Ladies and gentlemen, you have likely read other stories on this thread by now that go through the topic of “New Beginnings”. What pops in your head when “new” is said. Shiny? Presentable?Nice? Well, my story lives on the south side of town.You’ve maybe read the others and seen tragedy overcome by triumph. A good new beginning. However, my abundance of words in a box are drugged with tragedy. So, with that, I present to you a story that involves a child who’s past few days have been, shall I say,-
Not So Triumphant
December 26th, 2008. Willard, Missouri.
The roaring noise gets louder and louder as the seconds roll by.
As any Missourian will tell you, tornados absolutely suck. They also happen all the damn time. But, in all fairness, it’s a bit late for one at this time in the year, isn’t it? As I recollect, there were four in the six months prior to this one. The last one being in September, and the closest one to our house was seven miles away in Springfield.
Now this one’s practically touching me and my family.
Mom is making last minute efforts to stack up all the food because, as I recall her saying in the last ten minutes she was seen alive, “HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT A TORNADO WOULD HAPPEN IN FUCKING DECEMBER???”
I’m currently hiding under a mattress in the bathtub. It’s a small space, but it’s the only reason I’m still alive. There’s only room for me, but my mother and brother both have their own spot to hide from destruction. But because a couple shitty cans of Campbell’s soup and stale chips are more important than living, they have yet to reach those spots.
And Dad? Well, he’s far away, in the same place he’s been for the past six years. Where? Up north. Where up north? No idea. I only ever asked my Mom twice, and she just told me he’s coasting off of welfare checks up North. Whether that means he’s just a few miles up north in Kansas City, or way up north at the tippy top of Canada freezing his balls off I have no idea.
I hear a cascade of loud crashes that sound like they’re just inches away. I peak from my measly mattress. The deafening sound of a hellish tornado ripping apart a house get louder. Or closer. Or both. I hear the unmistakable thumping of somebody running.
The door opens. Nobody is there. Nothing is there, including the wall that usually was in front of the bathroom. Debris is flying everywhere. I see mother running. She sees me and starts running towards the bathroom. I hear something coming towards me. I see mom reach her hand out to me, even though she’s at least ten feet away.
And then, with the sound of wood hitting bone, and a bright light overtaking my vision, she was gone.
21 hours later...
Turns out the sound of wood hitting bone was a large chunk of a tree slamming into my face at 90 miles per hour. I woke up the next day with blood running down half my face.
The Willard Post would eventually write something about me. A week later, residents in the town would wake up, collect the soon to be extinct newspaper, read the headline “Tornado Death Toll Rises To Seven”, and after reading the editorial about the girl who lost her brother and the family that lost their dog, readers would see a picture of me. Below the photo, a caption reads, “Local 14 year old Ian Halas wanders through Northway Pines - the small community south of City Hall that was hit the hardest - searching for his brother and mother.”
Why the numbfuck editor of the Post said that I was “searching” for my family, I have no idea.
That sea of rubble that sat in front of me was my family. I had stopped ”searching” for them three hours prior to when the photo was taken when I saw them both flattened below an infinite pileup of bricks and wood.
“Ian!” A far away voice shouted. Skipping down the street is a girl I (used to) go to school with, Jenna. Or was it Jaine? Look, I just had a piece of a tree fly right into my face at full speed. If you were me, you’d lose some brain cels too.
She seems awfully euphoric for somebody walking through a neighborhood of destroyed houses, but I suppose that’s what happens when your family has just moved to AllTheMoneyInTheWorld, USA, where tornados don’t happen on Christmas fucking weekend. I never liked Jean (Jenna, Jaine, whatshername). She never shut the hell up and always came off as an entitled piece of shi-
“Which house is yours, if you don’t mind me asking?” She asks.
I do mind, actually, and I would prefer it if she were to take a few thousand steps back to her three story mansion up in Golden Toilet Seatland so that I can privately mourn the loss of the only two people in life I ever became attached to, but instead of telling her to piss off, I decide to give her an answer.
I point to a house that isn’t mine, a house untouched by the disaster that has just occurred. I do this to spare myself of having to hear her probably long and awkward as hell sympathies (Everything happens for a reason, bullshit, bullshit, etc.)
“Wow, you are so lucky. Anyway, I came to tell you that my brother got into Duke. Do you know hard it is to get into Duke. Their acceptance rate is something like-“
As she goes on and on about how her smartass brother bribed his way into Duke University, I let my mind dwell on my own brother.
Interestingly enough, Nicholas wanted to go to Duke’s polar opposite: North Carolina. Although Duke’s acceptance rate is lower, it requires a higher GPA to get into NC.
Nicholas was within pissing distance of getting in. He was interested in a career in writing, and a degree in literature was not far away with the GPA he had.
Now he doesn’t have a GPA. Or a pulse.
I have my sights focused on a patch of splattered blood sitting on top of the rubble that used to be my home. It’s not exactly a sight any sane person would invest there time into, and it’s really unsettling, as you can imagine. But as I’m staring at this unpleasant splat of human blood, a question lingers in my head: Who’s is it?
My mom or my brother would most likely be the answer, but then again, I was pretty banged up too. I woke up and the left side of my face was bathed in blood. Although I was no happy camper with my injury, there was a larger problem at hand.
After browsing through the destruction, I discovered my mother and my brother. From my view, I had concluded that the entire house had collapsed, crushing them. Brick, wood slabs, pipes, you name it, it had ripped through their skin. It didn’t look like a pleasant way to go at all-
“Ian!” Another far away voice called out. I was looking at Ms. My Brother’s In Duke, but I had recognized the voice enough to know it wasn’t hers. Sure as shit, I look a few feet behind Jenna Last Name to see my Aunt Sarah
I didn’t want to see her, but, by law, I needed to...