Friday, June 8, 2018

A Bit Too Literal

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

It's raining...but is it raining men or cats and dogs?

It was submitted by:

so...I had no idea what to do with this prompt. But I refused to let a nonsense prompt beat me, so here we are. I suppose this answers it better than anything else I could do. 


Maggie grew up not quite believing the big family secret people tended to always come back to after too much drink had flowed on holidays and family reunions, the same story that was never really uttered out loud for everyone to hear but whispered in small huddled groups with eyes wide and tinged with fear.

Her grandmother was a witch, like a 100% born with magic in her DNA and could lift a car with a few words and her force of will kind of witch not a Wiccan with an alter kind of witch. Big difference. And apparently after finding him with another woman, she'd dropped a car on Maggie's grandfather with so much force it took a crane to pry it out of the asphalt before the body, or what was left of it, could be recovered and the car hauled away....which is why none of the men married to the women in that family have the courage to cheat. Or so the story goes.

Maggie had never met the woman to know firsthand what she was like. According to the rest of the story, grandma disappeared the same night, another layer to the mystery. There were 7 kids total--all girls--and none of them were old enough at the time to really remember her with clarity, but in the familial huddles after the sun was down and the wine bottles emptied, resurfacing memories about wands and dancing brooms and conversations with snakes would breathe a life of their own.

Maggie enjoyed them for what they were, odd family lore. They were the kind of tall tales that had their own energy, spun webs of mystery that made her smile and wonder and anticipate every family gathering.

Well. Until her daughter was born.

It wasn't obvious at first. Weird little things like teddy bears dancing in the air while Willow giggled that Maggie blamed on lack of sleep or bursts of energy burning out light bulbs when she threw tantrums happened enough to make Maggie wonder. That nagging little feeling wiggled its way around her brain while she constantly dismissed it. Nothing was going on, not really, she would think. All those years of stories about Grandma Nettie were corrupting her ability to be unbiased is what she would assure herself late at night after another owl sat outside the window answering her daughter's babbling.

But then... well... Willow as a toddler happened. And like all toddlers she took things a bit too literally. Phrases and idioms and old sayings seemed to just twist the real world to meet the meaning of words that Willow knew. There were a couple of hurricanes that hit near the area back then. During the first, Maggie looked out the windows with concern at the gray clouds even though it wasn't a huge, damage producing storm...yet. The rain was heavy and steady, and she muttered, "it's raining cats and dogs out there." Willow giggled to herself and walked over to the sliding glass door meowing and barking on the way. Next thing Maggie knew fluffy orange kittens and wiggly spotted puppies were softly landing in puddles in the back yard. 10 of them total--7 cats and 3 dogs--appeared before she screamed Willow's name and snapped the child's focus.

She checked all around once the storm was over and all the critters were safely indoors (no injuries thankfully), but there didn't seem to be not a one anywhere else. And she couldn't have been losing her mind. Those animals were there--tangible, purring and barking and hungry. Willow had already made it clear that there would be hell to pay if she couldn't keep her "babies." The whole thing was a disaster, so there she was, a young widow with a toddler, raising too many animals and half wondering if she needed to go live in a remote cabin in the woods and keep this child from tossing cars on people.

It wasn't long after the cats and dogs arrived that the two of them were in the car headed home from the grocery store when the radio began playing It's Raining Men. The day had been sunny with blue skies all around and barely a wisp of a cloud in the sky, but as Willow listened and started in on the eerie giggling the air around them crackled with lightening and everything turned dark.

Thunder cracked so loudly Maggie screamed, and lightening struck just a few feet ahead of the car. A thud hit the roof then the truck...Maggie saw a beige blur bounce off the hood. She hit the brakes hard and fast right in the middle of the street.

Ken dolls, naked ones, were falling all around them. And her child was giggling hysterically.

Maggie floored it and punched the radio off. She couldn't afford to be seen in a raining cloud of naked dolls. Who could? Luckily, they were only a few blocks from home, and as soon as they got within sight of the house Willow forgot all about her men in favor of screaming "Puppy!" at the top of her lungs. All 10 animals were named Puppy.

Maggie pulled in the driveway with her heart thudding loudly in her chest. This...this changed everything. Was this life now? Would she constantly be on edge about whether she had some kind of serious disorder or if her child was some kind of mutant? How would her little girl ever have a normal life?

Maggie started to sob as she stopped the car in the driveway. She turned the engine off, still crying, and put her head in her hands.

"What's wrong, Mommy?" Willow whispered from the back.

"Mommy's just a little sad. I'll be okay in a minute."

Willow was quiet for a minute or two then started giggling again. When Maggie looked up, the entire car was covered in butterflies and more were fluttering in the air all around them.

She smiled at Willow in the rearview mirror, her sweet, thoughtful little girl. The stories about her grandmother always came in hushed tones with horrified expressions...but maybe this didn't have to be a sad story with a warning lesson. Maybe this story could be warm and beautiful with butterflies and puppies and kittens instead of a dark, swirling nightmare of dead grandpas under cars and missing grandmothers with too much power and an evil streak...

With shakey hands, she reached for her phone to call her mother. There had to be more to the stories she heard, and she was determined to get it and make the best of all of this.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

Southern Belle Charm

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Never Ever Give Up Hope

My Brand of Crazy


  1. So glad you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone with this prompt. They don't have to all make sense to be inspiration for spinning a fun yarn.

  2. Hahahaha, Ken dolls!
    I sometimes wonder where those sayings come from. Looks like now I know ;-)