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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Here is the next chapter in Janna's run. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!!

                                                    A few pictures I like...

Chapter Seven
Jedidiah watched as his new charge began to stir. An IV dripped at her side, the clear tubing running up to her good arm. She’d been asleep for about twelve hours or so and he was glad. She would have a lot to process when she woke up.

Throughout the long night Jedidiah had gone out several times to help with rescue efforts, and then returned to check on her. They’d given her a sedative so she’d been resting peacefully each time. He’d returned the last time about an hour ago, ready to catch forty winks, but couldn’t sleep because his mind was racing.

A noise at the door caught his attention. He looked up just in time to see a police officer walk into the room. “Can I help you?”

She strode over and extended her hand. “I’m officer Englewood.”

Jedidiah took her hand and gave one firm shake before dropping it as if it were a hot potato. He knew whatever reason she had for being here wasn’t good. “Jedidiah Jones.”

“Pleased to meet you, are you related?” She gave a nod toward the two patients behind them.

“No, I’m just a friend. Can I help you with something?”

“I just came from Tilly O’Malley’s house.” She hesitated for a second and then said, “We found her, but she’s…she’s passed.” Tears welled in the officer’s eyes.

Jedidiah thought he understood. This was a small town. “You knew her?”

She shook her head, her dark pony-tail bobbing in time. “We went to school together.” She bowed her head.

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you.” She sniffed and wiped at her nose with a tissue she pulled from her jacket pocket. “She worked down at Janna’s CafĂ©.”

His head rose up in surprise. “The red-head?”

“Yes, why?” The officer’s dark features were scrunched in confusion.

“She served me earlier today.” Real remorse welled-up inside him. “That’s…that’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?” He closed his eyes and rested his head against the cool concrete wall for a moment.

He heard the scraping of the officer’s feet. “That isn’t everything.”

His head popped up. “What else?” He glanced past Janna’s sleeping form to the child lying in the metal, cage-like baby bed, his left leg sporting a cast, an IV trailing from his left hand.

“We searched Andy O’Malley’s house as well.”

Jedidiah went blank. He didn’t know who that was.

She must’ve realized it because she said, “How well do you know Janna?”

He gave a sheepish look. “I just met her yesterday.”

She shook her head. “That explains it then.”

“What were you saying?”

“I really can’t say if you aren’t at least close to the family.”

“I’m going to be around for a while.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just moved to town. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but I already feel an affinity for Miss James.” I can’t believe I just told her that.

The officer smiled. “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”

“Well, yes, but that isn’t why I’m interested. There are millions of beautiful women in the world.”

She gave him a skeptical look. “What is it then?”

“She’s…quirky.” He smiled, happy he’d found the right word. “I like a woman with spunk.”

“Yeah, she is spunky.” She smiled.

Jed was used to the interest he saw flare in her eyes. He wasn’t egotistical, women found him attractive and he knew it. “So what were you about to tell me?”

“The boy’s father was found in the debris of his home, along with his girlfriend and a cat.”

Jedidiah sat up straight, the smile leaving his face. What was the little boy going to do now? He was an orphan. “I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know why God lets things like this happen.”

“Me either, but I don’t question it.” She looked toward Janna’s sleeping form. “I’ve seen her move but I can’t tell if she’s going to wake-up or not.”

“The doctor said she would wake soon. She’ll be upset. She already lost her best friend.”

“I know. Listen, I have to get back outside,” She pulled out a card and handed it to him. “Could you give me a call when she wakes up?”

He took the card and pocketed it. “Yep, I sure will. There’s a German shepherd outside the front door. Do you think you could make sure he has water?”

“Oh I saw him, is he yours?”

“Yep, brought him back with me.”

“Is he a bomb dog?” The officer asked as she held on to the door frame, ready to leave.

“He can do lots of stuff. We also used him for a search and rescue.”

“Is he still working?”

“Nah, he’s retired, but I’ll take him out if they need him, but he won’t listen to anyone but me.”

She shook her head. “I’ll make sure he has water. What’s his name?”

“Hairy. H-a-i-r-y.”

“Hairy? That’s cute. I’ll let Brad know. He might just need another dog. I know this is a small town but it’s pretty heavily populated.”

“Yeah I noticed that. It seems like a nice place to live.” He looked up and she was frowning. “Well, it was until today anyway.”

She thumped the door jamb. “Yep, I’ll check on the dog.” She turned and left, leaving a loud silence behind.

Janna was rustling the sheet and he looked toward her. His eyes met Amber ones.

“You’re awake.”

“Yeah.” She coughed. “Could I get some water?”

“Yep. He got up and handed her the water cup.

She took a small sip and handed it back, scrunching her nose.”

“It’s bottled. They have several water leaks and aren’t letting anyone drink the water.”

“That explains it.” Her voice cracked and she grimaced. “My arm hurts.”

“It’s broken in three places.”

“It is?”

“Yep, that’s what the doctor said.”

“How long was I asleep?” She twisted her head around the room, her gaze stopping at the small boy sleeping beside her. A small smile graced her lips.

“He’s a cutie. The doctor said his was a clean break. They casted him and gave him something to make him sleep for a few hours. He didn’t want him to wake up during the worst of the pain.”

“That’s good.” She looked at him, her amber eyes questioning.

“I didn’t want to leave you alone.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“That doesn’t matter. I feel bad because Hairy accosted you yesterday.” He gave her a reassuring smile. Should he tell her about knowing her brother, or continue the ‘fake’ meeting?

The silence in the room was broken by her words, “I know, you know.”


“I know my brother sent you.”

He was so surprised he gaped. “How?”

“He has the picture you took together in his photo album.”

“Oh, that explains it.”

“What I don’t know is why.” She gave him a stern look.

His heart melted. She was trying to be brave and strong, but she looked lost and lonely and in need of a knight in shining armor with her casted arm and disheveled chestnut hair.

Should he tell her? He thought about it, rubbing his chin in a slow movement of thought. Yes, he should. It would make it easier under the circumstances. “Your attacker is getting out today and your brother hired me to protect you.”

She gasped, her mouth dropped open, and then she did the unexpected. She laughed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Here's another chapter of Janna's Run. I hope you enjoy it!

Simple but beautiful

Chapter Six ~

Janna woke up, at first disoriented. “Where am I?” She moved to sit up, but something was holding her down. She tried to pull her hand up to push the tangled mass of her hair from her eyes, but it was trapped, as well. Her eyes popped open. She blinked. It was dark. Pitch black. And then her memory slammed back to her brain and she screamed. “Tilly! Jessie?” Tears of fear and frustration trailed down her aching cheeks.

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she took in her surroundings, all the while pulling at her trapped arm. “Erg, let go.” Put it didn’t budge. She could see something large and white was trapping her up against a huge support beam. Where are they?

She finally recognized the object holding her hostage. It was the family-sized deep freezer from Tilly’s dining room. She wiggled, pushing at the cold metal against her arm. She knew it was broke, the extreme pain radiating all the way up to her shoulder and down her spine. “Dear God, please let them be okay and let me get out so I can help them.”


“Tilly, are you okay?” Renewed strength surged through her at the sound of her friend’s voice and she pushed the deep freezer with her left arm, and it moved. “Praise the Lord.” She smiled, tried to stand up, and fell back to the dirt floor.

“I’m alive, but I can’t find Jessie and I’m trapped!”

Janna could hear the hysteria in her friend’s tone. “Hold on, I’m almost free…”

“Do you see him, Janna?” The hope in her voice brought a fresh deluge of tears down her cheeks and goose bumps to her arms.

“No, not yet.” Janna took a deep breath, gave the support beam a huge heave, and as it moved, she jumped up and out of the way. The beam thudded to the floor and what was left of the house began raining down on her again. She crouched to the floor and covered her head with her arms. “Dear Lord, please help me.”

The avalanche of debris stopped. Janna waited a full minute before gingerly moving toward where she’d heard Tilly’s voice. “Is there a flashlight down here? I brought my emergency bag, but it’s still in the car.”

“There was, but I don’t know where it’s at now.”

Tilly was in shock and she needed to get help. “What color is it?” She began scanning the rubble pretty sure she wasn’t finding anything in this mess.

“It’s clear. It’s one of those you shake.”

“Oh, I know what kind it is, then.” She tripped and fell to one knee, a sharp pain telling her she’d just cut it. She was trying to support her dangling arm, without much luck. It hit something as she went down and she yelled in pain.

“Janna, are you hurt?”

She stood up slowly. She didn’t want to lie, but didn’t want to worry her friend, either. “I’ll be okay.” She spotted something round under the tossed garbage can and squealed like a child, “I found it!” She bent down and picked it up, shaking it vigorously. Her finger pushed the switch up and a dim beam of light shone in the darkness.

“Shake it some more,” Tilly ordered. “You have to find my baby!”

“I have to get you out first.”

“No! You find my baby!” Tilly burst into loud sobs.

“Okay, okay.” Janna moved the light through every nook and cranny of the rubble, but didn’t see Jessie.

“Do you see him yet?” The voice was hesitant-sounding.

Janna sighed. Dear Lord, please help me find that baby. “No, but I haven’t started digging yet. Let me come get you out first.” She rounded the corner of the basement where Tilly was and stopped in horror. “Oh Tilly…”

Broken arm and cut knee forgotten, Janna sank to her knees.

“There’s no point worrying about it, girl. It’s too late for me. Find my son.”

Janna tried to keep her eyes trained on Tilly’s face so she wouldn’t have to see the grotesque way she was twisted around one of the support beams for the steps. “I’m so sorry.” Janna sobbed as she scooted over to her injured friend. “You must be in so much pain…”

“Honestly, it doesn’t hurt at all. Maybe I’m in shock, I don’t know.”

“We can get you out of this…”

“Janna, don’t. You know that isn’t true. Pray with me.”

Tilly’s face was pale as a ghost and her eyes were beginning to flutter.

“Stay with me, girl.” Janna reached over with her good arm and held her friend. “Dear Lord, please be with Tilly as she suffers through this trauma. Please allow her to heal if it’s your will.” She rested her head against Tilly’s blood-soaked hair and wept. Dear Lord, I made a friend and now you’re going to take her away? Why? What about her child?

A few minutes passed and Janna was afraid to raise her head for fear her friend was gone when suddenly, she spoke, “I want you to have Jessie if he’s still alive. Raise him as your own.” Her voice was weak and halting, but firm.

“I can’t, Tilly. He has a dad.”

“He won’t have a choice. Jessie isn’t his.”

The circumstances didn’t keep Janna from gasping in disbelief. “You’re in shock, girl.”

“No, he knows Jessie isn’t his. He was going to raise him, anyway. All my papers are in the safe. Make sure you find…them.”

Janna had been staring into her friend’s eyes, but they had fluttered closed, and she knew it was for the last time. “No, Tilly…” She stroked the dark hair, her hands encountering sticky blood, but she didn’t care. Tears streamed down her face in grief. Why?

She had no idea how long she sat there stroking Tilly’s hair, but finally the pain in her arm insisted she do something to get herself out of the basement. She needed a doctor, and she needed to find Jessie. Please help me find him, Dear Lord.

She drudged through several feet of debris, trying to find a way out. Finally, she poked her good arm up through a hole. Was it freedom? Her heart pumped with joy. She needed to find Jessie and make sure he was okay.

She heard a noise. Her heart sped-up double-time. “Hello, is someone out there?” Her voice trembled with pain and exhaustion but she’d gained renewed energy once more.

“Hello?” A male voice questioned from above her.

It sounded vaguely familiar. Where had she heard that voice before? Her own eyes felt heavy with tiredness as she dug through the hole, trying to see who was out there.

The sound of a child crying made her halt. She tilted her head and said, “Jessie?”


His little baby-voice sounded scratchy and scared.

“Yes Jessie, it’s Janna.”

“I want my mommy.” The little boy cried, apparently so relieved to hear a familiar voice he allowed himself to let go.

Heaviness filled her heart. How could she tell him? Would he even understand? “I know you do, buddy, but let’s get you out of here first.” She’d uncovered one chubby arm. “Do you hurt?”

“My leg hurts real bad.” Her good hand ran along the length of one chubby leg and he winced, as if to prove his point.

“I have to get you out of here, little man.”

“What happened?” The three year old asked.

“It was a tornado, buddy.”

Silence for a moment. “Oh.”

He raised both chubby arms and attached them around her neck when she moved the piece of vinyl siding from his side and pulled off a sheet of wet, pink insulation.

“Hello?” The male voice came from above her again.

She’d forgotten about the man at the little boy’s cries. “Yes, can you help us out?”

“Yes.” There was a loud thumping noise as Jedidiah jumped down through the hole.


“Yes me.” He gave her a big grin as he pulled woman and child up through the hole and laid them at the side of the yard.

He sat down beside them, panting from the exertion. He wiped his forehead with a black, sooty hand. “The child’s mother?”

She gave him a sharp look. His face fell, seeming to say, ‘I’m sorry.’

He got to his hands and knees, and then rose to his feet. He picked them up and carried them to his car.

The last thing Janna remembered was being deposited in the front seat, Jedidiah’s hand gently pulling a strand of her wet, gritty hair from her face and fastening her seatbelt; and then blessed darkness.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

here's the next chapter...let me know what you think!!

                                            I love pictures of storm clouds!!

Chapter Five

Thunder boomed overhead as Jedidiah readied the dog’s food bowl. He tried not to cringe. Loud noises still bothered him, even though he’d been home for almost a month.

“We have to go to the basement Hairy.” 

The dog whined, licked his hand, and then nudged him; his liquid brown eyes staring up at him with such trust Jedidiah’s heart ached.

“I hope you don’t trust me in vain.” He grabbed the dog’s leash and attached it just as the tornado sirens went off. “Hurry, let’s get downstairs.”

The basement was dark and smelled of mold and mildew, but Jed forced himself to move down the last few steps. He knew the lights wouldn’t stay on long because they were already flickering.

One of the first things he’d done after arriving was prepare the basement for emergencies. The weather radio began to beep like crazy, and then a voice spoke urgently; “...take cover underground. This is a tornado emergency…”

Jedidiah only heard bits and pieces as he pulled the basement door closed.

One side of the basement had been dug up and there was one of those special shelters made of reinforced steel installed into its dirt floor. He grabbed the radio, his duffel bag full of food, water and other emergency items and whistled for the dog, who ran toward him, his leash dragging through the dirt as he raced down the steps of the small shelter behind his master. Jedidiah gasped in horror as he pulled the door closed above him. The house was already gone and the basement was exposed to the fierce winds of the tornado.  The shelter door was being pulled from his hands, but he gave it a jerk, closed it and pressed the automatic lock, and it latched with a metallic click. “Whoa, that was close old buddy. I’m already re-thinking my recent thoughts to settle down here. I can’t believe I’m experiencing a tornado already.”

Hairy whimpered as he sat full on top of Jedidiah’s lap.

“I know you’re scared. So am I.” He buried his hands into the silky softness of his best friend’s fur and prayed, “Dear Lord, I know I haven’t paid much attention to you lately, but if you’re up there, please keep us safe.”

The wind bellowed with a loud roar, almost seeming to answer his question. “I hear you Lord. I will keep you in mind from how on.” The words were spoken with quiet conviction.

Now that they were relatively safe, Jedidiah’s thoughts went to Janna. Had she made it to safety? He wished he could call her, but couldn’t afford for her to find out he already had her number. If she was okay, she would know something was up.

There was a loud noise that sounded like a bomb going off, and then a long scraping that ended right above his head. He was pretty sure they’d just been buried in debris.

He pulled out his cell phone, hoping for a miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no signal.

 “Of course there isn’t, you idiot, you’re in a steel cage.” He nudged Hairy over with his free hand, exposing the duffel bag that rested at his right side. He rummaged around inside, looking for a flashlight. Was it over yet? He tilted his head, concentrating on any noises he might hear as he pulled the small plastic flashlight out, but there was nothing. He unwound his other hand from the dog’s fur and stood up, turning the flashlight on. It didn’t work. He smacked it; still nothing. “Turn on you cheap piece of…” Light snapped on and he blinked, his eyes watering from the sudden flash. “That’s more like it.” He grinned, despite the situation he and the dog were in. They were alive, and they had light. “Hold on, Hairy. I’m gonna go assess the situation up top.”

Jedidiah climbed the steps, muttering, “Please let the door open, dear Lord. He unlatched the lock and pushed the door open. “Thank you Lord.”

His relief was short-lived, however, as his eyes traveled even higher. About two feet above the opened door, there was a pile of solid debris. “What is that?”  He trained the beam of light on something metal. “Tell me that isn’t a muffler.” He stood on the top step and gave it a push. The metal was surprisingly cool to his touch, and didn’t budge.

“I think it’s an SUV Hairy. I don’t how we’re going to get out. How will they even know we’re here?”

Jedidiah came back down the four steps and settled into his previous spot. “We’ll just wait a while and see if anyone comes to move it. That’s all we can do.”

After a few minutes, he began to get antsy. He hated to sit still. He turned the knob on the weather radio, but all he got was static. “Well that thing is useless.”

Hairy pulled his head up from his paws and gave him a look that seemed to say, “At least you’re alive.”

“I know, Hairy. What would I do without you to keep me grounded?” He grinned and patted his head. I’m pretty sure you’re dog bowl is gone, but I brought food and water.” He delved back into the duffel and pulled out a baggie full of dog food and a bottle of water.

Hairy’s head came up again, and he got up on all fours.

Jedidiah grinned. “I’m glad to see the storm caused no lasting effects.” He rummaged around inside the bag again until his fingers clutched on two shallow bowls. He poured the water, sat the bowl down and then filled the food bowl and sat it beside the other one.

“I wonder how long this is gonna take. Should I start trying to dig out somehow? I know I can’t move the vehicle but surely I can displace the debris around it.” He got up and retraced his steps to the top. He could hear what sounded like chainsaws and men yelling in the distance.

“I hear people, Hairy!” 

The dog continued eating his supper. Wow, even the dog ignores me. He was sad for a moment, until Janna’s pretty face came to mind and he grinned, his loneliness dispelled by her cutesy dimples and beautiful amber eyes. He would be patient, but he needed to get out of here. Tornado or no tornado, Janna’s attacker was getting out tomorrow and he needed to be able to protect her.

“I hope she fared better than us, Hairy.” He went to the back edge of the door and tried to shove some of the debris away from the SUV, but it was packed tight. “Feeling like a sardine here, Lord. Is this how Jonah felt?” I sound like an idiot. Maybe I’m in shock.

He gave another shove, but the debris wasn’t moving. He returned to his seat downstairs and closed his eyes. A nap would help pass the time.

He dozed-off and woke-up some time later, and pulled himself to attention. He’d been dreaming about her. How long was he asleep? He wiped his gritty-feeling eyes and ran his fingers through his dark curls. A loud noise above him caught his attention and he realized why he’d woken up. He heard chains and scraping.

“I think they’re here to get us, Hairy.” He raced up the steps. “Can you hear me?”

When there was no answer, he asked, “Can anyone hear me?”

“Mr. Johnston, is that you?”

His heart raced at the sound of another human voice. “No, I’m Jedidiah Jones.”

“Our records show a George Johnston owns this shelter,” the man yelled from above the debris.

“Oh, that must be the previous home-owners. I bought this house and moved in at the end of last week.”

“Oh. Well we’ll be getting you out in a few minutes, then,” the rescuer said.

“Thank you, I can’t wait. How bad is the damage up there?”

There was silence for a few seconds, and then, “The worst I’ve ever seen.”

“Then get me out of here, I have to go check on somebody.”

Just then a motor started up, revved, and the SUV was removed from above him. He raced up the steps, and then stopped short in horrified amazement.

“There’s nothing left but piles of rubble.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chapter Four

                   Here are some more pictures from the storm clouds I took a couple weeks ago.
Chapter Four

Jedidiah stayed a couple car lengths behind Janna, hoping she didn’t spot him. He wanted to find out her route home without being seen. He was still trying to figure out his cover story.

“I’ve never had this much trouble before, Hairy. What do you think’s up with that?” He reached over and scratched the long-haired dog under the chin. Hairy nudged his hand and whimpered. “I know. It’s the subject. I don’t know what happened. I’m usually professional and detached from the whole situation, but this one’s different. I already blew it and she doesn’t have a clue, and that’s probably a good thing.” He grinned over at the dog, feeling a little stupid for talking to him as if he understood what he was saying.

When he looked back up, Janna’s car had disappeared. “Now where did she go?” He looked all around him, but didn’t see her car. He stopped at the stop sign and looked down the street. He just barely caught the back end of the little compact turning right down a side street. “That’s not where she lives, Hairy. We better follow her.”

Hairy whimpered, as if agreeing.

“You’re a good partner.” He reached over and scratched one of the shepherd’s ears as he made the turn to follow Janna. He looked up at the sky. “Those are some ominous-looking clouds rolling in, boy. We need to get this done and get home.”

Janna pulled up outside a dingy green house and got out of the car carrying a foil-covered dish. Jedidiah pulled into the curb down the street and turned his car off, glancing at the sky again. It’s looking bad.

She knocked on the door and a man who looked to be in his late twenties, early thirties, answered. He smiled and Jedidiah felt something ugly rise in him. What was it? Could it be jealousy? Nah, he didn’t even know the woman…but her brother hadn’t mentioned a boyfriend. He cleared his throat. “Make me stop, Hairy. I’m going coo-coo over here.”

Hairy stepped over the console and licked Jedidiah in the face before settling his huge black and tan paws over his leg, scrunching his body up under the steering wheel. Jedidiah laughed. “That’s not exactly what I meant, but I guess it’ll do. He buried his right hand in the silky fur and continued his surveillance. “I have to admit the guy’s good looking, if you like the baby-faced type.”

Hairy grunted, raised his head, licked his paw and settled back in.

“Wow, you’re supposed to be on my side. It’s pretty bad when even the dog is bored with my conversation.”

Just then an older man in a wheelchair came to sit in front of the open door. Even from this distance, Jedidiah could see the joy spread over Janna’s face. “Who are these people?”

He pulled the envelope over, opened it and skimmed through the papers. Nothing. He returned them and sighed, rubbed his hand across his face. “Stop it Jedidiah. You’re driving yourself crazy.”  And talking to yourself to boot.

His detachment was gone. One encounter with the woman and he felt like silly putty. He remembered the light scent that had wafted around the restaurant as she moved. He’d always hated perfumes, they made him gag, but hers was fruity and fleeting, and he liked it, wanted to smell it again. “Ugh. Hairy, make me stop.”

Hairy ignored him.

Janna handed the foil-covered plate to the old man and turned to leave. She was shaking her head and giving the younger guy a rueful smile. Had he asked her out? Jealousy rushed through him once more. He started the engine and waited as she pulled out in the street.

He resumed following her all the way to her house. He passed by, glad his windows were dark-tinted. She wouldn’t be able to see him. He looked in the review mirror and watched as she got out of her car and went up to the door.

“Okay you smelly beast, time to go home and make us some dinner before that storm rolls in.”

At the word dinner, Hairy’s ears perked up and Jedidiah chuckled. “You are a beast.”

He pulled into his driveway and opened the garage. The house was huge and he knew it wouldn’t be used much, but he loved the garage. It was where he would keep all his favorite toys. He’d never thought about permanency before, but it was in his head now. There was something about this small town that beckoned him, and he didn’t want to deny it.


Janna went inside, clicked on a lamp and continued to her bedroom. “Hot bath here I come.” She pulled off her pink, cotton tee-shirt and groaned.

She still wore a white, ribbed undershirt, not to mention her under-under clothes. She knew it was a sign she hadn’t fully recovered from her attack, but oh well, she was the only one who knew, so who was it hurting? She turned the bath water on and adjusted the tap, plugged the tub and went to the fridge for something cold.

She poured some tea, went through the living room, turned the TV to her favorite weather station, and stopped. Tornado warnings! “Oh no, please no.”

She ran to the closet by the door and grabbed her emergency bag. “Where am I gonna go? Wait, Tilly’s got a basement.” She pulled her cell out as she ran to the bathroom to turn off the water. “Hey Tilly, there’s a tornado warning, I’m coming over.”

“I know. I’m watching the news. There’s a tornado on the ground and it’s headed straight for my place.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I was getting ready to come over there!”

“My place isn’t gonna be safe, either. Your basement is the best bet.”

“Okay, but if you’re coming, hurry. The forecaster said we only have a few minutes.”

“Do you have a weather radio?” Janna ran round, gathering a few personal items. She needed her lock box with all her important papers and her box of pictures. “If I survive this and my house is still standing, I’m going to build me one of those shelters.”

“That’s a great idea, but I wish you already had.”

Janna heard crying in the background. “Is Jessie okay?”

“Yeah, the tornado siren is scaring him.”


Janna pulled the front door closed and flung her back pack over one shoulder as she juggled the heavy lockbox and the plastic box full of pictures, all the while using the phone tucked under her chin and left shoulder. “I have to hang up Tilly.”

“No! Stay on the phone with me, girl.”

“I’ll be right there.” The wind was already wailing as she threw the stuff in the back seat and got into the car. She took off like a mad woman, praying all the while. “Dear Lord, keep us all safe, if it’s Your will.”

“Thank you, Janna. I didn’t even think to pray.”

“I did, but I have to hang up now.”

“Okay, but hurry.”

As Janna drove down Tilly’s street she stared up at the most humungous tornado she’d ever seen. She couldn’t see anything behind it and only a few houses in front of it as it ate its way toward her. “Oh dear Lord, please let me make it.” She threw the car in park and ran to Tilly’s house. The roar deafened her and pieces of siding pounded her as she went to pull the door open. It was jerked out of her hand by the monster tornado and disappeared into the sky. She screamed, her feet automatically taking her toward the kitchen and the basement.

She was vaguely aware of Tilly screaming, “Come on Janna!”

“I’m coming!” She screamed back.

The basement door opened and Janna raced inside, trying to pull the door shut behind her. It was being ripped from her arms until Tilly joined in the fight. They managed to pull it closed and slide the first foot-long bolt into its slot, and then the other five.

The suction was so fierce they could see the outside as the tornado fought to take the door. “No!” Janna tried to hold the handle but it ripped out of her hand and the door was sucked away. She screamed again, fell down the steps and landed on top of Jessie and Tilly. She frantically pulled them behind the steps and covered them with her body.

“Why didn’t it take me?” She asked.

There was no answer, and then blackness.