Bear barked when he heard the thunder rumbling. Stella glanced up. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was raining,” she said to Bear. She could hear the oak branches scrape against the roof and the pitter-patter of raindrops. The clouds outside had grown a dark gray.
Somehow, today Stella didn’t feel scared of the storm. She was actually enjoying it. She liked watching as the rain began falling harder and harder. The swing outside swung violently, but Stella was not alarmed. The branches of the trees flailed helplessly in the wind, and the few leaves left on them were blown off and carried away. But Bear didn’t seem to like the storm at all. In fact, after a few minutes of being curled up on Stella’s lap, he jumped off and scurried away, down the stairs. Stella was disappointed, but she continued to watch the storm through her window.
The wind grew stronger and stronger, and lightning flashed and thunder boomed. The swirling gusts of wind battered the trees mercilessly. The sky grew darker and darker and the rain poured harder and harder. The small house creaked, and Stella saw that now the rain was falling diagonally.
Stella began feeling scared. She’d never seen a storm like this one! Her heart started beating fast, and she grabbed a pillow and buried her face in it. “Dear Jesus,” she whispered. “Let everything be OK.”
Outside, a loud siren whined. Stella looked up from the pillow. She had never heard a siren like that before. She hoped it didn’t mean anything.
Footsteps rang on the stairs, and now Stella’s head turned in the direction of her door. Who could be coming into my room right now? she wondered.
The door opened and a pale face peeked inside. “Stell, you hear that?”
“Nicole!” Stella exclaimed in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“The siren,” Nicole answered, her voice nervous and quivering.
“Oh, right,” sighed Stella. “I hope no one’s hurt or very sick.”
“No, Stella!” Nicole’s hands were shaking now. “That doesn’t sound like an ambulance. I think…I think it’s the tornado siren!”
Stella jumped up from her bed. “Oh no!” she said. “Let’s go tell Luke!”
The sisters hurried out of Stella’s room and ran down the stairs. When they reached Luke’s bedroom door, they pounded on it. “Luke, Luke!” they cried. “Get out now!”
Luke didn’t answer.
“Luke!” Stella called. “Get out of there!”
“Luke!” Nicole shouted. “There’s a tornado!”
The door suddenly opened. “What happened to the Internet?!” Luke complained.
“There’s a tornado!” Nicole and Stella warned at the same time.
Fear flashed into Luke’s face.
“What are we going to do?” Nicole asked quietly, on the verge of tears.
“We’ll go into the tornado shelter, of course,” Luke said after thinking for a couple seconds.