Young girl being carried from the tornado wreckage by a rescuer.

A Tornado Only Leaves Behind Heroes

The angered super cell in the charcoal sky rolled across the plains. Deep within, wild winds whirled at unimaginable speeds. A monster on the path of unbelievable destruction, an unstoppable force of nature. A by-product of our volatile planet, it loomed in the western sky as lightening crackled and boomed in its shadow.

Shutters were drawn, mattresses pulled from beds and laid in tubs. Center rooms of uncountable homes were readied with essentials of survival. Cellars and basements were cleaned and dusted, years of broken toys and rusted mason jars quickly swept aside.

The fury within was soon unleashed across the plain. A vortex finger spun from below, reaching out to inhale whatever it might make its own. Debris swarmed around it, a million bees circling their hive. Hundred year old oaks were stripped of their bark, chairs were thrust through walls, oil rigs uprooted and tossed aside. Transformers were ripped from their poles, their sparks lit up the sky.

Tears fell and prayers were chanted. Cries rang out as the earth was stripped of its very being. The train in the sky powered overhead without mercy, without fear.

In its wake lie utmost ruin and destruction. Homes were flattened, hospitals and businesses lay in tatters. Neon signs twisted in the streets, gleaming on the wet concrete. Cars overturned on the highway, their wheels still spinning from the wild winds.

The people soon crawled from under the debris, gazing at the catastrophe. Undeterred, they rushed to aid the fallen, uncaring of their own wounds or fears. From the wreckage they pulled the trapped, digging through a minefield of tattered wood and stone with not a care. Their mission was one, searching for survivors.

One by one the wounded were pulled from the debris. One by one a hero was born as a hand was grasped and pulled from the wreckage. Sixteen year olds and sixty year olds undaunted by age, became partners in rescue. Men and women, young and old, from all walks of life lent a helping hand to their friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. A bond of courage, of strength, of purpose made its way across nature's battlefield to assist the fallen.

In the midst of the ruin, a single church stood in defiance. The roof had been ripped away, its sides stripped bare. Broken prisms of glass glittered on the rain drenched sidewalk. As the clouds gave way to the setting sun, its radiant beams fell across the tiny cathedral.

Within the walls, a cross still stood proudly, undamaged by the monster in the sky. Its shadow cast through the window, onto the ground for all to see. A symbol of hope, of sacrifice, of rebirth shone across the wreckage, undaunted by mother nature's fury.

The meadows will grow again, buildings will rise once more. The laughter of children will ring out across the grassy fields as the birds sing from above. Mankind may never be the same. But we as one will carry on, and we will rebuild. We will remember the fallen, and the heroes who saved so many.

*This story is dedicated to the victims, and to the rescuers
who saved so many, during the spring tornados.

~ Shelley Madden ~
<shellmadde at>
Copyright © 2011

Shelley Madden is a short story author who resides in Wise County, Texas. She enjoys raising poultry and ponies on her small farm. Please email Shelley and let her know what you think of her story.

[ by: Shelley Madden, Copyright © 2011, ( shellmadde at ) -- submitted by: Shelley Madden ]

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