A Drizzle

Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
The man and the boy sat quietly in their lodge as the storm raged outside. The sun had long faded and exhaled its last breath of warmth. It was the boy's first time in this place, his first time meeting the man, yet there was a sense of familiarity.

As if they knew each other already.

Sunrise was still some time away.

"Wipe that damn grin off your face," the man groaned. "It does us no good here."

"You know," the boy replied, "We should be out there. Everyone's already gone, it's just us two." He pointed towards the door.

"Out there? There's nothing out for us out there, we have everything we need here." He pulled a lone cigarette from his pocket, lighting it with a weathered match. "The storm will pass, and you won't have to die for it."

"Your last cigarette, it seems." The boy glanced at the man's grizzled neck, worn out like a leather glove. "Don't you grow weary of smoking your days away, Logue?"

Logue shook his head. He took a long and labored breath but said nothing.

"Well, I'm not going to just sit here and become some has-been's ashtray." The boy said. He quickly stood up and made his way to the bags in the corner. Everything one needed in case of a storm: stacked neatly, waiting for someone to make the first move. The boy smiled. This was what he waited for, to show the world what he could do.

Adjusting his gear straps, he put on his boots. He turned to Logue, "Who would have thought that I would end up with you? You didn't have to be here, you know. Everything will be fine."

"Didn't you hear what the old man said? We should be staying here. The outside ain't for no smilin' fools against the storm." He retorted.

The boy laughed, "Ha! The old man isn't here. I've been waiting my whole life for this, Logue. I'm ready! Stronger and quicker than anyone you've ever seen. No one is going to steal my thunder when I get out there and make my way back."

"It's not the thunder you should be worried about, boy." Logue scowled. "Lightning always comes before the thunder, and then there's..."

"There's what?"

He took another puff of smoke, exhaling slowly against the ceiling as if to send a signal.

"That...damned rain. It gets you every time. It gets everyone. Steals your breath away before you know it."

"Rain!" the boy exclaimed. "You're telling me you're worried about a bit of rain? What, afraid that you can't have your precious cigarette out there?"

He waited for Logue to respond, but heard nothing.

"Think about what more we can find outside this dingy shack." He continued. "Bet you a dollar that it's better than cigarettes. We're going to be heroes for getting out there and making it out, ain't that what we're here for?"

"Don't patronize me, boy. I'll have you know..."

"It's just a drizzle, Logue. I don't see it like anything more than that. What's a little rain but..."

"Enough to stop you in your tracks and leave you quaking in your little boots." He interrupted.

The boy smiled again and feigned surrender, "Oh alright, Logue. You win!"

"I'm not here to win. No one here is." He muttered.

"That's because no one here wanted this moment more than me. Where are those people now? They failed. They vanished. They turned back because they couldn't handle it. I was trained to be a winner, Logue. I don't expect people like you to understand where I'm coming from. Where's your sense of purpose?"

Logue gritted his teeth but stayed silent.

"If you're so worried about me, I'll bring a vest. You know, like the old man always told us."


"But you said..."

"I never said nothing about no vest."

"A coat, then?"

"Are you stupid?"

"Okay, fine, Logue. I'll put on the hat. Is that going to make you shut up and stop nagging me about all this?"

The boy reached up and pulled one from the hooks and onto his head. "See? All old, rough, and ready."

Logue refused to meet his gaze, "I hope it'll do...for your sake."

"Finally, it's about time you said something nice to me. I'm heading out." He paced towards the door again, gripped the handle, and pulled the door open.

"Why did you come here, boy?"

"Not this again. I told you, I'm one of the best..."

"Cut the crap. I've heard enough from all the thickheads around here. Why are you really here?"

The boy set down his sack, leaving the door ajar.

"It's my first storm. Making your way through your first storm means that you have really seen all and conquered all. My first step where I can feel like a man and the world will know."

Logue smirked, his hard gaze never leaving the dirt floor. "Is that what they're telling youse these days?"

"No one's telling me anything, Logue. It's all me and me alone. I'm going out there and making it back."

"Yeah, I'll believe that, boy. As soon as pigs fly or hell freezes over. You're out of your element."

"Buzz off, you know nothing about me. Not that all this means too much to you, it seems. You had your chance and wasted it. If you'd stop being such a cowardly..."

Logue suddenly shot up. He threw the boy against the wall, brandishing a blade against his neck. It was an expression he hadn't seen before from the man. Not frustration, not boredom, not even scorn.


"What are you..." the boy began.

"You shut your damn mouth." Logue's eyes widened with anger. "When I came here, I wanted out. The storm has been killing fools like you left and right, you're just going to be another one of them."

The boy smiled, "So there's that courage I was talking about! Where in the world have you been, Logue?"

Logue's expression faded, his rage melting back into his cold scowl. "Just...just forget it. Go out there if you want to. It's nothing that I haven't seen or heard before."

The boy furrowed his eyebrows in surprise. "You serious?"

"Yeah, you can even wear that cheap grin if you want for all I care." Logue sat down on the floor, dejected with disgust.

"Thought you'd never ask." He eagerly picked up his sack, adjusted the straps, and tied down his boots.

"One more thing, Logue." The boy interjected. "How'd you come here anyway if you never wanted in?"

Logue did not look up. "Make sure to shut the door on your way out; I don't want no draft."

The boy tipped his hat at him. "You got it, boss."

Smiling, he ran out the door.

He never looked back again.