by Bob Tadlock

What was supposed to be a routine drive home, would be one of my most terrifying experiences in life. It was 9:00 at night and I was leaving work and heading home. On my way out, I heard the radio announcer come across with a weather bulletin. There was always some kind of bad weather in the area and I figured this one would be no different. Little did I know that this storm would change my life forever.

As I headed home, the rains were on and off. The skies were dark and a gust of wind would occasionally catch me off guard. I first started noticing something was different by the traffic flow. Where the streets were usually very busy from evening commute, tonight there was an eerie quiet about them.

Soon the winds picked up. I found myself struggling to keep the car on the road. It was swerving this way and that and finally come to rest on the medium. I quickly got out to collect myself, when I heard a roar in the distance. As the winds continued to get stronger, a look around told me that this wasn't just an ordinary storm.

Debris was starting to fly around and my heart was beginning to race. I knew I had to seek shelter, but at the same time I was hypnotized by the vengeful roaring sound down the street. I tried to focus on the noise, but was blinded by the darkness.

Soon lightning would light up the sky. A large building was obstructing my view of something-large coming toward me. The crashing of objects and cracking of wood was deafening. A second lightning strike would expose my worst fear. The building was now spinning rubble, as a large tornado exposed itself. Its size was enormous! It was chewing up all in its path and was staring right at me! I froze in fear, as my hair was standing straight up! My thoughts were shouting in my head, but my body was like rubber.

Just as my life passed before my eyes, I felt a tug at my arm. I turned to a homeless man pointing at an open manhole in the street. He frantically tugged at my arm, as debris was buzzing by my head. I started toward the hole, as cars and other large debris were crashing all around.

I finally made it to the hole and started down. About the third step, my body went limp from fear and I fell to the bottom. I quickly looked up toward the entrance to see the homeless man struggle to follow. His arms were shaking under the strain of holding on to the ladder, but the power of the tornado was too much. About halfway down, the storms power sucked his body toward the opening and he hit with a bone-breaking thud.

He never even had time to scream for help.

His body looked as if it was convulsing, as the tornado's power continued to slam him against the hard concrete. I was horrified as I watched! His body finally gave under the tornado's strength and he was violently pulled out. My fear was so overwhelming that I just curled into a ball and prayed I wasn't next.

The noise! That horrible, thunderous noise!

I laid there shivering in fear for what seemed like hours until finally the tornado passed. I could still hear things crashing around as the concrete above my head started crumbling from the pressure. Soon things were an eerie quiet. As I lay there, the sight of the homeless man ran over and over in my mind. I soon wanted out.

When I got back on the street above, I witnessed true devastation. The buildings were now rubble. Trees on top of cars and bodies lay motionless. Tears streamed down my face, as the damage was unexplainable.


Why here? Why now?

I still shook from my experience and thought of the lives that were lost. What was once a quiet town, was now unrecognizable caucus. Sirens filled the air, as rescue teams fought through the damage to help any survivors. Voices were calling from the rubble, as paramedics scrambled to free them. The streets were now coming alive with victims much like myself. Some were screaming after there lost loved ones, while others tried to find life through the mountains of wood and steel. As I thought of my own family, I soon felt a blanket over my wet and trembling shoulders. I turned to see the smiling face of a police officer who quickly asked if I was OK.

After I assured him I was fine, I then asked him about the possible damage at home. I explained to him where I lived and he told me everything was fine. He told me the tornado touched down a mile passed my house and my family would be fine. I fell to the ground and thanked God. Our lives were spared, but my memories would haunt me forever.

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