The bus was late. 

It was annoying when this happened, yet I couldn’t but wonder at the darkening skies above. Every once in awhile there would be a flash among the black clouds followed by a low rumble. Rain was upon us and I had a long busride home; longer than usual due to the overwhelming traffic that seemed to crawl in short jerks every few minutes.

I gazed at the faces of the drivers, all of them so angry or stressed, but a few of them with blank stares as they probably wallowed in some imaginary spa in their minds. The pedestrians had the advantage of movement, scurrying about like busy ants of a newly broken ant-hill, eager to get to shelter before the storm hits. 

I looked up at the sky again and it was now a churning mass of blackness, lightning forking among the gaps. There wasn’t a hint of rain yet, save for the strengthening winds and random rumbles of the sky gods. Ah the Sky Gods! I remembered the old tales my mother used to tell me on rainy days. The Sky Gods would decide the fate of the skies, and they alone would decide if there were to be rain or famine below. What did they look like? Well the traditional clothing and the crowns were the usual description. I mused at the thought of a newer Sky God, dressed in suit-and-tie. My mild laugh caught some annoyed glances in the bus stop.

Clearly, there was no mood for humour here. 

The traffic was at a complete standstill now. “Rush hour.” I heard someone mutter next to me. True, the streets of Colombo could never be empty at this time of the day, when everyone just wanted to get back to their homes and watch their favorite soap operas. And the soap operas! Full of family feuds and discreet affairs, they offered entertainment to the twisted minds of the majority. Why did people enjoy seeing the quarrels of others? I don’t know. 

I began my brisk walk home. The bus wasn’t going to come anytime soon. I’ll get home faster this way, or maybe get into another bus I meet in the traffic. Perhaps it wasn’t the most logical thing to do at the time, yet it seemed prudent, somehow. The line of vehicles never budged, and sprawled endlessly into the horizon. The darkened atmosphere gave the scene a morbid feel, and perhaps that is what made me feel apprehensive. Sometimes you feel things before they happen. And such things are usually terrifying. This was one of those times.

I walked faster, avoiding oncoming pedestrians. Thunder cracked loudly over me, and the winds blew stronger. A bunch of children ran past me towards the closest shelter. The rain began without warning. It didn’t start off as a slow drizzle, as an approaching cloud would feel, with its thinnest edge hovering over you with a gently downpour, evolving gradually into a stronger torrent. No, this was sudden and spontaneous. It felt like the clouds burst open with all their fury, the thunder and lightning providing them with wild encouragement, as we would do to the dancing drunk in the climax of a late-night party. 

The sane thing to do would be to run for cover, hoping to avoid the celestial waters and possible pneumonia. But I felt that I did not need to and so I did not. I walked as I had done when all was dry just moments ago, the rain pouring all over me, giving me the appearance of one who was pushed into a pool. I did not even bother to cover my head. I needed nothing to protect me at that moment for there was nothing to be protected. I was nothing. There was only the rain. 

Have you spent some time in the rain? Then you know that rain stimulates all your senses. You can hear, see, touch, taste and smell it. The smell of rain is a pleasant one, endowed with unearthly freshness and purity. Something hardly found upon the surface of our polluted planet. It seems to give you strange new energy and a sense of comfort, with its coolness penetrating you, its sounds imprinting themselves in your brain, much like a symphony orchestra would do, driving you into an altered state of mind, full of power, calmness and clarity. 

And in this state of consciousness I stopped my journey and stared into the dark sky above. The rain drops flew from it like shrapnel from an explosion. Thunder rumbled as lightning heralded their coming. And in the flashes of the highest skies I could see the shapes of the Sky Gods, majestic and gigantic, gazing benevolently down at the world below them. And as I saw them I knew they could see me too. In our silent exchange I learned the wisdom of the Sky Gods. A flash, and all was gone.

A charred body was left behind on earth surrounded by shocked humans, some crying, some in silence. An ascension was completed and now I gaze down upon the world I once belonged to, as my peers stand by me doing the same, directing the celestial waters to their destiny.


~ by Prageeth Thoradeniya on March 20, 2008.

3 Responses to “Storm”

  1. Superbly Excellent

  2. Thank you!

  3. fuck,
    up until the last para I didn’t realise this was a work of fiction 😐
    good stuff

    I’ve wanted to write something about rain for sometime now
    Never really got to doing it
    I did write a little poem though, at 2AM in the morning 😛

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