Exercising the craft—February 20, 2017

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: A few days after my twelfth birthday, the first cloud fell.



A few days after my twelfth birthday, the first cloud fell.

We didn’t think anything of it at first, although, admittedly, no one had ever before seen an actual cloud rushing toward the earth as if in fear for its life. It raced to the ground dissipated on impacted. Nothing remained once it touched the grass; no water particles. No puffy wisps reminiscent of dreamy summer days.

A freaky but acceptable phenomenon, we thought. Something to chat about at parties and school. We never dreamed more would follow.

When the next cloud fell—and more followed—a week later, we knew this was no singular phenomenon.

The government tried to reassure the people that this weather event wouldn’t last. That’s what they called it. A “weather event.” As if it were an occasion where the Girl Scouts and the local rotary club would ride floats down Main Street and everyone would share punch and cookies afterward.

The clouds kept falling for weeks. Soon enough, though, no one noticed them anymore. We were spending all of our time looking for shade. The stores ran out of all hats with large brims. Umbrellas became more coveted than cocaine.

The heat became a challenge, a dare, a death wish. Those who no longer wanted to live didn’t have to deal with the messiness of knives against wrists. They simply went into the fields with the dying crops and contributed to the dying.

The government stopped calling it a weather event not long after that.