The Night I Will Never Forget

January 8, 2012
By v_herzog BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
v_herzog BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I walked into the State Fair with a huge smile. It was dusk, and I was with two of my good friends, nothing could be better. As we strolled in and I immediately detected the extraordinary scent of fair food.

“I want to get a pork tenderloin as big as my face!” August proclaimed while licking her lips with a sly grin. After nourishing our bottomless pits, we advanced to the midway. At the entrance we awaited Chase, Alex’s step-dad, to locate us.

“Hello, ladies!” Chase pronounced, entering from behind.

“Hello, Chase,” Alex retorted, obviously not content with his presence.

“Well, it’s getting late. We should start getting on the ride before it gets too dark,” August’s Mom,Jen, declared.

“Yeah!” I cheered, “although, it would be fun to ride in the dark.” The group then migrated toward The Crazy Mouse, a ride Alex was thinking about conquering with August and me.

“I’m gonna do it,” Alex shrieked, “I’m gonna go.” There was still a tinge of fear still in her voice.

“YES!” August and I cheered.

“I call dibs on the scary edge!” August bellowed, throwing her sweaty palms into the crisp air.

“Dang it!” I whined, “I wanted the scary edge!”

“Girls,” Jen broke in, “come, let’s go get tickets from the self-serve machines.”

“Okay,” I sighed, giving up. We shuffled through the many people taking on the challenge of the game booths, waiting for their rides to start, or waiting in the perilous journey of getting tickets. Most people didn’t know that the self-serve ticket machines existed, but they really saved time if you knew where to find them. After our tickets were withdrawn, we hiked back over to The Crazy Mouse.

“Alex, are you ready?” I inquired.

“I.... I guess,” Alex replied, shakily.

“C’mon, let’s go get in line!” August yelled. All three of us smashed ourselves on the end of the swarming group of people.

“This is going to be so fun!” I exclaimed.

“Guys,” Alex squeaked with fear in her voice, “I don’t think I wanna do this.”

“Alex, you’ll be fine,” August replied simply, “Just pretend Justin Bieber has been on this.”

“Yeah, you’ll be fine. This ride isn’t even scary,” I stated.

“Okay,” Alex uttered, slinking back into her nervous shell. It was time to get into the car once we had stopped talking. The ride was not any more gripping than usual, but it was fun with my friends. Once we exited, August and Alex concluded to go on another ride, The Scrambler. At this point, off to the west, the sky was inky and clouded.

“The sky looks really bad,” I spit out.

“I know,” Jen replied, “I hope it doesn’t start raining while the girls are on the ride.” Just as she finished her sentence, the wind picked up. My hair was whipping around my face (which is really something for me) and I could immediately smell the scent of rain. I looked up and saw the slate colored sky. The clouds had enveloped the rest of the sky to a color looking as black as a raven. I turned to Jen and made a contorted face, eyes wide. She nodded in response, knowing it was going to cut-loose.

As soon as the girls got off of the ride we sprinted to the nearest shelter. “I want my Mom!” Alex complained.

“Alex, we are going to be fine,” I retorted, sighing, “It’s just a thunderstorm.” As soon as I spoke, I turned around to see a man losing his baseball cap. It was picked up by the wind and thrown a few yards ahead of him. I could see him fighting with himself, wanting to run after it, but not wanting to take the risk. I quickly dashed after it, knowing I would feel guilty if I didn’t. I lifted the beautiful New York Yankees cap off of the ground like it was a piece of artwork that shouldn't be touched by human hands. I quickly turned around and handed him the hat.

“Thank you!” he yelled over the wind. I stopped quickly to flash him a grin, but quickly ran back to meet up with the girls, who had still not moved.

“Let’s go to the chicken coop!” Jen screamed over the ear-splitting wind. We all dashed to the shelter, fearing for our lives.

“Excuse me!” I screeched, pushing through people to get into the barn. We entered and I instantly became claustrophobic. There were so many people we could barely move without stumbling into another person.

“Where is my Mom?” Alex questioned.

“She’s fine. She is in The Ball State Barn with Chase. They’ll be fine,” Jen interjected, “Now let’s walk around and get our minds away from the storm.” After strolling through the barn seeing almost every rabbit and bird possible, Alex got a text from her Grandma.

“Oh my gosh,” Alex whispered with shock on her face, “My Grandma said that the stage collapsed.”

“What?” I asked, not believing what she had said. She then proceeded to hand me her phone which read, I heard the stage collapsed at the fair. Apparently people are hurt. Are you okay? I immediately pulled my phone out of my jean shorts, trying to get onto the world wide web, with no luck. Dang it. “The Internet in here stinks, I can’t get on Google or,” I announced.

“Let’s just hope everyone is okay,” Alex feared. At that point Michelle and Chase had popped up behind us, drenched to the bone. Alex and her Mom embraced, happy that both were safe and unharmed. The rain had let up some so we decided to try to leave before it got too late. We had reached the entrance of the Midway before the next section of rain came. We took cover near the beautiful fair food, that was now all closed.

All of a sudden there was an ear- splitting sound which I figured out was a siren of an ambulance. “An ambulance! For the stage collapse!” I screamed. We then attempted to cross the street, which failed because we were yelled at by a cop.

“MOVE! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” the officer screamed. After everyone had moved, 3 or 4 ambulances rushed past us, probably on the way to help people. After this traumatic event, we made our way to the cars without any interruptions.

“Bye,” I waved at Alex, getting into Augie’s car, “listen to the radio on the way home, watch the news tonight. I’ll talk to you once school starts!” Jen, August, and I made way to my house listening to the news the whole time.

“Be safe,” Jen pleaded as I exited the car.

“You too,” I replied, “Augie, text me later.”

“I will,” she responded. At this point I was almost sobbing from the tension, trying not to break out in tears in front of my friend and her mom. I hobbled over to my doorstep, barely able to hold my head up. I pulled out my phone, typed in the password, to no avail. I was so jumbled I couldn't think straight. After many more failed attempts, I finally got my iPhone open. I clicked on phone app and went on to dial my Dad’s number. No answer. I was starting to shiver, for I was still drenched from the storm, which had now blown over. I then dialed my Mother’s number.

My phone rang, once, twice, three times, finally an answer. “Ketta?”

“Mom! Can you please come open the door for me?”

“Don’t you have your key with you?”

“Oh, yeaaa... Sorry, I’m a little stressed and really wet. Be up in a sec.” I proceeded to hang up the phone. I slipped my phone back into my pocket and unzipped the front pocket of my purse. No key. I pulled my hand out, frustrated with myself for not remembering any of these things. I quickly unzipped the back pocket and shoved my hand in. Viola. There was my key. I shoved the key into the door and pushed it open.

“Breathe,” I whispered to myself, “You’re gonna be fine.” I sat down on my mudroom steps. They were covered in dirt, mud, and shoes (mostly my Dad’s). I brought my right foot up on my knee and untied my custom Converse. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Shoe one was untied and off. I wiggled my toes and pointed and flexed my foot, letting it breathe. I put my right leg down and put my left leg on my knee. Starting to untie my lace I thought to myself, How many people are dead? How many people are hurt? Do I know anyone that was there? What about that man I saw in the ambulance, is he alive? I quickly started hyperventilating, too much to think about at one time. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Vacketta, you’re going to be fine. I realized my shoe was untied, I slipped it off hastily and threw it at the wall, channeling all my anger, pain, and tears into the wall.

I lay my head on my hands, almost in tears. My heart and my head were fighting.

“You’re acting stupid,” my mind screamed.

“People are hurt. People are DYING! You have a right to cry,” my heart protested.A sharp pain entered my throat, feeling like someone was shoving a knife down it. Following my mind, for now, I trudged up the stairs, still trying to keep my cool. I sprinted into my parent’s room, hearing the t.v. on already.

“Turn on the news right now,” I roared.

“What happened?” My mom asked.

“The stage collapsed and I just wanna make sure, just make sure...” I had started to cry, at first it was small and subtle, but slowly grew louder and louder, until I was full on bawling. My heart had won.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

“According to the police 3 people are dead and around 20 are injured,” the reporter on the t.v. said.

“NO! This.. Sniff.. This is why I’m crying. The stage just collapsed. It’s not fair. People. Are. Dying. Or already dead. Why?!”

“Ketta. The world isn’t always fair,” my Dad said.

“But people are being killed!”

“It has just been announced that 4 people have been pronounced dead with a little over 40 in hospitals around the Indianapolis area,” The reporter started, “The cell service at the fair is really bad right now, so we need to rely on social networking. If anyone was at the fair and is still alive, send out a tweet or update your facebook telling your family you are okay.”

“I don’t wanna talk about it right now. I’m really cold and I needa take a shower,” I pouted.

“You can use our shower if you want to,” my Mom spoke, trying to comfort me.

“Whatever,” I began, still crying. “I’ll be back after I’m done showering. I’m watching the news before I go to bed.” I walked into my parent’s bathroom and walked up to the floor length mirror. I looked like a dog lost from home on a rainy day. My pixie haircut was wet and tangled. My face was red and soaked with tears. My eyes were bloodshot and still pouring tears. My clothes were so wet they were almost not there anymore. I looked horrid, almost too gross to look at.

I entered the shower and immediately felt the hot water washing away my pain. The dirt, blood, and tears were finally washing off. When I got out, I quickly changed into my comfortable pajamas, grabbed my blanket, and ran into my parent's room to watch the news.
“Anything new?” I asked, hopping onto the bed.

“Nope,” my Mom replied. I turned toward the t.v. and saw the time. It was around 11:30. My Dad was already asleep next to me.

“Mommy, can I sleep in here tonight?”

“Of course, Ketta. Why don’t you go to sleep now though.”

“Can you please keep the news on?”

“Yea, I will.”

“Love you.”

“Love you more.”

“Love you most. I win.”

“Night, Ketta.” As my eyes started to close, I knew that this was going to be a long night.

The author's comments:
This is the story of the night of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

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