This story, by MusicalKehleigh, is the winner of our May Sentence Prompt contest.
It was surprisingly bright, considering the usual gloom of the rainy forest. Although the ever-present clouds forbid the sun from ever dominating the sky, thin beams of light streamed from above. It was nice to see some sun for once. It reminded me of home. But despite the usual, overcast nature of weather, I still enjoyed living in the rainy forest.
Little droplets of water fell from the heavens. I smiled to myself. Yes, I liked the rain one, maybe because it was raining here, and I loved the sound it made on my tin roof.
But I was no longer able to enjoy the weather outside. No, whenever I heard those first few taps of rain, I knew it was time to go back inside my cottage.
I'd just made it past the door when the downpour started, like a million drummers on my roof. I shivered from the cold air permeating my cottage.
I headed straight for my couch, nestling myself in a cocoon of warm blankets. Floral scents wafted up to my nose. I drank in the scent. It was so fresh and aromatic as if the flowers had just been plucked from the earth. I pulled the blanket of roses tighter and reached for my book.
Despite the sweetness, painful reality always prodded my conscious whenever I used this blanket. Sadness washed over me as the bitter memory returned. I bought this blanket from a young weaver. She had specially preserved the flowers so that they would remain alive, despite not being attached to the ground. She said that the flowers would remain vibrant forever, so long as I watered them. Naturally, I elected not to water the flowers, figuring that once this blanket died, I could always buy a new one.
I couldn't have been more wrong. Soon after, all the flowers died on a Sunday evening. This blanket was one of a kind, a replica could not be made. As my fingers traced the fine weave, I realized that these flowers, too, were soon to die. Most of them were shrivelled up from a lack of water. Every time I used this blanket, I was reminded of my rotten choice. The flowers begged for water. They screamed that it wasn't too late, that they still could survive. I never heeded their silent cries. I knew it was selfish of me to not hydrate them. But no matter how much guts I built up, fear triumphed in the end.
I shoved those thoughts aside, resolving to focus my attention on something else. I opened my book and began reading. How I adored the sound of rain! It was the perfect accompaniment to the latest book I'd been reading. The pitter-patter was like blank noise, a canvas for the imagination.
Two words on the page smeared together. For a moment, I just stared at the odd sight. Then, another appeared on the page. Panic struck me. As I gazed up, I caught a glimpse of the source. I gasped at what I saw. A single hole had broken my steadfast, tin roof. Fear began coursing through my veins. As if in slow motion, a droplet of falling water landed on my hand. I screamed as the spot turned bright red.
The words of my mother ran through my head. The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow. I could almost feel her touch again when she had tried to ease the pain of the first drop of water to ever touch my skin.
You will never feel the pain of the water twice. Once water has touched a spot on your skin, you will never feel that pain there ever again, She had assured me. Then, you can run and play in the rain all you want.
It seemed like a fantasy to me as a child. To become fully immune to the Hotwo disease would be extremely difficult unless I submerged my entire body into liquid at the same time. The prospect of rain was rare in the sunny forest, much to my fortune, for as much as I longed to play in the rain, I knew the pain that such an action would bring. But once I'd grown older, I'd promised myself that I would get rid of this terrible disease for good. I even decided to buy a home in the rainy forest in hopes that I would get so entranced by the falling water, I would impulsively dash outside. One day, I would run out in the rain and be cured for life.
But the burning sensation...it was just too much. I could hardly stand a single droplet, how could I stand to feel my whole body like this all at once?
More rain fell, landing on my arm and blanket. I winced. The pain was agonizing. I can't stay here with that hole in the ceiling. I stood from my reading nook, about to enter the kitchen.
But something caught my eye. In the spot that the water had touched my blanket, the roses bloomed a vivacious, pink color. They were far more lovely than even when I first purchased it. Another drop of water touched the blanket, and again, a rose was revived. The fragrance of honey filled the room, like a lulling melody.
The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.
The impulse came. I swooped the blanket into my arms. Before I had time to change my mind, I rushed out the door. The instant I stepped outside, my body tingled, then prickled, then burned. Large, red welts covered my skin. I felt like I was standing in fire. I gritted my teeth and held the roses up to the heavens. Thunder reverberated in the distance. The once shrivelled flowers opened their petals to receive the sky's gift. Soon, they were luscious and in full bloom. The minute I saw that the flowers were awakened, I hurried inside.
I slammed my door, a barrier between myself and the treacherous rain. My pulse pumped vigorously from the adrenaline rush. My muscles convulsed in agony. Closing my eyes, I tried to imagine the pain away.
I breathed in the floral essence from the blanket. The perfume relaxed my senses, dulled the burn. In spite of the anguish I felt, my lips tugged into a tiny smile.
The pain I felt today would be the strength I felt tomorrow.