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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: The Storm
By Ruth Neilson


“Awww man…how’d I get into this?” Billy yelled over the cacophony of sheeting rain and hail. He nervously glanced over at his cousin, Susan, and grimaced at her child-like reactions. She looked over and grinned widely.

“You were the one who came to me, Billy.” Susan reminded him sharply and turned to continue to peer out the window. “Remember, I didn’t want you to come, ‘cause this job is dangerous.”

He sighed and squinted as he tried to look through the rain. It was official; his older cousin was nuts—twisted even. The police radio was crackling next to him, and Susan held up her hand as the van of equality demented scientists fell silent.

“We’re in the middle of it...” Susan announced and Billy rolled his eyes, until she gave him the command.

“Stop, pull over. Sam, what’s your radar telling us?”

“It’s passing overhead. We got a strong hook echo…it’s got to be now or never,” the stocky man called, grinning widely.

As he spoke, the rain seemed to stop and someone mumbled a word that Billy was sure he never heard from any good southern Baptist before.

“Everyone out; all eyes on the sky!” someone ordered and there was a mass evacuation from the van except for Billy.

Billy stayed in his seat, watching the team. He had learned one thing from these people in the past few days—be ready to roll at any minute.

Susan’s dark grey eyes were searching the sky for something and then she lifted the camera to her face, calling. “We got a wall cloud!”

Billy grabbed the radio and keyed it, speaking. “Confirmed spotting of a wall cloud...” He began and the proceeded to rattle of their location.

He glanced up, and his green eyes grew large. There it was. Billy saw it slowly descend from the cloud and he laid on the horn, drawing his cousin’s attention. Wordlessly, he pointed towards the growing funnel crowd and despite not being able to hear what she said, it was easy to read her lips.

Another oath fell from her lips and simultaneously the team scrambled into the van. “Go Billy, go, go, go!”

He didn’t need any other encouragement. Without waiting for the door to slide shut, he shifted the van back into gear and hit the gas, turning the van away from the storm and Susan began to call directions—her eyes glued to the sky.

“There’s no outrunning this beast,” she called. Billy looked up, and uttered a similar oath to those already said. It looked as if a wedge shaped cloud had literally sat upon the earth.

“Find a ditch, Billy! Find us a ditch or something; we gotta get safe, now.”

He nodded and drove towards the sheeting rain, his eyes looking for the perfect spot for them to seek shelter.

THERE! A ditch, just off the road was perfect. He swerved, and pulled the van off the road.

The van emptied and seven bodies hit the sticky mud with a slap.

The wind was picking up and the sky was turning a sickly green color. A roar, like a train, filled Billy’s ears. He buried his head in the mud, praying that it would be over soon.

A giggle next to him caused him to look up in confusion. Susan’s lanky form was shaking, not from fear, but from her laughing.

It was official; his cousin was a twisted girl.

Once the storm passed, the team stood up and began to attempt the cleaning process. That is, everyone, but Susan. Instead, she stood there, staring up at the blue sky.

Softly, she began to quote, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”

Dazed, Billy looked around at the destruction surrounding them and quietly began to sing, “When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm. Father, You are King over the flood, I will be still and know You are God.”

They had what they needed. Now began the process of helping clean up and rebuilding lives.


Psalm 107:29 (NIV)
Still By Reuben Morgan Copyright: © 2002 Hillsong Publishing

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This article has been read 652 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shirley McClay 05/29/08
Cool.. I love the idea of storm chasing.. very awesome to tie it into Scripture!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/29/08
I've always wondered about the bravery of storm chasers. I like how effectively the Scripture verse fitted into your adventurous story.
Beth LaBuff 05/29/08
This story seems so relevant with all the tornadoes in the midwest. I like the "twisted" comment. :)
Joanne Sher 05/31/08
Just fascinating - this piece was an excellent "introduction" to storm-chasing - I felt like I was right there. Masterfully written.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/31/08
I agree--people have to be twisted to be storm chasers. ;-) The typos distracted me a bit, but good story.
Marilee Alvey06/01/08
Storm chasers. Very original and realistic, too. Being a midwesterner, I felt the need to go to the basement on this one! Good job.
Jan Ackerson 06/04/08
Wonderful! I think tornadoes are fascinating, and in a way, they're beautiful (when they're in the sky). And I love the bit of Scripture that you introduced at the end.
Cheri Hardaway 06/04/08
I like the references to her being a "twisted gal," in the midst of the tornado. Your descriptions left me feeling like I was in the middle of the movie Twister. Good work! Cheri
LauraLee Shaw06/04/08
I don't know how I missed this entry before, but it is outstanding. Adventurous, exciting, and the message at the end gave me chills. Well done!
Sara Harricharan 06/04/08
lol! I was with these two through all of this, what an experience! I loved the part where she was shaking from laughter and not fear. Neat! They make a good pair, I bet they'll help plenty of folks now in the aftermath of the storm. great job! ^_^
Joshua Janoski06/04/08
I just watched a show about tornado chasers on the National Geographic channel the other day (and loved it), so it was great seeing your story after watching that.

I agree that the Bible evrses at the end added a nice touch to this story. Thank you for sharing.
Betsy Markman09/17/08
Riveting! Great job!