I was in my room, browsing the internet for a song I wanted to download. Outside the sky was gray and the clouds hung low. It looked as if it were about to storm, but that didn’t keep my family from enjoying the afternoon outside. My mother, Patricia, and my aunt Maureen sat at the patio table, drinking beers while chatting and laughing. My mom’s husband Billy and my uncle Johnny tended to the grill, cooking up the usual hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, and steaks. Most weekends, Billy would be out grilling a big dinner for the family. My two cousins David and Tyler, ages ten and seven, were in the house watching Nickelodeon. My brother Nick was at work.
I heard my mother call me from outside, so I sat up from my computer chair and marched into the living room. My cousins watched me as I opened the front door and stuck my head outside to see what was up. My mom and Maureen were sitting back in their comfy patio chairs, drinks in hand, both staring at me.
“You have to pick Nick up early.” My mom said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Mohammed decided to come in at five to relieve him.”
My brother was currently without a license and car and somebody had to drive him to and from work. I shrugged and nodded at the request. As I walked back in the house, David kept his eye on me. I looked down at him.
“What you looking at!?” I joked.
David laughed. “Shut the heck up!”
I swiped a pillow off the couch and threw it at him, then walked into the kitchen to grab a Dr. Pepper. Billy entered with a hot pan full of fresh and steaming hamburgers.
“Joe, we got hamburgers, hotdogs, we’ll be cooking some steaks here in a minute. The buns are over there so help yourself. Your mother made some potato salad too, its in the fridge.”
“Awesome, thanks.” I replied, but wasn’t really hungry at the moment so I didn’t indulge even though the steaming hamburgers looked mighty good.
Billy washed his hands, threw a small towel over his shoulder and walked back outside. I stood at the counter drinking my soda. My gaze faced the clock, which read 4:34 p.m., and I decided I would leave to pick up Nick in fifteen minutes or so. The phone rang from outside and my mother answered. Lloyd was on the other line. Again, I heard my mothers call. I set my soda down and walked outside, taking the phone from her hand and putting it to my ear. Lloyd was bored so he called to see what I was doing. I told him I had to pick up Nick in a little while, but if he wanted he could come over for dinner. We always had a excessive amount of food prepared on weekends. Lloyd enthusiastically accepted my invitation and said he would be over in ten minutes. I hung up the phone.
About fifteen minutes later, Lloyd pulled up to our house. I was inside slipping on my shoes, grabbed the keys to my mom’s Dodge Durango and headed out the front. My cousin David hollered something at me, I didn’t catch what he said but I stuck my tongue out at him in a teasing response and shut the door on my way out. I noticed that the patio chairs were empty and the grill was unmanned. For a second I wondered where everybody had gone, but as I turned towards the cars I saw my family out in the street, staring up at the sky. Lloyd had joined them in their gaze. Our house cut my view of what they were witnessing, so I jogged down our porch steps and proceeded towards them. I also noticed that my family weren’t the only ones out looking to the sky. A few neighbors and some down the street were also standing and staring upward. The clouds were dark gray and slightly greenish, and I knew it would be storming any minute.
As I approached my family in the streets, I finally got a wonderful glimpse of what had caught their attention. To the south-west, amongst the huge swarm of storm clouds, was a very odd looking, circular gray form, slowly turning in the sky. It was obvious that it was some sort of cloud, but this one stood out from the storm. As I squinted my eyes and focused more delicately, the cloud seemed to be in the shape of a wheel, or perhaps a small hurricane. In the center of this wheel was a hole that emitted a yellow glow. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before, and I’m sure my friend Lloyd and fellow family members thought the same.