Twister, or The Day My World Ended... For Three Minutes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story I wrote after my hometown was hit by its first tornado in history. It was 9:32 am. This is my account of the event.

Submitted: January 25, 2012

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Submitted: January 25, 2012

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I was in school when the tornado warning came in. The sky had been rumbling for a while, but up until the PA system crackled on, nobody really seemed to notice. The principal’s voice came through the static-muted mesh over the speaker, warning us that we would be stuck in first period until the end of free period. Almost immediately and as one, every head in the class turned to the three big picture windows in the back of the class. Again, despite the tornado warning, no one seemed all that worried.

 

After the PA box fell silent, everyone returned to their work, filling in answers for the questions. We had been studying the Constitution, and the morning’s work had to do with the Federalist papers. Having already finished with my own questions, I just sat and read my book, occasionally throwing a bored glance at the window. I was only mildly surprised to see the rain had picked up, pounding the tin roof of the covered walkway that led to the cafeteria. The teacher left the room, and I snuck a quick glance at the screen of my cell phone, typing a quick reply to my cousin’s farewell text message as he headed off to his college classes and slipping it in my pocket before the instructor returned.

 

I looked outside again and noted how the rain had slowed down almost immediately, then I returned to my own little world, whisked away to California to join a fallen angel and his friends on a quest to get the love of his life. As such, I only half-heard when the teacher informed the class that a tornado had touched ground just to the south, heading for our direction. A bit alarmed, I turned my gaze to the window and noticed the slight swirl of the clouds, the way the rain had all but stopped but the thunder still boomed. I felt my heart pick up the pace a little, like it usually does when I feel a slight fear.

 

“Another tornado was spotted just seven miles from here, touching down and headed our way.” My traitorous thoughts all but leaped to a dark-skinned face that haunted my dreams. My ex-girlfriend hated storms, and if her teacher had said anything about the tornado, chances were she was terrified out of her ever-loving mind. Then I reigned in the idea of comforting her, knowing she’d most likely slap me if I dared to touch her at all. I tried reading again, but my thoughts raced like a NASCAR champion, my heart throbbing against my ribcage with a painful beat.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Two hours later, the world as we knew it was over. We’d been stuck in the same boring class all morning, me and my cousin sneaking texts in our respective classes and both of us bored to death. I’d stopped checking the window, knowing there was most likely either rain or simple clouds. The thunder was roaring nonstop, but it sounded muffled through the thick windowpanes. My attention span was short on a good day, and I’d woken up with a headache, so it was even shorter than the fuse on my temper. (Which, as my ex will gladly tell you, is very, very short)

 

There was a loud crash, and the sky darkened, which caused the room to darken as well. Everyone’s gazes whipped to the window, and we all watched in horror as the clouds swirled together, slowly extending down to the gassy courtyard between buildings. It was dark gray with wisps of dirty white throughout. It didn’t seem all that dangerous, from my view it seemed only the width of a large pencil, but it grew and grew to the point of being as big around as a man, and still it grew. The grass whipped around wildly, and the windows rattled in their places. Someone screamed, and some tiny part of me wondered if it was I or some other student. The sky was a deep, ugly gray, nearly black, and just as menacing as the tornado itself. Rain pounded on the roof, and the girl beside me, Anaya, let out a blood-curdling, bone-chilling, soul-shattering shriek.

 

It didn’t move for a moment, and I nearly laughed at the idea that maybe Anaya’s scream had scared it as much as it had startled me. Then, slowly, it bent the slightest bit, creeping along the grass, ripping up clods of dirt and loose, dead leaves. My stomach contracted painfully, and only then did I hear the teacher hollering for us to “move our asses out into the hallway.” Like a herd of zebras being chased by a lion, we all ran for the door and into the hallway, sliding to our hands and knees in the fetal position with our heads down between out knees. Funny how when you’re so terrified, you’re suddenly hyper-aware of everything around you. I could practically hear the pounding of everyone’s heart, their harsh breathing… Or maybe it was only me I could hear. Either way, the combined fear of students and faculty hung in the air like a smothering blanket, accompanied by the roaring of the tornado outside.

 

My eyes burned with unshed tears, and I saw my life flashing in my blurred vision. I saw my parents smiling at me, holding up a cake with a giant candle shaped like a five. I relived every relationship I had in double time, feeling my heartbreaks over and over again. I remembered ever secret I shared with my cousin, every late night we spent on the phone, laughing up every stupid thing in our lives.

 

I felt a slender hand grasp mine, and I peeked over to see my gay best friend Jaidon staring back at me, my unofficial-little-brother-who-wasn’t-related-to-me. I’d always adored the way his clear blue eyes sparkled in any light, but now they shone with tears, his cheeks damp. I squeezed his hand, and gave him the most reassuring smile I could manage. From the shaky but relieved return smile, I guess I did pretty well. His side pressed to mine, our hands clasped tightly, we waited for the walls to crumble, waited for the roof to be torn from over our heads and let the twisting, growling monster in. I leaned my lips close to his ear and told him how much I loved him, and that I would protect him. He gave a little whimper and hugged my hand to his chest, whispering back how much he loved me too. Then we put our head together, eyes squeezed shut, waiting.

 

The worst part of a bad situation is waiting for it to happen. Like knowing a tidal wave was coming, but you’re trapped on the beach, surrounded by high cliffs you couldn’t climb in time to escape. All you could do was wait and watch the waves recede, watch the crest of the biggest wave you ever saw come rushing at you, the inevitability of it all and the hopelessness tearing you apart inside. Crouching there in that hallway, Jaidon’s trembling frame beside me, his cold fingers grasping mine, I saw in my mind the tidal wave running at me.

For the first time in my life… I was no longer afraid. There was only the acceptance of my fate, the calm soaking-up of that fragile peace, right before everything came crashing down on you, drowning you in sorrow and pain and fear and regret. I knew if it was my time, then it was my time.

 

~*~*~*~

 

It wasn’t my time. Not yet.

 

The front doors at the end of the hallway were torn open, letting in a spray of icy wind and freezing rain. There were several squeals and yelps, and I know I, for once, was part of the majority crowd. Ignoring the warning that we needed to stay down, I lifted my torso and pulled Jaidon’s head to my chest, protecting him just like I promised. He was whimpering, sobbing brokenly, and I was vaguely aware of another, much more manly body covering the rest of Jaidon; his boyfriend Damien gave me a look that required no question. His arm went around me, holding the three of us together, and I shut my eyes tight, waiting for the end to come.

 

After forever and a day had passed, all the deafening roaring and all the high-pitched screaming of the students around us suddenly stopped. For a moment, I thought I’d finally been run through by shrapnel from the door, and I honestly wondered if this was what death felt like, this silence. I can’t say I didn’t like it compared to how loud it had been. Then there were arms around my neck, damp cheeks pressed to my own, and I was all but smothered by two very gay boys. We’d survived the storm, our bodies still intact, our hearts not yet stopped. Damien gave me the tightest, longest hug I’d ever had, and I finally broke down into tears. We made it.


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