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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Oma's Storm
By Tim Pickl


"I've been thinkin' about Oma for some reason. I wonder what she's doin' today?" Nathan said told his wife while driving home from work. He secured his Bluetooth headset to a more comfortable position.

"You know what that means, right?" answered Leah, while chopping up some celery.

"God's tryin' to give me some direction--"

"Just like we prayed."

"Right! I'm going to be a little late tonight, Dear."

"Okay, Dear. Be careful, Dear, and watch out for the deer!" Leah quipped.

"You're so funny."

"No, you."

"I love you, Leah."

"I love you, too, Dear!"

Nathan prayed as he drove the 67 miles out of town toward his grandparents' home.

"Lord, I know you're leading me out to see my Oma. My precious Oma. Thank You, Jesus...."

Tears welled up in his eyes.

"I know she's still hurting deep inside from losing Opa last year."

At this point, he started crying.

"I miss Opa so much--I can only imagine how much Oma must miss him...."

He pulled over for a few minutes.

"Lord, I pray for Your protection...and healing... emotional healing... in Jesus' Name... in Jesus' Name."

Nathan sobbed.

He pulled back out onto the highway and turned on a Christian radio station.
"There is a Tornado Watch for the following counties--"

"That's not good." Nathan said, glancing up into the sky.
I'm almost there now, so I might as well go the rest of the way, he thought.

As Nathan got closer to the exit to his Grandmother's home, the wind picked up and the skies darkened. Then, just as he turned, rain and large hail hit his truck like a wall of water and ice.

"Whoa! What a storm! I can hardly see where I'm goin'..." Nathan said to himself. The storm slowed Nathan down, but he was determined to keep going. He knew Leah was praying for him this very moment.

God called me out here for a reason.

"There it is--"

As he pulled into the driveway, he noticed the house was completely dark.

"They musta lost power out here."

Nathan grabbed his keys and forced the door open in the wind. As he got out of the truck, the eerie sound of a tornado warning siren started.

He ran up the stairs to the front door and knocked. No answer.

He waited. Knocked again.

Still, no answer.

Finally, he tried the door and let himself in.

"Oma?! OOOhhhhma? Are you here?"

Lightning flashed and thunder crackled. The wind picked up into a furious frenzy and spun into a terrible tornado. Oma’s cat meowed loudly in the hallway in fear.

Nathan found a note on the kitchen table. He couldn't believe what he read,
"I cannot stand the thought of living without my love any more--" It went on, but fear-filled adrenaline shot thought Nathan. He threw the note down and ran through the house--he found his Oma lying on her bed with a bottle of prescription pills in her hand.

She looked at him, incredulously. Her cat jumped on the bed.

"Oh, thank God, you're okay."

Like a runaway train, the tornado sped toward the house. Nathan knew they didn't have much time. He scooped up Oma. The bottle of pills spilled out onto the floor. He carried her over his shoulder and went down into the den of the basement. Lightning flashed again. He set Oma on the couch, away from the window. Thunder clashed. As he pulled two blankets over her, the tornado ferociously smashed into Oma's house.

Nathan shielded his grandma with his body.

The tornado roared for several minutes, and decimated the house above them.

After the storm finally passed, Nathan knelt beside Oma and looked up.

The destruction was unbelievable.

"Now I know why....thank You, Jesus." Nathan whispered.

With a shaking, feeble hand, Oma reached out and patted Nathan's arm. "I am so glad you're here, my Nathan." Tears came, and Oma couldn’t speak.

"Oh, my Oma, I love you so much." He hugged her. "What happened? Why--"

Oma patted Nathan's arm a little faster. "I can't stand it any more. I don't want to live alone."

Nathan smiled, looking up and around with his eyes. "Well, it looks like you got your wish. You sure can't stay here any more."

"Maybe it's my time to begin again."

"You can live with us."

"I would like that--very much."

Oma’s cat agreed, with a meeeowww.


Reference: Oma & Opa = German/Dutch for Grandma & Grandpa

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This article has been read 1255 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristen Hester04/12/08
Wow. What an awesome action piece. You really had me on the edge of my seat when the tornado came.

Just a technicality: I think you started new paragraphs too often. Of course you know to start paragrahps with a new speaker, but if you put the speaker's actions/descriptons in the same paragraph with their words, it will help clarify for the reader who is doing/saying what. For example: Nathan prayed as he drove the 67 miles out of town toward his Grandparents' home. "Lord, I know you're leading me out to see my Oma. My precious Oma. Thank You, Jesus...."
Tears welled up in his eyes.
"I know she's still hurting deep inside from losing Opa last year."
Can all be in one paragraph.

This story had a great resolution in the end. Nice writing!
Kristen Hester04/12/08
LOL. All that I italized in my example above was supposed to be one paragraph. Again, this is a strong entry.
LauraLee Shaw04/12/08
I love that you used Oma and Opa. I had never heard that before. I also love the way your main character was sensitive to the Holy Spirit's prompting. Very creative entry on the topic.
Joanne Sher 04/12/08
Oh, wow. PERFECT title, and what a compelling story! Good job, Tim.
Glynis Becker04/12/08
Great story. The Oma/Opa was a nice touch.
Joshua Janoski04/13/08
You had me on the edge of my seat during the tornado event. I could picture this story being a part of a movie.

I saw a few typos, but you are a very capable writer Tim, so I'm sure you probably see them now too.

I liked how the story ended, with her no longer being "alone." You have a gift with character driven stories, and I appreciate you sharing this.
Patty Wysong04/13/08
I couldn't read fast enough. What a story!
Debbie Wistrom04/13/08
How precious, endearing and believable. Loved this adventure and always appreciate a happy ending.
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
Great job with suspense-building and writing a complete little vignette that contains all the essential plot elements.

I'm sure you see the extra word in the first sentence.

Love the double meaning in your title--really good job, all around.
dub W04/14/08
This is good, you have a natural way of telling the story and dialogue. Watch out for speech tags, they can drag a story down; also, a good proof reading will rid the manuscript of the minor glitches. Well done.
Joy Faire Stewart04/16/08
Excellent job showing action, very vivid. And the cat was a nice touch. Very Good!
Sara Harricharan 04/16/08
What a storm! I love it when God speaks to us and we 'listen'. This was such a great example of this-and I liked the touch of culture with Oma and Opa. This was great, especially glad that Nathan made it in time. Great job! ^_^
Sheri Gordon04/16/08
Very good action story. My mom was also called Oma, so this story had an extra special meaning for me. :)

Nice job with the topic.
Lyn Churchyard04/17/08
This was so terribly moving.I found myself whispering "no, no" when i realised what happened.

I can appreciate poor Oma's despair, some friends from church who had their only child late in life, lost him in a freak choking accident when he was a teen. It was too much for his mother and she committed suicide. A week later the father overwhelmed with grief also committed suicide. So very tragic.

I am so glad your MC was attuned to the Holy Spirit and obeyed when prompted. Such love between adult grandchildren and grandparents is rare. I loved the tender ending.
Joanne Sher 04/18/08
Congratulations, Tim, on placing 10th in your level with this piece. Great work!