The Undocumented Places – #2, The Weeping Farm
There was one spot in Sherman County where the rain always fell. A round section of dirt the size of a tractor tire, beneath an unending shower that went back further than anyone could remember, had churned into a sinkhole that dribbled like a mountain oaf’s mouth. The surrounding locale could be 90 degrees and cloudless, but the rain still poured upon that lone patch of earth, night and day, summer or fall. Way out in the sticks, it was little more than a local curiosity, far from the dollar-a-peep tourist traps of the roadside toilet seat museum, or Rando Plink’s two-headed calf. Then came the winter of ’76, with a frost three inches thick, where icicles were welded with both hands, and hooves stuck to barn floors, long after the cattle had been pulled free. The cold hit so hard that the rain had frozen too.
It ascended in a glimmering tower that pierced the ground and rose so high you couldn’t see the top. They sent the Darrow boy up with climbing gear and spiky shoes, to get the truth of it once and for all. He was cocky at first, urged on by farmers and sunken-jawed old men in woollen clothes, but soon it seemed he was climbing to his end. Many times, he almost fell; hands so cold they felt like someone else’s, and the ground disappearing below until the farm was but a full stop.
After nightfall, and with some effort, Alvin Darrow reached the top. And that’s where he met her. Frightful, she was, and hollow-eyed, with long, bony fingers that wrapped the sky around her like a blanket. The rains fell in tears that froze against her cheeks.
“Why do you cry?” he supposed he said, but actually, he’d just thought it, though she heard him all the same.
The angel replied, “Because I was lonely,” adding through sniffles, “but then you came for me.” She reached down and pulled him close, mother-and-babe tight, shrouding the night around them both, as her eyes began to dry.