Start with a Cliche

Here’s something I recently posted on youngwritersproject. Had an idea come to me, still trying to flesh it out. Any ideas?



It was a dark and stormy night and the rain fell heavily, sideways more often than not, but only at intervals. Sometimes it would let up almost to the point of admitting moonlight to pass–but, alas, when he raisied his countenance to the heavens, these hopes of a clearer night are dashed by the precipitous approach of of an impossibly large raindrop. The only semblance of protection from the deluge was offered by a smattering of deciduous relics of once vibrant trees.

He paused briefly, during one particularly quiet break in the storm, and then hurried under one of the weary trees when the rain picked up again. He moved with a certain determination, but it was mingled with a sporadic, spasmodic, unpredictable tendency to change speeds and the angle of his direction. It was apparent from the time of night and the mangy look of this one, that he had probably been out in the rain for a while. He was heading deeper into the massive park, which signified to me, along with is appearance, that he probably called the park his home. For tonight, anyway.

I had no reason to be out and about on a night like this, or at this time of night, regardless. I suppose I was just restless. I had never minded the rain. I was ambivalent toward it. The rain had an interesting way of distorting things. Making some things obscure, while showing the stark reality of others. The refracted light through the myriad droplets seemed to reflect into the darkest parts of my self. A walk, alone, in the rain, at night. It could change a person.

I watched him. Gaunt, mangy, unloved. He still looked young. Frail. The longer I stared through the rain at the stringy hair and bony body I began to realize something that unsettled me in a way I can’t explain. This pitiful being, all alone and unprotected, was a female. I was walking slowly and evenly, far down a path that eventually intersected with hers. She hadn’t yet noticed me. ‘Good,’ I thought to myself, ‘don’t wanna scare her off.’

I slowed my walk gradually, until I was completely still, and obscured by shadow. This is how I stood as she feebly walked by the intersection of my path and her own. She kept her head low, eyes away from the rain, and her shoulders hunched, seemingly for self-protection. You could clearly see her shoulder blades knifing through her coat. If you could even call it a coat. As I stood in the rain and dark, she passed by with a faint clicking against the pavement. I watched as she made her slow way around a bend in the path; head first, looking for potential danger, only to characteristically accelerate through the apex of the turn and partially disappear from my sight. I vacated my own path so that I could follow her, unseen; as yet unsure of my plans. The rain still falling around me, and inside me.

As I walked parallel to the path that she was on I realized that we weren’t quite as alone as I’d initially thought. This unsettled me.

This specimen of dereliction approached a park bench, and looked at it, apprehensively at first. Then she got closer and actually seemed to sniff at the pile of rags clumped on the bench. The pile moved, and then I was sure of my proximity to another human.

‘Well,’ I thought, ‘This could change things.’

The man, as I assumed he was a man, reached out from under his rags and gave a motion halfway between a wave and a shove–connecting with nothing but air. Then something that I couldn’t readily comprehend happened. She got right next to the bench, and laid down in an exhausted heap, somewhat sheltered by the man and the bench. The man reached down again, making an angry grunting noise, and shoved again–this time with more accuracy and effect.

At this point, something powerful came over me. I don’t know if it was the darkness surrounding everything, the rain, or the pitiable scene before me. Or if it was just the lonliness.

I stepped around the thicket of bushes behind which I had been standing, and confidently let my presence be known.

“Excuse me!” I stated forcefully so as to shake this man from his stupor.

“Wha,” was his response.

“Is that your dog?” I responded

“No. Both of you, leave me alone.”

“I’m taking her home with me.”


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