This is the second in a series of short stories set in a shared universe: Earth has been pummeled by heavy storms for twenty years, and the governments left over have adapted by genetically manipulating (and in some cases, Inventing) creatures to help them survive the onslaught of rain and wind. After two decades, the storms have diminished, but the changes are too significant to return to the status quo so easily…


The driving rain had let up for barely an hour, and all haste was made laying tarps over gaps and pushing furniture against shuttered windows. When the lightning flashed once more, and the thunder bellowed behind it, it was dimmer, more distant for the covers. As the rain once more poured forth, there came many a plinking sound from inside. Pots and bowls, pails of this and bins of that were upset and placed to gather what fell through the makeshift barriers.
Dark skies, scarcely lit for moments of blinding luminescence, made the old ruin of the acreage seem even more desolate. The shed was not small, and the construction held much better than that of the other buildings; nonetheless, every wall had a story to tell in its wear and tear, and many bore gouges hastily covered to keep what little heat the two bodies could make in the frigid air.

A loft, meant once for tools, now meant to keep them dry should the entire world become water. A heavy tarp, sharp with age and disuse, snapped in the air like a thunderclap of its own to release the years spent idle there. An animal blanket which had seen similar use was hauled upward and laid on top. No comfier spot had they seen in so many weeks of travel, nor drier (for the roof there was the most solid).

Then it came to the removal of clothes, and at this they were separate; nary a peek more than thrice did they share, and never at the same time. Many weeks had they trekked together, but never once had they met eye to eye. Circumstances make for stranger bedfellows.

As the rain ticked sporadically by, as so many clocks all counting at once, they shifted closer under the heavy blanket. The air was near freezing, their bodies already wet long before they found shelter, and even the blanket could only reflect heat, not make it. So it was that they had an unspoken agreement, and so it were that they came closer about each other than before; and closer still did they become ’til their bodies twined in the void that night’s storm brought.

No words, no thoughts, simply motion and tactile sensation, all rough and smooth at once; scars and piercings, tattoos more remembered than felt; and some things more felt than did still exist. No pieces missing could stymie their flow, amid that heaving canvas dense with the scent of sweat and musk, and the ever-present smell of rain and ozone.

Lightning struck nearly a fourth by the time the storm reached its pique, and presently settled into subtle patter and whispering gasps through the tarps. Their heat reflected back from the blanket, they stayed as near as they dared, with still no words between them.

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