"What's that?" said the strange light.
"Melted ice cream," I said.
It was a hot day, one of those where you feel like your skin can melt off of your bones. But whenever the light was present, a cool breeze would follow, and the sense that I could do anything would be the only thought flowing in my mind. I didn't use to feel like that. Before the light, I used to be alone in my house. I would wake up, take care of the communal garden, and do my rain ceremonies to keep the forest alive. The rain was a rare thing for us, and we really needed it.
"It hasn't rained in six months," I said.
"Soon," said the light.
"How do you know?" I said.
"I should go."
The light is usually like that. It evades my questions and disappears as fast as it shows itself.
"Where are you going?" I said.
"Where is home?" I asked.
As I asked, the light vanished, and I was left alone in the middle of the street. I honestly can't say when the light started to show up. Maybe it was during this solstice or the last. Perhaps even longer than that. I don't question its existence anymore. In the beginning, I told a few people around town, but they all thought it was perhaps a lack of sleep or our poor eating habits. After bringing the light up the third time, I decided it was best not to mention it again. At this point, it has become my secret, and at times I even consider it a friend.
"Nina! It's so lovely to see you. I haven't seen you since your last lockdown." Jared said.
"Yeah, I try to stay in the forest most days. You know the air isn't good for me." I said.
"Oh, right. Sorry about the filter not working on you. But the forest looks amazing. Hopefully, you can call the rain by the next full moon."
"I might try another treatment, and I have a feeling it will rain pretty soon."
I hate that I have to lie. I also hate having these types of conversations. Everyone in this town knows that I can only leave my house at certain times a month. Yet, whenever they see me around, they have to bring it up in conversation. Also, I know my only job is to make the rain pour, but it can be such a lonely depressing thing. How can you even create rain?
"Jared, I have to go. I need to be home by 6 P.M. "
"Oh, sorry. I thought you could stay for 24-hours when the air was not too bad outside.”
“I have to check the garden while there’s some light out.” I said.
“Ah, well. See you the next time you are out."
My house is right at the edge of the town, next to a forest. I was put in charge of one of the few forests left in the world. After the great fires, the color green started to fade from the world. But in small parts of the globe, there were still remote forests where the gifted people could live. The first fires started in the middle of the year 2037. By the end of that year, the fires had taken over, and most of the air was unbreathable. The fires felt worse than a world war, and all the countries around the globe did their best to control them so they wouldn't keep destroying everything on their paths. In 2040, they were able to contain the last great fire. It was trapped in what we used to call India.
We're in the year 2056, and the great fires still burn in their points of origin. Most days, the temperature is above a hundred- and twenty-degrees Fahrenheit, and we, the gifted, were meant to help create rain.
We were not chosen by magic, but mostly by our bad lungs. By the time the great fires were contained and secured to burn in one spot, the air was so polluted that everyone was in lockdown for almost ten years. During that time, scientists were able to create a sort of filter installed inside everyone's lungs. That way, everyone was able to go back outside.
We were only less than a million humans living on the planet; most were killed by the fires and ten of us couldn't get the treatment. The world's remaining governments decided that we would be located in ten different spots of the world. We would be the ones to take care of the last forests left around the globe, since we were the ones that desperately needed them the most. I was ten years old when I was chosen. I was living in an orphanage in the middle of what used to be Madrid when they told me my lungs couldn't survive the filter installation. I woke up a day later in the middle of my forest. I was left with a small bag of clothes, dehydrated food, and an ancient-looking book with many poems and rituals.
Inside the book, there was a letter. Explaining that this was my life now and that I should study the book and pray and hope that I could bring rain to my new home. There used to be ten small forests left in the world. Mine is now the last one.
It was past midnight, and I decided to go out into the middle of forest and do one of my rain rituals. The last time it rained, I just chanted the word rain in different languages. So why not try it again?
"Lluvia, regn, rain, ploaie, rigning, pluja, pluie. Lluvia, regn, rain, ploaie, rigning, pluja, pluie. Lluvia, regn, rain, ploaie, rigning, pluja, pluie!"
"Why are you screaming?" said the light.
"You need to stop appearing out of nowhere," I said.
"Did I scare you?"
"Maybe, but honestly, I don't have time to talk with a random light. I need to make stupid rain, so the stupid world doesn't turn into a giant ball of fire, and we all die."
"I see," the light said.
"It's that all you have to say? Why don't you turn yourself off or go back to whatever world you came from? I can't do this anymore. I don't want to help the world. I wish I would've just burned years ago.” I said.
The light didn't respond. It just stayed still as if looking back at me. For the first time, since I started talking to it, it showed a color. It went from a translucent color to a beautiful blue that can only be seen in videos and pictures. I wish I could describe it, but I've only seen that color in photos from the early 2000s. Our skies are an orange-red color, and even during the nighttime, you can see remnants of that orange. It's been years since the stars have been visible to us.
"What are you thinking about?" The light said.
"I can't do this. I don't know how to do this." I whispered.
I laid down on the forest floor and ignored the blue light next to me. I started to repeat my little chant as if by some miracle, that would help. Lluvia, regn, rain, ploaie, rigning, pluja, pluie, lluvia, regn, rain, ploaie, rigning, pluja, pluie. I think I repeated those words a thousand times that night while the light just shined next to me. As time passed, the light became bluer, brighter. At times, I could even see sparks around it, but I didn't stop repeating those words until finally, I fell asleep on that forest floor.
I was awakened by a screeching sound. I had never heard anything like that before. I looked up at the sky, and it was a color I had never seen before. I thought maybe the light was angry at me and had turned the endless sky grey. I ran back to my house, hoping that the light might be there, and I could ask what was wrong. Maybe it could finally give me answer.
The light was gone. I couldn't find it anywhere. Suddenly, the wind started to blow, and I could feel my ears ringing and my throat closing up. The next thing I knew, I felt my house lift off the ground. I felt like I was holding my breath, and a strong wind surrounded me. I closed my eyes and finally saw the light again. It smiled at me, and suddenly there was silence.