At 1:30am the storm hit. It had been a long day as Sundays around here are wont to be. A slow day and the hours usually drag on so the end of the work shift is a relief. Monday, today, and Tuesday are our new off days so we three, along with Bethany, settled in at home for a nice relaxing weekend.
We had dinner, Laura and Jesca came home while we were eating and joined us, watched a movie and drank some wine. After midnight I retired to my attic and began a long overdue letter to my friend Gisele. I heard the wind and rain start, which is usually exciting to me especially when I'm writing because it makes the mood better in my opinion. Then the lights flickered twice...and went out. The sound of the wind was terrible.
My attic door opened and Emily yelled up, "Hey, Lora wants us all downstairs." Using my cell phone to light my way I went to the first floor where everyone had gathered in the living room. Lora was on her phone, Laura and Jesca were snuggled up, half asleep, on the love-seat, Bethany was sitting on the floor drinking wine and Emily rushed to my side as soon as I came downstairs. She was the only one acting nervous because she's had this constant thought about tornadoes since what happen to Joplin, a city the size of Quincy and not too far from here, as the crow flies.
I took her hand and started to assure her that everything was going to be okay. That's when the tree came through our huge picture window, and literally, all hell broke loose!
The force of the wind and rain was blinding. It was as if all at once our beautiful serene living room had turned into a raging storm. By the time I recovered my senses Lora was already dragging me by the arm to the pantry in the middle of the house. When we built it we made sure it had reinforced walls because we have to go outside to get in the cellar. Lora wanted to make sure we had shelter inside in case we couldn't make it there and thankfully she did.
It was a very confusing few seconds but we all made it to the pantry and huddled together under the shelves. Everyone except Lora, that is. Through the horrible sound of the raging wind I managed to hit a button on my cell phone to light up the pantry and saw Lora. While the rest of us were clinging onto one another in fear, she was standing at the door holding it shut with all her might. She looked so heroic and in my heart I felt safe. I pulled away from Emily, who was gripping me so hard it hurt, and rushed to the door to help Lora.
I could feel that door shake still even though we were both putting all our weight on it. Lora screamed at me,"Get back under there!," but I didn't listen and stayed right by her side. We stood there, pushing against that door for what seemed like forever, but finally it got quiet. It was short lived silence. Before anyone could comment the wind started again. This time we could hear what sounded like thousands of pebbles crashing into our living room.
Emily screamed, "It's hailing!" And the word tornado raced through mine and I'm sure everyone Else's heads. For a very few seconds it got so loud and the force against the door so strong that I really thought that we wouldn't be able to hold it. Someone, I think Jesca, was crying and screaming "No! No!," and just as soon as it started, it stopped. We waited inside the pantry for about fifteen minutes in the dark, Lora and myself reassuring the others that it was over, before we finally opened the door.
It was dark still, but lightning flashes in the distance showed us that the tree was actually only a very large branch and by then it was in our dining room. The force of the wind had pushed it through the house and left just about everything in it's path destroyed. The entire first floor of Brier Rose Court was, and still mostly is, in shambles.
Within minutes of the storm's passing we had people coming from all around the community. Everyone went out to inspect the damage and when people saw what had happened to our house they started to gather here. By 8:am the lights were back on and the clean-up began.
While working I noticed Lora's face. She had three little nicks and a small line of dry blood on her cheek. It happened when the tree branch shattered our front window. The glass had hit her right in the face. "Heroes get hurt when being heroes," I thought, and immediately took her to clean it up. We were sitting in the bathroom alone, while I was cleaning her face Lora started crying, something as you all know, she rarely does.
"Our home...," she managed to murmur out through the tears. All I could do was hold her and try not to cry myself.
There are trees down all over the community. All over Quincy, too, I hear. Windows were blown out and mud sloshed up on the sidewalks, but no major damage except to Brier Rose Court. The guys, my stepdad and Jacob, have already put a plastic sheet over the window and tomorrow will install new glass, but all our furniture, wall pictures, knick-knacks and everything else in the living room, including some very expensive drapes, and dining room are pretty much worthless now. Our dining room table and three of the six chairs are still usable, and thankfully the kitchen was untouched. The second floor and my attic are also okay, so we can still live here, but it's going to take time to make it a home again.