Last Entry: Heart, Felt – Part Three
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.
Humans have a grim fascination with the Lady Luck. Imagining that they have influence over her decisions, that anything they do matters to her. When the creator brought about our existence, including that of yours, he made luck to be indignant. Starkly independent. The human legends say she is cruel, and fickle, and careless. They say she doesn’t care about the fate of mankind, and if you were to see the outpouring of rage on the day Garrett McDermott flew into the sky, away from the family whose father took his wife’s last name.
I was there that day, and Luck, much to my dismay, remembered me.
She did not speak to me then, nor has she since. It is before our shared time, but the time for Luck and myself to be together is drawing near.
As she passed by us, tearing what once was zephyr from her body and curling it into her rage to whirl around their city called, Galveston. She strode through the paved street, her violent flurries shivering off of her body and into the cyclone, pulling houses from their foundation and toppling them like worn playing cards. She did not look to me, I suspect because she could not recognize me in such a playful, innocent form.
The McDermott house crumbled to the ground too, as Luck passed us by. Her body the herald of the worst of the storm. The wind threatened to steal even me from the arms of the children and carry me beyond their gaze, far into the sky. Perhaps I would find myself with Garrett, had Lillia not kept a tight fist around my arm.
I was thankful for that comfort as Luck moved beyond us, the tears she wept grew less frequent as she went. When she was no longer visible to my glass eyes, the winds came to an abrupt halt.
Jinny jumped from the enclosure of the closet, the remnant of their house barely more than a pile of sticks and rubble on the ground around us, she searched.
“Garrett?” She called, her voice raspy and worn from screaming.
“Mommy?” Lillia’s weak call rang from the depths of the closet. “Is it over?”
Her mother turned to face her, tears in her eyes.
“No, dear. It isn’t.”
She glanced over her shoulder to the street where we once played, myself sitting in the basket affixed to the front of Lillia’s bike while she and Marcos rode around the street, playing tag or going on adventures to their friends’ homes. Most of which were destroyed, torn from their foundations and cast across the plots of land carelessly.
Above us, the sun shined down through a smattering of clouds, the lashes in the eye of the storm. At the end of our gaze stood the churning storm wall, moving toward us with unstoppable fury.
“What am I supposed to do?” Jinny whispered.
I wished in that moment for the stitches to tear from my lips and allow me a moment to speak, to break the barrier between myself and these humans to whom I’d indebted so much of my life, but I was unable. Though I wanted more in that moment to be a comfort than ever before, I could only watch from the beaded eyes of my vessel as Jinny’s own hurricane collapsed upon her.
The matriarch of the McDermott household fell to her knees and wept as the storm paused long enough for each of us to breathe. Their street had been decimated, merely piles of rubble strewn about. In the distance, over Lillia’s shoulder, the coming storm wall carried with it another tide of water. Whisked along the street like stray dust, the standing water on the roads splashed beneath the force of the winds.
The humans didn’t understand what I did, that the only hope we had of surviving the day was for our own Lady Luck to come to a stop, exhausted from her journey. But we would not come to know such gentleness.
“Mommy, what should we do?” Lillia spoke up, fear soaked her chattering teeth.
“I don’t know, baby.”
Jinny’s groaning words were nearly indecipherable through her wave of tears.
“We need to get somewhere taller, away from the flood water.” Marcos whispered. “The storm is still here, we don’t have any time.”
Lillia nodded, and the children set off, searching for a standing house which might outlast the storm. While they searched, Jinny did what she could to pull herself together, to help them and, if we were lucky, guide them away from their plan to hide from the storm on a rooftop.
Marcos came to a dilapidated three story house which had mostly collapsed, Surrounded by broken tree trunks and the remains of the rooftop.
“We can climb up here!” He gestured to a broken support beam lying across the street to an opening in the second story.
My heart dropped.
“Wait!” Jinny shouted from behind, stumbling toward them. “We can’t go up there. When the hurricane comes back, we won’t be safe.” She stopped just shy of Lillia and myself, who watched her approach with confusion.
The flood water rising quickly around her, Lillia climbed atop a nearby car.
“But what about this?” She gestured to the street, covered in rushing water.
“Come with me. Hurry.”
Jinny didn’t offer an explanation, and hoisted Lillia into her arms. She took us to the still standing house, and slowly climbed the beam. Marcos followed right behind as we made our way to the second story. We arrived in what was once a bedroom of a young boy, action figures and model cards were strewn about the room. Fallen debris barricaded the doorway to the hall, and the potion of wall which had been ripped away exposed a connected bedroom.
“Here.” Jinny motioned, letting Lillia down and stepping, shivering, over to the edge of the room.
The connected bedroom, while exposed to the air, was positioned close to a nearby house which also still stood, if only barely. The neighbor’s house leaned on weak supporting walls, near enough that it stood as a makeshift replacement wall for the attached room, which appeared to have been a sister’s room.
Jinny found her footing on a jutting piece of wood and hefted herself across, ducking beneath the external wall, which leaned against the roof of our house. She gestured for Lillia, who threw me into the room. I still feel the wet smack of my body against the dripping wallpaper. Though I couldn’t see from where I’d landed, shortly afterward, Marcos retrieved me from the corner of the room where I’d landed among a pile of dirty clothing atop a box of old toys.
He handed me back to Lillia who sat on the bed promptly.
“Now, I guess we just wait it out.” Jinny faked a smile to the kids and I commend her effort. Against the coming storm, I’m not sure I would have been able to pretend with the same confidence.
“Where is uncle Garrett?” Lillia asked, while wringing rainwater out of my body.
“I think he had to find shelter somewhere else.”
Jinny answered without hesitation. Though she didn’t see Garrett get picked up by the winds, and she wouldn’t have believed it if she had, she could put two and two together. If he wasn’t with us, he wasn’t with us.
She took a seat on the opposite end of the room, likely chomping at the bit for a hit of a cigarette. She’d long been a smoker, enough that the stench pervaded some of Lillia’s toys. Thankfully, I’d never been around the cigarette smoke long enough to have it attach to me.
She sighed and put her hands to work to conquer the fidgeting. In the absence of a hit, she cleaned her nails absently, staring out the opening while the rain began to slowly pick up.
We remained there for over an hour, biding our time while the storm rain swept past from a light dew, to a sprinkle and eventually a torrent. The winds flared and the wall of the hurricane was bearing down on us when we heard someone calling for help outside.
Lillia hopped off of the bed, her caring nature oblivious to the dangers of being so close to the edge, and as she peered down to catch a glimpse of the body belonging to the voice, she dropped me in shock.
It was Dale McDermott, stumbling through the street with a bloody wound on his head, calling out for his family.
Thank you so much for reading Part Four!
Heart, Felt – Part Five 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:
Breaking a Promise (My Favorite Flowers: 2)
In a garden somewhere, not quite here and not quite anywhere, there is a boy who has cried his eyes away.
Seeing Someone Learn (My Favorite Flowers: 1)
In a garden somewhere, not quite here and not quite anywhere, there’s a boy who is afraid of eyes.
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.
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