Blood Rain

Blood Rain

The Red Skies of London

Blood Rain

– by Adam Wilby

I hated the rain.
I hadn’t always felt this way.
I vividly remember the day that I did.
It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed.
I looked into the face of the man I had just punched. Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand. The people stood closest to us had fallen silent, out of the corner of my eye I could see most of them were biting their lips; the odd few of course were clearly amused at what they saw at some impromptu entertainment.
“Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I asked the man rhetorically.
If I hadn’t been so angry I might have been incredulous that he appeared so surprised. I had been sat at a table near the bar with one eye on the door while I waited for Stella to arrive. That evening the two of us had planned to meet here for a couple of drinks before moving on to a nightclub just down the road. Consequently I had gone out that morning and bought myself the red dress I had seen earlier that week when using the shopping centre as a shortcut to work.
He’d walked over and asked if I wanted to dance. If Stella hadn’t once again kept me waiting I would probably have declined his offer with a smile and the false promise to catch him later. As it was I had grown bored of sitting by myself. In any case I didn’t see the harm, as the pub was less than a mile from my flat, while I wasn’t exactly one of the regulars, I was confident that if anything untoward happened someone who knew me would step in to help.
Friday night in the Red Lion was usually the night for the tribute bands, tonight an Aerosmith covers band were on stage, and not doing a half bad job either. As I looked across and listened they moved into Crazy which as it happened was one of my personal favourites.
“My name’s Barry, what’s yours?” he leaned in and asked.
“Emma,” I said.
He leaned back and smiled at me, I just began to return his smile when I felt his hand slide what to me was an inch too far down the back of my dress.
“Don’t do that” I said, my smile swiftly fading as I did so.
He didn’t stop smiling as his hand continued sliding down my dress, and I felt his hand just begin to lift it up and touch my leg underneath. Taking a half step back I clenched my fist and lashed out, connecting sharply with the soft part of his nose and looking on with no small measure of satisfaction as the blood began to flow.
Ignoring the looks from nearby I marched toward the exit, pausing just long enough to grab my handbag, fully intending to make my way to the nightclub and arrange for Stella to meet me there instead. I hadn’t realised it had begun to rain outside and it didn’t take more than a few seconds before my dress began to press into me like a second skin.
“Don’t be stupid Emma, come back inside,” a voice I recognised as belonging to Martin, one of the bar staff, shouted after me.
Realising he was probably right I began to turn round even as I heard the sound of running footsteps from behind me. A moment later the handbag I had been carrying across my right shoulder was torn free by an unseen hand, the owner of whom entered into sight as he carried on running down the street away from me.
On a different day I probably would have contented myself by turning the air blue in the direction of his departing back before going home and cancelling all my credit cards but I was still angry over what had just transpired. Kicking off my high heeled shoes so I could run properly I gave chase, ignoring the sensation of my bare feet crashing against the wet pavement and through puddles as I did so. From somewhere behind me I dimly heard the voice of Martin once again calling after me.
Roughly seventy yards down the street the mugger looked back at me over his shoulder before cutting left into the local park. It couldn’t have been any more than five seconds later before I followed him in. He must have fallen over on the wet grass because he was seemingly waiting for me with a line of mud plastered on his trousers as we faced each other at a point just out of sight of the street. I had been so intent on trying to catch up with him and retrieve my handbag that the thought had never occurred to me he might be carrying a weapon such as the knife which he now held in his right hand.
He was breathing hard from the running he’d just been doing, and even through the rain I could see his face was flushed with anger. In a curious turn around I felt my feet rooted to the spot despite my brain screaming at me to run as he walked back in my direction, the rain almost seeming to dance from the blade of the knife as he raised it toward me.
In the days which were to follow my family and a large number of my friends were to visit this park and lay floral tributes at the place where I was to be found.
I hated the rain.
I hadn’t always felt this way.
I vividly remember the day that I did.
It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed.
That was the day I died.

3 Responses to “Blood Rain”

  1. Lori Moritz says:

    Nice ending! Since you relay the story in first person, speaking about the past… the reader assumes she’s still alive. At the end, we realize she’s giving an account of her death.

    The beginning ties in nicely with the ending as well. It made me wonder what her consciousness had turned into exactly. She obviously still has a persona that can interact with the ‘reality’ she’s left behind in death. Is she a ghost? Can she manifest?

    I would love to know if there is more meaning to the tale other than the sad premature ending of a nice lady. Was there a motive to the murder? Was it the same guy who tried to feel her up in the bar? Was he out for revenge? Does he have a history?
    I assumed the murderer was the same guy she met at the bar, but it wasn’t clear to me.

    Your description makes it vert easy to picture the scene.

    I didn’t understand what ‘turning the air blue’ meant, but maybe that’s because I’m American, and you’re British 🙂 Is that like a term I call ‘blue in the face’ which means you scream and yell so violently, you forget to breathe?

    There are a few grammatical issues… mostly involving run-on sentences. I will be glad to highlight those and email them to you if you like. 😉

    L, Lori

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Adam21 says:

    To answer your questions :

    I suppose she’s a ghost, in my mind I had her telling a story in retrospect.

    Person who stole her handbag was supposed to be a completely different person, I suppose I could have made this more clear.

    “Turning the air blue”, essentially meaning calling thief names etc as he ran off.

    As far as grammatical issues go, other people have highlighted the “mini-pyramid” sentences at beginning and end and questioned why they’re not in a single paragraph, was this the type of thing you meant?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Lori Moritz says:

      I was talking about some run-on sentences. The following is a run-on: “Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand.”

      ‘Blood was dripping from his nose’ is a complete sentence.

      ‘for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand’ is also a complete sentence.

      You should put a period instead of a comma between these two:

      Blood was dripping from his nose. For his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand.

      If you use too many run-on constructions in your works, the writing becomes difficult to read because the reader doesn’t get the necessary mental break offered by the period.

      As a general comment… try varying up the lengths of your sentences within paragraphs.

      Another suggestion: ‘Blood was dripping from his nose,’ is okay… but ‘was dripping’ is considered a PASSIVE CONSTRUCTION. If you make this sentence ACTIVE, it comes to life:

      ‘Blood dripped from his nose.’

      The above sounds much gorier to me. How does the following sound?:

      ‘Blood dripped from his nose. He stared with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand.’

      This may be an American style, not a British one, but less verbiage is more. To my eye, anyway.

      BTW, I read others’ comments on this piece in the forum you have it posted. I personally don’t have a problem with the pyramid structure.

      I like it.

      L, Lori

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0