Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP April 2022: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall


It's already time for another WEP Challenge in our Year of Music. This month's musical inspiration is "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan. For more information or to join in on the fun, check out this post. If you need additional inspiration for this prompt, be sure to check out the Challenges 2022 page.

Here's my take on this month's prompt. I hope you enjoy.

Like a Waterfall

The sky looked identical to the wet concrete below. Water hemorrhaged from the sky, while the streetlights burned bright despite the mid-afternoon hour.

The weather report had warned a hard rain was going to fall, but no one in Rey’s little neighborhood had access to the most up-to-date reports anyway.

Rey pulled her frayed flannel shirt closer to her body as she huddled under an awning. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were a few degrees warmer, but the chill in the air sent the dampness radiating into her bones. Her teeth chattered, her limbs trembled. She closed her eyes and tried to envision bright skies and the gentle warmth of a summer breeze. The illusion was pleasant enough, but it couldn’t hold the cold at bay.

Ms. Dupree, hunched over her shopping cart with a tattered poncho pulled over her, trudged by. One of her tennis shoes had a hole so big her big toe poked through. Milo, who had to be nearly 80 years old, huddled across the alley, coughing into his white-knuckled fist. Up until recently, he’d still had his own home, but times got tough.

Nearly a dozen tents populated this little alleyway, shared amongst a current twenty-nine inhabitants. The number fluctuated from day to day. Some residents left one day never to return. Rey often wondered about them, especially little Ricky, who found his way to the alley at 15. His parents booted him from the house for being gay. She hoped that maybe his family had a change of heart, or maybe that he found a program willing to give him a leg up and out of this life. She hoped, but she knew the other dark possibilities that lurked on the edges of their daily lives.

The rumbling of her stomach interrupted her thoughts. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d been able to eat enough to feel full. At best, she could get her hands on enough food to take the edge off her hunger.

She dipped her hand into her damp jeans pocket and brushed her fingers against the change contained within. If she walked to the corner store, she might be able to buy herself a packet of peanut butter crackers. That had been one of her all-time favorite snacks as a child. Now those little crackers were tainted by the desperation of her situation.

The rain was falling too heavily to take the trip now. Hopefully it would abate soon.

Leaning back against the brick wall, she surrendered herself to thoughts that she generally tried to avoid. On days like this, it took too much energy to keep them buried.

The bright blue of Ethan’s eyes flashed before her eyes, and an aching pain flared in her chest. She’d only had him for a day in the hospital before the adoption papers were signed. Logic told her she couldn’t have been a good mother for him. She couldn’t even take care of herself most days. A pregnancy spent living on the streets had been risky enough. He deserved more than that. This knowledge didn’t stop the pain, though. He had to be two years old by now. Did he love peanut butter crackers? Was he allergic to anything? What made him smile?

These were answers she would never have.

She lingered awhile in the grief. It gnawed away at her insides, as persistent and potent as her hunger. She remembered the dreams she once had for herself. When she was young, she always imagined herself becoming a veterinarian. She could never stand to see an animal sick or suffering.

Now suffering was an integral part of her daily existence.

The rain persisted. Rey shoved herself away from the wall and began to walk. Why not? She was already half-soaked anyway, and she needed to eat something. Tears streaked her face, mixing in seamlessly with the pelting rain drops. It all ran like a waterfall down her cheeks. If she stayed in the driving rain long enough, perhaps it would wash her pain away.

Maybe the sun would eventually shine through and a rainbow would appear. Maybe, just maybe, there could be brighter days ahead.

Word Count: 702 words


Tagline: Rey attempts to find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

And there it is! Please read the other wonderful entries for the April Challenge!


  1. I can see that I am going to weep often before I finish the stories in this month's challenge.

  2. So well done. I hope for brighter days for Rey and so many others like her

  3. Hi Laura - yes far too many struggling right now - some will let the rain wash their problems away, others won't be so lucky ... excellent sad story line - cheers Hilary

  4. Sad, so sad. She must be young to have a toddler son. Why is she in this alley? Why can't she find a better life for herself? Why doesn't anybody help her?

  5. Such a sad tale. Homelessness is something we should all be concerned about.

  6. Tragic and poignant. Too many like Rey right now. Why is the world so cruel to people who don't fit into exact societal moulds??
    I like that you end on a note of hope though - that's what keeps us as a species going, I think.

  7. So many Reys in India. You see them all around. On traffic lights. And yet, if not hope what else can sustain them? Poignant narration.

  8. Oh my, what a story, I feel guilty sitting here in my lovely warm, dry house, reading a tragic story.

  9. Such a sad story! Beautifully descriptive -I was able to be in her shoes for a while. Well written!

  10. So well told, Laura. You always write with such emotion and excel in your descriptions. Great piece!

  11. So heartrending Laura and told from the heart. It always annoys me that there are so many homeless in rich countries. A shame. Thanks for walking us in her less-fortunate shoes.

  12. Your writing shines with empathy, igniting emotions and sensations. I was hoping for some relief at the end but this isn't a fairytale. Really sad.

  13. Good painting of living on the streets. And the special hell new mother's who are homeless get to face. Never see the "prolife" crowd out there helping. Of course, any help they do get, any at all, is criticized at the same level as those who commit murder. Sorry, that was inappropriate; murderers sometimes get excused, where as anyone at all who ever gets pregnant without having 30grand or more to their name is pure evil and only capable of doing wrong and unworthy of existence. (According to a man who wore black with a white clerical collar and drove around in a van that had a cross and the name of a Catholic church. "Priest" seems like a bit of a stretch, but whatever. I only cleaned up the tears after he left a twelve-year-old girl behind, contemplating suicide after he came to bring "comfort.")

    You've reminded me of dark times. Just as good fiction can often do. Nice work.

  14. It's so heartbreaking. When I was delivering food in downtown Denver from 2017 to 2019, I often drove by the Denver Rescue Mission. I would have been homeless myself if not for my son allowing me to move into his townhouse and sleep on the couch. There's no excuse for it in a first-world country. The only thing that keeps people homeless is the greed of those in power. Everyone should have food, shelter, medical care, and utilities, regardless of their ability to pay.

  15. I really hope there are brighter days ahead! The poignancy of the peanut butter crackers, a favourite childhood treat now tainted in its associations, really struck me!