London Rain

“Hey, do you hear that?” Betty asks. She rushes into the lounge room with a stricken look on her face.

“Hear what? That’s just the rain and wind. Nothing to be surprised about. It’s raining cats and dogs outside,” Andy replies and faces the television once again.

“No, that’s not it. It sounds like someone crying. Like a little kid sobbing right outside on our doorstep.”

“What are you on about, mate? How can there be a kid outside crying at this time of night?” Andy points at the clock on the wall, his brows knitted in a frown. Seeing Betty’s worried look, he turns the television off and lets out an exasperated sigh.

“Do you hear anything? It’s too dark, I can’t see anyone out the windows.” Betty wrings her hands and looks at her brother, standing up with his arms crossed on his chest.

“Nope, nothing at all. This is a prank isn’t it? You’re having me on. Can’t believe you!” Andy storms off to his room and slams the door closed, making Betty flinch at the sound. Still hearing the snores coming from their parent’s room, Betty relaxes a bit.

“I’m not lying,” she mutters. “I definitely heard something. Why won’t he believe me?” Clenching her teeth, she rummages around for a torch. Finding one, she clicks it a few times, grabs an umbrella and heads out the front door to investigate.

Sweeping the torch left and right, Betty walks out onto the front porch and peers into the darkness. A street lamp in the distance gives off a faint glow through the shadow of the trees. The rain relentlessly beats down, hitting the corrugated iron roof with a noisy pitter-patter, pitter-patter clang. Holding the umbrella close to her body, Betty walks into the rain with slow deliberate steps, her heart beating faster and her grip on the torch growing tighter. Her shaking hand stretches out to the side and the torch sends a narrow beam of light along the driveway, to the car under the carport, then slowly back towards the house. No sign of anyone.

“I’m probably just scaring myself,” Betty mumbles, shaking her head. A flash of lightning illuminates the yard and a huge thunderclap follows, making her jump. Taking a breath to calm herself, Betty looks around once more and heads back indoors.

After putting away her wet things, Betty decides to take a hot shower and turn in for the night. Just as she is about to close her eyes, she hears it again: heart-torn wails that seem to echo into her being. Rolling up into a ball and stuffing her fist into her ears, Betty mutters over and over to herself, that there’s nothing there, she’s only hearing things, and she falls into a fitful slumber.

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