This story is for the Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Somethingpunk.

The concept is simple enough, if you consider constructing an entire new genre simple. And I do! (okay, no not really).

All (the italics means sarcasm if you missed that) we had to do was develop a new kind of punk (ala, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, etc..) and then write a story in that style.

No problem. (Yes, also sarcasm).

But in any case, I put 2 + 2 together, came up with 3, and went with that.

So here you go, time for some weatherpunk.

 

The car wouldn’t start because it was raining under the hood.

Tom dropped his forehead against the steering wheel and tried not to scream.

No, not today.

After taking a moment to compose himself he popped the hood and climbed out into the gray world. Rain pelted him immediately.

Blinking away the wet, he peered under the hood. Thick gray clouds roiled within, spattering everything with droplets of water. He waved them away until he could see that the glass cylinder at the heart of the engine sat empty, no vortex could be seen within. Then he saw why, a hair thin crack twisted across the glass.

He slammed the hood down as hard as he could, but the sound was weak, plastic just didn’t slam as well as steel, and left him feeling unsatisfied.

So much for those repairs.

With a practiced sigh, he ineffectively turned up the collar of his jacket, shoved his hands in his pockets, and started down the sidewalk.

Jenny was counting on him.

It was two miles to the address scrawled on the scrap of paper shoved in his pocket. To the address of the man he was going to see. His hand grasped the paper instinctively as he trudged through the rain, fearful it might get wet and he’d lose his last and only hope.

Fifteen minutes later, Tom paused to catch his breath at the top of the hill at the end of Market St. Looking back the way he’d come, he could just make out his neighborhood at the bottom of the hill and a mile beyond, sunlight. The rolling hills and clean streets of Sunnybrook practically sparkled in the radiance pouring down on them.

“High pressure bastards,” he mumbled and sat out down the other side of the hill.

A mile later Tom stood in front a narrow building on a crooked side street. He thought this was the address, but between the thick clouds, and the rain, and the leaning buildings, he could barely make out the numbers above the old door.

What am I getting myself into?

Finally, tired of the wet, and the drizzle, and the drops crawling down his neck, he turned the door’s worn, rattling knob, and stepped inside.

The room was dark, and narrow as the building, but long. Some distance away a lone bulb burned in the dark. Below it sat a wooden desk, not unlike the kind at the office where Tom worked. A man was seated at it.

“Hello?” Tom said, peering about, eyes wide.

“Good afternoon,” the man said. “Can I help you?” His voice echoed in the space.

Tom licked his lips.

“Are you Mr. W?” Tom asked, taking a couple steps towards the light.

“Perhaps,” the man replied, “What do you need?”

“I need to speak to Mr. W,” Tom said. He wanted to stay near the door, but he also wanted to get a better look at the man.

He took another step forward.

“Have a seat,” the man said, indicating a wooden chair before the desk.

Uncertain that he should even be there, Tom stepped into the light and sat.

He was suddenly warm.

Through squinted eyes, Tom realized there was no light bulb. Above the man sunshine poured in through a skylight.

So much for wondering if it’s him.

The man on the other side of the desk could have been any age under fifty. His hair was neatly combed, his face clean shaven. The suit he wore made Tom’s old, sopping jacket, feel even shabbier, but the sun sure felt good on his skin.

“So what is it I can do for you?”

“I– I need some sunshine,” Tom said.

Mr. W nodded as if this was a common request.

“I see, and where do you need it?”

“At my house, in Hazel Grove,” Tom said

Dammit, I shouldn’t have told where I live.

“What has it been over there, two weeks of rain?”

“Three,” Tom said, unable to keep the bitterness from his voice.

“And in August too,” Mr. W said sympathetically, “Your neighbors in Sunnybrook do pay well to keep the clouds away.”

Tom knew that all too well. Money equaled good weather, but the undesirable patterns had to go somewhere. And that happened to be next door, over Tom’s house.

“And when do you need this?” Mr. W asked.

“This afternoon,” Tom said.

Mr. W frowned.

“It’s my daughter’s birthday. She wants to have a picnic.” Tom said, hopeful sympathy might shift Mr. W’s taciturn expression.

It did not.

“It will be expensive, your neighbors won’t be happy,” the man said.

Like I care.

“How much?” Tom asked.

The man named a price.

When the blood had returned to Tom’s face, he blinked.

“I can’t afford that,” Tom said.

“That is the price,” Mr. W said, face impassive.

Tom’s thoughts clattered about for a moment.

If I walk to work, and take extra projects, and we don’t celebrate our anniversary…

He shoved a hand in his pocket and pulled out a wad of soggy bills.

“I can pay you half now, and the rest next week.”

He placed the money on the desk.

Mr. W looked down and then back up, as if weighing the money against the man before him.

“Very well, Mr. Johnson. From noon until four the sun is yours. And you pay me Saturday. Deal?”

Tom Johnson swallowed. He didn’t want to think how W had known that.

Did he have a choice?

“Deal,” Tom said.

Tom saw himself out and began the climb back toward home, wondering all the while what he had just done. At the top of the hill he paused again, barely daring to look.

His breath caught.

In the distance gray clouds were encroaching on the perfectly clear sky. And stretching back, across formerly gray rainy streets, a finger of sunlight low lay, it’s tip coming to rest upon the vivid green square, of a small park.

Tom smiled.

Happy Birthday, Jenny.