Note: I wrote this for a class last year to experiment with POV. I'd love to get feedback, good or bad. :)

The Witnesses

The clouds had grown heavy for days, each droplet eagerly congregating for the privilege of falling to the earth. Some had made the journey more recently than others; these ones shared their latest adventures to pass the time until the storm began. The time came, and the rain began to fall.

One drop fell and then another. They were not the first to fall in this storm, nor would they be the last. Such was their lot this time around and they were just pleased that they would soon have a new journey to share with the rivers and lakes and eventually the oceans.

But that was all ahead of them. They plummeted towards the ground at great speed, racing to be first to touch something that was not water and learn something new about the dry world.

One drop landed on an umbrella. As it slid down the clear plastic, it took in the sights and sounds it could observe. It settled on a loose cotton thread, halfway down the seam.

The other drop landed on a man's forehead. The man was smoking, causing little tendrils of pungent smoke to curl around it, sinking into it…so much so that it almost distracted the drop from what else it could witness.

"Move on, you old rubberneckers," the cigarette man said. "This ain't a show."

The woman holding the umbrella said, "It's not like you aren't doing the same thing."

The cigarette man exhaled. The smoke danced around. "Show some respect for their privacy and just move on."

A woman standing next to the woman holding the umbrella said, "Maybe we can help."

"You doctors?"

"No," the second woman said, "but-"

"Then move along." More smoke puffed around the man's face until a light breeze blew it away from the raindrop. "Leave 'em in peace."

The umbrella woman moved closer and spoke louder. "When you do the same!"

"We don't mean any disrespect," the second woman quickly interjected. "We were just-"

"You don't have to explain yourself to this asshole, Annie. He doesn't-"

"But he's right." The voice of the woman known as Annie moved away from the man with the cigarette. "Let's just go."

"Yeah, you listen to her, old bat. You might learn somethin' 'bout manners."

"As if you-"

From far away, the woman known as Annie said, "Come on, Bethany."

The man with the cigarette shook his head. The raindrop trailed down the wrinkled skin of his face and dropped off the end of his nose into a puddle on the corner of the road, where it joined its fellow fallen ones to compare notes.

On the umbrella, the raindrop shook as the women walked away. It broke loose from its hold and resumed its slide down the clear plastic. Knowing its adventure was nearing its end, the raindrop paid special attention to its surroundings.

"Did you hear that little bastard?" the umbrella woman known as Bethany said. She was very loud.

The woman known as Annie spoke more quietly. "That poor young man."

Bethany kept talking. "The way he talked to me! Like I'm some stupid, disrespectful…"

Annie kept talking too. "And the girl next to him, with no one to comfort her…"

"…teenager who needs to be told what to do! I was being a better…"

"Maybe I should go back there, see if she needs anything…"

"...witness than he'd ever be, observing exactly what was happening and who was doing what…"

"…shoulder to cry on, or needs me to call someone…"

"I'm a great witness. The police would be lucky to have me on a case."

"…looks like she'll need a ride home…"

"And now they won't heard what I have to say because of that asshole. Can you believe him? Annie?"

"…to the hospital if she can't ride in the ambulance."

"Have you heard a word I've said?"

"You know, just to be helpful."

The umbrella stopped shaking as Bethany stopped walking. "What are you talking about?"

"Same thing you are, Bethany."

"Right." The shaking started again. There was no sound for a few seconds as the raindrop reached the bottom seam of the umbrella and hang precariously from the edge. Then Bethany said, "We should have lunch at that Mexican restaurant a couple streets over. Don't you think?"

Annie's voice was distant and quiet. "Well, I really think-"

"Let's just move on, like the man said. We're almost at the restaurant. Might as well enjoy ourselves like we planned."

The raindrop finally lost to gravity and fell to the gutter, where a small river of rainwater carried it to the puddle on the corner.

It prepared to share its story with the other raindrops but it was interrupted as a large shoe stepped in the puddle. The disturbance caused ripples among the fallen raindrops and as they bounced off the pavement, memories of other raindrops pushed their way to importance, echoing in the drops who had already heard the stories but coming to the new raindrop for the first time.

One raindrop landed on a little boy's raincoat.

From the moment it arrived, it felt a strange vibration from the little boy. He was humming, a wordless tune the raindrop didn't recognize from previous storms. The raincoat heaved and shook, almost displacing the raindrop right away, as the little boy jumped up and down.

"Would you stop doing that?" a young woman said. "You're splashing everywhere and going to get everybody wet!"

The raindrop felt and heard the little boy say, "That's the whole point!"

He jumped again and the raindrop heard the splash of water from a puddle. As he hummed, he jumped further away from the young woman, finding progressively larger-sounding puddles to splash in. The raindrop was thrown from one part of the raincoat to another, time and again.

With one more great jump, he splashed into the largest puddle of all. Suddenly, the raindrop heard a loud sound, a car horn blaring. Then the young woman screamed, "Alex!" and the raindrop was shaken off at last by something large colliding with the raincoat.

The fallen drop made its way to the puddle on the corner and told its story.

A raindrop landed on a young man's arm.

Nearby, a woman screamed.

The young man groaned and coughed.

"Luke!" The woman's voice grew louder and closer. "Luke! Luke, you idiot! What were you…how could you…?" The man's arm shook as the woman knelt beside him and took his hand.

The young man known as Luke spoke softly. "Is the kid okay? He didn't-" He trailed off.

The kneeling woman shook him; the raindrop slid down the man's arm and settled in the crook of his elbow. "Luke!"

"He's fine, he's fine. You…you saved my baby," the mother said.

Luke sighed. The raindrop started sliding again as the muscles in the young man's arm went limp.

"Luke, no, you look at me." The kneeling woman shook him again, harder this time, and the raindrop finally slid off the man's arm to the sound of, "I want you to just keep looking at me. Can you- Luke!"

The last ripples in the puddle on the corner shook free echoes from a raindrop that landed on the kneeling woman.

It fell from the cloud and landed on the kneeling woman's hat. The wool yarn rejected the raindrop at first, letting it slide most of the way down the knitted dome. But then the fibers snared it and refused to release it, despite all the shaking and moving the woman did. Caught as it was, it couldn't help but listen to its surroundings.

"…you look at me. I want you to just keep looking at me. Can you- Luke!"

"There's an ambulance on its way," a woman said from far away. "Is there anything we can do to help?"

"Luke!" said the kneeling woman.

"I'm awake," Luke said from down on the ground. "It's not…"

"No, no don't move."

"…that bad. It's…wet. I think I'm…"

"You think you're what, Luke? Tell me, baby."

A new voice joined the scene. An old man's voice, far away but loud, said, "Move on you old rubberneckers. This ain't a show."

As the storm died out and the rain no longer fell in such large numbers, the fallen drops in the puddle on the corner traded stories with waning enthusiasm. They knew there would be no new stories until their next storm, whenever that might be, and they were running out of raindrops to hear more from. Soon they would make the long journey home to the ocean and this latest adventure would have to hold them for a long time. They dreaded the end.

The last raindrop fell.

It landed on the door of an ambulance. It slid down slowly, joining other drops on is way down the glass, and took in the scene in front of it.

"Luke? Baby?" A woman's voice drew closer, along with the rattle of wheels on concrete. "I'll see you at the hospital, I promise. Luke? Please look at me."

"Back up, ma'am. We need to load him in." This was a man's voice, closeby.

There were clanks and clicks and the ambulance shook as a young man was loaded into the ambulance.

"Will he be okay?" the woman asked.

"I don't know, ma'am. The faster we get him to the hospital, the better."

The whole ambulance shuddered as the man slammed the door the raindrop wasn't on. Then the man climbed in and grabbed the other door. His voice was quiet as he said, "Guy's already gone," and he closed the door.

The last raindrop dripped from the door into the puddle on the corner and shared its experience with the other fallen drops from the storm. Finally, as those last words echoed through the puddle, the rainwater fell silent, each drop eagerly awaiting the events of the next storm.