Sunday, April 09, 2006

Here is a short story I have been working on. Considering it is tornado season, I figured it was time to share.

by Dana Sieben

The afternoon sky hinted at the storms to come. A purple-black wall of rolling clouds filled the west with darkness, while little Jenny Hargrave sat on a beanbag chair in her living room floor reading her library book. But she was worrying like children are apt to do when their mother is preparing for a trip to the storm cellar.

Jenny was familiar with the musty, damp cellar. Spring was tornado season in Alabama and the cellar was the safest place to be in a windstorm.

"Mama?" Jenny asked as her mother crossed the room to unplug the television.

"What, honey?" her mother murmured as she looked out the window at the trees bending in the strengthening winds.

Jenny turned the page of her book. "Have you ever seen a miracle?"

"A miracle?"

"Ummhummm. I’m reading about them in my book, but I’ve never seen one before. Have you?"

"I can’t say I have, Jenny."

Jenny looked up at her mother and saw her mouth tightening grimly at the large chunks of hail that had started to fall outside.

"Mommy, why is the sky green?"

"Jenny?" her mother interrupted.

"Yes ma’am?"

"Go get your shoes on right now," her mother said, grabbing the dog’s leash off the coffee table. "We might have to go down into the storm cellar."

"I don’t want to go to the storm cellar. It’s dark and stinky down there!" she whined.

"Dadgumit, Jenny, just do it!"

Being a normal child, she grumbled all the way to her room where she found her special Cinderella tennis shoes that her Momma had bought her. Pulling them on without socks, she looked out her bedroom window and stuck her tongue out at the dark clouds before running back into the living room and plopping back on her chair with her book.

"Here Pete!" Jenny called to the dog lying on the beat-up yellow couch next to her.
Pete, a collie already twelve years old, slowly stood up and jumped down to where Jenny sprawled. He eagerly licked her outstretched hand and settled down on the faded brown carpet as she fastened his leash to his collar. Jenny had just finished when Tornado Warning began blaring on the small weather radio in the kitchen.

"It’s time to go, Jenny," her mother yelled from the kitchen. "Get Pete."

As Jenny put down her precious book, the dog - startled by the now-audible town siren - ran upstairs.

"Pete!" Jenny screamed as her mother hustled her out of the back door into the yard. "Momma, he ran away!" The wind tore at her long, blonde hair as she was dragged to the cellar door.
Her mother didn’t reply as she pulled open the door to the underground shelter at the back of the house. The musty smell of dirt assailed Jenny’s nose. Looking back to the west, she spied an undulating rope on the near horizon. The twister was here!

"Momma, please!" Jenny sobbed.

Her mother didn’t answer. She just dragged the sobbing Jenny down into the safe bowels of the cellar.

Slipping out of her mother’s grasp, Jenny burst out of the shelter and ran towards the house calling for her dog. Hearing barks from the laundry room, Jenny headed that way, her mother frantically following.

Pete was hiding behind the dryer. Jenny tried to coax him out, but the roar of the approaching tornado scared them both into utter stillness.

"Come on, Jenny! Run to the cellar!" her mother screamed over the chaos.

The frightened child ran, the dog chasing after her, now freed from his fear. As they reached the cellar door, the wind battered them, almost sucking them into the storm, but they managed to pull open the door and descend into safety.

Jenny crouched and began sobbing into the dog’s fur. The roar of the approaching monster grew louder as the ceiling above them began to shudder as if being pummeled. Tensely, they sat in the dark and waited what seemed like hours for it to pass.

Afterward, in the new silence, they cautiously emerged from their refuge and stared in amazement and horror. The tornado had skipped all over the neighborhood, hitting some houses and leaving others. The rain came down suddenly; soaking them to the bone with it’s chill.

"Oh Momma," sobbed Jenny in relief, "it missed us! It missed us! Is that a miracle, Momma?"

Her mother hugged her fiercely. "Yes, Jenny. That was a miracle."
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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Copyright  2005 Dana Sieben - All Rights Reserved

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"I believe that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can not baptize cats." - Larry the Cable Guy

A Tennessee man and an Alabama man were both fighting in a war and were captured by the enemy.
"Before we put you to death," said the enemy, "do you have any last requests?"
"Yes," said the Alabaman. "Could you play 'Yeah, Alabama' before you shoot me?"
"Sure," said the enemy. "How about you, Tennessean?"
"Could you shoot me before you play 'Yeah, Alabama?'"

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