NEW 📗Story: Killers

City Rivers

Saturday, Mar 27, 2021
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Out in Voya Voya, the gardens light the people, and distill human temperament into momentary, sequential lyrical images. A dead leaf moving by miracle across still water; an overturned bucket collecting dew along its handle; fern leaves half-curled, young and growing. Vekllei is known as a “garden city,” and Voya Voya has the best of them. Vekllei urban planning is wandering and wasteful, and in this borough the city centre is checkered by wild parks filled with silence and rainforest smells.

Cobian and Tzipora were dating, or something adjacent to it. It was an unusual thing they had going on, since they weren’t much like each other. They’d arranged to have a picnic on Sunday, but a few days out the newspaper said it would rain. Rain-dates meant a movie and lunch.

Then the forecast got worse. It wasn’t just a shower— it was big rain, with high winds. A storm, anyone but Tzipora would say.

“We should cancel,” Cobian said on the phone.

“What’s the big deal? The movie’s indoors, isn’t it?” — that was Tzipora, who was very eager to go out with her.

On Sunday, they met at the Couisvisia Hills Station, the one closest to Cobian’s house. They took the train to Lola and talked as rain began to make streams down the windows.

“This looks bad,” Cobian said, not touching the window because she was afraid of germs. “Look at the clouds in the distance, too — It’s gonna pour; I don’t want to get all wet.”

“I brought an umbrella,” said Tzipora, whose responsibilities now included managing the weather.

By some miracle, they reached the cinema before the first storm clouds rolled in. They listened to it whistle beneath the sounds of the film. Occasionally the rain would wash over the roof loud enough to hear it. Every time the storm made a noise Cobian sighed quietly, and Tzipora looked at her anxiously, wringing her hands like she did when she was nervous.

After the film, they stepped into the lobby to find the rain had ceased. In fact, it had vanished — the gutters were running like hell, and every corner of every roof dripped. But the rain had stopped.

“Look,” Tzipora said, stepping over a puddle onto the footpath and presenting the sky to Cobian. “I am a rain goddess.”

They made a run to the station through the park as the wind scattered water through the air. Tzipora took about five steps into the park before splashing a puddle up herself and soaking her foot.

“For God’s sake, let’s keep going,” she growled.

Another two steps and she did it again, with the other foot. In fact, the whole park was sodden, and the gutters had been overwhelmed. The picnic field had turned into a lake. Trees had wilted under the weight of raindrops. The sound of running water was everywhere. Tzipora had given up and began navigating Cobian by the hand like a conscript charging through a minefield.

Cobian followed, holding the umbrella open uselessly as the wind chilled the water on their skin. They came across a concrete staircase, now a waterfall, as the park-lake drained into the street below. Tzipora, emboldened with the strength of the sacrificial, stepped into it and helped Cobian jump across without sliding into the mud on the other side.

As she did, with water filling her shoes and her skirt dripping footpath water, she thought about how much fun this was. You didn’t go on adventures much at their age. She looked at Cobian, who was shivering in the wind and waiting for her, and thought she probably didn’t feel the same way.

“You all right?” Tzipora asked, stepping out and shaking water off her shoes.

Cobian gave a thumbs up as she shivered, and all was right in the world.