It started very early one morning, as everyone in town was sleeping. It was very unusual but every single person was asleep and didn’t see the clouds forming in the darkness and the first tiny rocks of hail fall from the sky. What awoke most of them, hours later, was the sound of thousands of little balls of ice falling from the sky and hitting their windows and roofs with a certain insistence. Only some dared to go outside and check on their belongings like cars and such. It wasn’t safe.
The white curtain created by the downpour looked almost solid at one moment. Everyone was fascinated by it, mainly because they had never really seen hail or anything similar to ice falling from the sky. The small town was located in a warm area, not that far from the sea. So the occurrence of a hailstorm was extremely rare and certainly very special for everyone there. Every social gathering was canceled and every family had to stay home, without studying or working.
This resulted in very interesting conversations between members of families. People that didn’t really have a great relationship started speaking about something that they thought was interesting and harmless in a way too. They hall had theories as to why they had been hit by a hailstorm but the most people popular theory was that there was a cold front that came rushing in from the south and it collided with the very warm weather of their valley and then created the hail.
The point was that everyone now was talking, every house in town had member that were now sharing thoughts and, after a few hours, those theories did not have a limit: some people found it easier then to explain to their children how babies came into the world and children would understand very fast. Other families discussed things they had left buried and unspoken and suddenly they were all solving problems that had been harassing them for years.
It was difficult to explain. Some blamed the actual hail, others the temperature and others the fact that people had been made to stay in the same rooms and houses as their families, making them talk to each other. But they could have stayed as before, not speaking and having secrets from one another. There was something, some kind of special mood that made the families share what they had been ignoring on purpose for so long. Of course, not every scene in town was of love and beauty. Some were harsh as the truth is not always the prettiest of situations.
But they talked and that was advancement. In a town were many fathers refused to hug and kiss their sons, it was a huge progress that they had started doing that, as the storm grew stronger towards the afternoon. Many years later, some elders said the water contained in the fallen hail had formerly been holy water from a special source. Others said a native shaman had enchanted the pieces of ice with a spell to make people truthful. They all had different and imaginative answers.
It appeared to be that people were afraid to say they had feelings and that they had acknowledged that for a moment. Because after the storm, everything returned to normal and it made the situation in town much harder than usual. It was the reason for many of the younger people to leave that region and look for a better place for them. They had tasted a bit of something they had loved and now they wanted their lives to be exactly like that all the time, filled with love and not secrets.
The elders and most of the parents returned to their old ways of not talking to their children and keeping all of who they were deep into themselves. Inside, they feared that they may have gone too overboard with their display of feelings but no one really thought it was like that. Everyone agreed that being open was the best option for all but they all thought this in secret. They did not dare to change what they had been doing for so long, even after the so-called magic in the hail.
All the inhabitants that had been born over thirty years ago had develop something like a shell around them. They all had it and it was because during their times as children and teenagers, the exposure of feelings and displays of affection were deemed a weakness and something real men wouldn’t do. As for women, it was something one could expect from them but it should never be discussed or addressed in any way. In that part of the world, people had been raised to be like that.
Young people had also been raised like that but it was the hailstorm that awoke something in them. It made them realize that things didn’t have to be as they had always been. Maybe there could be a little bit more honesty or love in the world. With the memories of everything said and done during the hailstorm, they decided to leave their homes as soon as they were able to and made a promise to always look for a truthful life, never falling back to the old ways of their families and ancestors. That’s why they all left, leaving that small town to die slowly.
The ones that stayed there died in the following years, at a faster rate than normal. People from other regions came to investigate, as the mortality rate had accelerated in a fantastic manner. Some believed it had to do with a mysterious disease or something like that but no disease was ever found among the dead. Yet, for some reason, every inhabitant of that town was dying much younger than normal and out of nowhere, without any symptoms prior to their untimely death.
Every day someone died and only one baby was born in the span of six months. Those rare babies would also day after a couple of days. Some people left town during those times but they weren’t many, just scared of death. Maybe that had made them decided they were maybe better off somewhere else. But that was a very rare decision to make, as most people stayed in town to die. Some days one, some other days up to five people would die. All in peace, not violently.
They were no memorial services, not for any of the dead. They were just buried in the graveyard, and that was it. Life continued after that but in melancholic manner, as if it was slowly giving up on everything that had a beating heart. Investigators looking into the deaths reported in town, were driven away not long after by the sadness and depressing vibes that place had for people that did have warm blood running through their bodies, making them alive.
The thing was that, all of the people there, the ones that had stayed, were not alive anymore, not like a normal human being. They had been dead inside for quite some time, way before the day the hailstorm hit them with its mysterious aura. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but theirs that they were cold and emotionless. They had decided to be like that, blaming their parents and their beliefs. They decided to accept the world as it was, instead of trying to leave their personal mark in it.
A couple of years later, every single inhabitant of that town was dead. The graveyard came to be one of the largest in that country and only curious eyes would visit it. Family would not come and friends had never existed. Their houses slowly crumbled to pieces and in a couple of decades, no one even remembered such a place ever existed. And no one ever tried to rebuilt or anything like that. It was a done deal.