It was evening, and Sara was sick with a fever. Micah sat on the couch next to her reading a book about tornados because Crossroads, Louisiana was under a tornado warning.
As Mama quietly worked in the kitchen, a spicy smell rose into the air. She called Daddy and asked him where the keys to the shop were because it was risky to be in the trailer if a tornado came. A few minutes after the call, the rain stopped. The wind stopped. Mama knew something was wrong.
She told Micah and Sara to put on their shoes. The wind suddenly howled and whirled the trees. The kids ran to the back door, which led out to the shop. On her way to the door, Mama grabbed her wedding ring. Micah quickly picked two stuffed animals, Puppy and Hootie. Sara took her zebra, Lovey. The three of them crowded at the door, but Mama couldn’t find the key she had placed on the couch.
“Jesus!” she shouted. Then she saw the key.
Mama opened the door. Everything outside was a blurry gray. Micah and Sara followed Mama down the stairs and onto the porch.
“Wait here while I unlock the shop door,” Mama commanded and ran out into the storm. Mama’s hands shook violently as she tried to fit the key into the lock. Mama’s cell phone rang. She ignored it and concentrated on opening the shop.
A garbage bag flew straight toward Micah and Sara. Micah yelled, “Duck!”
The garbage bag missed them by an inch. Objects began lifting off the ground. A huge piece of Styrofoam was tossed into the air like a ball. Mama bellowed, “Get your butts in here!”
Micah immediately focused and ran for the door. Sara hustled behind him. In his hurry, Hootie slipped out of his hand. Sara made it into the shop, but Micah turned back to find Hootie. Debris swirled around him, and his clothes flapped in the wind.
Mama tried to find Hootie, but there was no sign of her. “Forget the owl!” she gasped. Mama yanked Micah into the shop.
Objects banged against the outside wall. Micah’s ears popped. Then everything was silent.
Mama called Grandma and Pops, who lived next door, and told them that she and the kids were okay. Mama looked outside at the destruction. The roof of one of the storage buildings had been torn off. Debris littered the yard. The trailer was fine, except the skirting had been ripped off. There was no sign of Hootie.
Grandma and Pops joined them. Everyone waited together until Daddy got home from Bernice Pharmacy.
Micah, Mama, and Daddy ate the cold chili Mama had cooked before the storm came. Sara wasn’t hungry. Everyone but Mama had forgotten Sara’s fever. She checked Sara’s temperature before bed, and her fever was gone. Micah wondered if the tornado had blown it away.