Thank God for the drought.  It keeps their appearances to a minimum and doesn’t let them grow large enough to do too much serious damage.
    I saw three of them last Monday, swimming around viciously in a puddle in the Target parking lot.  A fat woman with a cart full of shit she didn’t need stared at me staring at the puddle and gave me a look of disgust.  But I kept her from passing through the water.   
    It’s been a strange kind of drought.  It rains a couple of times a week, but it only lasts for an hour or so at the most.  Then the sun reemerges like a conquering warrior and evaporates all the puddles and all the squirming little grotesque things inside them.  
    The first time I noticed them had been the second rain of the summer, after a storm that appeared in the middle of a sunny day, dumped sheets of water on the earth, and vanished before anyone had time to even grab an umbrella or get inside out of the weather.
    I had been in the park, enjoying the day.  On a weekday, the place is  fairly empty, so nobody was around to see the splashing coming from the small pool of water that had gathered in a low spot on the sidewalk.  
    Nobody except for me.  
    It had only been one of them, gnashing its razor teeth and glaring at me with pure hatred through its pearl white eye while the sun reflected rainbows off its silvery flesh.
    The little bastard had my full attention, and I didn’t see the jogger until she was a mere step from the puddle.  
    She screamed as soon as her foot broke through the surface of the water.  
    I couldn’t move; fear had paralyzed me.
    The jogger fought, screaming in agony and staring at me in wide-eyed horror as she was slowly sucked down into the pool.  The water turned crimson, then black, and then she was gone.  
    I collapsed to the grass, trembling.  
    Within twenty minutes the summer heat had returned the water to the atmosphere.  
    Two days passed before I managed to sleep again.
    A week went by and the rain came again.  I ran through the downpour, peering into every gathering pool for one of them.  
    I’m sure I looked like a madman.  
    Just as the rain stopped, I found four swimming together on the basketball court across the street from my apartment.
    All I could do was stand guard until the water was no more.  I couldn’t let another person fall victim to them.  Luckily, no kids came to play basketball that day.   
    Two weeks later and a man pushed me down and called me a “fucking weirdo”.  
A puddle had accumulated underneath the door to his truck.  I swear I tried my best to convince him to stay away, wait for the water to evaporate.  He told me I was crazy; that there was nothing in the rainwater except our reflections.  
    He never even managed to open his door.
    I’ve spent the entire summer trying to warn people, keeping them away from any of the dangerous puddles.  For my troubles I usually get cussed, sometimes ignored.  Once I was punched in the jaw.  Four more people have been consumed by the one-eyed monsters, always in places where no one but me is around to see it happen.    
    I’ve had time to watch the ugly little things, too.  I’ve noticed that the bigger the puddle, the larger the creatures.  And the longer the water survives the summer sun, the stronger the beasts seem to get.  
    I think they want to escape from the puddles and I think that if they have enough time, that if it wasn’t for that wonderful old sun, they just might manage to do it.        
    But I’m getting nervous.  
    Summer’s ending, the days are growing cooler.
    Next week’s weather forecast calls for rain every day.




Bryan T Hall  Bryan T Hall's website lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and children.  Years of rock climbing and garage bands have given way to his first love: the written word.  His dark fiction can be found in various print and online magazines such as "Night Chills" and "The Cynic", as well as several anthologies including "Dead Bells" and "The Zombist".