I talk a lot about the novel I have been writing since November of 2011. But yet I have not really shared any part of it. So after thinking long & hard I decided I’d share a teaser from it.
(Just keep in mind it’s still rough draft.)
It wasn’t possible for her to see in the dark, or feel anything around her. Her body seemed to stop moving as soon as the siren began blaring around her. The light flickered off and on, just enough to see her parents, Peter and Alisha Montgomery, pacing back and forth. Worry terrorized her features. The lights flicked off and the room was dark.
She tried to use her other senses, hoping they’d kick in, as she listened to someone rummage through a drawer. Loudly. Almost too loud. Why did it seem so loud to her? A clap of thunder rumbled through the house as all the small knick knacks lined up along the walls clanked together. A bright flash of lightening lit up the room for about two seconds, just long enough to see her mother standing in the doorway, alone. Where was her father? Did he leave?
Hushed whispers talked among themselves as Emma held on tight to a small teddy bear her parents gave her the night before. She was good at school so her parents rewarded her with a brand new stuff bear. She named it Butterfly.
“Alisha. Now. Grab Emma. We have to go.” Her dad’s voice was very strong. Made Emma feel safe every time he spoke.
Her mother hurriedly picked her up and held her tightly in her arms. Emma’s small hand lost grip and dropped her bear.
“Mommy!” Emma cried. “Butterfly, I can’t leave her.”
“I’ll get you another one tomorrow. We have to hurry now.”
Her mother pushed the door open, just as a gust of wind blew it completely off the hinges and it flew into the house next door crashing through their large window. Emma’s heart pounded, confusing thoughts raced through her mind, unable to grasp what was going on. A loud siren blared endlessly through the air as large raindrops, and hail the size of softballs pounded down on their heads.
Emma watched as her dad raced by them splashing water all over the side of them, opening the cellar door and ushering them inside. Her mother walked carefully, trying not to miss a step and trip, down the steep wooden staircase that led into what, sometimes, felt like the pit of death.
The cellar was pretty much empty except for benches that was connected to each wall, a large shelf in the far corner holding boxes and see through plastic boxes, and another shelf – smaller than the other – at the end of the stair case leaning against the wall. This one, however, held blankets, flashlights, and lanterns. Emma hated being down in the bottom of this, the smell alone was more upsetting than knowing what was going on outside. It smelled of mold, and dirt. Dusty old hole in the ground that has been there since before her dad built the house they live in.
Her dad locked the door and began walking down the steps into the bottom before grabbing her mother and her into an embrace. She always felt so safe when she was nestled in between her mother and father as they held on tightly. She sighed; feeling as if this is exactly what needed to happen. Her pounding heart settled and they all took a seat on the bench farthest away from the door, but below the small window.
Emma couldn’t grasp on to what was going on as her mother gripped her hand tighter. For a brief second, she thought a train was about to push its way through the cellar that was holding her and her family. The air around Emma’s head growled, her heart hammered in her chest. The scariest thing for any child is not knowing what is going on around them, and when their parents look frightened, it doesn’t help matters. Parents are supposed to be comforting, and in charge, In a moment of weakness children are unaware of how to cope. Handle things that are not in their control. Emma moved closer to her mother and felt a reassuring squeeze to her shoulder as her mother wrapped her arm around her.
Flashes of light lit up the cellar from the small window above their head. She listened as the rain battered the top of the cellar. One single clap of thunder crashed making Emma jump nearly three inches off of the bench that was holding her and her mother. Her father paced the floor in front of them clutching a flashlight tightly in his hands.
A noise drew her sight to the staircase and up to the door as she realized the door shook violently, pulling on its hinges. Peter turned to his wife, kissed her on the cheek and took off in a sprint to the door dropped the flashlight. Emma watched as it rolled underneath her stopping the moment it hit the wall. Her eyes flashed back over to her dad just in time to watch as he grabbed the rope attached to the door and pulled, leaning back he bent and tried tying to a wooden step. The door shook harder and Peter tripped, losing his balance and falling over. He lost his grip on the rope. Just as he got back to his feet, the door was sucked up and out of the cellar and up into the sky. Peter rolled down the stairs and hit concrete landing on his back, once coming to a stop he looked up to see solid black swirling wind and a felt a suction, almost like he was hooked to an invisible rope being pulled out by someone in the yard.
The winds pulled strongly lifting Peter up as he floated slightly up and over the wooden steps. Suddenly his arms flew out, and with his fingertips he gripped the fourth step holding on with dear life. He felt a splinter as his fingers ran around the front of the step, trying his hardest to get a better grip on the step. He knew there was no way his family would make it without him. He had to stay here to help with his family and raise his daughter. He looked up and saw horror plastered across Emma’s face. His heart broke. His baby.
The wind pulled harder, the force was becoming uncontrollable as he felt the fingertips of his left hand slip. The wind pulled his left arm up, he was almost floating, only thing keeping him grounded was his fingers of his right hand.
Alisha screamed. “Peter!”
Peter tried to scream. To tell Alisha to stop, to stay with their daughter. That there was no way she would be okay if she lost both parents in the same night. Especially right in front of her eyes. But as soon as he opened his mouth the wind sucked the breath completely out of his lungs and he felt deflated. He felt a tear form as he felt his fingers slip off of the wooden step taking one last glance up at his family. His wife, his high school sweetheart, the love of his life. His daughter, oh Emma, he thought, his darling daughter that they were unsure if they’d ever have.
With his eyes pinned to his wife and daughter he mouthed “I love you” just as his fingers slipped off of the step and felt his whole body go limp, and lifted – floating up toward the door.
Alisha jumped to her feet and ran toward him. She pushed her hand out toward his hand and grasped pulling him backwards. She felt her feet sliding, but stopped on the bottom step. She planted her feet securely on that step and held on tight. Gripping his hand with everything she had, she wasn’t going to let go until her arm detached. Just as she thought she had him, his body slamming into the steps she lost her balance and fall backwards, and luckily pulling Peter with her. They both landed hard onto the concrete flooring rolling to the middle of the floor. Peter stood up first, and helped Alisha to her feet. With every amount of muscle she could muster, Alisha pushed Peter backwards, just in time to feel the suction of the tornado wind sweep her feet out from underneath her. Her face slammed into the concrete flooring before being pulled out by the winds and smashed her face into each step on her way up.
“MOMMY! NO!” Emma yelled as she watched her mother’s limp body be swept out of the cellar and into the dark winds.