The Storm by Michelle
My stomach ached and my legs began to stiffen, but I kept searching.
Where could she possibly be?
“Mary, it’s time to come home!”
I pushed back my wet hair from my sticky face and I looked up at the afternoon sky. Storm clouds swiftly moved in from the west. The sky had darkened to an eerie grey within a matter of minutes. Panting, I held my stomach and rested against my neighbor’s big oak tree, one mile from my house.
I began to sob. “Mary!” I tried to shout, but only a coarse whisper was able to get past my lips. Covering my eyes, I fell to my knees. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my baby sister. She’s very curious and independent for a five-year old. She thinks the world was made for her to explore. That’s exactly what I need now, to look after the “Energizer Bunny” as I do my sixth grade homework, help prepare dinner, and make sure my ten-year old brother doesn’t blow anything up. I’ve been helping out a lot more, since my mother got a job in town. It will be my fault if something bad happened to Mom’s “Little Columbus”.
We were playing hide and seek and it was Mary’s time to hide. She knows she’s not supposed to go outside alone. She doesn’t understand that she’s little and can get hurt easily. Thank goodness for our squeaky screen doors! The weird thing is, I don’t remember hearing them open.
I looked up at the sky, which was totally engulfed with storm clouds. She can’t survive a storm like this by herself. Where the heck can she be? Mom’s going to kill me! I have to find her. She better be alright. Standing up I yelled out of frustration, “Mary! Where are you? Game’s over, you win! We have to go back in, there’s a storm approaching!” I heard a small voice in the distance. As my heart jumped into my throat, I focused my eyes on the small figures a distance away, and let out a sigh.
“Sandy, we have to go back!” shouted my brother. I could make out his silhouette with his alpha-like hair, he was pointing at the sky with his collie at his side.
“I can’t,” I yelled back. “I can’t leave her behind!
“We have to go back and tell Mom and Dad! They should be home from town now! Don’t you think they’ll be worried where we all are?”
My brother had a point. My mother would definitely freak if no one were at home when they got there.
Billie and I ran in silence side by side towards home. As my vision became clouded with tears, I saw something small and blue in the distance. Mary was wearing blue. My heart raced back into my throat. The hope that drained from me came back full force. All my fears were for nothing! Everything is going to be all right. We found her. She’s safe. The tears began to roll down my hot cheeks. Happy tears. Everything is right in the world again.
I gasped, sucking in the air around me and froze. The blue object that was making its way to the road wasn’t my Mary, but a garment of clothing being pushed by the wind.
“What’s wrong?” Billy yelled back when he noticed I was no longer at his side.
I kicked a stone with my shoe and ran to catch up with him. “I thought that darn blue shirt was Mary,” and pointed. Billy didn’t say anything as we continued back home. My aches and pains were numbed by my fear of the inevitable. “Billie, what if we can’t find her?”
Billie glanced at me, his eyes worried. “Maybe she’s already home.” We ran the rest of the way home in silence. I wanted to believe it, but I knew most likely she wouldn’t be. I was afraid to say anything else, thinking it may jinx our last glimpse of hope.
Even though this was not the right time to be thinking about this, I was very proud of my baby brother. He didn’t ridicule me about losing Mary. He came to my aid, and took charge, since I was unable to. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
I could see our farmhouse clearly now.
Billie ran ahead of me joined by Tuxedo, my cat and a few chickens. Our father was standing in front of the barn in his overalls and cowboy hat, welcoming us with his outstretched arms. “Hey, there you two are! Come inside, I have a little surprise for both of you.
Standing in the middle of the barn was precious little Mary. Her eyes were pink and puffy.
“I sowwy,” she said as she dug her shoe into the dirt floor.
“Where were you?” I asked in a breathy voice.
“I found a good place to hide in the living room. I heard you calling my name,” she paused looking at us, “but I never won before. I’m weely sowwy.”
I picked her up and gave her kisses all over. She giggled. “Just don’t do it again, OK?”
“I promise. I won’t,” she replied.
Holding Mary, I looked at Billie and smiled. My brother grew a lot this day. It’s always good to know one can count on family to be there for you, no matter what.