Just two days prior to Alan’s arrival, his Mother and Father received the most dreaded notice they could have ever laid eyes upon. The standard Army death certificate. Saying it that way makes the notice of their son’s death in combat sound very cynical, yet that was the way Alan’s Father described the letter. Alan’s Mother dared not even touch the envelope the letter came in, let alone read the notice itself. Alan died in combat near Fallujah, “with great honor” as was described. Alan’s Father always wanted to see his son bring honor to the family. Yet, not at the cost of his son’s life. It was the hardest news he could have ever received, news that had no words to describe. Yet, everything seemed upside-down the moment their son Alan materialized at their front door, soaking wet from some mysterious downpour.
Alan’s Mother immediately dragged her son inside, squeezing her hands on his cold cheeks and barraging Alan with question after question. Perhaps they weren't questions necessarily, as they were surprised statements about the nature of Alan’s appearance. Alan was dressed in his military fatigues, yet was not wearing any boots or socks. His skin was slightly pale, speaking no words, only giving a grievous stare from his sunken eyes which were also bloodshot. As was previously mentioned, Alan was drenched from head to toe. His uniform was completely darkened from the drenching, and water still dripping in decent amounts from his buzz cut head. It was as if Alan stepped in from a massive rain shower, yet there was no rain outside. As a matter of fact, it had not rained in town for nearly a week. Alan was completely silent, not a sound left his lips. Even as his Mother and Father spoke to him continuously, he gave no reply. It was as if Alan could not hear them, or that he could hear them yet was unable to give any verbal reply.
He was immediately rested on the blue pullout couch in the living room, set his two legs out and was continually in attempt to get his son to speak to him. Alan’s Father told his wife to call 9-11 immediately, as Alan could very well have been in the midst of a serious health problem. Suddenly cold flesh gripped the Father’s wrist, as Alan suddenly grabbed hold. The grip was very tight, yet the skin and flesh felt as if Alan had stepped out of a meat-freezer. His flesh was ominously chilled, to a point that his Father questioned if Alan was truly in the grip of life. Alan then uttered two words, words that at first were not discernible. Alan spoke in a high whisper, with a scratchy and deformed voice pattern. Slowly his Father understood the words his son was saying, words that had no clear meaning yet were repeated continuously in trance-like statements that echoed out with a strange vibration;
“Raining Man,” Alan uttered. “Raining Man.”
The conversation that Alan’s Father and Mother had with him was, as described by his parents, the strangest conversation ever had with their son. In many ways, they began to slowly believe that the person they were speaking to was not their son. His tone of voice, manner of speaking, was all very different than how they remembered Alan before his tour in Iraq. Alan was not the same. He wasn’t really Alan in that sense. His Father asked him repeatedly about the Death Notice that came in the mail, stating he had been killed in action. His Father and Mother questioned Alan continuously, especially after they let him rest in his old bedroom for eighteen hours. Alan's Father and Mother wanted desperately to know how the Army could have mistaken him for dead. All Alan replied was,
“I am dead.”
The conversation with Alan produced nothing. His parents understood only one thing after talking with Alan; something definitely was wrong with him. He may not have been dead physically, but the Alan they knew was truly dead. Even when the police and psychologist interviewed Alan, they got just as much response as his parents. To a certain extent, Alan’s Father and Mother were very happy to see Alan return home. They were certainly glad that they didn’t have to attend a funeral. Alan was showered with comfort and attempted affections. They made his bed for him, cooked for him three times a day, basically any task to make Alan more comfortable. None of it really seemed to change Alan’s moods. It’s not as if Alan was acting badly towards his parents, more or less he was acting towards them at all. Alan was often quiet and isolating of himself. This was very different from the Alan who was once known as the neighborhood’s party animal before he enlisted in 2002. No affection seemed to penetrate this dark aura surrounding Alan. His favorite meals, favorite TV shows, none of it seemed to work. As days wound on, it became very clear that Alan was set in some very dark attitude that could not seem to shake itself.
Alan’s Father, an Army Veteran himself, decided to contact the Army and try and get some information on what exactly happened to his son in Iraq. He thought that his stint in Vietnam would give him some leeway for information. The response given by the Army was very odd, almost terrifying. The Army claimed that the death certificate was not an error. Alan truly died in combat, and was confirmed to still be dead. It was impossible. Alan’s Father continued to state that they must be mistaken, due to the fact Alan was sitting in his living room watching TV. The Army claimed that no error was made. How could it be possible? What Alan’s Father and Mother didn’t understand at the moment, was that something very powerful was at play. Alan’s sudden reappearance was not a coincidence.
The body of Mr. Gilcrist was found lying in his bed, the cause of death set many in a state of unease. Gilcrist was one of the many military families that lived in the neighborhood. At least, Gilcrist was retired military. Gilcrist’s son was also in the military, the Marines, yet he was killed early during the Iraq War. He was the first to enter Iraq and among the first to die. Gilcrist was never the same after his son was killed. A depression that many believed would lead to a suicide or at least a stress-induced early death. What made Gilcrist’s death so bizarre was how he died. Drowning was the official cause of death. Gilcrist was found lying still as a plank, face up and blank eyes open. Water was in his lungs, oozing out from his semi-open mouth. It had no rationality to it. No drop of water existed in Gilcrist’s bedroom. Neither his bed nor sheets were wet, same for the surrounding floor. There was no water in the bathtub, and absolutely no sign that someone could have drowned Gilcrist in his bed. Something was very wrong. No explanation could be given, so Gilcrist’s death was labeled an accident.
Nothing that unfolded seemed accidental. The following events rocked the very core of the suburban neighborhood, especially to Alan’s parents. A cosmic deal of balance was being fulfilled, and no one knew this or even cared to know of it. Alan knew of this. His actions grew stranger, emotionless expressions and that sank deeply into his face. As the days drew on Alan spoke less. As the days drew on, more people continued to die. Two more men were found dead, whom Alan’s Father had known as Bill and Rob. They were both Army buddies of his, and both Bill and Rob’s sons were veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Both men seemed to die within a day of each other. Cause of death for both was drowning. Both men were found in otherwise dry environments, with their lungs full of water. Much like the case of Mr. Gilcrist, no logical explanation could be given to the drowning deaths. However, unlike the case of Gilcrist, an extra piece of evidence was found on the bodies. Two words were carved into the chests of the bodies, words that ultimately found a connection with Alan; Raining Man.
It was when the police questioned Alan’s Father again, that some rather odd pieces to an ominous puzzle were being put together. All three men that were killed had a connection with Alan’s Father. They all served in Vietnam, as their sons were serving together in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some vain connection existed, though it was not clear at first what that connection was aside from Army service. It was also brought up about Raining Man, the words carved into the chests of two of the bodies. Alan’s Father remembered what his son said the day he reappeared. Raining Man, he remembered those words coming from Alan’s lips. Now those words were etched in the flesh of two dead men. Alan’s Father didn’t mention that information to the police. He didn’t want to incriminate his son. However, Alan’s Father had to try and understand what was happening, and why his son was connected to it.
Alan’s Father remembered the phrase “Raining Man” from his time in Vietnam. It is not a commonly told tale, yet was one of many stories that were told to him during his three years attached to a Huey helicopter regiment. He was first told the legend of Raining Man, by a captured villager in 1970, who was suspected of being a collaborator with the VC. He said that American actions would invoke the wrath of the Raining Man, as the villager claimed,
“Who returns from the spirit world in the form of a dead warrior who can summon the power of the rains to repay the debts of those who spill youthful blood.” Supposedly, the Raining Man was once a proud young warrior who was killed in battle during a rainstorm, and vowed before his death that his spirit would fulfil a blood promise. He laid a curse that he would return to “repay the blood of the sons with the blood of the fathers.” The story went pretty much that way, not much to elaborate on. It was just supposed to be a story, after all. The villager was executed not long after he told the story. The Raining Man was a story that Alan’s Father barely even remembered, yet now it seemed that some reality was being molded out of the old story.
The stories seemed to take on an even darker life, and Alan seemed to be the direct center of the following events. Alan’s Father awoke to find his wife screaming hysterically. She was screaming about Alan. He soon noticed among the screaming, that it was heavily raining outside. When he discovered why his wife was screaming, she kept saying that Alan was “making it rain.” Alan’s Father thought she was hysterical, urging her to calm herself. Alan sat across from her on the couch, not making a sound. He held a horrifying look in his eyes, and glared into the air as if he was waiting for something to happen. His father approached him and demanded to know what was going on. The only answer Alan gave him was, “the blood of the sons will be paid with the blood of the fathers.”
The rain outside stopped suddenly. It just a single moment, the entirety of the raining ceased, as if someone merely had to turn off a faucet. In the following moments, Alan’s Father and Mother felt odd sensations on their skin. They could feel water droplets touching them. One by one, at first, much like a rainstorm beginning to brew. Alan’s Father looked up to the ceiling to see water droplets forming out of it and falling. The droplets soon evolved into a torrential pour, inside the house. Everything was getting drenched in the supernatural rain. Alan’s Father and Mother were utterly stunned by the indoor storm, while Alan sat eerily still. The entire house was giving off the downpour. Alan’s Father knew that Alan was at the center of what was happening, and pleaded with him to make it stop. Alan eventually complied.
Alan’s Father decided to request to see his son’s body. The Army continued to claim that Alan was dead, so therefore there still had to be a body. He wanted to know if the person, or thing, living in his house was really his son. There was no body. Apparently, the body had been labeled misplaced. He also discovered certain details about Alan’s service, which apparently involved a rather troubling incident in a small village under investigation for war crimes. After further inquiries, Alan’s Father also discovered some issues about two of the murder victims. Bill and Rob’s sons apparently suffered ill fates during their service. Bill’s son was hit with an IED during his first patrol, losing both of his legs and his left hand. Rob’s son killed himself the previous year, service pistol to the mouth. To a certain extent Alan’s Father was somewhat disappointed in himself that he did not keep in touch with his former service buddies enough to know the trauma’s their families faced. Now both Bill and Rob were dead, and the issue of the Raining Man seemed to reappear in each thought on the matter. Indeed, many issues seemed to add up more and more toward this concept of the Raining Man and the curse he supposedly has to bear.
Mr. Gilcrist, Bill and Rob were former soldiers. Their sons were soldiers who suffered horrible fates during their service. It seemed the fathers were suffering similar fates as their sons, albeit by different means. Could an old tall tale about the Raining Man really be true? Everything seemed to add up in that direction, but any rational person could not lead himself to believe that such a ghost story could be true. After all, that is all it was, a ghost story. Alan’s Father, however, soon came to find his connection to what was happening. If Raining Man was real, why would he manifest as his son? It was when he laid eyes on his old Army medals again that he began to realize why he was connected to the events. Alan’s Father had not laid eyes on his medals in over thirty years. The medals he won for his “brave” service in Vietnam. Those were back in 69-71. He, Bill, and Rob served in a Huey detachment whose primary goals were what we know as search and destroy missions. Though he, Bill, and Rob were decorated for their duty in Vietnam, those days were days that were rather left forgotten.
Alan’s Father’s service medals were won through acts that he would never repeat. Looking at the medals reminded him instantly of that savage day in 1970. The sleeping villagers had no time to flee. Two hundred were gunned down without a single shot fired back in defense or offense. The incident was blamed on NVA and VC troops. Alan’s Father never wanted to remember or be associated with that day ever again. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t associate with Bill and Rob too much after the war. Alan’s Father tossed his murderous medals across the floor, wondering how exactly the reemerged in they first place. He threw them away decades ago. When he looked at them again, all he could think of was the blasphemous legend that spoke of balances to be paid; Raining Man.
The rains were brewing, and Alan’s Father was at last confronted with the price he had to pay. The same price that Gilcrist, Bill and Rob had to pay. The same price all of their sons paid. Alan, or the image he perceived to be Alan, stood before him with the same ominous glare. He demanded to know if he was his son. The being only shook his head. The figure who pretended to be Alan, revealed what it was and why it appeared the way it did. It was then that the being revealed his true form, the form of Raining Man. A shadowy body, engulfed with ushering wetness that leaked everywhere. A strange wind and sound preceded him, and the rains continued to grow stronger. It was time to fulfill the promise. Alan’s Father soon learned, or was rather shown, that his son invoked the power of the Raining Man once he shed the blood of the innocents. The blood of the sons had to be paid with the blood of the fathers. The legacy of war and massacre left a black mark, which only the Raining Man could cleanse.
Alan’s Father was put to his knees and forced to face the deaths by his hand. He had a debt to be paid, for the loss of his son. It was Alan’s Father that encouraged his son to serve and go to war, just as Gilcrist, Bill, Rob and so many others have. The father always has to live his legacy through the son. Due to this, the blood of the lost sons had to be paid. The rains soon engulfed Alan’s Father all around, showers growing stronger each moment. The rains grew stronger until Alan’s Father could feel the rain like blades, sinking deeply into his flesh and watching as the room around him drowned in water. The only thing Alan’s Father could see, or even comprehend, was the ever towering power of the Raining Man. His debt was now paid.
The cause of death was drowning. Alan’s Father was found in his son's room, lying on the otherwise dry floor. His lungs were full of water. Alan, or who was thought to be Alan, disappeared. No trace of him could be found. It was as if he was merely an illusion. The Army soon cleared up its supposed mistakes, and relocated Alan’s body. It was indeed true, Alan was dead. Alan’s Mother was left to question whether the whole incident was a nightmare. Yet, every time she wakes up her husband and son are both still dead. The work of the Raining Man still persists, and will continue to enact its bound duty to restore the balance of blood from all that create the deficits. More will come to know the story of Raining Man soon. All will come to know the power the Raining Man holds, and to honor the blood and lives of those around them. Alan’s Mother certainly knows of his truth. This was especially true as she planned the funerals of her husband and son. She thought perhaps the two of them can be rested together. Perhaps the funerals can be side by side, father and son, and might even be cast under the showers of a drenching rainstorm.