Elizabeth: The Storm
I am at Marie's house in the little bedroom upstairs. Marie walks in to chat and all of a sudden a terrible stench enters my nostrils. I look over at her and see that she is nonchalantly holding a cigarette in her right hand. It's lit, and is burnt almost down to the filter. I know a horrified expression crosses my face, and a million questions run through my head. When did she start smoking? Has she always smoked? Will she smoke forever? Why is she smoking in the house? Where is she putting her ashes? Will she get cancer and die? Why is she doing this?!? In the instant that those thoughts run through my mind, Marie registers my shock and horror and grins sheepishly - as if she is suddenly embarrassed and had forgotten to hide her cigarette as she usually does.
I'm in a novel incarnation of Marie's house when I receive word that a huge storm is coming and we need to take shelter. (Not coincidentally, Marie texted me last night to tell me that a tornado was spotted and they were in the basement). In addition to the usual storm features, this one was bringing a tornado with it. There were tons of people in this house (which was more of house parts attached to a much larger building). I started gathering people up to shelter in the most logical place --- the second story screened in porch. Duh.
For some reason there were a bunch of unattended little children. I scoop up four and clutch them tightly to prepare for the impact. One child is an ordinary looking little boy, maybe 2 years old. Another child is an ordinary looking little girl, on the cute side, a little baby that has to be held with lots of black ringlets. Another one is a little boy who is maybe 7, but is a miniature child - about 3 feet tall and slender, in ordinary proportion. The third child is a little strange. It's a boy, around 2 but somehow more mature than the other. He's mostly ordinary looking, except his left eye is just a white sphere and non-functioning. I also come to a realization that he is my husband's child from a previous relationship, which is distressing on a number of levels, partly because we've been together for a decade or so.
I clutch the children and wait as the thunder rolls in. I know we'll get wet from the rain blowing into the porch, but I also know we're in the safest possible place to weather a tornado. Suddenly, the earth starts to shake and we feel it reverberating up the porch posts and into the floor beneath us. I didn't realize tornadoes can make the earth shake, but I figured it was digging up the ground somewhere. In fact, the tornado was so powerful that we felt the entire earth actually lurch repeatedly beneath. What a powerful storm! The tornado triggers a real earthquake and the ground around the porch splits open in several areas. The storm passes without the tornado actually hitting our exact spot. What a relief!
I know that I need to find the children's parents and return them. I find the parents of the first boy and they are so grateful to see that he's safe. The other children aren't with me anymore, but I find a woman holding something in the palm of her hand - it's a little living humanoid creature that looks a lot like a troll doll with black ringlets. I understand it to be the little baby I had, but I am pretty confused about the change in appearance. I am searching for the one eyed child to get him reunited with ... who? ... my husband? ... his mistress? I come across a friend from college called DF and mention the child. He explains to me that I have the details wrong. He says he's the one actually looking for the kid, it's his, sort of. He used to date a woman and it's actually her kid. That explains it.
I locate the miniature child and plan to shelter with him until I can find his parents. We are staying in my old room at Marie's house and I go to an attached Walmart to see if I can find any supplies. I know the tornado has caused terrible damage in a large radius, so I want to find some food I can stash away to last us for a couple weeks. In Walmart, I see that the snacks are pretty well picked clean, but staff members are restocking the shelves. I find a rack of shirts that I'm really interested in. They're all ladies' western shirts of all different colors and patterns. I think they would be cute to wear on stage, but I don't know if I should get a medium or large, and the changing rooms are closed due to Covid-19. I don't get one, too much risk there.