The silence is only broken by our quiet and shallow breaths. We sit in a silent line against the water heater in the basement. I hear the rain pouring above us, the wind whipping fiercely around our house. There is nothing incredibly rare about what is happening. After all, we live in Indiana where the occasional tornado forces a path of destruction through our town.
Nevertheless, something feels different. There is this unspoken intensity, that I can see in all of us. The way Dad keeps glancing down at his hand with its fingers tightly intertwined with Mom’s. The way my sister’s eyes are frozen staring at the floor. The way my Mom has closed her eyes. I know that she is praying, and I wonder if I should too, but with a thundering boom, my mind sets off on different track: Panic.
Is this our last day to live? Should I tell my family now how much I love them now? Hopefully, they already know. Should I text my friends and tell them not to feel any guilt and that I love them all?
I need to think about something else, so I see the lightning outside and try to count the seconds until I hear the thunder, but I can’t. The sound has no distance to travel. As I hear a small gasp, I glance up at my sister. Her soft green eyes are alert and shocked. I squeeze her hand, trying to convey that everything will be okay. She glances up from the floor and gives me a weak smile. I know it’s the best she can do, and it means a lot to me that she tried.
A few more rounds of lightning strike, piercing our ears with every accompanying boom. It’s as if they’re trying to tell us that they’re not going anywhere. My instincts want to verbally plead with them. To beg them to move on. My logic holds me back. This is not the first tornado I reminded myself. So, why was I panicking now?
Almost as an answer to my silent questioning, lightning strikes again. The sound of thunder hits my ears so loud I don’t know if I’ll hear anything again. A blinding blue light flashes accompanying a deafening explosion. The light covers us in a pattern like a glowing bold blue spider web.
Every inch of my body is hit, with a shock. Before I can even feel pain, I can feel the electricity rushing through me, hitting me fully and completely. The surge runs through my veins like a cold water, that’s waking me up The feeling is painful, but it makes me feel so alive, so invincible. It makes me want to laugh, cry, scream and smile. It’s like just waking up after all my of life sleeping. As I glance around me, I realize that everything seem clearer, not in a visual way, but I feel like it helps me to see things the way they are. The choices I’ve made in life seem clear cut, and simple. It gives me a sort of dancing through life, moving on, and regret nothing sort of feeling. I don’t want it to stop.
The feeling only lasts a split second before the pain really hits me. It covers every inch of my body the same way the lightning. It engulfs almost all of my mind except for one thought that struggles to break through. I would do anything to feel that again. As I grimace from the pain, it almost makes me forget the bliss of the electrical surge. It tries to cover my mind like a blanket providing me an easy option of pure misery and pain. To prevent that from happening I speak it out loud. “I would do anything to feel that again.”
Really? A mysterious voice questions me. A voice with no source. I glance around again looking for the key to this eerie voice. But with the voice, all of my panic is gone. I feel calm. I feel safe. I thought my ears would never hear again after the deafening boom of lightning, but something about the sound almost doesn’t feel real. It didn’t feel like soundwaves at all. I know I shouldn’t want anything to do with whatever is calling me. I should want to run, but her voice is almost as amazing as the feel of lightning. She is my only chance to feel that again. With this in mind, I make the mistake of nodding.
With me you could harness the power of lightning as your own? You would never have to feel any of the pain that comes with it, and you would never have to give it up. You could be immortal.
The opportunity sounds amazing. I want to spend eternity with electricity coursing through my veins, but I can’t just run off with someone… Or something.I have no clue who or what’s offering me this deal. Nevertheless, the thought of having all that power is incredible. To feel the way I did, all the time.
“Who are you?” I ask.
I am Mother Nature. You could be one of my children of nature. You will join my other children and harness an aspect of nature.
“But what about my family, my life, my friends?”
I looked around at my unconscious family. Tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to.
I’m sorry but your family will not survive this. Your house is ruined. The fire will continue to spread. It’s unlikely you’ll survive this either… Unless you take this deal.
If this voice is Mother Nature she is responsible for this devstation in the first place. Why am I talking to and listening to the one responsible for my family’s death? As Mother Nature speaks again my anger is replaced by sadness. I’m sorry this had to happen. The power is too much for me to contain. It becomes hard to control. That’s why I need you.
In my heart of hearts I felt I couldn’t let anyone else die from a power I could contain and control. Nobody else was going to have to be struck from lightning if I could do anything about it. After all what was I losing? A life of foster care? A life where strangers I’m assigned to live with may or may not care about my well being? “Alright, I’ll do it,” I say.
Thank you so much. The other children will be thrilled to take you in. Come back with me. Stand up and close your eyes.
“Yes,” I chime, understanding only half of what exactly it was I am agreeing upon. I only know that if I am able to help others with this power of lightning, I will do it. My future was unsure, but so many other people’s futures could change on my account. I am ready.
I stand up and out of habit brush my shirt off because it feels very dirty. I steal a glance down and realize brushing is pointless. My shirt has been burnt and tattered beyond the point of Oxiclean’s saving.
I’m going to count to three and on three I will take you. Are you sure about this?
I look at my family around me. Fire is beginning to spread throughout the room, and with it comes a thick dark smoke. I can stay here and die or I can go try to save other people from this unfortunate fate. Tears fill my eyes, and I give myself a reality check. My family is dead. Mother Nature wants me to harness the power of lightning. I am about to leave my whole life behind. Nobody will have to live through a similar experience if I take her offer. The power of lightning could be my own. I know I have to do this.
“Yes. I’m sure,” I say, still questioning exactly how certain I am, but I know now there is no room for uncertainty.
One. Am I really sure? Can I handle the power of lightning? If Mother Nature has trouble, what makes her so sure I can do this?
Two. I look down at myself. The ends of my hair are burnt. My clothes are a mess, how can I be qualified?
Three. I close my eyes imagining a future I can’t prepare for. Part of me questions why I am trusting a strange voice that claims to be Mother Nature, but I’ve already given her my word, and taking it back would be wrong.
As I begin to rethink my decision, the wind picks up quickly then begins to howl. It circles me like a tornado getting stronger with every second, reminding me I’ve already made a decision. I feel like the prey of several vultures. Then an overwhelming feeling traps me and I try to escape, but before I can lift my foot to step forward, I look down to see it quickly disappearing. It spreads like an epidemic up my leg. Before I can scream my mouth has disintegrated along with the rest of me. My mind dissipates as I feel myself slip into a comforting sense of unconsciousness.
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