Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I'd been waiting all Summer for a sign. Sometimes wearing dresses. Sometimes climbing trees. I can remember how I felt. I mean, I know in stories they tell you about how a girl becomes a woman, by how the boys all come to notice her differently. But those stories always seemed silly to me. Like they missed the point. I knew how I felt. The thoughts inside my feelings. That's what makes a girl a woman. And I'd been slowly becoming more than a girl for a long time. It didn't matter to me what anyone else thought, it mattered to them, sure. It always does. Still, doesn't change anything, does it? A long, hot Summer happens regardless of the Weather Men.

    I'd grown quite strong. I'd been in and out of trees since tiny and I wasn't about to stop now just 'cos others thought I should. I had a few favourites around the outskirts of town. Old friends, lending limbs so I could see what was coming up in the distance.

    Up on high, I spotted a small plume of smoke. Like a little cotton ball sweeping up the winding country roads, out past the fields. We'd had no rain for months now. Not since the beginning of the year. Everything was dry as tinder and the townsfolk had been rationing water ever more. It suited me. I didn't care for washing my hair or cleaning my fine clothes everyday. I could stay in my bare feet and overalls and no one could complain. The smoke made me start though. I knew what a fire could mean, a fire could sweep through and devastate us in no time. I hopped down and ran as fast as I could to find my Daddy.

    The menfolk went out to the smoke and we waited till night fall. And waited. And waited. And waited.

    Some time in the early hours we heard them singing. They rolled in drunk on a wagon. I went out to meet them in that suffocating heat of the dark and angry. That's the first time I clapped my eyes on the cloud-burster and hands on hips, gave him what for.

    I loved him from that first moment.

    It was some days after, that I came to know anything about him. I mean there was talk about how he was here to make rains in that crazy contraption of a wagon but you can't believe the nonsense that the people talk here. They think rain are the tears of babies in heaven. They ain't real smart. I went to find out for myself, hear it from the horses mouth, though he didn't have any horses, that wagon powered itself.

    "Ah, the fire creature, do you need putting out?" that's what he said when he saw me. I didn't say anything to that. Just smiled with all my teeth. The way I'd seen wolves do. I pointed to the skies.
    "You think you can fix them?" I said, eyeing him sharply.
    He smiled back. "If there's a cloud, I can burst it" His chest puffed out and he stood, tall and handsome.
    "How?" I asked him.
    "I just can, you'll see". And then he went on to talk about where he'd been and where he was going. It was like the cloud of him had burst and he couldn't stop the water of his soul spilling out. It was like that every time he saw me. He'd just gush more and more and more. I was torn about it. I mean he was beautiful. The most beautiful man I'd ever seen. He really just glowed. He'd follow me round like a lovesick puppy and I could see how all the other girls in town were looking like they were fixing to murder me. They'd be doing all they could to get him to notice them and he only had eyes for me. It was dreadful.

    I started climbing back up my trees. Watching out for the clouds like everyone else. Everyone had their own idea of how he did the cloud-bursting. Some thought he had a great big stick that could reach up so high and pop them, right there. Others thought he turned out that horseless wagon and flew it up in the sky and caught clouds like buffalo. He'd just grin.

    I felt guilty. I didn't see how it could be done. I'd been reading books I shouldn't have. I knew about osmosis. I didn't dare say the word. But he was so sure of himself. I could tell he was hurt I didn't believe him. Not the angry hurt. The sad hurt. The kind that doesn't understand. I tried telling him about the way I saw things. I hated seeing those beautiful eyes look back with their mocking. I told him things I'd never told anyone, holding the knowledge of me out as gifts, waiting for him to see what was offered. He'd laugh, tease me. He'd never heard my kind of learning before. It was silly. And so was I.

    There was no mistaking it now. There was a storm coming.

    I didn't like it. Any of it. I didn't see how it could turn out good. None of this was right. Nothing added up. No one else seemed to mind. You offer thirsty people water and they don't ask twice. I saw them all go. His wagon leading. Rolling out to the clouds that were steering their way towards us or maybe past us. I ran after them. He shone, he really shone. That was the happiest I ever saw him. You couldn't mistake it. Everyone else was in a trance. When they reached the spot in the field he'd obviously decided was to be the place, he climbed on the back of his wagon and reached up with all his might to the skies. I wasn't close enough yet. I couldn't hear what he was shouting up at the heavens. But I could see how quiet and calm it had all become, eerily quiet. I could see how everyone just sat down around him like sheep. I saw the first crack out of the skies and how it hit my tree. My old limbed friend who'd helped me see further than I'd ever seen. I saw the skies burst and I saw him vindicated, in a slow and unreal way. He turned to me and smiled. I was stock still. I could see all his teeth, like a wolf.
    He climbed inside the wagon. Pointed to the path and his followers reluctantly began walking back to town. Drenched and happy. And he rode away, just like that. Stamping his fist to his heart and pointing at me as he did so.

    On the third day it was still raining and the town was still rejoicing in it's miracle.

    On the seventeenth day it was still raining.

    On the fourtythird it was still raining and some had begun to pack up.

    On the seventyeighth day the town was under-water and still no sign of stopping.

    I was long gone. I didn't wait around to see it. I knew from the moment I saw the sky crack that it would never stop raining. I knew he would never come back. I knew where he was from and where he was going.

    In the years in-between I have built my own wagon. Yesterday I rolled into his town.
    "I come bringing heat" I said and the fire creature in me smiled, with all her teeth.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.