The Boy Who Brought the Rain
Depending on who you asked, little Danny Dresden was either born a miracle or delivered as a scornful scourge to the village of Humblegoose: POP: 110 - a thereabouts figure dictated more accurately by how cold the previous winter had been in correlation with those passed the age of physical usefulness. It was a village manned and maintained mainly by farmers who depended on the lush green grass growing in great grazeable garnishes for their cattle who nourished themselves plentifully alongside bountiful fields of various crops. Seldom would a land of such generous abundance be discovered twice in a single lifetime, and all who lived thee felt blessed for having found it just the once.
Eight years prior to the circumstances of the current day, little Danny Dresden was born on the kitchen floor from between the legs of his very own mother - as luck would have it - although unfortunately evaded by legitimacy due to one scandalous drunken evening and an ever-absent co-creator. But the months preceding that event even still would prove to play an imperative role in the boy's life due to conditions outside of his control.
The land had been dying of drought.
For almost a full year before the birth of little Danny Dresden, not a drop of rain had touched the hills of Humblegoose. The grass withered - the crops perished - the cattle starved, and the farmers were found walking on air with far more frequency than usually expected from their tenuous occupation.
It wasn't until the wailing cries from a pair of brand new lungs signaled the heavens from a pool of placenta on a linoleum floor that the clouds returned, finally, with dark imposing shade and claps of thunder, followed by great stuttering streams of rain, soaking the scorched earth and barren lands, missing not an inch of Humblegoose, leading the residents out into the lanes and streets, encouraging elation and untethered joy to be sung from their weary hearts.
It was immediately established by the midwife, now cradling little Danny Dresden in her arms as he hollered and screamed, that it was no mere coincidence such a miraculous occurrence would befall their desperate village the very same moment this brand new being introduced himself to the world in a pouring of tears.
"Heavens above!" exclaimed the midwife. "A Gift!"
Danny Dresden's mother agreed, although entirely unaware of the superstitious nature from which the midwife was basing this claim. And she would never find out, nor see the world again from anywhere but the flat of her back on that linoleum floor as her pulse gently faded to nothing, with her freshly-birthed bundle now placed into her arms to hear the final futile beatings of her heart against her chest: buh-bump, buh-bump, buh-bump...
Little Danny Dresden was then raised from that very moment by the village of Humblegoose. And no more grateful a village could be for his presence. After all, he was the boy that cried and brought the rain! He was the boy that fed the lands and filled the wells! He was the Gift! He was the Gift! He was the Gift!
But of course, a single gift to be shared among an entire village such as Humblegoose POP: 110 - A thereabouts figure dictated more accurately by the desire of the naturally compromised to ignore hints of an overstayed welcome - needs to establish some rules to encourage fairness, such is the nature of democracy.
And so, in the name of all that is just, the residents of Humblegoose organized a weekly meeting in the local church where they would each voice their opinions on who needed rain and who desired sunshine, and then they would vote on the weather for the coming days, depending on what benefitted the majority.
It was a solid plan, and everyone was always respectful and civil throughout proceedings, and the only component ever failing to cooperate wholeheartedly with the fairness of this system was little Danny Dresden, who took years and years of conditioning to remain numb until necessary. Fortunately, sedatives were found to work wonders after the initial three years of chaotic and unpredictable weather brought on by temper tantrums and the like, and the methods of making the boy cry when needed were eventually fine-tuned from the crude days of pinching his underarms to now merely leaving him in a dark room until the natural fears of a child produced the desired outcome.
And of course, when the clouds needed parting, and the lands starved for a golden glow, there were no shortage of sweets and hugs and tickles for little Danny Dresden, who, although wildly confused by the bipolar actions of his guardians, always looked forward to these days the most.
By now, little Danny Dresden was deemed old enough to attend the weekly meetings, and so he would sit quietly up on the altar as the priest moderated the discussion from the pulpit, granting an equal allotted time per speaker.
"Alrighty then, folks", began the priest, "let's kick off with a quick show of hands for a full week of sunshine first and see if we can fly through this one, shall we?"
The pews were split half and half with varying waves of extended and folded arms.
"It looks like the farmers are needing a bit of rain" said the priest after a quick glance. "So, I'll ask you, gentlemen, will you be needing a whole week of it?"
Little Danny Dresden remained wide-eyed and shut-mouthed while the farmers of Humblegoose murmured and mumbled between themselves before one stood and spoke on behalf of the rest.
"No, not the whole week. Two days on, one day off, and then two more after that would be ideal for most of us, we reckon."
"Any days in particular?" asked the priest.
"Just as long as it's in that order I think we'll be quite happy."
It was, as always, a very pleasant exchange between a village of considerate residents, ever welcoming of reasonable compromise.
"Well then", continued the priest, "any days in particular that the fishermen would appreciate kinder waters?"
Little Danny Dresden, still wide-eyed and shut-mouthed, let out a faint yawn without making much of an effort to cover it with his hand, and the fishermen of Humblegoose chittered and chattered amongst themselves before one stood and spoke on behalf of the rest.
"The rain isn't ideal, but it's manageable. As long as he's not throwing a strop the winds will be calm, so let's leave it up to the village."
"Very well", said the priest.
But before the priest could even pose the question, an arm shot up from the back of the crowd.
"Mrs. Lovett?" said the priest. "Is that yourself?"
"Go ahead, you have the floor."
Mrs. Lovett stood and the congregation turned heads to see her, all except little Danny Dresden, who remained wide-eyed and shut-mouthed on his lonesome on the altar.
"I just wanted to remind everyone that myself and a few of the ladies from the knitting club are planning a bake sale on Saturday afternoon. We're trying to raise money to mend the roof of the community hall. It's very difficult to use the needles in the damp, you see. So, perhaps we could have some sunshine on Saturday? After all, there's nothing wrong with a moist sponge, but no one wants a soggy teacake!"
A delightful little chuckle was shared around the congregation before the priest agreed this was a fine idea if it suited the farmers and fishermen alike.
"Alrighty then, folks", continued the priest. "Why don't we go for a drop of rain on Thursday and Friday, a break for the buns on Saturday, and another belt of it on Sunday and Monday, sound good?"
But as everything was being seemingly agreed upon in unanimous fashion, a rather gruff and rumbling objection was barked from the entrance of the church.
"It can't rain on Sunday!"
This particular bellow possessed with immediacy the attentions of everyone in the echoing chambers of the church, including little Danny Dresden who for the first time since finding his seat on the altar decided to moisten his eyeballs with a solitary blink.
The man at the entrance was a mess, with a belly full of rum, and fire on his breath. He was recognized by all, but acknowledged by few, which is why he would remain quietly skulking in the doorway most every week throughout the democratic proceedings, as nothing more than a silent witness. But not today.
"You wish to have the floor, sir?" asked the priest, albeit with a less-than-enthusiastic tone.
"It can't rain on Sunday", replied the man.
"And why not?"
"It's the boy's birthday."
One by one, the eager heads of the congregation fell slowly to a bow, and solemnity took hostage the atmosphere of what was to that point an otherwise jovial room. All but for little Danny Dresden, who held his stare upon the messy old man who had rum in his belly and fire on his breath, and as a subtle crease of a smile began to form across the face of little Danny Dresden, the sunlight began to beam with delicacy through the magnificent stain glass depiction of Christ on his throne, coating the timid heads of the citizens of Humblegoose, and casting a perfect purple glow on the messy old man who no longer looked all that messy at all.
"Of course", continued the priest. "Thank you for that reminder, sir. Quite correct. Quite correct, indeed."
The old man receded from the purple glow of the stain glass, and ushered himself back out of the church, but the light remained, along with the pleasant expression on the face of little Danny Dresden.
The plans were altered immediately without the slightest notion of objection from the now equable crowd to accommodate the celebration of little Danny Dresden's birth: the boy who cried and brought the rain. The boy who fed the lands and filled the wells. After all, he was the Gift, and it was his birthday, and the ever-considerate democracy of Humblegoose would never dream of being so cruel.