Author: Michael Hopkins
Olivia told me she saw a double rainbow. She said it just as she stepped through the front door. Water dripped from her long brown hair onto the wood floor entryway, she said it was a sign from god, an answer to her prayers. This was after she saw the funnel cloud, raised her hands to the sky, and prayed that the tornado would shift direction away from our Wisconsin house. The storm intensified; eighteen people were killed one town over.
We watched whales off the coast of Cape Cod. Olivia held her hands over the water. I need to calm the tides, she said, I’m getting sick. The waves disappeared. Praise the lord, Olivia said. Seven humpback whales and three fin whales beached the following day: dead on arrival.
This heat is oppressive; I can’t breathe, Olivia said as we lay on the pristine white sand of Siesta Key Beach in Florida. She raised her hands and the air cooled. The next day a red tide swept through the area. Thousands of dead fish, turtles, and a few dozen manatees washed onto beach.
It was in the boundary waters of upper Minnesota, a place far off the grid, that helicopters found us. Olivia was sedated. I will ask god for deliverance, she said to me before her eyes shut.
Make her love you, they had ordered; you’ve done it before. Have some fun, they said. In a few months, the bio-electric mycelium DNA in her brain will have spread. She will forget her identity. You will be her control panel. Orders for deployment will follow.
She was more than a person altered, weaponized, to control the elements. Her innocent belief in a higher power, something much greater than herself, endeared me to her. Her crooked smile, the magical fragrance of Rive Gauche perfume. An angel I wanted to protect from being turned into a demon. A woman in whose arms, I felt safe.
They reinserted a tracking chip into my neck, a new scar next to the one where I cut one out three months ago, when I took Olivia away. I was ordered to report to the Arkansas base in three days. I asked for a ride. They told me it was out of the way, not their problem, they said.
I watched the copters fly away. Heard the chuf, chuf, chuf of their rotors. Then, too soon, silence. An explosion. The cloudless sky glowed red, flames crackled.
It started to rain. Torrential rain.
I stood watch at the wood’s edge. She would appear, I was sure if it. Praise the lord, I would say. Yes, praise the lord, she would answer. We would hug, I would whisper in her ear the name of a far-off country, where this time, we would never be found.
Yes, she would say, just us, we’ll drift away. People will say I remember them; they were so much in love.
In the rain, I waited, watched, and prayed.