(1 of 1. Originally posted on April 28, 2023 for the prompt “Little Rain Cloud.”)
Mrs. Flanigan’s buzzard form could scout for miles. Mr. Thomson’s tree form drew sustenance from the earth and sun. Henry Little’s fire form could burn through anything, convenient for garbage removal and community cookouts. Everybody appreciated them, even though Mr. Thomson didn’t provide much for the community besides a spot of shade.
But when Maddie’s Gift revealed itself at thirteen, it only multiplied the whispers about her. Poor, abandoned orphan girl. Pity breeds contempt. Dressed in cast-off clothes, then looked down on for her appearance. Gifted, then despised for her Gift. Nobody loves a rain cloud.
Until the summer sun outstays its welcome. Until the ground cracks, and the crops wither. Until Mr. Thomson stays a tree all day, and still his leaves curl and fall. Until the cattle pant and the well runs dry.
Then, suddenly, everyone loves Maddie.
She doesn’t do it for their shallow love. She does it because she understands suffering. Maddie takes to the sky, and pours herself out for them. The earth drinks, and Maddie shrinks. Thin and spent, Maddie-cloud looks down at the village she saved, and feels no urge to return. Instead, she rides the breeze and drifts out over the sea.