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Ten Minutes of Horror

By Michelle, age 14, 8th Grade, Chiddix Jr. High School, Normal, IL, USA

"Please stay calm, sit facing the wall…" The speaker rambled on and on. Jason was shoved close to the wall next to his brother Matthew. "How do we stay calm?" Jason thought. The students had been crowded into the hallway for two hours. A huge tornado was headed straight towards their small Texas school. This wasn't the first tornado he'd been through, but to Jason this was more real then it had ever seemed before.

All three hundred and thirty five students sat with their hands over their heads facing the wall, listening and waiting. In the deafening silence, all too well you could hear the roaring of the wind engulfing everything in its path. Matthew fidgeted and whimpered as a crash was heard just outside.

Suddenly, glass, dirt and leaves flew everywhere as a huge tree fell through the front window in the lobby. As scream of terror filled the hallway as students tried to dodge the flying debris. Dirt circled around his head and clouded his view as Jason choked out, "Matthew, Matt!" Jason groped blindly around in the madness. Matthew grabbed Jason's arm, "I'm here," he choked out. Jason held tightly to Matthew's hand and carefully returned to the wall. They hung on to the railing for dear life waiting for something to happen. As the dust cloud began to clear, and Jason could faintly make out his peers again, the lights flickered and then, they were gone. Another scream rose from the

hall, but it was muffled by the roaring wind. Jason grew quiet as he realized how close the tornado now was. Jason again reached for Matthew, but he was not there. He tried to scream for him, but the sound of the wind coming closer and closer swallowed the sound whole. Dirt blew in from the gaping hole in the window clogging Jason's throat and stinging his eyes. Blindly reaching, trying to see, trying to yell, Jason searched for Matthew. He was nowhere.

Suddenly, the wind died down. Jason began to hear crying, shouting, but still he could see nothing. "Matthew, where are you?" Jason could barely make out figures in the pale green light that came from the eerie night sky. Feeling his way down the cluttered hallway, Jason frantically searched for his brother.

"Where could he be?" Jason thought in despair.

As he turned to leave, Jason tripped over something in the hallway. Jason climbed to his feet, slowly and wearily. Within an instant, the emergency lights flickered on. It was about time. Expecting to see a stump, an up-side-down chair, or something of the sort, Jason turned. But instead, what lay before him was a whimpering, crying, curled up ball, holding tightly to the leg of a table. Matthew!

Hurriedly, Jason pulled him up to his feet. The sound of wind and chaos was replaced by the sound of the wailing sirens of the ambulances. Jason was in a daze as he and Matthew were loaded into the ambulances along with the other students. Faces whirled past him, and he answered questions unknowingly, but all Jason could think of was that the horror was finally over.

The End

(Editor's note: April 10th 1999 was the 20th Anniversary of Terrible Tuesday, when a tornado struck Wichita Falls, Texas. Another story inspired by the tragedy can be found in Kids on the Net's Creative Writing section:
Memories Can Hurt by Bengi)

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Last revised: 10th June 1999