S2E2 - The Goddess of Rain
It was the middle of the night and the quite loud. The storms out on Calisland are often strong enough to rattle the house. AI 4-82 was in low power mode, reducing her need for electricity in case the power went out. Despite the house rattling, all were asleep. All except Baby New Year.
They weren’t exactly a baby anymore. You see, New Year’s go through their entire lifespan over the course of a year. Even though it was only February, New Year was about 7 in human years.
Seven year olds are just old enough to be tough. They want to be independent, help out with chores, and yell when their new found sovereignty is ignored. However, they are still children and while being a child comes with wondrous things like imagination, it also comes with fear.
“I’m scared,” pouted a small silhouette from the door frame.
I sighed, squinting so hard it gave me a head ache.
“Alright, grab your blankets and you can sleep on the floor next to my bed.”
New Year nodded and began walking in. They already had their blanket dragging on the floor behind them. They scooted some Roombas to the side and plopped their blanket down. Once the little folk was all settled in, a couple of the robotic vacuums snuggled up into the pile of child and blanket. New Year had always had an affinity for the Roombas.
“You all good?”
They nodded, keeping two eyes fixated on the ratting window and the flashing sky behind it.
“It’s alright, it’s just the rain. It won’t—“
I was cut off by a crash so loud, it knocked my glasses off the night stand. They were in a precarious place to begin with, but any sound that can move an object is impressive.
New Year shielded themself with the blanket, letting out a sharp “Ahh!”
“Hey, it’s ok.”
I reached my hand over the side of the bed patted at the blanket where his head once was.
The next morning came all too soon for a good night’s rest. I remember being up most of the night, although I apparently slept enough for the time to pass. It didn’t feel like it though. I was exhausted.
Sumpra Pepnia handed me a cup of tea as I fudded down the steps into the kitchen.
“Did New keep you up?”
I nodded, taking the warm cup from her hand.
“They were in my room the night before. This rain’s really got them scared.”
I nodded, taking a sip from my warm cup.
With one hand I pulled a curtain back, the one that covers the window right behind the sink. I looked up at the sky. The sun was blocked by a thick layer of clouds. While the rain died down in the morning, the light speckles appearing on the window led me to believe there was more to come.
“I wish we knew where all this rain was coming from. Then maybe we could stop it so New Year could get some rest.”
“What a shame,” Sumpra replied.
Scientists have been trying for years to figure out the cause of rain. There’s a lot of reasons for them to do this. For example, farmers like the rain because it makes their crops grow. Meanwhile, some people hate the rain because it leads to flooding. If there was a way to predict the rain, we could better prepare New Year. Or maybe we could scare the rain away.
“Sumpra, who’s the smartest person you know?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I guess if you’re twisting my arm I’d have to say Julia Sawbone. She is a scientist.”
It was as good a start as any. I grabbed a piece of bread off the counter, which I liberally called toast, before fudding back up the stairs to see if Julia was awake.
She was and she was reading in the library. I knocked on the open door, more as a conversation starter than permission to enter. Without moving her head, she flicked her eyes up so they were peering over the tops of her glasses.
“Julia, do you happen to have any idea where rain comes from?”
“Rain? Well that’s a peculiar question. It’s a little outside my pay grade. I’m not a scientist after all.”
I made my way to a chair across from Julia’s. I wasn’t sitting yet, just standing in front of it.
“Well, aren’t you a scientist?
“Oh, goodness no. I’m an anthropologist.”
“But isn’t that like a scientist.”
Julia waved her hand in the air, dismissing the semantics of the conversation.
“Yes but that’s like calling an anthropologist a historian.”
“But aren’t you kind of— Wait, what do anthropologists do?”
She slammed the book upright in her lap between two flat palms.
“You had a question about Rain, hm? Well let’s see what we got.”
She stood, gliding her way to a row of books. She placed her finger on the labeled wood sides and then slid it down until it reached a label she liked. Then she moved it horizontally, bumping along spines, until she found a book she liked. This one was unlabeled hand bound leather.
“Ah, here we go. There is a deity among the modern mythos that has to do with rain. Everyone makes offerings to this god, rural citizens tend to do it out of appreciation and hope while city dwellers take more of a… fearful demeanor. Rain is a powerful thing.”
SFX: Rain fall
“Now, obviously this is based more in folklore and superstitions, but these stories stem from observations. I don’t know where Rain comes from, but this is as good a place to start as any.”
The journal fell open in my hands. Inside were sketches and notes, stories. A documentation of a modern pantheon of gods. I flipped through them all until I found a page littered with rain drops sketched in the margins. It was the Goddess Tutir.
According to the legend, Tutir was an old Goddess, one of the oldest there was. She used to have plenty of other peers her age, but as she grew older they all passed on. The younger gods viewed her as an elder, not as a friend. As the young gods grew into older gods, they forgot about Tutir, they no longer needed her wisdom. They had accrued enough on their own. Slowly, they stopped visiting the cloud that Tutir lived on. Now she sits atop her cloud, having not seen another soul for millennia. Her lonesomeness causes her to weep and her tears are what we call Rain here on earth.
“Well, I guess it’s clear what we have to do. We have to go cheer up the rain goddess Tutir.”
I left the library to find S. Owen Sow. Owen had lived most of his life on a cloud that he got stuck on as a child. I figured he might want to visit the old hunting grounds and he might be the only person I know who has tips for getting up on a cloud.
“It’s rather quite easy,” he stated while painting a visual guide on a canvas. “You see, when the clouds are thick, like they are now, you can just stand right on top of them. The trick is getting up there. I used a swing when I was young, but we can try whatever. A rocket would work, but I don’t think we have a rocket. But what about… an umbrella?”
“An Umbrella?” I asked, not quite understanding the upward propulsion of an umbrella.
“Yeah, yeah. This could work. You take the umbrella outside, with all the heavy winds, and you tie yourself to the handle. The wind will kick up and whisk you upwards to the top of the cloud.”
“You think this will work?”
Owen smirked. “What do I look like, a scientist?”
That evening, before dinner, as we didn’t want the extra weight of food weighing us down, me and Owen stepped outside with a hand aggressively tied to two separate umbrellas. In our other hand we held little gifts. I had a rose that I had grown in the back garden. Owen had a stuffed animal, a little plush seagull. With the wet wind kicking up, we raised our umbrella hands to the skies and prepared for takeoff.
Umbrellas are not optimized for arial travel. We bumbled around and bounced and jolted our way to the clouds. My shoulder was sore and my hat fell off, tossed back and forth by the wind as it made it’s decent. I never saw it hit the ground because soon enough my head was engulfed in a thick fog. I continued my journey upwards, popping out of the top of the cloud like a carbonated cork. I landed on my face. Owen Marry-Poppined himself gracefully to the space beside me.
He helped me up and we closed the umbrellas, hanging them off our belts for our return journey. We scanned the cloudscape in search of a towering and magnificent elder god… but there wasn’t one. In fact it, it was mostly barren. Barren except for a small girl sitting, knees to her chest, in the middle of the cloud.
“Excuse me, are you the Rain goddess Tutir?”
She looked up, somehow pulling herself closer to herself, and shook her head now. I could see the tears now. She was scared, just like the rest of us. Except she was stuck on a cloud with no blankets to pull close, no Roombas to keep her safe. I knelt down in front of her.
“Are you sure? Because I heard there is a wondrous goddess who lives atop the clouds. You look a mighty lot like that goddess.”
She said nothing and she did nothing. She just stared.
“Here, I have an offering. Maybe it could make you feel a little better.”
I pulled out the rose from behind my back. The wind had torn it apart. The stem was all but severed at one point. That petals that still clung on were soggy and loose. It was not a great sight, but it made her smile, for a moment.
Owen stepped forward.
“Oh great Goddess of the skies, I have an offering to you! One of your humble yet glorious creatures, the soaring Seagull! Take it and think fondly of us mortals!”
Owen set the plush seagull in front of the girl and she snatched it up, squeezing it close to her body. Owen extended his hand.
“Now, are you ready to go home?”
The descent was much gentler than the ride up. The storm was fading and so it was only a gentle float down to the ground.
Sumpra greeted us on the ground. When she saw we were bringing back a child, she rushed back inside to grab a large yellow jacket. We brought the girl inside, got her some warm food, and got her parents phone number. Of course, they were estatic that we had found their baby girl, who had gone missing just a few days prior. We assured them she was safe and that we would bring her back to the mainland in the morning.
You just listened to The Goddess of Rain, from Newton’s Dark Room Presents. The story was written, produced, and narrated by myself, Talon Stradley. The music was written by A Mighty Rabbit. We’ve added lyrics to these songs and released them as a 3 track EP called Thunder by A Mighty Rabbit. You can stream Thunder on Spotify, iTunes, and wherever else you get your music. You can also purchase the EP on a special cassette that has the music, podcast episode, and bonus sounds at AMightyRabbit.bandcamp.com
Patrons will be receiving a mini-zine in the mail with additional art and musings inspired by this episode. Find out how you can get your own Zine, handmade linocuts, and limited edition cassettes mailed straight to your door every month by visiting patreon.com/newtonsdarkroom
This has been a production of Newton’s Dark Room. For more information on NDR, our other shows, transcripts, extras, and more, visit newtonsdarkroom.com or follow us on social media @newtonsdarkroom.
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next month.