The first time we spotted the clouds, we welcomed the rain it would bring. But days came and went and they stayed in the beautiful blue sky while the land grew dryer and we died slowly of thirst. But we hoped. We kept hoping, even as the earth turned a lovely yellow and brown and fire had to be watched carefully lest it spread too quickly.
The day the clouds went, hope and half of us died. Those of us who survived managed, somehow, to cling stubbornly to life. We dug wells until the ground was riddled with gaping holes. Dangerous holes.
The second time we spotted the clouds, we scoffed and loudly proclaimed it to be some god’s idea of a fun joke. But we looked when we thought no one else was looking, for a sign that rain would come. We dared to hope, secretly, that water would pour from the heavens to sooth our parched lives.
The day the clouds went, we shrugged and tried to continue living. Those who hoped more than others lost their will to live. Half of us perished. Those of us who survived knew the end was close.
The third time we spotted the clouds, we cursed the sky for teasing us so mercilessly. But secretly, we still hoped, even as we dried up. Even while we lay dying we stole glances at the sky. In our last seconds of conciousness, we thought in our delirium we could hear thunder. We thought we saw flashes in the dark gloomy skies. We thought we felt the cool wet rain falling on us. Filling our wells. Giving us a chance at life when it was too late. We thought we heard laughter.
The day the clouds went, no one was there to see them go.