Daoud can clap and rub his hands to make thunder. He can make the sky grumble, he can make it roar. His hands themselves make no sound—their speakers are the sky. Daoud’s applause can be a frightening, overwhelming thing. He is not an easily impressed man. You can hardly be more impressive than thunder.

Having amused his friends with his talent and then having scared them off by taking it too far and cracking the sky directly over their heads, Daoud leaves the city in search of new audiences. He makes stops at drought-struck villages and rubs his hands for days at a time, making hopeful farmers look up at the cloudless sky and quickly go mad.

Rumours of Daoud begin to overtake his own progress through the dry lands. They speak of a sorcerer who brings thirst and insanity. In one village, the farmers connect the appearance of a mysterious visitor to the sounds of thunder from a clear sky and identify Daoud for who he is. They ambush him one night and chain his hands apart. They berate him and throw stones at him. You drove our cousins mad, they say to him. Have you no remorse, they ask. Their children yank on his hair and kick his shins and fill his mouth with sand.

One day heavy clouds come to the village and unburden themselves. The villagers rejoice, slaking their age-old thirsts. But soon everything turns to muck and it keeps on raining. The farms are inundated and the wells flow over and soon the water is picking up their houses and taking them away. The villagers come to Daoud, unchain him, and beg him to make it stop. But all Daoud can do is make the storm louder.

K Vish

K Vish is from Chennai, India. His fiction has appeared in The Pinch, Pithead Chapel, and The Four Quarters Magazine, among others, and can be found at fikshvish.wordpress.com. He is the author of two picture books for children, both involving monkeys. He received an MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2014, and is currently looking for work in New York City. Please contact him if you are hiring.

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