Mad Cow Disease was bad enough but imagine if the disease had gone insect-borne! Walking the Rain describes such a post-apocalyptic world in which the disease is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. No one knows who is infected or who to trust. It falls to one man, Scace, a reluctant hero to save his village from the disease. In his quest for the cure, Scace is thrust into the midst of the struggle between The Church of the Rain and the sinister Captain Black. Somehow, he must outwit them all to get his hands on the little blue pills.
Scace woke to the sound of the pigs grunting for their breakfast. As usual, Danny had slipped into bed so he was squashed uncomfortably against the cold stones of the wall. Jo had her back to him, cuddling her son. He gave the back of her naked shoulder an exploratory kiss.
She shrugged her shoulder away impatiently. “The pigs need feeding.” She still hadn’t forgiven him.
He rolled over them both out of bed and lit the fire in the range for the hot water. Scace, his wife and their son slept in the stone-floored kitchen while the pigs lived next door in what had been the living room before the Apocalypse. Scace had gutted the room and given it over to them. Pigs were valuable and they had to be kept close. A piglet could be snatched by a scavenging pack of wild dogs or a thief could carry one away. Pigs were wealth, the lifeline to tomorrow, next month, next year. They secured the future of the family. When Danny had fallen ill, a suckling pig had paid for his medication. When the cart needed a new axle a side of pork did the job. The pigs were barter power, currency and he guarded them jealously.
As Scace opened the connecting door, the pigs grunting intensified and they pushed and jostled for their breakfast. There was a bucket of slops by the door capped by a heavy cast iron lid to keep out the rats. As soon as Scace poured the slops into their stone trough, they pounced on it sucking greedily at the liquid and chomping at the solids; not seeming to mind that they were feasting on the remains of Fat Martha.
As they dined on their grandmother Scace reflected that this was how it had all started, with animals being fed the ground up corpses of their own. It was how the disease had spread and taken hold. In the past, this had been done through greed and ignorance of the consequences, but now there was no choice. No source of valuable protein could go to waste. It all had to be recycled. Scace had even boiled up the two rats that Seven, his dog, had caught the previous day and the pigs lapped it all up.
When they had licked the trough clean, Scace had a wicked thought. He opened the gate at the bottom of the stairs.
“Go on little piggies! Find the big pig!” He encouraged them through the gate and they happily snuffled their way up the stairs.
He retreated back into the kitchen. Jo was up in her nightshirt; one of Scace’s old very tatty shirts.
“Tea ready?” he asked her.
She grunted an unintelligible reply, carried her own mug over to the table and sat sipping it. She had been like this for three days now. Scace was being punished for not bringing her a present back from his latest forage; he had made the mistake of pointing out that they were in the midst of a post-Apocalyptic downturn.
She had told him abruptly that civilisation had truly ended if he thought that he could get away with leaving her with Danny while he went off enjoying himself and not even bring her back a present.
Jo always won the rows. She was smarter than Scace; she knew it and it made her angry with him. Not because she expected or even wanted Scace to be clever, but because she was forced to stay at home with the kid. She came from a long line of smart ambitious women; teachers, lawyers, vets but the disease had crushed any such expectations of her own. The disease had boxed her in. She was a wife, a mother, a housekeeper. There was nothing else. Jo felt as if she had betrayed the bloodline and she had told Scace as much. But what could he do about it? It was hard enough just trying to survive.