Hail pelted the roof.
“Dad’s fine. Don’t upset your sister.”
“She’s too young to know.”
“There’s nothing to know.”
“What about the car? If anything happens to the car, Dad’ll get mad.”
She looked out the window.
“Should I move it?” she said.
“I don’t know. What if you move it and something happens? He’ll just get madder.”
The hail stopped. The wind didn’t sound like wind anymore. It sounded like a ravenous behemoth getting closer, searching for them.
“Get under the table,” she said. The baby started to cry. They tried to calm her but it was no use.
“Come on, honey. Into the kitchen.”
The son and the mother holding her baby got under the table, the only sturdy thing they owned. The wind screamed at them. Another sound pierced through.
“What’s that Mom? What is it?” he said.
“It’s just the sirens in town, honey. Telling us what we know.”
“What do we know?”
“We’ll be okay. We know. We’re ready.”
“What about Dad?”
The baby started to cry. Her mother rocked her and shushed her. They could see out of the bottom of the window. The sky was dark grey, almost green. Rain smashed itself against the pane.
“Come back, honey.”
He got into the far corner. She thought the glass would break and come in.
“Take your sister.”
She handed him the baby and the roar and boom of the wind got louder. She put her arms around them. They felt it getting closer. Everything started to shake.
“Look!” shouted the boy. She turned to see. The mile wide funnel. The bombardment of sound, little blue flashes where it hit electricity, unidentifiable debris floating on the edges, whirling and tossing, rising and falling, picked up and dropped, chewed and swallowed and thrown up.
“Shut your eyes.”
“Mom!” he screamed. The baby cried. She put her arms tightly around them, trying to block out the sound too. It sounded like a thousand waterfalls.
“Oh God. Oh God.”
Something hit the window and it broke. They all screamed and heard the glass landing on the table above them and on the floor. The mother felt a sting in her ankle.
They couldn’t hear anything except the roaring, blasting, rumbling monster, flattening the houses half a mile away, frightening and injuring and killing people they knew, they knew didn’t deserve it.
And then, gradually, it turned and chose another path. Turned towards the town, away from them. The sound lessened but they could still hear it. The monster wasn’t searching for them anymore.
She didn’t let them go until she was sure.
“Oh God, you’re hurt.”
“It’s just glass. Get my tweezers and the first aid box, honey. Give me your sister.”
She took the baby. Her son did as he was told and came back. They could hear it still, eating the town.
“Get back under the table.”
He took the baby. His mother carefully extracted the glass from her ankle and bandaged it.
“It’s just a little cut, that’s all.”
“Why did it happen, Mom?”
“There’s no reason.”
“Why did it want to hurt us?”
“It doesn’t. It doesn’t know anyone’s down here. It doesn’t have eyes.”
“It knows,” he said. “It’s looking for Dad. It thought he was here.”
He started to cry.
“Honey, it doesn’t know anything.”
“It knows,” he said. “It knows.”