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this god-forsaken town

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The way the people of this god-forsaken town stand outside, shoes and bare feet stirring up the earth's dust. Stare at the sky with parched lips and sunken-in faces for hours on end, waiting for rain to come that hasn't come in decades. The sun means nothing to their dry eyes.

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Mercy is someone who likes to be in control. Likes to feel the heaves of breath around her. Likes to hear the people's voices whisper into the dry air, words riding on no more than an exhale.

Mercy is someone who likes to be in control, but at this point, with her head tipped back and cracked lips parted, listening to the people breathe out their pleas, nobody really understands what control is anymore. Or what exactly she's in control of.

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The people don't know how he cries at night, begging to escape but kept back by the lack of somewhere else to go. Lack of a destination, lack of an exit, lack of willpower.

He himself doesn't know how he's not dead yet, with all the water he's sobbed out. Doesn't know how the people aren't dead yet, either, with the dry skies and aching ground.

Maybe they are dead.

Maybe this is the afterlife - a wasteland of rain-barren years and cotton-lined mouths, tongues turned to leather in their mouths and throats transformed into sandpaper.

Danny cries harder, not aware of the fact that there are no tears weeping from his eyes. There has been no tears for as long as there has been no rain.