Emily Hart

© Copyright 2015 by Emily Hart  

Naiad, by Gustave Dore.


     The "miracle rain"  --that's what they called it.  Every news story reporting the unexpected downpour used that phrase, or some variation -- answer to prayer, act of God.  One meteorologist choked up and said "I never believed in miracles before this."  Firefighters, their faces streaked with rain and soot and tears of joy and relief jumped in the mud like children, laughing and hugging each other and the reporters and mugging for the camera crew who laughed and cried along with them.   Children who had been kept indoors through weeks of haze were released to splash barefoot in puddles.  Churches rang their bells; people beat pots and pans in the streets.  The president declared a national day of prayer and thanksgiving and congress stood up as one to applaud. 

     Millions of acres had been destroyed by the fires, homes cindered, lives forfeit as if a reaper had gone through, flashing his scythe.  Then -- clouds -- clouds such as we had never seen -- heavy with rain, seeming desperate to drop their burden -- and within hours the fires were out.  Out.  Completely out.

     In mere days reservoirs filled, brooks and rivers long depleted edged towards their banks.  Farmlands in danger because of drought were rejuvenated.  After a while the rains slowed from that initial downpour to a drizzle, then a gossamer mist.  So pleasant after the furnace we had sweltered in for so long -- we thought.  We would never complain about the rain again -- not after the fires that seemed to come out of perdition, not after the miracle rain.

     The rains went on.  They alternated between that oh so pleasant mist and torrents let loose from roiling black clouds.  River banks overflowed.  Meteorologists looked tense as they made their reports.  Scientists who could not explain the miracle were called upon to account for "this reason for concern."  The National Guard and volunteers who had fought the fires joined once again with firefighters to lay sandbags and dig out landslides.  The rains continued and no one was using the word miracle any more.

     The air was thick with mold spores.  Fungus grew in places unfamiliar to it.  The president again called for a day of prayer.  This time Congress did not stand and applaud, but dropped to their knees -- even the avowed atheists in their number.  Across the globe other presidents and prime ministers made the same call to prayer.  If there was any comfort it was that we were not alone in this strange hour.  Every continent was experiencing the same pattern of rain.

Then the sky cleared as abruptly as it had clouded and we saw them -- ships beyond count stretched out like gleaming ribbons.  The new word on the news broadcasts was "armada."  We looked to our leaders for reassurance, knowing their words would be hollow.  What could we do against power of such enormity it could call and dismiss the rain itself?  What could we offer if they came expecting some tribute from us? 

As invasions go I suppose it was rather peaceful.  They made no demands, no calls to surrender, only announced their intentions -- the reclamation of a planet that had been theirs millennia ago  before they set out across the galaxy.  They offered to assist us in adapting to the "necessary alterations."  Some of us railed against the inevitable, beat fists impotently against the unrelenting  to no effect except bloodying those fists.  Some ironically drowned themselves.  Some of us bent our necks and accepted the change.

I have always loved the sea.  I suppose that makes it a little easier for me than for some.  I am becoming accustomed to my gills and hardly ever think of them as disfigurement.  But then, what mirrors do I have except reflective pools and the silver ribbon of the empty ships hovering in the sky?

Emily Hart shares her third floor walk-up studio apartment with over 1300 books.  She writes for the same reason she reads -- in hopes of becoming bigger on the inside.

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