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Bailey opened the door to his apartment, closing his umbrella while doing so. It was a cold, rainy night in the city of Kansas. Lightning lit up the sky, bolts streaking across. Thunder rumbled as Bailey shut the door and stepped inside. He took off his dripping rain jacket, hung it on its hook, and sighed heavily. He was glad to be back from his work trip. It was a week of talking to clients and making connections with potential buyers of the company's stock. He loved his job, but sometimes it was exhausting. Dropping his things on the table, Bailey went to the fridge to get something to eat. He frowned when he didn't see much. Shrugging his shoulders, he decided to get something delivered.

As he opened his laptop, his phone suddenly vibrated. I wonder who could be messaging me at midnight, Bailey thought curiously. He waited a few moments before unlocking the phone. To his surprise, it was a weather alert. Bailey put the phone down and went back to what he was doing. But the storm outside was interfering with the WiFi signal, so he couldn't. Out of curiosity, Bailey decided to look out the window again. The trees were blowing violently lightning would flash every ten seconds or so. He couldn't hear the rain because his apartment was on the second floor. However, he heard something else. It was the sound of rocks being thrown at his window. Bailey saw white balls of ice falling from the sky. The notification on his phone buzzed longer this time. When Bailey looked at it again, he was confused.

It was a tornado warning. What's a tornado? He thought. He'd just moved here from Boston a few weeks ago, and never experienced anything like this. The white ice, rain, and thunder all ceased suddenly outside. Bailey quickly looked up what a tornado was. Once he found out, he felt a surge of fear. He ran away from the front window, grabbed his phone, and hid inside the bathroom. The walls and ceiling began to shake as Bailey got in the bathtub and messaged a few friends.

The electricity flickered as all the apartment's glass windows shattered. Bailey lowered himself in the bathtub as he heard something that sounded like a roaring waterfall. He'd learned that tornadoes sounded like freight trains, but what he was hearing did not sound like a freight train. The electricity flickered once more before going completely out. The roaring waterfall sound got so loud that Bailey couldn't hear himself scream. That was the last thing he remembered before waking up. Bailey was surrounded by debris.

Broken glass, furniture, and pieces of the wall covered the first floor of his apartment complex. Bailey got up from the bathtub and made his way outside. It was pitch black, cold, and wet. He knew that he had to salvage what he could find of his belongings. So, Bailey went back inside and searched around for a while with his phone flashlight. After two hours of searching, Bailey came up with his wallet and bloody hands from the glass. Amazingly, everything was still inside, including his money and credit cards. As he made his way outside, there were people in orange and white. As soon as they saw him, they came running over and asked him a stream of questions. Afterward, Bailey called two of his friends who lived in the next city over. They picked him up shortly after. After seeing his hand and hearing his story, his friends took him to the hospital and expressed their amazement.

He was very lucky to be alive, they said, considering he'd never been in a tornado before or heard of one. After getting stitches in his hand, Bailey called his boss and told him everything. Due to him not having a home anymore, he would live with a few friends until he could figure out his affairs. They helped him get a new apartment in the next couple of months and drilled him on tornado safety even longer than that. Life slowly returned to normal, but Bailey suffered from post-traumatic stress for a long time. Every time he saw a cloud that looked like a tornado, Bailey would have panic attacks and flashbacks. Thunderstorms were worse. Every time there was a thunderstorm forecasted, he would hide in the bathtub.

After a flashback occurred at one of his friend's houses, they insisted that he needed to get some help. At first, Bailey was too embarrassed to ask for help, because it seemed like an irreverent issue. But after his friends expressed their concerns, Bailey finally accepted help for his post-traumatic stress from a therapist. The sessions lasted for months because Bailey didn't just have post-traumatic stress from the tornado. He had other childhood and family issues that he was dealing with. His mother and father both passed away when he was young.

After their death, he went to live with his grandparents. They were less than sympathetic, however. Bailey's grandfather couldn't handle his hyperactivity and need for attention, and it often resulted in heated arguments with his wife. Eventually, he couldn't take it anymore. When Bailey was sixteen, his grandfather kicked him out. But instead of crumbling as his grandparents thought he would, Bailey figured out how to get a job and an apartment very quickly.

He changed from being hyperactive and attention-seeking to someone completely different. Bailey turned into a shell of his former self to survive in his situation. It wasn't until he met Sheila that things changed. She helped him find a better job and got him into school. Bailey appreciated her help but didn't open up to her until years later. Sheila also helped him make connections and new friendships. She was also the one who insisted he go to therapy for his post-traumatic stress. Therapy helped Bailey develop a healthier mindset and his former personality began to come back. As for his family, they attempted to contact him many times over the years. But Bailey wanted nothing to do with them and continued with his life. I don't need them, he thought. They were never there for me. Bailey still suffered from occasional nightmares from the tornado. But with the help of his friends and therapy, his self-healing journey continued.

June 04, 2020 22:32

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1 comment

A. Y. R
15:39 Jun 08, 2020

I really like how you built up the confusion before the tornado hit, it really made the story suspenseful! Just a couple of pointers: Your story would have a better hook if you started with the sentence: "Lightning lit up the sky, bolts streaking across. Thunder rumbled as Bailey shut the door and stepped inside" The ending did feel a bit rushed, so I would maybe suggest dwelling on Bailey's thoughts and feelings a bit more Other than that, this was a fab story and a very entertaining read!


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