Hues of amber and ruby illuminated the horizon, the entire city basking in the warmth of the last few golden rays of light. I stood on the front porch, quietly sipping my tea while marveling at the sun’s artwork. The warm shades were gradually being replaced with cooler ones and the cotton candy clouds settled down low, the pink color fading and the ash-grey slowly seeping in. It would probably rain tonight. The gentle breeze now whistled through the trees, making them sway from side to side. Yep. Make that a mild winter rainstorm. Footsteps jolted me out of my thoughts and I looked down, away from the sky, to see my husband, tired after his long day at work. Handing him his evening cup of tea, I walked inside to set the table for dinner.
Ten minutes later, the television crackled to life –there wasn’t a single day that went by without him checking the news. Today, the screen displayed a frantic reporter, screaming over the howling wind.
“EMERGENCY, ALL CITIZENS! AN UNEXPECTED HURRICANE IS APPROACHING. WIND IS RAPIDLY PICKING UP SPEED AND IT IS ESTIMATED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST SEVERE STORMS EVER!”
My husband’s eyes immediately filled with panic and I knew exactly what he was thinking –we had barely survived the last hurricane and this was estimated to be ten times worse. The reporter continued.
“CIVILIANS ARE REQUESTED TO EVACUATE IF THEY WISH TO, IN AN ORDERLY FASHION.”
I could already imagine the chaos on the roads.
We ate the rest of our dinner in complete silence until my husband decided to speak his thoughts. “What do we do now Lily?” he asked.
I had only one answer. The same as last time. “Let’s stay here in the cellar,” I replied “wait for the storm to pass by.” But I knew he would dislike my answer.
“No, remember last time, the whole roof was blown off. I don’t think we should risk it.” He argued.
“But think about the roads Jake! There will be so much traffic and chaos and confusion! It’ll be more dangerous out there.” I countered.
But my husband was extremely stubborn. He argued that by staying here, we would be guaranteeing our deaths. A little voice at the back of my head agreed with him. Maybe I was just being lazy and selfish. Maybe I just wanted to avoid leaving the comfort of my house. “Okay Jake. Let’s pack.” I finally heard myself say. We decided to pack only a few essential items. Jake emerged from our bedroom, holding our handy, travel suitcase and we ran around the house like two mini tornadoes. Two pairs of extra clothes for each of us, a first-aid kit, water bottles, torch lights, tinned food, sweaters, umbrellas, passports, hand sanitizers, few toiletries, and some more snacks were dumped into the suitcase. In no time, we were in our car with the suitcase sitting on the backseat. Glancing out of the window, I caught a glimpse of the sky. It was a horrifying transformation. The clouds were an angry agitation. Their dark charcoal shades blanketing the city in gloomy shadows and blocking the frigid, purple night sky. Even though the windows were closed, I could hear the wind raging outside, howling through the trees, this time almost uprooting them. It hadn’t started raining yet but soon there would be a terrible downpour. I prayed silently for my city, for my husband, and for myself.
The roads reflected the mood outside complete with reckless drivers and panic-stricken pedestrians. But who could blame them. They would probably only be thinking about their loved ones.
After ten minutes of dodging cars and uprooted trees, we found ourselves in the middle of the jam-packed highway. Horns blared, people shouted and cursed but not a single car moved. There must have been an accident way up front. All of a sudden, lightning flashed across the stormy yonder and thunder boomed while my heart beat at the speed of light. As if on cue, the black clouds burst at once, releasing gallons and gallons of water. In two seconds the landscape outside was a complete blur and the pounding of rain sounded like gunfire. The hurricane had struck. As I looked around in terror, I realised that we were stuck here with no way out. Lightning struck again and a car to my far left burst into flames. Before I knew it, a shriek escaped my lips and I watched in horror. Our lives were now in the hands of Mother Nature.
Tears started cascading down my cheeks like little waterfalls and I grasped my husband’s hand tightly for reassurance. I hoped dearly that we would live to see the rainbow after the hurricane.
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