The Storm

Short Story
Written June 23, 2011

Terrified she sat and heard more than saw the rain pour and pour and pour. It had gone on for hours. Her footprints that had once been in the Guatemalan volcanic sand had long since washed away. Washing away her way home. Her heart raced within her from where she crouched beneath a small tin roof – someone’s home, or at least what was left of it.
Tears threatened to come, but she would not let them.
“Tears never help anything,” Anjelah said to herself, in Spanish, her native tongue.
Signs of the intense tropical storm had started when she was just going for a walk down the beach… and thinking that it would pass soon, not knowing that this was the kind of storm to have its own name.
Until the winds picked up, and the water from the sea began to lash out.
Then Anjelah knew she was in trouble.
Thunder sounded, and the lightening never seemed to stop.
She had wondered why the eerie feeling when she’d arrived. Anjelah had been there thousands of times before, but never without another human being in sight. Usually there were tourists everywhere. And animals.
But instead of being worried, she had embraced the quiet moment.
She wasn’t lonely, rather loved the solitude.
She was independent, wild and free, needing no one, needing nothing. Needing nothing from no one.
She never would have thought possible, but the winds picked up and the water came in faster and faster.
She hung on for dear life. Almost wishing that death would arrive so the terror she felt would subside.
Words from her mother slowly came back to her. Muddled at first. Anjelah had long since rebelled against her family, and against God.
But suddenly words from Psalm 91 came rushing back to her. The Psalm her mother had read to her over and over again as a child.
The second verse came out of her mouth then, “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge, and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I trust.
“Dear God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I ran from my parents house, and ran from safety to danger, ran from light to darkness, save me from this place and I will never walk away again,” she cried, her own voice she could not even hear, for the storm was so great.
She kept praying and kept hanging on to anything she could find.
Suddenly the rain lessoned.
The wind ceased.
The clouds parted, and she began to hear birds singing in the distance.
One last crackle of thunder, and she awoke with a start.
It had all been a dream.
She looked around the room, still at the party house she had fallen asleep in.
Everyone else was still sleeping and wouldn’t notice her departure.
She began collecting her things, but someone lay on her shoes, and she couldn’t get to them.
Anjelah knew she couldn’t retrieve them without waking the man whom she new to be from a gang – the same gang that many of the other people around her were associated with.
A shiver of fear shot down her spine, and with that she ran out the door with her things, minus her shoes.
A week later she found out that, only an hour after she had left, police had raided that very house.
A few were killed in the raid… one had ran on foot and actually got a way. Some were in prison.
She held the newspaper in her hands, looking at the table, no longer reading. A single tear went down her cheek.
From where her mother stood at the sink, she turned and saw that very tear.
Her mother caught it with her finger, and took her fifteen-year-old daughter into her arms, “God protected you, my darling. Do not fret all that happened. He took you out before it happened.”
Anjelah remembered the dream again, and for what seemed like the thousandth time, she was back in that little hut.
Only this time she didn’t relive the storm.
She relived the part when the clouds parted.