couldn’t remember it ever having been closed.  Mom didn’t like closed doors.  Kasey had to be really mad before she’d even shut the door to her room.


                Kasey ran back to the living room and looked for her phone.  She thought she’d left it on the coffee table but it wasn’t there now.  She went around the room, finally finding it in Mom’s chair.  Kasey hadn’t put it there.  Mom didn’t care if she sat in it but she never did because she had a respect for it being Mom’s and besides it was an icky yellow-and-orange fabric that even Mom thought was ugly but too comfortable to replace just for looks, not on their budget.


                She dialed Mom again and got nothing but heard Mom’s bedroom door bump against the wall as it opened.  Looking toward the kitchen she saw a shadow in there and heard a laugh.


                Kasey raced to her bedroom and slid under her bed and lay there in the dark, her heart pounding, rain pounding, everything creaking.  Oh god oh god oh god…


                Footsteps came into the room, sneaky, but rhythmic, something smug doing a dance.  Your-mother’s-not-coming-home-and-you’ll-live-with-ME-now, the rain was telling her.  Ha ha ha ha ha.


                The bedsprings creaked.  It was climbing on.  Kasey squeezed her eyes and fists shut, fighting off a blizzard of panic inside her, willing it to go away, go away, it HAD to go away!


                But it didn’t.  Instead the bedsprings creaked, quietly, rhythmically, like it was jumping on the bed just a little.  Or, she thought horribly, like it was doing sex.


                She wanted to scramble out from under the bed because it obviously knew she was there, but where else could she hide?   Every hiding place is also a trap, and this playmate might stop toying with her and do whatever things it did, stuff you in a box, wrap you in old dead-people hair,  push itself inside you and squirm around in your mind and help it make nightmares for whoever’s next.


                She wanted to scream but to scream you have to breathe and she wasn’t breathing anymore, her heart was slamming her lungs too hard to allow any room.


                Then the front door clicked open, then shut.  Loud.  Not imagination.


                She choked.


                “Kasey?  Kasey, hon, where are you?”


                MOM!  Tears burst out and Kasey crawled out from under the bed, banging her head on the edge of it but not caring, and she crawled quickly toward the door, expecting to be grabbed by whatever was on the bed, and whatever that was she didn’t dare look back to see.  She tried to yell but all that came from her throat was a wheeze.  Her bedroom door was swinging slowly shut but she shoved through it and got up and ran, and she was thinking it’s a trick, it’s a mean trick until she saw her mother and flung herself at her, crying.


                “Oh, god, honey, I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry!” Mom said, hugging her hard.  “I tried to call, but I left my phone at the dealership.”  Mom crouched down and pulled Kasey to her.  “Larry, you know Larry?”


                Larry was a happy chubby guy who always joked with her.  Kasey liked him.


                “As we were leaving work, Larry had a heart attack.  I got him to my car and rushed him to the hospital, didn’t have time to get my purse or anything, it’s been craziness!”


                Kasey snuffled back her inner crybaby, trying to decide if she even wanted to admit about the playmate she’d suffered.   She thought about Larry, and if he was dead, maybe he was the playmate.  Larry would never be that mean, but maybe being dead made you mean.  You were a different person after you were dead.  “Are you okay?  Is Larry okay?”


                “Larry will be fine.  I’m fine.  It was bad but we got there in time.  Oh, honey, I’m sorry, I just got so wrapped up, I couldn’t think.  I worried about you but I kept thinking I’d be able to leave any minute, but things kept dragging out.  It was close, but they got Larry in, put a stent in him.  He’ll probably need more, but he was okay, he was joking and worrying about you more than himself, kept telling me to go home.  But I had to be sure he’d be okay before I could leave.  He needed me there, or I thought he did…”


                “Of course, I understand,” Kasey said.  Mom kissed her.


                “Were you really scared?”


                No sense lying.  “Yes.  I called a bunch of times.  I didn’t know what happened to you.”


                “I know, I can imagine how scary that was, I am so, so sorry.  I know you’re a big girl now, but that was a lot to put you through.  And with a storm and all.  Today was nuts!”


                Kasey nodded.  “And the house was being creepy.”


                “Old houses are always creepy in the rain.  I am so sorry, honey.  Look, tomorrow I’ll take off work, we’ll let you skip school, and we’ll go visit Larry in the hospital and then we’ll do whatever you want.  Okay?”


                “Okay.”  Kasey was so buoyant with relief she didn’t care about anything else.  The playmate felt gone now.  Maybe she’d just scared herself.  Maybe she’d imagined everything.  It seemed stupid now.


                “Come on, let’s get me some dinner,” Mom sighed, hanging up her raincoat.  “I am starved.  Did you eat your sandwich?”   Kasey nodded.  “Maybe I’ll fix us both some spaghetti.  Sound good?”


                Kasey nodded, following her mom to the kitchen, glancing at her bed.  It was empty.  Maybe it’d always been.


                In the kitchen, she peeked into her mom’s bedroom.  Empty.  Her mom got out pots and pans.


                “Okay, young lady, what’s the idea of putting your dirty socks on the table?  We eat there!  That’s gross!” Mom said, and Kasey turned to see her mother holding up a Garfield sock while, deeper in the house, the guest bedroom door slammed, like someone who’d had a toy taken away was having a tantrum.






                                                                                   THE    END




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