Riding It Out

When the wind died down, none of us trusted it. We stayed, hunkered down in the root cellar like scared rabbits. Even the kids were quiet. This one had come up fast, too fast for all their expensive early warning signals to be of much use. It was going to be bad out there when we did go out.

“Mom, I got to pee.”

“Yeah, Mom, me, too.”

“When can we go out, huh, Mom?”

“What do you think, Betty? Think it’s been, what?, over an hour now. Should be all right. Right?”

Used to be these storms would tear through like a demented train. Destructive and terrifying, but they’d rip on through and keep going. Then some, I don’t know, four years or so we got the first of the boomerang storms. It caught everyone by surprise. We’d all come out to kick around the wreckage when the damned thing would swing around and came back for another go at us.

That’s how my folks went.

“We can’t stay down here forever.” This from my oldest, Regan. She’s just at that age when she knows everything. She’ll be lucky to live through it.

Porter is looking at me; they’re all looking at me. When did I become the commander of this little unit? Right about the time that I packed our first go bag, I suppose. It was just something I saw on the news but it made sense so I did it. And I remembered it when Jimmy’d come tearing in, screaming about the storm, right after supper tonight. Now I pulled it over to me, handing out pee bottles to the boys.

“No, we can’t stay down here forever, but we’ll get some sleep down here and worry about the morning in the morning.”

Porter’s relieved, Regan’s pissed and the boys are just happy to have a place to pee. This isn’t the ideal storm cellar, but here we are, still alive. This time.

Photo by Cherylvb/Adobe Stock


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