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The True Champ Part 3
It had stopped hailing, and now there was just an ominous feeling in the air. The kind of feeling a person gets when they are the only person in sight, and the wind is blowing a random assortment of objects ranging from plastic Safeway bags to large sticks that had fallen. The sky was dark to my left, but kind of greenish to my right. It gave the appearance that the world was spinning and I was the center of it all. I just stood outside the pick-up and watched the swirling sky dance and twirl, and the fluttering of objects in the cool wind.
As I began to regain my consciousness I climbed into the truck and started it. When I backed out of the gravel “driveway”, I began to wonder where in the world my brothers would have gone. Seeing as how I didn’t know where to look, I just decided to go in the direction of the cool looking greenish sky. That seemed like it would have been safer than that ominous black sky.
I had no idea what I had coming for me, or what this direction would point me in, but it seemed like any other direction, except for the green sky.
I stepped on the gas and went cruising along at 70 mph. Then out of nowhere, a trashcan lid smashed right into the windshield, crushing it so that it cracked from the center to all sides.
“Great,” I complained, “As if my day could get any better.”
When I continued along the straight country road leading to who knows where, the car began to swerve until it was off the road. I stopped the car, and got out, taking my keys out of the ignition. I checked under the hood and everything seemed fine. I looked under the car and everything seemed fine. I was going back into the car when I could vaguely perceive a dark figure in the distance getting closer each second.
I studied it for a while, having no idea what it was, but when I finally realized what it was, I left my car where it was and was off like a bullet, tearing across the field in the opposite direction of the figure. My fingers were numb, even though it was August.
I raced, knowing that I could not outrun the figure. The swirling twister would eventually reach me. I tripped and sprawled onto the grass, feeling my face drain of all color.
“Stay close to the ground. It’s your safest bet,” I was remembering the words Dad had taught me in case of a tornado.
I laid there, listening to every breath, feeling every pulse of blood in my veins, and clutching the grass to avoid getting carried in the wind.
Suddenly out of nowhere, I heard a terrifying pterodactyl-like scream that made me jump from my skin. I began to military crawl forward, but could feel something pulling be backwards into danger. I dug the toes of my boots into the ground in an effort to resist the backwards momentum, but could feel the pull dragging me.
“I’m going to die.” I whispered, scared to death. I could feel my eyes get warmer and water begin to fall from them. I fought to stay moving forward, but the only way I was moving was backward.
Then, like an angel sent by God, I felt the presence of another life form. “Ma?” I screamed. “Dad? Cody? Jake?” I questioned, but there was no reply. The pulling continued and I felt like a piece of dirt being sucked into a vacuum. “Help!” I screamed, pleading for this person to save me.
Out of nowhere, another black figure, but this one like an angel, instead of a devil, came to me. It was Champ, and he recognized me. “Champ.” I whispered. He had a fire in his eyes and was whinnying with terror, but he stopped by me, and seemed to command me to get up.
I tried to pull myself off the ground, but the dragging motion was intense. The twister must only be a couple miles away, and the force was so strong that I was unable to resist. Champ suddenly nuzzled me in the chest and lifted me to my feet. I felt a power pulling me backwards, but Champ balanced me again with his muzzle.
He was dancing around, with fire in his eyes, but he remained by me. Then he used his muzzle and lifted me to his back, and took off opposite to the direction of the tornado.
“Come on, boy.” I whispered, as I lowered myself down further on his neck. I glanced behind me to see the dark form rise against the horizon, making me feel like I was one inch tall.
My heart beat fast, and my stomach felt like one huge knot.
I saw my house in plain sight, and was only hoping that we reached there before we were sucked into the twister. I found myself urging him on, kicking him.
In safety we reached the house, and I jumped off Champ, preparing to sprint inside, when I remembered that Champ had no home. I turned to grab him and take him to our barn, but when I turned around, he was gone, and I could only see him on the horizon racing. “Go Champ. Stay safe.” I told him.
I raced towards the house, grabbed the doorknob but found the door was locked. I heard my family inside yelling, my Ma saying, “Where’s Ryan,” with a desperate edge to her voice.
“Shoot,” I exclaimed realizing that I had not gotten Cody and Jake. Suddenly I found myself pounding on the door, “Let me in, Let me in! Ma, please, it’s me.” The door flung open, and Ma was hugging me. “Goodness gracious, Cody and Jake have been here for an hour. When the tornado was in sight, they came rushing home but without you. Never mind, come on downstairs to the basement, we’re all down there.” I heard glass break, and horses whinnying inside the barn. I slammed the basement door shut, and arrived downstairs with questions and signs of relief from my family.
As I sat downstairs listening to my house get ripped to shreds by wind, I couldn’t help but think, “This family is not complete.” Every time I heard the sound of the whinnying horses I was reminded that this family could never be complete without the one horse who saved my life, Champ, the horse who stood out against all other horses.
Right now at this moment, as I sit in the basement waiting for the interminable storm to end, I cannot help but pray for the one family member not with us right now, not safe from the tornado, still wandering looking for a sanctuary where he will be truly safe and at home. I pray that the true champ will find a place where he can remain safe until I can find him again and institute him as part of my family.