I can smell it. I can feel the humidity rise as the clouds roll through
and blanket the town in grey.
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