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Milla Marston

I can smell it. I can feel the humidity rise as the clouds roll through

and blanket the town in grey.

It’s Rainday.

A light breeze blows through my sandglass window, a cool change

from the usual dry heat of every other day. The women pull out and

rain sails and erect them facing the direction of the breeze to catch

maximal water. At the same time the men run and ready themselves

for the harvest. The Head wears his racoon cap and leads the others

towards the border of town.

We are all taken down the hall in single file and grab our boots

seed bags. Our job is to cultivate the land and plant the new crops

for the town. We work quick and effectively. There’s no knowing

when the next Rainday will be. The Thinkers have tried to predict

their patterns but there is something that doesn’t add up.

Every Rainday, enough rain is collected to sustain us until the

next, though rations are decreasing. The harvest always brings back

enough meat too, but I’ve been to the edge of town myself and there

is nothing there, no animals. Here, no one questions it, saying it has

been like this for decades but it has never added up to me.

The rain continues until the ground around our town is sodden

and the men struggle to get back. I stop suddenly, the sky then clears

and its back to dry drought weather. All of the children are gathered

back inside and we go back into our schedule. Today we have a visit

from the Head.

‘Today’s harvest has been rich. We found one of what we believed

to have died out during the first year of the drought, a kangaroo.

Tonight we shall have a town celebration. This Rainday signifies

hope for us, we will find others.’

Quarantine is what they call it. After the epidemic, our town was

closed off and quarantined, told for our safety. The only government

messages we have received since this day are deliveries of supplies

that we ourselves can’t grow or produce and messages promising

hope. I though am sceptical. We haven’t had a Rainday like this for

years and I’m curious. Just curious. After lunch, I run to the town

bell tower and look out for others still beyond the town boundary.

Its barren. That’s when I feel a whisper on my neck and a hand on

my shoulder. It is just Xander.

Xander and I have been placed together since our pre-schooling

and he is one of the only people I trust in this dry town. He questions