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“Well, folks, it seems like there’s a bad twister heading our way, with winds up to about 100 miles an hour—”
Sadie clicked the television shut and picked herself up from the floor, padding across the wooden boards. She flung open the door, a small smirk forming on her lips at the satisfactory bam! as it slammed shut.
The wind was rising, no doubt, and the smell of earth and fresh grass filled the air. A threatening mass of dark clouds gathered in the distance, not too far away. Sadie watched lightning jump out and strike the ground, like someone had shot a jagged laser into the darkness.
Soon a dark funnel began to twist its way toward her. It started out in the horizon, just a small speck on a flat plain, but it came sooner than expected. The winds became more violent than before, sweeping her hair up. She observed the upcoming tornado for a few more moments, fascination and curiosity clear in her blue-gray eyes, then made her way inside.
Her notebook lay on the kitchen table, a pencil and eraser at its side. Sadie picked it up, thumbing the worn-out edges and opened it up to where a photo stared back at her. A smiling woman, her expression carefree and joyful, with not a worry in the world. Sadie sighed bitterly as she looked over her dead mother’s face once again and closed the notebook.
Her attention drew to the couch, where he laid, completely passed out. She took a deep breath to calm before walking toward him, chanting in her head, ‘I WILL stay calm. I DON’T CARE what he says. I WON’T let him get to me. I WILL stay calm.’
“Dad,” she called, forcing herself to shake his shoulder and shrinking back inwardly, disgusted. “Dad. There’s a twister coming.”
A whisky bottle lay on the floor, its contents already soaked into the rug. The smell of alcohol rose from the unconscious man’s lips. He cradled another bottle in his arm.
Said man was stone-still, only his chest moving up and down with each ragged breath he took.
She was about to keep on shaking him, persisting on waking him up, when something made her stop.
It had happened last night, and the memory was still fresh in her head. To tell the truth, it had happened many times before also, but it was only last night that he dared to push his luck so far.
She’d been sitting at the small, rickety table that served as both a desk and a dining surface. He’d been lounging on a wooden chair, a new bottle of whisky in his hand. She’d opened up her notebook and begun to write, her pencil scratching away at the paper furiously. She heard him take another long glug of alcohol before slamming the bottle onto the table, staring at her.
“That homework?” he asked, speech slightly slurred.
She didn’t answer. She refused to.
“Do you need help? Is it history? I could help you.”
‘Yeah, right,’ she thought, smirking inwardly.
“What are you writing? Let me see.” Her father made a move to grab at her notebook.
Sadie abruptly stood up, sending her chair screeching backwards and gathered up her textbook and notes. She turned to exit the room, but her father gripped her wrist tightly. She struggled to pull her arm out of his iron-like hold while glaring fiercely at him. She finally succeeded in freeing herself with a swift jerk and stalked out of the kitchen, slamming the door behind her.
“I am your FATHER, young lady!” she heard him shout.
“Some father you are,” she muttered angrily.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Out,” she shouted back. “Away. Away from you, at least.”
There was a pause. Then a loud crash filled the house. Something banged against the kitchen door and it didn’t take an idiot to guess that her father was throwing a fit again.
“Fine, then, you b****! Get out! And don’t come back!”
“Gladly!” she laughed, slightly giddy with the satisfaction of making her father angry.
“Get out! Don’t come back!”
“You said that already,” she taunted.
“Get out like that slutty woman who had you! Get OUT!”
He appeared in the doorway, rage on his stubble-filled face. A withering glower was sent her way.
Her expression hardened and she immediately turned and left, running far away from the place that she despised so deeply; the place she was supposed to call home. It didn’t matter that he’d insulted her. She’d gotten used to it anyway. But what filled her deep inside with such a dark loathing, such a black, cold hate, was the fact that he’d insulted her mother.
Her devoted mother, who’d loved him all those years even though he took up different women each night.
Her caring mother, who’d prepared homemade meals to save money and scrambled to collect every single piece of spare change, only to have it spent by the selfish old bas**** on his prized drinks.
Her dead mother, who lay in the grave because her father refused to spend even a penny on medicine for her pneumonia, resulting in her death.
Oh, how she HATED him.
She’d stopped in front of her mother’s grave and traced the letters etched into stone: Maria Brook Connors. 1972-2008.
She could take it no more. She couldn’t keep it inside any longer. And so she knelt there in front of her mama’s tombstone, ears covered, eyes closed, and let out a sharp, heart-shattering scream.
Now she glanced down at the drunken man in disgust. She immediately withdrew her outstretched hand and stumbled back. She didn’t care if he didn’t wake up. She would never care. It wasn’t her fault, anyway. She’d tried. This would be her revenge.
The rain was pouring now, sliding smoothly over the windows like glaze. Sadie quickly wrapped her mother’s old cardigan around herself, then ran out into the thunderstorm. Her fingers fumbled with the lock on the cellar door and finally opened it and scrambled into the safety of the underground shelter. The notebook was dumped onto the bunk bed and she lay there, pulling the cardigan around her tighter.
Outside, the winds screamed above the faint sirens. There was loud crackling and rustling as the trees swayed back and forth. The cellar door shook violently.
'Blow it down', she prayed silently. 'Blow it all down. Blow the house down and please take him with it. Please. Let him die.'
And whatever higher power there was heard her.
She stood in front of her father’s freshly-dug grave, the earth still upturned beneath her feet. His tombstone read: Andre Connors. 1970-2012.
Sadie felt a wave of relief, a wave of happiness. She almost let a smile turn the corners of her lips until she remembered she was at a funeral.
“…Andre was a good man,” the pastor concluded. “He will always remain in our hearts and our souls, though he rests in the ground. God bless him and his daughter, Sadie Connors.”
She planted her feet in the ground firmly, the wind whipping her hair this way and that in the pouring rain. Her past, her pain, her hate, her father—they all were gone in the tornado, blown away. And she felt free.