Release Date: 02/03/15
Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year old Cori Reigns learns that not all tornadoes take you to magical places. Some take your house, your school, and life as you knew it. Struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, Cori learns to rebuild what the storm destroyed by trusting family she didn't know she had and helping friends she never appreciated.
In the eerie glow from the lantern, I sat in a ball with Slim’s long arms wrapped around me. Only our synchronized breathing and the drum of my heartbeat disturbed the silence.
The pizza boy screamed as the TV flew upward. We ducked, and it slammed into the locked steel door. A roar like a jet-powered locomotive swept over us. Wind raged through a crack in the rattling door like the screech and cackle of a tempest-tossed witch, fluttering the lantern’s light. Slim caught the set as it dropped. The cord flopped at my feet, severed like it’d been bitten by a wild animal.
Mr. Hawkins mumbled. Mrs. Lassiter spoke to Jesus. The Mangino’s driver sat near me, his rocking horse motion powered by gentle sobs. I forced my hand to stop shaking long enough to reach around Slim and squeeze the boy’s hand in mine. Mrs. Lassiter always said there are no atheists in foxholes. There are no strangers either.
My heart passed the next few minutes of external silence by banging like a sledgehammer against my ribcage. Finally, Mrs. Lassiter slid past us. “Would you mind giving me a hand, young man?”
She had to be talking to Slim. The Mangino’s guy was still a sobbing mess.
“You okay?” he asked me.
I think I nodded.
At the top of the steps, the metal latch clanged. Then a grunt and a shard of light.
The sounds repeated.
“I can’t get it open,” Slim said. “It must be jammed.”
My sledgehammer heart banged louder.
“Not jammed,” Mrs. Lassiter told him. “Blocked.”
Crazy thoughts and images raced through my mind. The tiny enclosure seemed to have suddenly shrunk by half. I couldn’t take it any longer. Being trapped in a tiny underground bunker that smelled of perspiration and pepperoni made me want to puke. I squeezed the pizza guy’s hand a final time and pushed to the top of the steps to wedge myself between Slim and Mrs. Lassiter. No one objected. It wouldn’t have mattered.
I didn’t wait for three. I threw my shoulder into the metal door, and it slowly creaked upward—six inches, a foot. With both feet on the steps and our shoulders against the door, we pressed upward to provide more leverage.
“A little more,” Mrs. Lassiter said. “There.” She extended the metal bar to hold the door open. My shoulders relaxed as the brace clicked into place. I rubbed my arm and stepped into the eerie gray light.
About the Author
Married to my bride for twenty-four years, I have an amazing son and a wonderful daughter.
Born and raised in central Oklahoma, I work in education, first as a teacher now in technology curriculum. I write. I read. And in the summer I make snow cones.
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