*Author’s note: A sun shower is a meteorological occurrence of rain when the sun is shining. According to Southern folklore, this happens when the devil beats his wife because God made another beautiful day and she dared to enjoy or comment on its magnificence. The rain drops are her tears.
It wasn’t normally in her interest to take the other road home. Although she knew that road would also take her home, it would take nearly ten minutes longer. Nobody lived along the road so nobody saw fit to provide its upkeep. It was neglected, always overgrown with foliage. With nothing but time and a beautiful and bright sun overhead, Pat veered for once to the right when she came upon the fork.
The warmth from the sun, directly overhead, sank into her bones. She smiled at this; a week’s worth of rain had cooled the summer days more than she appreciated. From what she heard it was only supposed to get hotter. Pat was not the only living thing rejuvenated by the sun. All around she saw life also glad the torrential pouring had finally ceased. Dragonflies buzzed around the tall bushes to her left and right. She saw a rabbit scurry past. Unknown things could also be heard in the thicker brush on either side of the road.
Unlike the road she usually took, there was no canopy of trees to shield her from the rays. Pat didn’t mind in the least. With bones fully warmed and the biggest smile she’d smiled that summer on her face, she skipped along the way, a tune improvised as she went. Her happiness increased so deliriously fast that she began to cry joyful tears. They started sparsely but their frenzy seemed to increase with the temperature. This brought her blood to a near boil. Sobbing between giggles and near hyperventilation, she was startled out of her delirium by a few drops from the sky.
Her skipping slowed to a halt and her smile melted with a growing downpour. Looking into the sky she noticed a little cloud overhead. All around its small perimeter was a halo of glorious sunshine. Before she could even wonder why, she heard a shrill and terrible scream. All the more terrifying was where it came from, immediately to her left.
Pat did not have to veer too close to that side of the road to see what appeared to be a man assaulting another person. Judging from the timbre of the scream she guessed correctly that it was a woman. She was too frightened to move, let alone intervene. Helplessly frozen and confused, she watched this well-dressed man furiously curse and slap the woman. Her dress, once all white, was sullied by the pouring rain and slightly torn from the overgrown bush and beating.
All Pat could gather was that the man, for an unknown reason, upset at this woman (his wife) for remarking about what a beautiful day it was. How dare she dare enjoy it. The short period of time during which Pat regarded the events seemed atrociously long. When she finally made a move toward the action, breaking her statue-like state, the man stopped suddenly and just as quickly turned his head to lock eyes with her.
Heat seemed to shoot from his eyes and burn into hers as he stared. After she was able to break from his gaze, she noticed other peculiarities. His head was clean shaven and his skin had a slight blue tint which she hadn’t noticed before. The only other skin visible was the skin of his hands. They shared the same hue. Now that he was facing her she could see two pronounced bumps near the crown of his head.
The man opened his mouth and hissed loudly, a forked tongue darting in and out during the eruption. His blue skin turned darker as the hiss turned into a howl. He and his wife vanished with a clap of thunder. Then the rain stopped.
Standing frozen and solid once more, Pat felt the sun again begin to warm her skin and dry her clothes. Finally thawed and dry enough, she continued down the road. What did I just see, she repeatedly asked herself. She reached home several minutes later, no closer to any explanation.
(c) 2016 by Jarrod Campbell
Published in “anticlimactic” by Primal Press, edited by Christopher Lunardi