(For Space, who is the bestest, and who is very partial to the name)
There would be no peace tonight, she thought, with this latest army of clouds and their pounding assault on her city.
They had stretched from horizon to horizon for days, a swelling mass of slowly-built-up weight aching to return to their ancient refuge in the world underneath. They brooded at the latest defences men had laid down, sighing at the foolishness of these ever-expanding unnatural fortifications, wondering yet again why humans insisted on defying and denying them. They hulked and sulked, sending forth brief forays, before finally realising there would be no parley, and had unleashed a relentless wall of liquid fury.
Trillions of stormtroopers blindly hurled themselves down, probing probing probing for the weaknesses that they knew had to exist, gleefully wriggling into the minute cracks they created, pouring in after each other to wreak as much havoc as they could in their short time they had, and leaving behind dramatically visible markers.
Markers that mocked those who thought they could defy the world they lived in. Markers that dared the engineers to try and deny them again, while trying to explain there was no need to. Markers that they hoped would encourage an amicable truce, and the negotiation of mutually beneficial access treaties.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jeroo Dalal lay in the dark, distractedly listening to the battle without, wondering how much longer it would be before she went crazy.
Four days of constant, heavy July rains had almost shut the city down. Almost everybody had been forced indoors by now, the initial delight at forced truancy having slowly given way to unease, and now, genuine distress. She had begun to cross-index the rising water levels with the volume of noises from her neighbours - the bickering, the snapping at frustrated children, the growing accusations against the kirana guy of hoarding. Such silly people. Didn't they watch the news? Supplies were running low all over, it was difficult for even trucks to get through. The only ones who dared to venture out now were the extremely hardy, the completely foolish, and those whose jobs or circumstances did not allow them to consider things like weather conditions.
She occasionally spotted one of them, ever-so-carefully wading through waist-high water thick with the debris of uncivic behaviour, prodding at the ground with their make-shift sticks to avoid the open drains that lurked in patient anticipation. She thought they looked like adventurers exploring an exotic land, braving their lives to identify safe trails for others to follow, moving ever onwards to discover the unknown. Just muckier.
Of course, they probably felt nothing of the sort, and were just cursing the monsoon, the inefficient municipal authority, and all the lucky sods who had the luxury of lounging at home eating fried snacks and hot chai and watching TV and ….
Too early, surely? Or was it too late...
Oh well, she wasn't going to get any sleep tonight. Might as well brew herself a cup (and eat up that last pao) and see if anybody was out exploring. She could dig out her old binoculars and pretend she was out in the rainforests on a rescue expedition, ready to shore up some sagging souls with a boost of tannin and fermented flour. Maybe she would even sing some old campfire songs to give them a little bit of pep.
Yes, Jeroo Dalal thought, it was time to get up.