One of Many

November 6, 2011
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The newscaster blared the unfortunate news into my weary ears. I slowly turn the volume up, notch by notch.

“Our astronomers have told us that the orbit of the Moon and the Earth have been altered. The Moon is closer to Earth. The possibility of an asteroid hitting the moon is likely, but not confirmed as true. The Moon might have had a gravity surge that moved it slightly to Earth. If the Moon had come any closer it would have hurdled toward the Earth causing instant death to everyone on our planet and the destruction of Earth as well.
The astronomers haven’t informed us if the gravitational pull from the moon will cause natural disasters across the globe. We’ll have more later, It’s back to you Bob,” the overly peppy newscaster reported.

“Thanks Susie, for that update…” Bob tells all the sports fans, with no life, about sports stats, but I have already turned the volume down so none of his enthusiastic words are audible to the human ear.

I shudder; shivers cause my body to convulse in fear. I know nothing good will come of this.

My mom usually stays in bed while my father’s gone on business, because it is too difficult to move my mom to her wheel chair, I’m pretty scrawny for a boy my age.

When I was five and Howie, my younger brother, was one, our mother was in a horrible terrorist attack, better known as 9/11. We are very fortunate to have her now, but she was hit with a piece of the burning ceiling and lost all movement in her legs. The fireman that saved her, died while saving other people, we prayed for his soul to go to heaven. We also prayed for her life when she was in surgery and the ICU. Fortunately, she did live, but there would be an extreme and excruciating recovery, mentally and physically.

Her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has had her committed many times. She screams bloody murder and cries for the all her co-workers, friends and acquaintances. She has a sedative that I, only I, give her, to calm her down. She refuses anyone, but me to give her the sedative, because during her PTSD episodes she screams for me, and to have God let her live, so she can care for me. After she calms down a little we take her to the doctor’s office for the millionth time.

Howie is 11 going on 12, and without a shadow of a doubt he is the best thing that has ever happened to our household. He only know a screaming, paralyzed woman, this saddens me at times, but it also means he helps a lot even when he was a little boy. He has mastered the 20 second diaper change with out causing mom to have yet another PTSD episode.

I remember when she and I would play and sing, run around, and have fun. Now she is an emotionless woman rolling around in her wheelchair or sitting in her bed. I am Howie’s 15 “mother”. We look similar; blonde hair, ocean blue eyes, tall and skinny.

Howie, rolls out bed and walks downstairs, and asks me about the news. This is our typical routine. He fixes himself and mom a bowl of cereal and a glass of apple juice. He puts mom’s cereal and juice on a platter and walks into her room that’s just down the hall from the kitchen. He disappears in her room and returns sooner than usual empty handed. Howie counts back from ten on his fingers, when he reaches zero, he clenches his teeth and braces himself for what’s about to come. Mom screams and shrieks to no extent.

“I’m sorry Kenny, I truly am. I accidentally scared her. I’m so sorry!” Howie says remorsefully.

“It’s fine, Howie, it happens to the best of us! I love you and she is easily scared as you very well know,” I reassure Howie in a sincere, sweet tone.

Since dad is gone, we won’t be taking her to the doctor, I have two pills in my hand, one more than usual. I’m giving her two so she’ll be asleep in a matter of minutes. But until she is asleep, I will drown her out with the news.

“More on the moon’s orbit is now!” Bob the newscaster says, “It’s you Susie.”

“Thanks, Bob,” the same newscaster Susie, looks serious as she speaks, “We have been informed that the gravity from the moon will cause many horrible natural disasters, such as tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and nasty weather. Be careful guys the next volcano should erupt in Lincoln, Nebraska. Everyone in Lincoln is being evacuated but stay safe!”

“Will we be affected? We only live three hours form Lincoln?” I think nervously to my self.

“This volcano will be the first of many! As for the world almost all costal cities are flooded from tsunamis!” Susie rambles on, but I’m not listening because I’m getting my bike and bike trailer out to buy groceries for the months to come. I don’t know if it is a sixth sense but I felt a sudden urge to buy canned food so we don’t starve during the next few months.

Howie stays at home while I go to the store. Ash must be spewing from Lincoln because the sky is unusually ashen and dark, and its very cold for July.

I arrive at the store and buy all the canned food that we like to eat; tuna, soup, fruit, etc. We also buy close to 400 bottles of water. I paid and left the store in a hurry to avoid the eyes staring as if they can see the fear dripping off of my skin.

I turn on the TV when I got home, to see lava oozing down streets and alleys. Cars, houses, everything was on fire or melting. A lump in my throat formed as I thought of all the people who didn’t leave in time and are more scared then me or worse, they are dead.

Howie and mom were quietly unloading the groceries and putting the water in the garage.


The newscaster reported there would be earthquakes, blizzards and tornadoes near us within hours. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next, I thought we would have at least an hour.

Howie ran to the window and yelped. There was a dust devil forming and it didn’t look like a mild one, the cloudy sky started to expel rain, hail and snow.


“At least there wasn’t an earthquake!” Howie said. The room began to shake and shudder. It started softly, but it got worse and worse. Howie was scared stiff, mom was hollering, and I was just trying to make sense of it all.

“Those disasters will be one of many…” the newscaster said worriedly, the static drowned out the rest of the report, but that didn’t matter because I was stuck in my thoughts.

One of many, one of many…” my mind started replaying that, in the high pitched, monotone that I heard it first, and I start to shake uncontrollably just as the house is.





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