In bed that night, Troy first feels his wife twisting and turning, then hears her moaning and groaning in her sleep. What he is witnessing is Asia’s reactions to the nightmare again. Asia has not dreamt about the
Mark of the beast in almost a year, but now it has returned. It always starts out the same way with she and Chasity having fun as little girls, then the scene suddenly changes, becoming menacing, and they are grown with families running for their lives. She now knows what her friend is shouting to her even though she doesn’t hear her. She knows Chasity is screaming, “look out for the Mark of the Beast, he’s right behind you, don’t take it’s mark!” And in this dream Asia is screaming back, “I know, we won’t take it!” She’s not sure if Chasity can hear her, but she knows her friend can see her for they are huffing and puffing, and looking right at each other as they flee. Before Asia can turn her head around to see how close the beast is, a loud crackling, and then boom sound wakes her up. Both she and Troy jerk awake. He sits up in bed first and turns on his lamp with Asia following suit. “What was that?”, he asks. “I don’t know”, she groggily responds. But Troy doesn’t wait for her to continue for he’s slipping on his sweats and slippers and at their bedroom door before she is fully aroused.
With a few strides down the hall, Troy is at the front door to see what the sound is. By now it is six fifteen in the morning and the hurricane is in full swing. The winds where he and Asia live are gusting around one hundred ten miles per hour and they give him
some resistance when he opens up the door making him pull a little hard. The crackling sound is large tree limbs being broken off with some trees actually being ripped out of the ground and falling over. They are making a booming sound when they hit another tree next to it and then fall. There is debris flying all around their property. The lounge chairs and tables are flipped over and in the middle of their yard with a multitude of other items and objects which he can’t even make out. Asia is now behind him and she gasps, “oh my goodness, Troy, everything is a mess, please close the door, honey!”. She actually shouts this to him because the winds are making a whirring sound. She thinks he must be in shock or something to have continued just standing there with the front door wide open as the powerful winds gust around them. He slams the door shut as they hear glass break in the back. The sounds wake the boys up and they are now standing behind their parents scared and also in shock.
Asia rushes over to the table to grab the t. v. remote as Troy goes to the back door to continue to enquire about and watch the progress of the storm’s damage to their land. She cuts on the t. v. and switches back and forth between CNN and the Weather channels. Both are reporting the hurricane’s progress and statistics which are not good.” Estimated damages are in the tens of billions, which might make this storm the worst on record”, a CNN reporter says, as Asia listens to the latest news. The reporter continues, “there have already been casualties but the actual amount will not be known until the end of the”, that’s all Asia hears because the electricity goes out. The boys, who are alternating, between she and their dad, running to and from, stop dead in their tracks when this occurs. They then immediately run to their mother who is already in emergency mode. Asia picks up a flashlight and goes downstairs to check the room and make sure it is okay. She and Troy are on the same page because he’s at her side before any one of them reach the area in the basement where the trap door to the room is. They all reach it together and Troy pulls a handle hidden behind the washing machine and the floor opens up revealing steps that lead to
the room. When they are all safely inside, Troy pulls another lever that closes the trap door shut.
Already in remote control mode, and once the door is shut, the King family goes straight into the emergency procedures they have been preparing for. Troy checks to make sure all ventilation systems are working properly along with the security put in place, Asia goes to the kitchen area and does her checklist, while Junior gets the radio with Beary’s help. The room is fairly large stretching under the whole expanse of their basement and continuing underground into the woods. It is split up into three sections, a front, middle and back. When everyone is finished with his and her initial duties, they are to meet up in the middle area where the kitchen is. And this is where everyone is when Asia says, “excellent work guys! We did this drill in record time. Is everything in order?” “I think it is. I checked everything and it all seems to be in working order”, answers Troy. And Junior says, “yeah, mom, Beary and I did our stuff too”. Beary shakes his head up and down and then asks, “is this a real emergency, mommy?” Troy answers saying, “this is not the emergency that we are really preparing for but this is a type of emergency”. “Why?” Beary continues to question his parents with a child like innocence. This time Asia answers, “well, Bear, the hurricane is destroying outside, but it’s nothing that we must run or hide from”. And she hopes she used the right words to explain it where he can understand the differences.
The drill over, they all go back upstairs into the house. Asia has an emergency plan for almost everything thinks Troy as he watches his wife go into remote control mode again. “Troy, please check the generators to see why they haven’t kicked in yet”. “Alright Babe”, he answers, as he continues thinking, she’s right. They should already have some electricity back on as he makes his way towards the back of the house where the generators are located. And no sooner than he reaches the back door, the electricity comes on for he hears the fridge’s motor whir. He still checks outside the door and doesn’t like what he sees. The glass breaking that they heard earlier was the glass
windows of their sunroom because tree limbs had been blown into it. The whole sunroom seems to be destroyed. Troy is glad that Asia is busy in another part of the kitchen and doesn’t see this. He won’t bother her with it now, he’ll wait until the storm is completely over and then they can survey the damage together later on. Let her continue doing what she’s doing, he thinks. There’s no need to get her anymore upset than she already is, nor the kids. So he goes in the kitchen, stays quiet about the damage, and helps her fix breakfast as the storm rages around them. Thank God he boarded up the house windows last night, thinking there would have been more damage if he didn’t.
The King family is able to have a decent and hot breakfast with working electricity. Asia is cooking eggs and fries when Troy joins her. The boys are sitting at the table with Junior looking at and playing with his phone, and Beary playing with a hand held video game. “Babe, you need any help?” Troy asks. “Yeah, hon, if you don’t mind getting the plates and stuff”. “Sure”, he replies. And they once again work together. They all sit down to eat as the storm rages on around them but at least they are safe, and this time it’s Asia who thanks the Lord for their good fortune. For she knows there are people who are not as blessed. And Asia is so right because after the hurricane, she and her family watch the news and find out that it left total destruction in its wake. Tens of thousands of families are now homeless due to the storm’s devastation, and here they are affected, but at least still with their home intact. Yeah, okay, she found out about the sunroom, and their outside furniture and land has been ravaged, but they are all together in their place not harmed, or even worse for some people, not dead. All these thoughts are twirling around in her head, so when Troy’s phone rings it startles her.
But it’s not Troy’s phone that’s ringing, it’s hers. And when she picks it up and listens to what is being said to her, she knows why she was startled. She can’t believe that Ms. Sally, her mom and dad’s live in home attendant, is saying both her parents just died. Asia is just sitting there stunned at the news and in disbelief says, “ what?!” as her hold
on the phone tightens, and a hurricane rages around her outside. Now there’s a hurricane beginning to rage inside her too. Still in shock, Asia again asks, “Ms. Sally, what are you talking about, what happened?” And the de ja vu feeling sweeps over her whole body. It’s the same feeling she had when she was told of her sister’s passing. By now, Troy and the boys are more than curious about her phone call and what’s going on. Troy stands in front of her with his arms folded on his chest, quietly staring at her as his eyebrows lift up and down patiently waiting for the phone call news. Seeing their mother’s scrunched up face, and their father’s serious stuff stance makes both of them curious, so they stop what they’re doing and look at their mom. Asia’s hand is now covering her mouth and tears are rolling down her cheeks. She hears what Ms. Sally is saying, but she feels like she’s having an outer body experience. If she’s hearing right, both her mother and father died last night in their sleep. Wiping her hand across her face she asks Ms. Sally again, “my mom and dad both died at the same time?” And Ms. Sally responds with, “yes, dear, I’m so sorry to have to tell you this”, and then Ms. Sally is abruptly cut off as Asia begins hearing crackling sounds and she pulls the phone away from her ear and stares at it. Troy, wiping tears from his wife’s face breaks his silence and asks, “your mother and father are dead?” He already knows the answer to his wife’s question, but he needs to hear her say it.
Not answering Troy right away, Asia first bangs the phone back to her ear and yells, “Ms. Sally!” But all she hears is continued static. Troy takes the phone from her hands and listens to it himself also just hearing static. “Maybe the phones are messed up because of the storm. Many trees and electrical wires have snapped and fallen”, he says this as he stands his wife up, again wipes away her tears, and tightly hugs her to him. Asia revels in her husband’s loving and warm embrace, closing her eyes, and putting her head on his chest. And for a moment, things feel safe and okay, but only for a moment. For when she opens her eyes, she comes back to reality, and reality is painful. Both Beary and Junior are asking and imploring their parents to explain and give
more clarification to their misgivings. And Troy is the one who does this by saying, “boys, we think your grandparents might have passed away”. “Do you mean daddy, that they died?” Asks, Beary with wide, teary eyes. And Junior answers this time, “yeah Beary I think Grammy and Gramps died, right dad?” “Yeah, I think so”, he replies as he walks Asia towards their bedroom to lay her down. She’s still in shock he thinks because she hasn’t said a word since he took the phone from her. Asia curls up into a fetal position when Troy lays her down in bed and she just stares at the lamp on her desk.
Asia lays there for only a few minutes before jumping up and saying, “I have to speak to my brother Cane”. Cane is Asia’s oldest brother who doesn’t live too far from her parents in the city. She now feels guilty for not having spoken to him in a while. Because the last time she did, he was alright, so she let time go, and time goes fast. She’s not certain if any of her brothers know about her parent’s death because Ms. Sally’s phone line went dead in the middle of their conversation and she never got the chance to ask. Her other brother, Saul probably knows because Ms. Sally goes to him first for everything. She’s speaking to herself, but says it out loud, “Saul probably knows about mom and dad dying”. And with her mind racing a million miles an hour, she continues talking with questions flying from her mouth, “well, why hasn’t he called me? I wonder if they’re alright from the storm? What’s going to happen now? Can I even get in touch with them”? She says all of this walking back and forth in the hallway between her bedroom and the bathroom, and suddenly realizes she hasn’t used the bathroom since waking up and that must have been at least four hours ago. Anyway, she’s not feeling too well, so she flees into it, and then throws up. Urine trickles down her legs as she regurgitates the breakfast she ate earlier. Because the boys are upset about their grandparents and worried about their mother, Beary begins crying. This also makes Junior tear up, rub his eyes and tries not to cry for he feels he needs to be strong for his little brother.
Troy is stuck in the middle trying to comfort his wife and children at the same time, thinking he’s going to have his hands full for some
time now. He first settles the boys down by talking to them and telling them everything’s going to be alright. “We’re all here safe together”, he says. “And you boys will be home here with me and your mom, plus you don’t have to go to school for the rest of the week”. Hearing this seems to calm Junior down a little and he stops tearing up. Beary does the same when he sees his brother stop. Rubbing his eyes, Junior says, “okay dad”. “Now take your brother in your room and you boys play some games while I take care of your mom, do you think you can do that for me?” “Yes, daddy”, they say and they both head to junior’s room to play, while Troy heads to the bathroom to see about his wife. Asia is now in the shower letting hot water run over her body when Troy enters the bathroom. He closes and locks the door behind him, takes off his clothes, and joins his wife in the shower. Without saying a word, he massages her shoulders and back, kneading his fingers in a circular motion. Once again Asia closes her eyes and revels in her husband’s deftness which automatically soothes and calms her spirit and soul. He whispers in her ear, “everything’s going to be fine, Babe. God’s gonna take care of it all. We have to put it in his hands and let go”. She whispers so low he barely hears her, “I know, I’m trying my best to keep the faith”. Troy then starts praying and Asia prays along with her husband. The blissfully serene moment is interrupted by Junior knocking on the door and yelling, “mom, your phone is ringing again”. Troy responds with, “okay, Junior, let it ring your mom and I will be out soon”. “Okay, dad!” Asia and Troy enjoy some last few
minutes in the shower together, and then get out.