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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)

TITLE: Funnel of Fear
By Lynda Lee Schab


The only thing worse than being cooped up in a mini van with my family for three days was knowing that I would soon be trapped in a three bedroom bungalow with my cousins, who were a bunch of Bible thumping Jesus freaks. In the meantime, if my mom sang, "Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord," one more time, I swore I would open my door and fling myself out onto the highway.

I craved the tunes of Metallica but the batteries in my CD player were dead and daddy dearest refused to stop and buy more.

I wished I were dead about now.

I stared out the window toward the sky and watched the black clouds swirl around furiously. Supposedly there were thunderstorms up ahead and the possibility of tornadoes. I smiled to myself for the first time in three days. I hoped we got sucked up in one. Now that would be cool. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the image of it.

"Are you guys excited?" Mom was asking. "Judd, remember how inseparable you and Mark were when you were younger? Aunt Jen says he's really anxious to see you again. She said he prays for you every night."

I rolled my eyes. "Whatever." I'd heard dad say a million times that no matter how hard you prayed for someone, they still had a will of their own. And believe me, I would do everything in my power not to let anything - or anyone, especially my wussy cousin, Mark - break mine. The only person I could depend on was myself. Everyone else could go to---

Rain started pelting the window. Marble-sized hail followed. Suddenly the car was being pushed and pulled by an unstoppable force. I watched as a funnel cloud ripped toward us. It was too late to outrun it! Before I knew what was happening, we were being swept away! Scenes from the movie, "Twister," flashed through my mind, where cows were tossed like salad through the air and dropped to the ground below.

And then everything went dark.

Was I dead?

I didn't feel dead, although I didn't feel alive either. I remembered dad saying that when you die, angels carry you. I looked around frantically in the darkness, willing my eyes to adjust. I didn't see any angels, or anything else, for that matter.

Someone grabbed my hand and I let him lead me forward. There was a light up ahead and we started toward it. A sound like a waterfall grew louder as we neared the light. Then I realized it wasn't a waterfall at all, but thousands of voices singing, "Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord." I heard a familiar voice call my name.

Could it be?

Grandma! Wow! She looked great. Not at all like the wrinkly old hag that I remembered. And Grandpa! He looked so… angelic! They were waving to me but somehow their faces looked sad. Was that a tear trickling down Grandma's face?

I wanted to stop and chat but the hand forcefully dragged me on, despite my protests. I looked behind me and watched my Grandparents, still waving sadly…

As the light grew dimmer, the temperature began to rise, causing me to sweat profusely. Hey - there was my buddy Doobie, who had died of a drug overdose two years ago! And Frank, who got killed while drinking and driving a few months back. Their faces looked hideous, as if they were being continuously tortured. Their fingers were clawing at their skin as though trying to break free from themselves!

I strained to hear above other unseen moans what they were shouting to me.

"Go back! Go baaaaack!"

I struggled to break free from the deadly grip of the hand. "Let me go! Let goooo!" I screamed.

"Judd? Wake up, buddy. We're here."

I opened my eyes to dad's hand, shaking me. Sweat ran down my face and I swiped at it as I whipped my head toward the window. It was still raining but the clouds were breaking up.

"The storm?" I asked.

"Oh, it passed right over us. It was nothing."

But I knew better.

My cousin Mark was there and he held out his hand. I pulled him into an embrace.

I looked at my family, who stood gawking with open mouths. "What are you looking at?" I demanded.

Then I slowly made my way into the house that would be my home for the next several days.

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This article has been read 1169 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debra Brand07/25/05
Good story.
Crista Darr07/25/05
Fast paced and fantastic! I'd love to use this to witness to the many 'head-bangers' that I know.
Theresa Kissinger07/26/05
The car scene was so realistic...with the exception of POD [I threw away metalica} and 'As the Deer Panteth for the Water' I could believe we lived this trip. Good conclusion!
Beth Muehlhausen07/26/05
I'd like to think this was a dream or unconscious reaction rather than a death-to-life experience, but in any case, it held my attention! And of course the happy ending, a potentially changed life, was a relief.
Nina Phillips07/27/05
I followed through all the way, very nicely written. The ending I suspected though, I was thinking about the wizard of oz for some reason. Very unique story. God bless ya, littlelight
Kyle Chezum07/27/05
Great story! I loved it. Keep up the good work!
Linda Watson Owen07/28/05
You really captured a teen's viewpoint! Great read!
Pat Guy 07/28/05
I pray for something just like this to happen to my lost loved ones! Great job. I really enjoyed this!
Cheri Hardaway 07/28/05
Isn't it great? God does allow U-Turns! And He has a way of getting our attention like no one else can. He always answers our prayers for our lost loved ones. A very encouraging read! Thanks.
Penny Baldwin07/28/05
Debbie OConnor07/28/05
Wow! What a story. I was sucked right in as usual. I liked being in the head of the rebellious teen and experiencing the dream. Excellent!
darlene hight07/28/05
Really great story! If that wouldn't wake you up then I don't know what would. :)
Brandi Roberts07/28/05
Great job! You made me feel like a teenager again :) Thanks for sharing!
Maxx .07/30/05
Another nice read, would I expect anything less?
darlene hight07/31/05
Excellent! Loved it!
Val Clark08/02/05
Great characterisation and a story that 'drove' me through to the end.
Deborah Porter 08/02/05
Lynda, you seem to have a knack at getting into the mind of a teenager so easily. This was VERY good and I wanted to stop by and make sure you knew that you were just a fraction off making it into the Editors' Choice. There was just 0.008 between you and 8th place. So be encouraged. Love, Deb