Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Storm

The Storm
The day started as any other normal morning, but it didn’t stay like that for long.  Alex woke up in a rush.  His heart was beating, and his pale face was dripping sweat.  His head was starting to hurt as he recalled the heart wrenching nightmare that occurred just moments ago, but it wasn’t just a dream.  It was the past.  Last year, his dad, Richard Longman, died during a devastating storm.
He glanced at the clock.  It read 7:42.  He slipped into his school uniform, and raced down the stairs to see his mom pacing back and forth.  Mark, his step dad, was rubbing her shoulders.  She looked extremely nervous.  Just as he was about to sit down and listen to the news, the bus came rolling around the corner.
“You’re picking me up from soccer practice after school, right?” questioned Alex.
“Ya, I guess so. Be safe!” announced his mom, as she glanced nervously at the window.
Alex hopped up the stairs onto the school bus.  He looked around to find an empty seat.  As he sat down, he noticed it was getting dark outside.  He loved days like this.  It was dark and gloomy outside with thick clouds piling up in the sky above him.  Today was different though; the day started out sunny.  It is only a quarter past eight, and it already looks as if it’s going to rain any second.  The bus driver slowly pulled up into the middle school parking lot.  Alex stepped off the bus and just stared at the sky.  Ever since he was a little boy, he had been so interested in storms, just like his dad.  He was fearless, so they didn’t really scare him at all.
Suddenly, he was shaken by a deep, raspy voice.
“Get out of the way! Some of us don’t want to stand here all day!”
Alex awakened out of the trance he was in.  He began walking towards the school, when he heard tornado sirens begin to wail.  Kids raced around him to get into the school.  He stood there shocked.
“Come on, Alex! We have to get inside!” yelled his best friend, Tyler, as he sprinted through the door.
Alex quickly moved inside.  Teachers calmly told kids what room to go into.
“Move to room 202, kids,” announced a scrawny lady probably in her late 50s.
A crowd of kids trampled by him into the room.  On his right was a short, little 7th grade girl.  She had dark, brown hair pulled into a ponytail and light blue eyes.  She was holding her polka dot backpack above her head to avoid falling objects.
He scooted to his left to give her some space and began thinking about his dad.  A tear trickled down his cheek.  His face was getting warm.   He could hear his dad’s voice in the back of his mind, and he could remember his laugh when they told jokes.  He still remembered the day that he died like it was yesterday.  It was stormy that day kind of like today.  School was canceled, but his dad still had to go to work.  He was the local weatherman.  He had just said his opening statement “I’m Richard Longman, from channel 23 news reporting live from main street.” Obviously, the storm was more dangerous than expected.  His mom and he was sitting at home cuddled in blankets watching the news.  He saw his dad die right before his eyes.
“Everyone move in a closet, quickly!” yelled the teacher.
Ten kids were in the room, and they were going to have to fit into the two closets. They stumbled into the closets one at a time.  They slammed the door shut.  He could hear things getting thrown around the room.  The tornado must be hitting the school right now.  The only thing between him and the thing that killed his dad was a creaky, wooden, closet door.  He had to be tough.  He knew that his dad was watching over him and would want him to be brave for his classmates.  He laid his head down and laced his fingers together just like he does during church on Sundays.  He grabbed the side of his shirt sleeve and wiped a tear away from his eye.
All of a sudden, it went silent.  Everything was still.  Ms. James, his teacher, slowly opened the closet door a crack.  A bright light blinded everyone.  They all crawled out, sure that the tornado was over.  A chair was missing a leg about five feet away, and a broken bookshelf was near where the door to the classroom used to be.  Around the room were bits and pieces of different objects.  The pencil sharpener, attached to the wall, was broken into several pieces.  He imagined a gang of teenagers vandalizing the room, but nobody was responsible for this.  Yet, everything was destroyed.  How can a 12-minute storm cause this much destruction?
He carefully walked outside while observing everything around him.  It didn’t take very long considering the room which used to be in the middle of the school was now leading straight to the playground.  Around 20 kids stood on the black-top.  Some looked as if they had been crying for days; others just looked shocked.  There was a nudge on his shoulder.
“Shhh! Alex, wake up! You just snored. Here’s a kleenex. Wipe your eyes.”
He quickly sat up, and looked to his right.  His mom was sitting there staring at him.  She had tears streaming down her face.  The pastor of his church was standing at the front of the room.  Dozens of flowers surrounded him, and people were everywhere.  He saw his aunts and uncles in the row across from them.  They must be in church, he thought.  He glanced at the pastor and noticed an open coffin.  The pastor started to talk just as he realized where he was at.
“We are all gathered here in the presence of God to remember the life of Richard Longman. Husband, father, and friend to many.  We will all miss him very dearly,” announced the pastor at the start of this dad’s funeral.

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