One wet afternoon, Lam lay down on the floor in the living room and let his mind wander. He watched the water stream over the window panes and entertained odd thoughts.
Outside, the rain pooled up between the cracks in the paving stones outside. It emerged amongst weeds and soaked up from the soil, collected in puddles which spilled into each other. As the puddles became deeper, drops formed out of the surface of the water and lifted upwards into the sky.
Lam looked at Marjie, sitting curled up on the sofa, rug over knees, pencil in hand, head in a newspaper crossword puzzle. Every so often her brow would unfurrow for a moment and the pencil would scratch letters onto the paper.
“Marjie,” he said. “Why does the rain fall up?”
He sat up, staring at her, trying to break her concentration. She looked up from the newspaper, eyes swivelling to greet his, mind still clearly lost in the puzzle.
“Why wouldn’t it?” she said absently.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he insisted. “It’s against gravity. That’s not how water from the tap behaves, or spit. So why does the rain do that?”
She blinked, drawn out of her reverie, and annoyance began to creep into her voice.
“Well it’s always done that, dear,” she said. “Don’t be silly.” She returned to her crossword, holding up the paper to block out his staring.
He read the headline on the paper.
MILLIONS DYING FROM THIRST
He knew something was wrong.