Things went from bad to worse. It all happened the day Eric got accepted into Hillside University. Things were normal as usual in the small town of Hillside but Eric must prepare for something far more extreme than he could ever imagine.

The Tornado Stampede

Written by Brennan Dwyer



It was a cloudy day for Eric. He had applied to every university he could think of, hoping to be accepted to Harvard or Yale, but the only one he got into was Hillside University. This university was located in a small town with the same name, sitting in a flat area with some hills to the north. The town’s population, not including the cows and the chickens, was slightly over a thousand, and the university only took up one city block on the east side of town.

A month from receiving his admittance letter into Hillside University, he packed his bags and said good-bye to his family. The flight was a few hours long, and as he got closer to Hillside, he noticed there were fewer and fewer towns, more farmland, and more grassy plains. They flew into a medium sized town about an hour away from Hillside, since the town was too small to even have an airport!

Eric took a yellow cab to Hillside. He was surprised to see that not only was the town small, but it was also in the middle of nowhere! Eric planned to get a degree in math, but he didn’t know if many other subjects were offered.

The weather was just a tad bit breezy with some cirrus and cumulus clouds. It was just a few days before his classes started at Hillside, so for now, he checked into his apartment. The complex was a few miles away from the university. From the outside, it had an old musty scent to it, and wasn’t very well built. It was worth the price though. It only cost him $300 a month.

Once he got into the lobby, he noticed it was a little nicer inside. There were a few candles lit up with a pleasant smell. He pressed the button on the elevator and went up to the 2nd floor. Eric then checked out his miniature-sized furnished apartment. “It’s just ok,” he mumbled to himself. He unpacked all of his luggage and by then it was mid-afternoon. Since he was so tired, he clicked on the television. As he watched the weather channel, he was surprised to hear there was 80% chance of a thunderstorm that night. He looked out the window and it was a little cloudier than the last time he checked. He stared at the blades of grass moving from the light, mild breezes. Eric started to hear his tummy make funny sounds, so he went out to get lunch at a nearby restaurant.

As he walked along the cracked sidewalk, he noticed the wind was kicking up a notch. Once he was at the restaurant, he saw the weather channel on a television. The reporter was saying it was going to be an even higher chance of a thunderstorm. The reporter also said there might be a tornado watch in a few hours. Eric looked outside the restaurant window to see some big cumulus clouds forming in the distance. The wind gust, he noticed, had also increased. He tried to keep calm and assure himself there would be no tornado.

He finished his meal and paid the bill. By the time he walked outside, it was dark and starting to lightly sprinkle. He felt the light sprinkle turn into rain, so he decided to take a taxi back to his apartment. By the time he got back to his apartment, he could hear the rain outside getting stronger. He looked at the clock in his room and it said 4:00PM.

For the next couple of hours he continued to watch the weather channel and he saw there was a tornado watch. “It’s just a tornado watch,” he thought to himself, hoping there would be no tornado.

At 6:00PM, the weather was so bad, he couldn’t go outside of his apartment to get dinner. He not only was disappointed about not being able to go out to dinner, but was also upset because he wanted to get a chance to walk around town to get to know more about it. A corner of the ceiling started to leak. He heard some cracks forming in the ceiling, and the walls creaked. He didn’t think he was safe up there and knowing the thunderstorm was going to get worse, he went downstairs.

He sat in the empty lobby and tried to stay calm. Whoosh! All of a sudden he started to hear something break upstairs, near where his apartment was. He thought a part of the second floor roof ripped off. He knew this building wasn’t going to last long so he decided it was now or never, before the storm gets any worse, to go to a better constructed building. Zoom! He ran as fast as he could out the door to the building across the street that looked stronger. After being soaked from the rain and having his hair get whipped by the gushes of wind, he found himself in “Evan’s Haircuts.” While he was inside he felt his hair flop down and noticed it was messy.  He greeted the owner and explained why he was in there. All of a sudden he heard the sound of a loud train. It got louder and then he realized it wasn’t a train. He ran to the far corner of the haircut place and laid flat on the ground. The owner did the same. Eric heard the apartment building ripping apart and could feel the vibration of it collapsing. Finally the sound went away so he felt great relief.

He looked out the window and saw a small twister storm away taking debris with it. The tornado didn’t reach them, but it had grappled with his apartment across the street. He now knew it was a good idea that he ran across the street away from his apartment. The apartment building was almost completely demolished. Since it was a smaller tornado, it didn’t effect Eric and Evan’s Haircuts very much besides some small debris hitting it. By now the twister was at least a mile away and as he saw it going farther away, he actually thought it was fascinating and amazing how something in Mother Nature can be that powerful. A loud rambling noise interrupted his thoughts. Even before he looked out the window he knew what that sound was. It was a much more powerful tornado than the last one. Also, this one was heading right in their direction! He knew he had to move to an even stronger building and he also didn’t want to be in the way of the tornado. Outside in the bullet strong rain, in the distance, there was a brick building. Without having time to even think of saying goodbye to the owner, he ran!

It was windier than he remembered. It whooshed his body a bit right to left and vise versa. He finally got to the front door of the brick building but it was locked! He yelled for help but the noise of the wind made it hard for anyone to hear him. Finally someone heard him and let him in. It turned out that this was actually a house. He greeted the owner. He was interrupted in his conversation by something loud that crashed nearby. He looked out a window and saw a sign that said, “Evan’s Haircuts.” He hoped the shopkeeper was okay when the tornado hit him. Thankfully, Eric was safe in the brick house, since the tornado didn’t go in the house’s direction.

Eric noticed the tornado started to circle around Hillside. Then it combined with the first tornado about 10 minutes later and made one giant tornado! It was as dark as the midnight sky and as wide as a village. Right now, the inky black tornado was in the hills in the distance, but it was heading straight for Hillside! He asked the owner for where the strongest building or shelter was. The owner said there was an underground shelter about 300 yards away. He said goodbye to the owner and wished him good luck. He ran and ran as fast as he could, faster than he ran in his entire life! He started to feel his legs get stiff and worn out. His heart was chugging like a train. The wind gushed upon him so strong that he tripped and fell multiple times.

After what felt like five minutes of running and tripping, he finally arrived at the shelter. He went through a door that led him to stairs that went down about 20 feet into a small room. He was surprised to see the owner of Evans Hair Cut’s in there and happy to see the owner of the brick house made it in there before he got there. About 30 other people were in the room that he didn’t recognize. All of a sudden he heard a loud rumbling sound and felt it too. It was getting louder and louder. He could tell the tornado was at least an EF4, possibly even an EF5! They all lied flat on the ground hoping to stay alive. Finally the sound started to turn down little by little and soon it was silent. They also didn’t hear any rain or wind anymore. Eric stood up. He walked up the stairs and slowly opened the door.

Four years later, Eric got his Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology. He was so fascinated from the tornado stampede that he became a passionate tornado chaser.

Over the years, the town had expanded because of all the attraction it had gained from what had happened. Eric himself wrote a novel on his experience of what happened that day. He actually changed his mind about Hillside. It was so big now that it even had its own public airport: Eric Hillside International Airport. And yes, they named it after this Eric. They named it after him for his fascinating novel that made the town grow like a healthy child.

One day, many years later, he stumbled upon a photograph he had taken of the powerful tornado. I didn’t tell you this but he did have a camera. This was the only picture he could ever find that he had taken but that was all he needed to remember the day that he had survived the tornado stampede.

Submitted: December 08, 2013

© Copyright 2022 Brennan Dwyer. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Little Frey

its a very good little story i liked how you explined everything and gave lots of detail

Thu, December 19th, 2013 11:31pm


Thanks for the complements!

Fri, December 20th, 2013 6:08pm

Ally Shark

I love this story! Ahhh tornadoes are scary!!! Lol I've met some storm chasers, and anyone daring enough to run out in middle of a tornado is certifiably insane, and therefore well qualified to be a storm chaser! ???? I could never do that!! I love a all the detail and how action-packed this is!

Mon, February 17th, 2014 11:51pm


Thank you so much!!!

Wed, February 19th, 2014 2:49pm

Facebook Comments

Other Content by Brennan Dwyer

Short Story / Horror

Short Story / Action and Adventure

Short Story / Action and Adventure