Heart, Felt – Part Two

Last Entry: Heart, Felt Part One

I wondered a long time ago, about writing a story centered around a hurricane. Back in the day, a friend of mine was trapped in their house during a tornado and couldn’t escape. The tornado passed right next to them, and thankfully they made it out (relatively) unscathed. I had the idea for this story back then and have been sitting on it ever since.

In the years after the initial idea for the story, my world has grown to be something much, much larger than I first expected. What was once a story about a family trapped in a hurricane became something more, and I hope you enjoy.

The ceiling of the McDermott basement gave way to a torrent of rushing water. The fragile pane of glass separating the family from the tide of mud and silt cracked beneath a weight which sank not only against the foundation of the house, but so too it pulled against the pudgy, red face of Dale McDermott as he called to his wife and daughter.

“Everyone in here!”

Spittle flew from his lips and dropped onto the floor, immediately mixing with the surging pool of water collecting on the Persian rug Jinny McDermott liked well enough to keep, but not so much she wanted to display in the upper levels of their home.

Lillia and Marcos fled into the room, and, quite unfortunately left me to be taken by the swelling waters of the basement. To my great pleasure, it did not remain this way. Though, I was stuck apart from the two children who I have since begun calling my closest friends as the hurricane breeched the shoreline and began its cruel, complete work.

Dale gathered his family in the attached storage room, near the corner wall where the radio had been turned back on to belch warnings and updates to the family. In my side of the room, which we referred to as the “second den” the ceiling collapsed. From above, furniture and books poured from the “proper” den onto me as the ferocious wind threw objects across the skies and into homes all around our neighborhood.

At this time, elsewhere in the city, it was likely that other families were in the midst of escaping and making themselves safe from the whirling storm, but the stray telephone pole hung menacing above me. It’s wires flirting with the surface of the collecting water.

Lillia kept her eyes on me, hopelessly floating the water beneath the live wires and I kept my gaze affixed to her. Dale’s frightful arm protected her from stepping away from safety and into the second den.

I feared for a singular moment the touch of the electricity, though I knew it would not quell me. What form of mine might be affected by the forces of nature would not feel the shock, but I feared instead, the death of the toy in which Lillia placed so much faith and beside which she was given so much safety.

For an astoundingly long minute, the five of us remained in the basement, waiting for direction, or a savior. The cruel silence of the seconds passed in tandem beside our beating hearts before another groan emerged above us. A weight pressed a second time across the still standing beams of the McDermott household with a surge of waves, rushing into the house.

I could see through the ruptured ceiling, the fallen wires of the telephone pole under immense strain against the edge of the broken wall which the pole fell through. 

I do not know if it was on behalf of the creator, or if it was an act of the Three Sisters, but I watched as a tree, hefted from the earth by the force of the storm crashed down, severing the cables from their entrapment and in the same manner, sparing us the immediate threat of electrocution.

The deceased cables slid from their connection and splashed in the sludge, followed by another surge of water which added to the ever increasing pool in the basement.

Lillia broke free from her father’s grasp and pushed herself toward me. She fought the deepness of the water, barely bracing the knees of her parents but swallowing her stomach beneath it. Dale called out to her to return, but she didn’t listen and marched, much to my joy, into the second den where she retrieved me.

“I won’t let you get hurt!” She yelped at me, fishing me from the runoff.

“Lillia!” Jinny called, fear contorting her face. “Get back here! It’s just a toy!”

Not to be left alone, Marcos followed, inspired by his frequent desire to protect her. He moved through the chest high water at her heel, both of them to capture me and return me safely, and sopping wet, to the rest of the family.

“You’re right, we can’t leave him behind.”

Marcos’ voice was nothing but reassuring. His tear streaked face outlined in dirt and dust from the settling wreckage of the house.

With my soaked body safely in her arms, Lillia turned back to her father, who marched after them, obeying the wishes of his screaming wife.

“Dale, get everyone back here!” She called.

He waved, dismissing her with his hand, and crossed the threshold between the storage room and the den to be with us. Dale lifted Lillia into his arms as gently and swiftly as he could, and braced Marcos’ back with his other arm.

The four of us started back toward the storage room when another groan rumbled beneath the violent pattering of heavy rain, tossed by roaring winds. Above us, the upper frame of the doorway cracked, then splintered beneath a great weight.

The groan became another roar, in harmony with the howling wind as the storm wall crashed onto land.

The overcast sky above reached down with violent fury and tore the roof of the house away, throwing it into the sky and opening us to the elements. The doorframe, cracked and failing, crumbled beneath the pressure of the winds, and splintered. The floor above no longer supported by the support beams, it crashed down onto the floodwater.

The oven and fridge crumbled from above, through the floor and into the basement. The metal panels folded, soaking up water into the inside, spilling cold food and drinks to the storage room. From within, Garrett called out for us.

“Are you alright?”

The howling wind drowned the sound of nearly everything, even Garrett’s screaming voice was a whisper against the turmoil. 

“We’re fine!” Dale replied. “Jinny are you okay?”

“I’m fine!” She screamed, her voice dissonant against the wind.

Mr. McDermott, unable to make his way back to the safety of the storage room, turned back to the basement stairwell which remained relatively undamaged from the chaos. A few missing steps hung limp, soaked in water and splintered but remained useable.

Lillia buried her face in his shoulder as more of the house was torn from its foundation above, whole rooms ripped from the stone and tossed into the sky, shredding like confetti into the wind.

Dale tugged on Marcos and led the boy to the stairwell before hefting his daughter down onto the steps.

“You two stay here! Stay under this.” He shouted, banging his hand atop a concrete covering. Part of the foundation he chipped away years ago to make a larger eave for the basement entrance.

“If you get scared, close your eyes.” Dale kissed Lillia on the head and turned back to the debris.

Lillia clutched me tight, and Marcos wrapped his arms around us both, locking his hands together.

Mr. McDermott fished a small crowbar from an overturned cabinet and took to the tangled pile of debris. He jammed it between the fridge and the broken wall, and left his weight onto it to provoke something, anything to break free.

While he worked, we watched. There was little else we could do. Two children and a motionless doll, the feeling of helplessness overwhelmed me. I could do nothing because of the form I’d taken. If I’d taken the shape of a family dog, perhaps I could have, through my drooping ears, convinced Jinny to adopt me and then I could have assisted them somehow.

The body I’d chosen to spend my time at the McDermott household was not a body with muscles. It a form meant for comfort and reassurance. Neither of which I could provide to the dear children.

Dale worked in tandem with Garrett on the opposite side as the floor above them began once more to groan in pain, struggling to remain affixed to itself. The house screamed in defiance of the injury it sustained, sorrow broke from floorboards and shards of glass scattered in the water. Every inch of the shiplap decorating the outside sang out in sorrow for the lost panels, taken and whisked away to somewhere else.

Dale, the master of the house, ignored the whines of pain from the home he’d spent the last decade painstakingly renovating. Just after Lillia was born, years before I came into their lives, he began the work. Work which brought him no small measure of pride. Through the cracks in the wall I saw his hand painted tile wall scattered across the storage room, torn from the backdrop behind the oven each piece floated miserably out of place.

He pulled on the crowbar, his foot braced against a nearby wall as he tried valiantly to dislodge the fridge, to knock it to the ground and make a hole for his family to escape.

When the basement was renovated, Jinny requested a large room suitable for stacking many bags of supplies. Her reasoning then, was that in the event of societal collapse they might have enough food to last the family for months. Buckets of purified water piled in the corners and supported bags of flour, grain and meals prepackaged in plastic containers. The storage room itself a useless parody of what it had been constructed for.

Garrett’s fingers peeked through a small crack between the fridge and the drywall as he pulled back, trying in vain to assist his brother in law, and slipped, falling into the raising tide of floodwater.

Behind them, the radio crackled.

Dale fought against the crowbar, begging it with screams of frustration to give, but the debris refused to budge, and as he braced himself for a final tug, he put his all into it, pushing both feet against the wall and yanking until the crowbar slipped from his hands. The metallic ring of the steel bar banging into the wall a single note against the chorus of disaster above, and Dale bounced off the edge of the debris before falling deep into the water.

Lillia stood, watching her father sink below the growing flood.

“Daddy?” She asked, barely loud enough for me to hear.

Marcos stood alongside her and watched the water where Dale had fallen. We all watched. Jinny called from the other side, repeatedly asking if he was alright. I realized sooner than the children, but from beneath the roiling runoff, a small stream of red emerged from the depths.

Dale McDermott did not resurface.

Thank you so much for reading Part Two!

Heart, Felt – Part Three is live now!

I’ve wanted to write this series for a long time but haven’t ever gotten around to it. When I first came up with the idea, it was somewhere around 2011, 2012 or so. A lot of what you’ll see this month was spawned from back in the day. A decade ago my plans for my writing were far different than what they are now, and I’m so grateful to get to share them with you now.

Thank you for participating once more in the Lifeis+ celebration. I’ve got a lot to celebrate this time around so you’ll be hearing from me often. If you’d like to read more, you can check out me current fiction project Sisters of Westwinter & The Portmanteaux Series below!

If you’d like to support what I’m doing here, you can click either of the links below to be taken to ways you can help you (if you feel so inclined!)


I’ve recently started a Ko-fi Shop online where, if you would like to help support me as I continue to work on my various writing projects here and over on Vocal, I would be so, so appreciative.

As of the publication of this post, it’s a little barebones but I’m working on getting it spruced up! I’ll be linking it at the end of each of my posts going forward if you are interested in helping me keep my eyes open at all. Anything offered through Ko-fi will go directly back into the blog, or toward other projects I can’t afford at the time.

Regardless of your decision, thank you for being here. 🔺

A.T. Baines Ko-Fi

Mental Health Support

Consider donating to a charity with the intention of aiding those struggling with thoughts of Suicide, Self Harm or Depression.

Below I’ve listed a few charities and non-profit organizations you can donate to. if you’d like to support groups trying to make the world a little bit less sad.

If you don’t see your preferred charity here, pick one! Or go give someone’s dog a treat. Anything kind will work. ❤️




More From Me:

SOW: Chapter Five, Part Five: A Single Spark

The Nail Ward, as they called it, was as miserable as it looked from the outside. The thousands of needles covering the floor and walls made it impossible to relax, and sleep was terribly out of the question. So Kerrick stood in the corner waiting, patiently, for the sunrise.

2 Replies to “Heart, Felt – Part Two”

  1. […] Last Entry: Heart, Felt – Part Two […]


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