The man with the terrible eyes is having a bad morning.

Rain pours down, hitting him hard on the shoulders and head. He feels the water soaking into his hair and down the back of his neck, seeping into his shirt. The wind whips at his clothes, strong enough to trip his balance if he's not careful. Every time he tries to pull his jacket's hood back up, the wind blows it back again. He clutches the meager bag of groceries to his chest and sincerely regrets coming out at all. Even Dog was wise enough to stay back at the motel, rather than come out in this weather.

The sidewalks in this town are cracked and irregular, with dips and broken hills where tree roots have pushed the pavement up. The overcast sky -- simultaneously dark and painfully bright-- makes his eyes hurt, and that combined with the wind, street, and rain make the long walk back to the motel miserable.

Inevitably, he trips. He scrapes his hands badly with the landing, but at least he didn't land directly on his face. The bottled orange juice, assorted snacks, and the microwave burrito he'd been hoping to have for breakfast spill onto the pavement. When he picks himself up, he finds the thin plastic of the bag torn open.

A car speeds past, right up close to the curb. Water kicked up from the tires soaks him and anything that hadn't been vacuum sealed in plastic. The burrito, he notes with mute despair, is a goner.

Silently, he goes to pick up the scattered purchases. The juice, the packet of trail mix, the few energy bars, gum-- these are small enough to shove into the pockets of his jacket and jeans. Others, like the chips and few pieces of fruit, he carries awkwardly in his hands. Things slip continuously from his fingers as he goes; his hands are too cold to grip anything tightly, and he is forced to awkwardly juggle them.

So focused is he on not dropping anything that he doesn't notice that he's made it to the crosswalk until the high-pitched beeping of the Cross Now sign alerts him. Someone, apparently, had pressed it before his arrival, and he was just on time to catch it.

Relived at least for this good luck, he starts to cross the street. As he does, a truck speeds past, grazing his back. He feels a heavy force against his head, like someone had hit him, and the sound of something breaking. The next thing he knows, he's flat on his belly, his face ground against the tarmac.

He needs to get off the road. The thought is urgent, urgent enough to cut through the pain in his head. He staggers to his feet and lurches forward, his hands out as though looking for something to lean against. His head pounds, but it's manageable,and he's able to ignore it until he makes it to the other side, where there is a covered bus stop.

He collapses gratefully onto the bench and, for the first time, touches the back of his head. His fingers are stiff from the cold, and while he doesn't feel anything from them, his head blazes in pain where they touch. When he pulls his hand away, he finds blood and bits of plastic.

The mirror. The thought is sluggish. Must've got dinged on the mirror.

He does not know how long he sits staring at the blood on his hands, then staring at nothing in particular. His hands shake, and his heart beats rapidly, as though he had finished an intense run. Despite this, he wants to sleep. He wants to be warm. But everything hurts, and the thought of moving is viscerally repulsive. At some point, he pulls the hood over his head again, and he tugs it down far enough to cover his eyes and shield himself from the brightness.

"Hey man," a voice says.

He blinks and looks up. A man in a blue uniform is looking at him.

"Yeah, officer?" he says, his words slurred slightly.

"You can't be sleeping here, bud."

"I'm not," he says. If feels like someone else is saying the words, as though he's running on autopilot. "Just waiting the rain."

"It stopped raining a while ago," the cop says.

He blinks. The rain is pouring. The droplets are plinking loudly against the bus stop's roof. Water is splashing onto the officer's shoes from the drops.

"What?" he says.

"You been drinking?"

The cop's tone sends a bolt of fear through him strong enough to cut through the aching fog in his head. If he's been drinking, then that means he'll get taken to the station. If he gets taken to the station, then he'll be locked up. If he's locked up, then people can find him. Things can find him. Or worse-- and here he shudders at the thought-- they might notice the head wound and take him to the hospital.

"No, sir," he says, resisting the urge to pull his hood down further. "I'll head out. Sorry, sorry."

The cop stands back and watches him shuffle away. The rain continues to pour, but at least the wind has calmed down.

It isn't for another few minutes that he realizes he'd left half of his purchases in the street. When he turns behind him to look, he can barely make out the cop car still parked by the stop through the thick rain fall, and he decides against going back to retrieve anything.

Then, he looks up.

Above him is an angry black cloud.

The rest of the sky is clear blue.

He stares at the sky. The storm cloud rains harder in response, and he has to look away.

"Oh, come on," he says softly, his voice filled with an exhausted desperation.

The cloud above him thunders.

The rest of the walk back to the motel is particularly miserable.

Patches of sidewalk suddenly jut up or dip down. More cars speed by to splash him. The wind picks up again strong enough to tear the hood partially off his coat, ripping it at the seams. At one point, he steps over what looks to be a shallow puddle, only to sink up to his calf. All the while, the rain cloud above follows him and only him.

By the time he finally trudges up to the motel, keycard clutched between numb hands, the pain in his head has blossomed into a sickening haze, and his shoulders and back scream in agony, as though the truck had done much more than graze him.

He stumbles inside the room and finds Dog asleep on the bed.

Slowly and stiffly, he removes his jacket and begins to empty his pockets. Most of the food has been pulverized within the wrappers. He places it all on the desk and looks at it, too miserable to feel properly sad over it. Outside, he heard the rain still falling.

Still gotta check my head, he thinks blearily. He'll have to clean out the cut. A shower would--

He perks up at he thought. A hot shower would be perfect.

In the bathroom, he tries the hot water tap, and it comes off in his hand.

The cold water, he finds, works perfectly.

After, he dresses in old, but dry, clothes and stumbles into bed. Dog whuffs and wags his tail when he crawls under the covers, but otherwise doesn't acknowledge him.

"Today's a wash," he says. Outside, the sky thunders. "I'll try again tomorrow."

Dog laps his face in what he assumes is agreement, and he chuckles a little, even as he turns onto his side.

Almost immediately, his eyes feel heavy. His head still hurts, as does everything else, but it's become a distant, ignorable pain as exhaustion takes over. Moment before he lets himself sink into sleep, he notices the little calendar on the bedside table.

March 13

Ah, comes his last coherent thought. That explains it.