by: Rebecca Taylor

Winds swooshed around the building. Karly looked up and saw that where the doors in her house once stood, now there were concrete walls. How was she going to get out of her house? She was trapped in her own home by some force that she did not understand. The storm hadn’t taken the doors away; something had changed them to walls when the winds started. The windows were gone too. She was afraid of tree branches falling on them in the fierce winds but now they were barricaded by the grey concrete too. How could this be happening, she hadn’t seen anything and windows couldn’t be exchanged in seconds. The fourteen year old girl searched the room; she ran her hands along all the walls from top to bottom but couldn’t find any way out. If only she could get out, she could run next door and get help unless her neighbour’s house had been transformed too by some oddity. Karly opened the cellar door and ran down the rickety wooden steps. She tried the light switch but it didn’t light up the room like it was supposed to. Had the storm taken out the power or was the force playing with her? She used her nimble fingers to find the way to the closet where her family kept their camping supplies and located the battery operated lantern. She held her breath and pressed the light hoping it would come on. It did but as lifted it from the cupboard, it slipped out of her hands with a tug and shattered into a million pieces at her feet, the brilliant light it had been giving off snuffed out.

“Who’s there?” she whispered to the darkness. “What do you want from me? Please don’t hurt me.”

“I’m saving your life,” said a female voice from the darkness.

“I don’t understand. Please tell me who you are and why you want me,” said Karly in a shaky voice. She was shivering and cold like she had been turned into a block of ice.

“I am an agent of Mother Earth. You have much to live for and it is my job to protect you from this storm.”

“It’s just a thunderstorm. The winds are scary, but they’ll go away like they always do. Please let me go, please.”

“You can’t go out there. It isn’t safe. Your thunder storm is destined to be a major tornado. If I were not here saving you, your house would be a pile of rubble, you with it.”

“Where is my family? Do you have them too?”

“They are safe. Other agents are looking after them. You have the gift, child, you can communicate with me. Not many can feel the force and talk to it.”

“How long am I going to be stuck here in the dark? How do I know I can trust you? You’re a stranger to me.”

“I understand your reluctance, Miss Karly, but this is the only way that you will see the sunshine after the storm. Being with me is a chance you will have to take. Do not be afraid, but I am going to give you some light from my glow.” A moment later a luminous cloud lit up the basement.

“Wow,” said Karly quietly, “you’re pretty.”

“It’s a job perk,” said the cloud as they both heard the rumbling coming from outside. “You might as well sit down, Miss Karly, we could be here a while.” Karly sat and they listened to the storm rage outside.

“Why did you come to me when there are so many other people that need your help?”

“Mother Nature has sent many of her agents to help your town. Some of the people will not remember this storm. They don’t have your gift to talk to us and would think we were evil if they knew about us so we use our magic and let them sleep through the storm. Some like you are able to see how we cover the doors and windows and lock you in to save you from the storm’s violence.”

“If Mother Nature causes the storms, why doesn’t she just stop them before they start instead of sending agents to help some people?”

“Some storms are even too powerful for Mother Nature to stop. She trained us instead of help the humans and animals. There are not enough of us in the world yet but we hope that someday, there will be no more death or destruction from bad storms. Maybe if there are enough of us trained, we will be able to overpower the storms before they rage up.”

“I’m glad you’re here to help me and my family and my friends,” said Karly.

“Me too,” answered the bright cloud.

Much later, Karly didn’t know how much time had passed, with the windows and doors closed over, there was no telling what time of day it was, the cloud swirled around like a ballet dancer and the house returned to normal. The windows were uncovered and the doors worked. Karly ran up the basement steps and pulled open the front door. Trees were down everywhere and the street was torn up. Every house on Berry Street as far as she could see was untouched.

“I don’t understand,” said Karly. “The storm damage, why none of the houses?”

“The people in this town have been tested. Some will never know why they were spared but you will. It is your job child, to make the world a more beautiful place.” With that the cloud disappeared and Karly was left staring at the destruction. Moments later her parents appeared at her side.

“Are you okay?” asked her mother hugging her.

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“Were you scared?” asked her father.

“Yes, Daddy,” she said, “but not for long. I went to the basement and when the storm stopped I came out here.” She didn’t dare tell him about Mother Nature’s agent. She didn’t know if he had the gift to communicate or not but she knew she would never forget and planned to make the world a better place, one action at a time. She would start by helping pick up braches that had fallen in the neighbourhood.