It had arrived again, and this time more determined to wipe us out. As the bell tower began to ring a warning, my mother pulled me into her bedroom and kicked aside her favourite rug. Beneath it was a trap door and as my mother opened it, she urgently asked, “Where’s your brother?”
“He-he went out to-to play,” the little me stammered.
My mother snatched my answer out of my mouth as she immediately picked me up and lowered me into the darkness. I was terrified, but I did not protest. When my feet finally touched the cold soil, she said, “Stay in here and do not come out. Do you hear me?”
I nodded my head and watched as my mother lowered the door. She then pushed the rug over it, and whatever light that had seeped through the wooden floorboards earlier was now cut off. Standing in the darkness alone, I found myself frozen. With my head looking up at the door, I pulled my toy doll to my chest and waited.
As the beast came crashing into my village, I heard screams and shouts. Each time someone’s voice reached my ears I flinched in horror. Being alone did not make things easier, and the fear of losing my family made every minute agonizingly long. Though I did not make a sound and obediently did as I was told, I was starting to lose it. My lips were sealed and my feet were grounded, but my fear skyrocketed.
After what seemed like a long time, I heard heavy footsteps entering the bedroom. It stormed right above my head before flipping the rug away and pulling the trapdoor open. As light burst into darkness, it took me a few seconds to realize who was coming in after me.
“Move aside Bekah!” my older brother said.
“Where are father and mother?” I asked.
My brother looked as though his throat had tightened against his will and resorted to shaking his head in response. I didn’t know what it meant, but I quickly stood out of the way. I knew I could ask him again later, but just as he was about to join me, we heard a loud crash.
The sound came from outside the bedroom and my brother froze. I could see him contemplating something but I was too young to read expressions correctly. When he finally made up his mind, he pulled his legs out of the hole and closed the trapdoor on me. Panicking at my brother’s sudden actions, I reached for the wall and found a ladder. Not thinking twice, I climbed up and pushed the door up slightly to take a peek.
From where I was, I saw my brother leaning against the bedroom door and listening. When he turned to my direction, he waved for me to shut the trapdoor but I replied by shaking my head. I wanted him to hide with me and be safe, but my lips were glued in horror to convey my message.
As the violent crashing continued from outside the bedroom, I took another bold step up the ladder in attempts to wave my brother to me. When he saw what I was doing, he hurried to my side but made no intentions of joining me.
“Stop it Bekah! Stay down!” my brother urged in a harsh whisper.
I shook my head vigorously, as I felt my eyes welling up. I was afraid to lose him and I reached for his hand. He let me hold on to him for a while, but he did not let me pull him in. When he gave my little hand a gentle squeeze, something terrible pulled him away from me.
While he was trying to persuade me to hide, my blurred vision made me fail to see the white swirling tentacle that seeped beneath the bedroom door. When it found grip on my brother’s leg it yanked him away, tearing the only comfort I had left.
“Let me go!” my brother yelled.
‘No!’ my inner voice yelled in my head, ‘don’t take him!’
Choking with tears, I tried to climb up the ladder and reach for my brother who was clawing at the floor. I even gave up my toy doll just to save my brother, and I was so certain we would be alright. But just as I was halfway out of my hiding place, the bedroom door shattered inwards. I did not even see what did it as a strong gust of wind push me backwards and down into the darkness.
When I landed on my back, I felt the air in my lungs forcefully escaping. It took me a few seconds to get on my feet, but by the time I did, my brother’s screams were gone. All I heard was the dead ring of silence.
Refusing to hide any longer, I hurried to the ladder and made my escape. When I was finally standing in my parents’ bedroom, my legs began to tremble. The windows were shattered, the bed had flipped over, and the clawing marks on the floor ended at the doorway.
Dashing out to the living room, I found a big hole in the roof and everything broken. Even the wooden blocks I was playing earlier were ripped in two. The thing that came into my house destroyed everything and it took my family with it. When that reality finally sunk into my fragile heart, my lips finally parted and I began to sob.
The tightness in my chest, my gasping for air, and the stream that would not stop flowing down my cheeks was all I had left. As I curled up on the ground and forcefully shut my eyes, I quickly imagined the day before. My father was telling me a princess story, my mother was baking sweet smelling apple pie, my brother was pulling my hair, and I was happy. I even managed a smile as the smell of smoke began to fill my lungs.
In that state, I told myself to believe and everything would just be a bad dream. But sadly, I didn’t believe hard enough. The nightmare remained a reality.
This was written for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. I cannot imagine what they had to go through, but what I can do is help. If you have read this story and know of what has happened in the Philippines, please consider making a donation. There are non-profit organizations all over the world ready to help, and you can lend a hand. Here are just some of them: World Vision, Philippine Red Cross, UNICEF, for a list of other organizations visit CNN.
Since the last update, there are 3,976 confirmed deaths,1,598 missing and 18,175 injured. Let’s try to make things better for them. Donate if you can, but if you can’t, do keep them in prayer. It does not matter which God you believe in or if you even believe in a God, a little prayer won’t hurt and you never know what it can do in the heartbroken lives. Your ‘believing’ might just make their reality a little less of a nightmare.
© 2013 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)