Sonic the Hedgehog
Crying in the Rain
By Lucky_Ladybug

The Texas rain split through the dark gray, purple, and black clouds covering the sky, which only moments before had been calm and quiet, though not blue and bright.

He walked through the torrent, not caring that he was getting totally drenched. He had only been in this city once, long ago, but the memories were still as fresh and painful as they had been back then.

He stopped at a flower stand that was preparing to close shop due to the heavy rain and bought a bouquet of tulips—her favorite.

"Oh, look at the tulips!" she used to say. "I love tulips . . . the way they always come back after a long, hard winter, blooming for all the world to see. They symbolize rebirth," she would say quietly, holding one out for him to look at.

After that, he had always brought her tulips on her birthday, Christmas, and other special days. She always thanked him, emphasizing again how much tulips meant to her, and would set them on display on the kitchen table.

It seemed like such a long time since he had brought her tulips . . . or visited her at all. He had only been there a few times since. . . . Of course, that wasn't entirely his fault. It was rather hard to visit when you had been moved clear across the state, he thought ruefully.

He shook his head. His thoughts had been wandering. Even so, he seemed to know the way, going there almost automatically.

He pushed the old iron gate open and slowly walked through the usually quiet place. Tonight, though, it was definitely not quiet—the massive rain still poured down, dripping off the tree branches and pounding down on the ground. One of the weighty drops struck him right in the chest. He barely even noticed.

He made his way to a small, secluded place under a weeping willow tree and knelt on the ground. Gently he laid the cluster of tulips on the modest gray stone.

"Here's your tulips, Mama," he said softly. "I miss you."

For a split second, memories came flashing back again . . . That fateful Tuesday . . . Aunt Velma's Ferrari in front of the school . . . Learning about the car crash . . . The long drive to the hospital in Houston . . . The long wait at the hospital . . . His mama laying in a hospital bed, dying . . . His final conversation with her . . . Then she was dead, and the orderlies had gently led him out of the room. . . . He remembered the funeral, and then the burial . . . He had leapt at the casket, screaming, "You can't put her in the ground!! You can't!!!" . . . Nic had looked at him as if to say, "Grow up" . . . She handled her grief in a different way. . . . That night, he had snuck into the cemetery and laid a lone tulip on top of the freshly dug grave. . . . It had been raining then, as well.

He finally came back to the present with a start. Along with the scents of the rain and the wet grass, was a familiar perfume.

"Mama?" he asked, looking around.

Suddenly something caught his eye. Growing out from the side of the headstone, where he hadn't noticed it before, was a single tulip.

He looked at it, first in disbelief, then with a growing sense of peace. "Thank you, Mama," the bounty hunter weasel known as Nack called to the night air.