Six Years Ago
“Are you sure this will work?” The man urged, concern lining his brow.
“Not entirely,” Dr. Pennington began. “But, it’s your best bet. There have been cases where patients have had no response and others have had great success. It’s a procedure where the genes are altered, so it relies heavily on your gene structure. Each person reacts completely different.”
“What about side effects?”
“There have been some, but usually temporary. Nausea, fatigue, that sort of business. Again, it largely depends on someone’s DNA, and also their condition plays a role.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, this procedure uses a chemical called Crimson X. This essentially boosts your immune system to extremely high levels, so any measures it takes to return your body to normalcy can be extreme. For instance, if your body lacks important proteins your body may then produce much more protein than you need. And your Chronic Hypohydratia is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen. If this procedure works, you could be overly hydrated, but that could be managed with proper medical care from our facility.”
“So is that how it could cure me? Boost my immune system?’
“Not entirely. The immune system boost is more of a side effect, but the way it could cure you is by altering your DNA to its most maximum potential. It’s like taking an old tree and pruning it, and adding more roots to get more water and so it has branches that produce the lushest green leaves you’ve ever seen. Now as I stated it can go overboard, so it could give you problems in the opposite direction, but we can deliver treatments that dial back the effects of the Crimson X.”
“So now all you need to do is sign and we can start as early as next week.”
“What makes you so sure that I’ll agree to this?”
“Because Mr. Everton, I know that you have tried every doctor available with no success. Your condition is quite the anomaly, and has worsened. Your body is retaining less and less water, and becoming increasingly difficult to stay hydrated. The prognosis is that you have around six months to live. We seem to be your only hope, as I recall. Is this correct?”
“Yes. Yes it is. And please….call me Luke.”
“So why so cautious, Luke? You’ve nothing to lose at this point.”
“It’s just….I’ve heard….rumors.”
“Rumors? Well please…humor me.”
“NOSRAD has been known to...do some shady practices. People say that you do illegal experimentation, and even attribute to people’s disappearances. I know it’s just hearsay, but it’s just odd that none of the doctors have a clue how to cure me and NOSRAD seems to have all the answers.”
“Oh my, those rumors again. So, tell me here Mr. Everton. What proof have these people shown of any wrong doings of NOSRAD?”
“Well, a lot of people have said that…”
“Again, what proof do you have that we’re doing anything illegal?”
“Well, I don’t really have any….”
“Then why so cautious? People talk, spread rumors to have something interesting to talk about. It makes them feel important to have information. Why do you give such credence to these things?”
“I…I don’t really know. Honestly, I don’t feel that I know much of anything anymore, doc.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just this whole experience…with your life being on the line. You begin to question everything. Things were so certain…I had a daughter. One I thought I could watch grow old and get married. Now….I’m not even certain if I’ll live to see her another six months. Or my wife.” Luke’s eyes began to moisten at this.
“I understand. But we’ll take care of you. The great thing about NOSRAD is that by opting into this procedure, we’ll take care of any needs involving your health, and that’s whether the procedure is successful or not. If things take a turn for the worse, you can at least take advantage of our care at the facilities to stay comfortable without worrying about any additional cost.”
“I know what you’re going to say so don’t bother. We offer charitable services to those who cannot afford such expensive treatment, and the fact that this is all new makes it even easier for us to forego taking your money. All you need to do is offer us a service in return should the operation be a success. You will not owe us anything if the procedure does not cure you, and you have our word on that.”
“I know, it’s just hard to believe that it would be so easy. You know what they say about things that are good to be true.”
“I understand, but rest assured this is all legitimate. We want to be on the edge of breakthroughs here, but we need subjects…I mean patients, to work with to do so. And we can help people along the way, which is great! It’s what we do. And we won’t ask you to do anything you’re not comfortable with. So if you just sign here, everything will be taken care of.”
“Okay….I’ll do it.”
“And you do know about the one week observation, right?”
“I don’t believe I was told about that.”
“After the procedure we must keep you here. It can take up to a week for patients to experience recovery or show negative symptoms. For your safety, we require that you stay here to stay under our watch to have the best medical care as well as record your progress. The results are so different for every patient so its important we keep a good account of everything.”
“That’s fine. I’m still in.”
“Alright, then. Let’s get this started.”
Two Weeks Later
Luke Everton stared into the mirror, barely able to take in the sight of himself. Where his skin used to be dry and somewhat normal looking, instead was wrinkled in lines to the point where he looked much older than he was. His skin felt spongy and soft, and the very texture of it made him feel sick. Drops of water occasionally appeared out of his pores and rolled down his skin. In disbelief he gently ran his fingers over his face.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Everton?” A voice called from outside his bathroom.
“What do you think!” Luke retorted, shaking his head in dismay.
“Can you please come out?”
“What? So you document how much of a freak I’ve become?”
“No, Mr. Everton we simply want to check on your well-being.”
Scowling, Luke lumbered out of the bathroom into his bedroom, his footsteps making splashing noises as he moved. He awkwardly ducked under the door, still getting used to his new size. Since the procedure, he had for some reason become taller and bulkier. According to the doctors, they had not seen this reaction to the procedure before and currently had no way to help with the effects. This larger size also gave him greater strength and endurance, but all these interesting changes were overshadowed by his emotional and mental state.
“You see anything you like?!”
“Mr. Everton, please. You must stay positive! We’re taking great measures to take care of you, and your terminal condition is no more! It’s simply a matter of managing the amount of water you’re excreting.”
“I look like some digusting gigantic humanoid prune! My own wife…she couldn’t even look at me yesterday when she visited!”
“It’s all just temporary, Mr….”
“My daughter cried! Her mother later told me she thought I was monster, and wanted to know what the monster did with her father. This damn well better be temporary.”
“Yes, I understand it’s very frustrating. Just please…let us help you.”
“I think you’ve helped enough. Just leave me alone.”
“Okay. I’ll respect your wishes. But I’ll need to come by later today to do some tests.”
“Oh, and we’ll have someone come by today to get a drain installed here to take care of this.” The doctor indicated the large pool of water that had collected in the bedroom.
Luke watched the doctor leave and sat on his bed. Looking around the room, he sighed at the pool of water as he gently tapped his large feet on. He played the image of his daughter’s face in his mind over and over. Even with his condition technically cured, there was no guarantee that he would still live, and the thought of his daughter remembering his as some monster…it was too much.
He wept into his hands, not bothering to wipe them away. Unaware, Luke continued weeping as the pool of water formed an image of a father holding a little girl for a couple of seconds before it returned to its normal state.
“Did you see that?” Director Krane spoke to Dr. Pennington elsewhere.
“Rewind that tape,” he ordered to a nearby security guard. Immediately he moved a dial which replayed the image that formed in the water.
“Fascinating…” The doctor gushed.
“Is that his daughter? Play it again and pause it.”
After inspecting the image, the details did indicate it was a picture of Luke holding his daughter.
“Mr. Pennington, we have stumbled upon something here. We have seen mutations, death, sickness, and all sorts of side effects from the Procedure, but nothing like this.
“Hold on. I have an idea.”
Ten minutes later, a high-pitched wailing startled Luke from his day dream of staring at the pool of water. Almost tripping over his own feet, he stepped outside of his room. A sense of dread knotted in his stomach, especially not knowing what this particular sound meant. There was only one thought that went through mind.
Yet, there was none to be seen. He tried one hallway door , but it was locked. In giant strides, he made his way towards a set of double-doors in the other direction. By the red glow from the edges of the door, he could immediately tell this was the source of the fire. Turning to the security camera, he waved his arms up and down and shouted for help.
After waiting for what seemed like forever, he felt he had no other choice but to try and escape through the open doors that seemed to have an inferno burning inside.
“Why is no one moving around?” He whispered to himself.
Upon shoving the doors open, he immediately felt the searing wave of heat wash over him. The entire room seemed to be engulfed, only giving a narrow passage to the door on the other side. Reflexing holding his arm up, he tried to move through the hot flames licking the walls, but as hard as he tried he couldn’t seem to make himself step any closer to the door from the dangerous amount of heat. His brain tried hard to tell his body to move, yet it wouldn’t listen.
At this point, he was about halfway across the room when it became too much. There was nothing left to do except to go back , but he began to succumb to the smoke. As he dropped to his knees, he felt the strength being sapped form his body. His family was the only thing in his mind as his dizziness increased and he thought he was going to slip into unconsciousness at any moment.
Just as he was about to go under, water suddenly sprinkled from above and fiercely pelted the flames. In under a minute, the fire was completed doused, but he was on the verge of passing out. The alarm finally ceased, and a team of doctors came in and quickly began loading him onto a gurney. They placed an oxygen mask on him as they discussed what had just transpired.
“I can’t believe we weren’t notified of the fire earlier,” one remarked.
“I know. From the look of the walls, it’d been going on for at least five minutes. I thought they were constantly monitoring this place.
“Me too. Strange, but good thing the sprinklers kicked in when they did. Else this guy would be a goner.”’
“What do you mean, the sprinklers? He put that out himself, somehow.”
“What are you talking about? That room has no extinguishers, and there weren’t any buckets of water or anything.”
“Marv, there’s no sprinklers in that room.”
“Yeah, it’s one of the only two rooms in this entire place that doesn’t have one.”
Freaked out, Luke watched as a bead of water rolled down his arm and into the palm of his hand. Focusing on it , he felt as if the water and his mind were as one. Pushing mentally, he watched in astonishment as the water floated above his hand for a moment, and dropped back down. Trying again, he willed it to move up his arm and onto his shoulder where he let it rest.
The doctors were right. The sprinklers had no put out the fire, he did.
He had made it rain. He was the Rainmaker.