The Rain

“You look rode hard and put up wet.”









Sweet Home


Wiper blades frantically scrape water off of the windshield in the pouring rain, fighting a losing battle with no end in sight. Ephraim felt lucky he was able to make it home on the gas he had. He had used the last of his pocket cash earlier that day to help Janie with her purchases.


Ephraim takes deep, slow breaths. In, and out. He had pulled the car up as close as he could to the front door of his home, but there was still several feet between his car door and his front door where he would risk getting wet. His first choice was parking in the garage, but the door opener in the car was not functioning.

The more he thought about the rain, the more paranoid he felt.

Why does the rain do this to folks? How wet do folks have to be before it affects them? Is one drop enough?

He looks his clothing up and down, trying to detect any moisture against his skin. Everything seems dry, save for my forehead.

That has to be sweat, right? What if I had drops on my skin from before, but they evaporated on the drive over? What if I’m already affected and change any minute now? What if my family inside is already affected?

The questions barrage his mind like the rain pelting against his car. Anything could be waiting for him out there this night.

No, I can’t get stuck in these thoughts. My happiness is on the other side of this fear. So, ready or not…

Ephraim takes a deep breath and swings open the driver side door, tossing out the edge of his raincoat, hoisting himself up, and in one fluid motion closes the car door and sprints up his steps to his front door. Now under the awning, he clumsily fumbles for the doorknob when he notices the door is already slightly ajar.

Easing the door open further, Ephraim peeks inside.

“Mom?” He calls softly into the house.

No answer. The house is dark and quiet. Ephraim comes all the way in now, closing the door behind him.

“Mom?” He calls again. “Mom! Dad!

Nothing. The house is still. Ephraim turns on the light in the living room and begins walking through the house. The kitchen is empty, so he checks the bedrooms and then the rest of the house upstairs, but finds nothing. He is beginning to think he is alone when he hears a faint sound. It sounds like a sob.

“Mom?” Ephraim says, moving towards the sound.

The sob is louder this time. He walks to the bathroom door and knocks softly.

“Mom? You okay?”

The sobbing stops.

“I’m comin’ in,” He says, opening the door.

Ephraim enters to see his mother, standing in front of the mirror in her church clothes. Her makeup is running, and her eyes are red. She looks like she has been crying.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Everything’s fine.” She wipes tears from her face. “It’s just…I’m sorry, Eph. I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

I warned him, but he wouldn’t listen. He said he didn’t want to lose you, and I just let him…” She falls into his arms.

“It’s alright, Mom. It’s okay.” He tightens his embrace.

“I love you, Eph. You know that, right?”

“I love you too, Mom.”

They stand like that for a while, holding each other, until Ephraim asks “Where did he go? The store?”


“I didn’t see him when I was comin’ up here. He must have gone when I went to check on…”

His voice trails off, thinking of Janie trudging along the side of the road in her bra and panties. The ominous way her father lingered in front of her house.

He shakes the thought from his mind. Taking out his phone, Ephraim dials his father’s number, waiting on every ring. His mother sits unmoving, fixating on the phone until the voicemail plays.

“I’ll go look for him.” Ephraim says.

“No! Stay here with me until he gets back.” She pleads.

He’s out there ’cause of me!”

“I refuse to lose both of you!”

The welling anger and panic that had been inside of Ephraim gives way to overwhelming helplessness.

“Fine,” he relents, “I’ll stay.”


The bowl of spaghetti in front of him exudes warmth and a strong, savory aroma. If his stomach wasn’t so twisted up inside, he was certain he would be demolishing this food.

“You look rode hard and put up wet.”

His mother stands in the doorway, expectantly waiting for him to eat.

“Yeah. I was just…” He begins to say, but his mother cuts him off.

“Eat your dinner.”

I think I’ll feel hungrier once dad gets back.”

She looks disappointed in Ephraim’s response, but her expression quickly lightens up.

“He will be back soon. You won’t have to wait long.”

A phone rings upstairs.

“That’s probably him now!” She rushes up the stairs, leaving Ephraim alone in the kitchen. Listening intently, he carefully gets up from his seat and moves over to the staircase.

“Oh, thank the lord! Honey, he’s home now, you should get back.”

The pit in Ephraim’s stomach slowly dissipates.

“Yes, I’ll let him know. Everything is alright? Okay. Be careful, I love you.”

His mother returns to the staircase, smiling from ear to ear.

“Did you hear?”

“Yeah,” Ephraim says with great relief. “He’s comin’ back?”

“He’ll be here any minute. I’m going to go change. Finish up your dinner, and when he gets back we will all decide how to deal with,” she gestures outside to the weather, “this.”

Ephraim, nods, returning to the kitchen table. Picking up his fork, he twirls the spaghetti in his hand, feeling his appetite returning but still not quite ready to eat.

What do we do after dad gets back? Do we wait in the house for help, or do we try to leave town? If we leave town, how long will it need to be for?


The dark sky lights up and for an instant, through the sliding glass door, the outside is bright as day before the entire house goes dark. Looking down, Ephraim can barely see the bowl in front of him.

Great. I better flip the breaker back on.

Scooting back from the table, Ephraim adjusts his pants and fishes around in his pocket for his phone in order to switch on its flash. Grasping at nothing, he wonders where he left his phone when he spots a flashlight on the counter. He grabs it, flicks it on and makes a bee-line out of the kitchen and down the basement steps. He easily locates the breaker box on the wall at the bottom of the steps, just like he had many times before, and flips the power back on.

Shackled against the opposite wall and naked as the day he came, his father jerks awake from slumber, lifting up his head with fear in his eyes.

“Ephraim!” He cries out in relief.

Dad?” He whispers.

Don’t eat the spaghetti,” He pleads, looking up the stairs. Ephraim’s stomach twists back into a tight knot and his heart sinks.

“Where’s your ma’?”

“She’s in the bedroom. She told me you were comin’ home and she went in there to change.”

“No, you can’t stay here, you have to leave.”

Ephraim inspects the shackles around his father’s wrists, struggling to process everything at once.

“Don’t bother, she already swallowed the damn key. Go!”

His father buts his head into Ephraim’s side, pushing him off. Without a beat, Ephraim turns and swiftly ascends back up the stairs.

“Eph!” His father cries out.

“The radio station, KRMZ! They had a caller– just go there! Ask for Vanessa!”

Ephraim nods, racing up the stairs and sprinting down the hallway to the front door. With a little bit of gas, he aims to hit up the radio station.

Shit, gas! The rest of my cash is upstairs. I won’t make it very far without it.

He looks up the staircase to the second floor bannister for any sign of his mother. If she was able to do that to his father, there is no telling what she is capable of doing to him now. Hearing nothing and seeing less, Ephraim tiptoes up the stairs. Arriving to the top, he peers down the hallway.


Lightning illuminates the hallway through the windows, revealing his mother standing there in unbuttoned pajamas. She is wearing makeup and smiling, as if nothing is wrong in the world.

“Hello, Ephraim,” She greets him with a smile.

“You’re not feeling well, mom.”

“Oh?” She chuckles. “I feel amazing.”

She walks closer to him, a small smile on her lips.

“And soon you will be, too.”

Ephraim steps away from his mother, trying to maintain a safe distance. She moves closer, her arms reaching out to him.

“Please, Ephraim, don’t be like your father.”

She leans in, kissing him on the cheek.

“Please, Ephraim,” she says again as Ephraim uses a hand to prevent her from kissing him on the mouth.

He pulls away and pushes her.

“Get away from me!”

“Ephraim, you’re so sweet. Why don’t you like me?”

“I do like you, mom.”

“Then why don’t you kiss me?” She asks, taking hold of his chin.

I just need to grab something from my room. Then I’m gonna find some help, and you‘re gonna be okay again. Please, just back up.”

“You have to kiss me first.”

She reaches forward again as he ducks past her. Rushing into his room, he begins to fumble through his desk drawer for his spare cash. She wraps her arms around his waist, holding him in place.

“I know what you are.” She whispers.


“You’re a man, Ephraim. I can tell.”

Get off.”

“Oh, but you are,” she whispers, running her hand around his waist and lightly grasping his soft cock through his jeans.

Ephraim shoves his hand deeper into the desk drawer, finding the stack of bills, and pulling them out.

“Ephraim,” she says, her arms still tightly around him, “I know what you want.”

“Get off me!”

He brings up his arms to push her away from him yet again, but this time she grabs his jeans by the waistline and tackles him to the ground, furiously tugging down his jeans. He struggles underneath her weight as she continues voraciously pulling on his pant legs, her heaving breasts dragging across his now-bare crotch. Kicking and wriggling, he squirms out of his pants and slides out from underneath her.

“Ephraim, don’t run from me!”

Her voice fades as he sprints out of his room and down the staircase. Snatching his raincoat off of the coat rack, he looks down at his bare legs.

I have nothing to protect my legs from the rain.

There is a sliding sound from upstairs followed by a thud. A few calm footsteps down the hallway, then another slide, and another thud with the sound of rain getting slightly louder.

She’s opening the windows.

Ephraim swings open the downstairs closet and frantically ruffles through various knick-knacks for something- anything- he can use to cover his legs. His fingers rummage through several old boxes, but there is no sort of cloth or cover in sight. Footsteps begin to descend the staircase, one by one, when Ephraim finds a used contractor bag.

It’ll have to do.

Ephraim turns to see that his mother is now opening all of the downstairs windows. He haphazardly fashions the bag into a covering for his legs and heads to the front door. His hand reaches to his side for his keys in the pocket of his pants that he is no longer wearing.

Wind whistles through the open windows when his mother returns to the room, light mists blowing in from the outside. She holds up his car keys and cell phone.

“Care to bargain?” She asks.

“No,” he says, turning to the door.

“I’m sorry, Ephraim. You can’t leave.”

He stares at the door in silence.

The water is getting inside everywhere else in the house. She’s cornered me.

He looks back over his shoulder and locks eyes with his mother.

“You have to let me go, Mom. I’m going to the radio station.”

We can’t let the world know what’s happening to us. They will try to stop it.”

“That’s the point. We have to stop it. I’m not gonna let anyone else go through what we are.”

“Well, would you look at that? You were a boy, but you became a man. You know, you have your father’s eyes.”

The wind blows through the house again, harder this time.

“Just hand me the keys, Mom. I’ll be back.”

She holds out the keys in front of her, but tosses the cell phone out of the window and into the yard. 

“Fine,” she relents, before sitting on the ground with her legs splayed. She places the keys directly between her thighs as the winds pick up, blowing even harder now than before. Puddles of water form closer and closer to her. 

“Take them.”

He reaches down to grab his keys, but the mists swoop in, covering them in tiny droplets. He looks up and sees that his mother has closed her eyes.

“I said take them!” She yells again.

Ephraim begins to feel hints of moisture, his dry corner of the house now taking on water. It’s now or never.

He reaches in for the keys, snatching them as his mother then closes her legs around his arms.

“Fuck me harder than you ever did those other little sluts!”

Ephraim’s arm effortlessly slips out of her wet thighs. He swings around, opens the front door, and the wind swirls around him as he steps outside. The rain pelts against his hood and shoulders as he dashes to the car.

The winds pick up harder as he tries to turn the key, rocking the car. The tires spin uselessly as he shifts the gear. The car lurches forward, and Ephraim jumps back in surprise. The wheels catch traction, and he drives out of the driveway, down the street, and out of the city.

Pulling back on his hood, he gasps for air and inspects his body, spotting only a few droplets on his skin.

Is it enough?

The thought alone causes him to cringe. Trying to block out his mind, he turns on the radio, tuning into KRMZ which is currently playing an upbeat new wave synthesizer song from the 80s. It’s not what he normally listens to, but he doesn’t hesitate to get lost in the song, thinking only of the next stop.

He continues to drive, letting the music carry him away through Athens, fearing the puddles will swallow his tires at any moment.