Scribbling down the answers to her homework assignment, Shilia was sprawled out on her stomach across her bed, legs kicked up behind her with her ankles crossed. After jotting down her answer, she tapped her pencil thoughtfully against her lips, her face contorted into a thoughtful scowl and her eyes glued to the window at the storm that was picking up strength outside. Normally the young girl would have been able to ignore it, but the frightened tone of her mother’s voice as she ordered her brothers to secure everything outside had her troubled.
Tossing her pencil into her school book, she flipped the cover and slide silently off the bed. Padding her way to the cracked door of her bedroom, Shilia eased her head closer to the small opening, craning her head to the side to hear the hushed whispers of her mother and oldest brother. She could not make out what was being said, but she could tell from the way they were speaking that something of importance was going on. With no other option left to gather information, the girl pulled her door open and crept out into the hallway, her socked feet barely shuffling against the carpeted floor.
“Maybe we should find a way out of here mom. We’re not sure how well this house will hold up. We can always go stay with grandma and grandpa for the night.” Her oldest brother whispered quietly to her mother, his head moving from side to side to see if any of his siblings were around.
“No, we are staying put. I’m just worried about that tree out front. I don’t think it’s very sturdy and one strong wind might blow it over and onto the house.” Her mother cast a worried glance out the kitchen window, Shilia’s own gaze followed, her eyes noticing the way the tree seemed to sway unsteadily with the howling wind.
Creeping farther out into the hallway, Shilia attempted to sneak past the two in the kitchen to get a better view of the storm from the unusually silent living room. However, the second she rounded the corner the girl glanced up to find not one but two pairs of dark brown eyes staring down at her. Reaching a hand up to rub the back of her neck, Shilia grinned tightly. “Hi mom. Hi Roku. What’s going on?”
“Back to your room, little miss.” Her mother snapped, her finger pointing in the opposite direction of where Shilia had intended to go.
“But ma, I just wanted to see…” Shilia started, but the look on her mother’s face told the girl she would not get any further. That is until a loud splintering crack caused all three inhabitants to snap their heads toward the window. Her mother and Roku rushed toward the window to examine the tree, which luckily had only lost one of its branches on the opposite side of the house. Her mother and brother released twin sighs of relief, and Shilia took advantage of their distraction by tiptoeing into the living room.
From her vantage point on the bed earlier, Shilia had not been privy to see the rush of water flowing in a steady stream around the house. Currently from what she could tell it was just barely breaking the single step outside their front door, but if the rain continued to pour the way it currently was, the house would be filling with water at any minute.
“Woah…” The girl whispered, her eyes sweeping across the family’s front yard which was now resembling a swamp more than an actual yard. Pressing her face against the glass, the girl strained to see through the darkness to the area around her house, but she could only make sense out of the mess whenever lightning light up the sky. Another booming clap of thunder followed by the flicker and flash of lightning caused the girl to leap away from the window with a small shout. “Ahh!”
Falling onto her butt, she scowled at the window and hurriedly got to her feet. Scrambling into the kitchen, she slid across the tiled floor, crashing straight into her older brother’s legs. “Roku! Momma! We gotta get out of here. If we stay here all night we’ll be swimming around the house in the morning.”
“That’s if the tree doesn’t fall on us first, twerp.” Roku commented dully.
The three waited in silence, the howling wind and pounding rain the only noticeable sounds. Shilia crept closer to her mother, her light brown eyes darting up to see the still worried expression that was creasing her mother’s brow. Slipping her tiny hand into her mother’s, Shilia rested her head against her mother’s side. “We’ll be alright, won’t me mom?”
“I hope so, but for now I think it’s best if we all go camp out in Roku’s room for the night.” Giving Shilia a gentle prod, she urged the girl back in the direction she had come from. “Go on and get your brothers. Tell them to gather their things and hurry Shi.” With another soft push the girl darted forward and went to do her mother’s bidding, wondering if when they woke up in the morning they would have a swimming pool in their house and a destroyed kitchen courtesy of a fallen tree.