The Storm

I am so scared. I go to the window and see outside, I mean, I see what it is possible to see. The clouds are so black that even though it is midday, I do not see a single thing – only shadows. The TV is still working but my phone is dead. I do not know where the rest of my family is. The news presenter said that the storm is the result of an unusual change in temperature and it’s responsible for the strong winds and rain. They are asking us to protect ourselves, or if we can, to go to specific places of refuge. The authorities do not want anybody in the streets. Mum and dad are supposed to be at work. My eldest brother is supposed to be at high school. My primary school teacher sent us all home as soon the news appeared on TV. I am alone. My dog is scared too. He has been howling, so I let him come inside. Sure, mum’s not going to like it, but at least the dog has stopped making those horrible noises.

What if… the trees around the house fall on the roof? The trees are very big. And at this precise moment they are moving at the whim of the winds.

What if… mum and dad are in their cars and they can’t get here before the peak of the storm? Mum works on one side of the city, and dad works on the other.

What if… the downpipes and the gutters are not enough to redirect the water that is falling like bombs over the roof of the house? The rain is so heavy that I am afraid it is going to break the roof. The roof is made of tiles, they sound flimsy…

What if… because we are on lower land than our neighbours, the excess rain on their piece of land runs and floods my house?

Oh, my! The lights are off. Now my dog has begun to howl again. I can hear branches breaking and the unrelenting howl of the wind. I am under the little dining table. I’d better run towards the bathroom. I drag the table with me. It’s so heavy for such a little table! I barely fit it through the door. I invite the dog inside the tub and, with all my strength, I flip the table over our heads…

I am so scared…

Suddenly… silence… no more wind. No more rain. No more howling. The birds are singing. I can hear a car pulling into the driveway. I hear it stop in the garage. These are all familiar sounds. I hear the jangling of keys and the thud of the car door. But I don’t hear the garage door being unlocked. I hear the ringing of ceiling tiles? A plank of wood being moved? Mum, dad and my brother all come in together and help me and dog to get out of the tub. There is no roof on the house. There IS no house; only the tub. Mum, dad and brother embrace me. I am not scared any more.

I

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