The woman and the rain – flash fiction

There was no relentless sound of rain in Nell’s cave, no hiss of the sea, or scream of gulls, or a whisper from anything living. No water dripped from eerie stalactites like in the old films. There were no monsters there. There was no breathing. There was just Nell.

It’s not that she was a spirit guide, like the ones off up in the mountains. She wasn’t a witch woman. She had never healed anyone in her life.

The thing about Nell that set her apart was really such an ordinary thing, something that many of her friends and family had, something perhaps even you might possess. The thing about Nell was that she was compassionate. If she had a TV she wouldn’t switch off at the money-begging poverty-porn charity ads, nor would she have left the room on some pretext. She would have felt for the little waif on the television, but she wouldn’t have picked up the phone to dial the number to make some financial but probably meaningless contribution.

Nell knew, as you might, that compassion and charity begin at home. She knew that it begins with giving some money to the man hunched on the side of the street, or a paper cup of tea, or even a smile. She knew that it lies in really, actually, listening. It lies in realising that the person in front of you is just as perfect and as imperfect as she is and as you are.

Sometimes people come to visit Nell in the cave. Caves give people an aura of mystery. People tend to assume that cave-dwellers are prophets, whereas street-dwellers are junkies. People tend to visit prophets.

Nell never knew what they wanted, exactly. Maybe they never really knew themselves. Were they looking for secrets? For their future? For peace of mind?

Sometimes she would send them away with nothing. Sometimes she would sit and talk to them for a few minutes or a few hours. Most of the time she would greet them with a deep smile, and gesture at the path they had come down, and remind them that real life was out there, where they had come from, and real charity too, and real love. Real life was in the rain. Real love was in the trees, the grass, the hands of strangers. Charity begins with breathing, she’d say. We all must be kind to one another, for none of us has much time here.

I wrote this for Jeff Tsuruoka’s flash fiction creative writing prompt, the Mid-Week Blues-Buster. This week it’s based on the song Secret Journey by the Police, and is being judged by Christina Esdon.

2 thoughts on “The woman and the rain – flash fiction

    1. Thanks BT! Your blog title tickled my fancy and then I read your piece and violá! Thanks for popping over for an aul read.


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