It was pouring down the rain as I slowly drove down the road. The road was really slick because there was deep water laying everywhere. Heavy rain had been falling for hours. The wipers were on as high as they would go, but still did not help me to see where I was going. The rushing of the river alongside the road made me nervous. Had I been able to see it I might have felt better, but I couldn't. My headlights were on high but they only helpedme weave around water laying in the road. I came around a turn and was completely startled by a man standing on the side of the road. I knew what my mother had said about strangers but I couldn’t just let him walk in the rain. I stopped the car and rolled down the window. “Hey, want a ride?” I shouted over the loud rain. Quickly he opened the front door and got in, then closed it. He was well dressed for a hitchhiker. He looked like he worked in an office. I wondered why he was walking on a night like this. Where was he going? I was lost in thought when he said, “Where are you headed?” I acted like I didn’t hear him. We drove in silence for a while.
The river was frighteningly close to the road and it looked black because it was dark. Suddenly, I could see lights up ahead from an emergency vehicle. A policeman was directing everyone to go back the way we came and turn out a side road because the road was flooded. I followed the car in front of me. I didn’t know the road we were turning on. Where did it lead? It was very dark and it was raining harder than I had ever seen it rain. Out of the corner of my eye, something caught my attention beside of the road. It was water!!!! Where did it come from? Could I make it out this road? The hitchhiker was asleep. He apparently was not worried at all. I kept driving but there were no street lights and I couldn’t hardly see the road. Up ahead there were lights again. I rolled down my window and the man was telling us to go up this road to get to higher ground. He said there were some businesses up there. I drove up the road and there was a restaurant and a hotel.
About the time I reached the parking lot, the hitchhiker woke up. Across town, I could see water running down streets and down the way we had just came from. We went in the restaurant, soaked and dripping, from the pouring rain. I asked where the restroom was and went to dry my hair. It was 3 a.m. I knew when daylight came I would be able to figure out where I was and where I needed to go. When I came out of the bathroom, I sat down at a table. The hitchhiker was gone. I ordered food and coffee. Finally, I started to wonder where the hitchhiker had gone. The rain continued to fall. Soon daylight came and I was astounded to see that most of the roads were out. The road through town looked stable enough so I got back in the car and started driving. I drove up the hill not knowing what I would find.
I kept looking around but nothing looked familiar. Water was still deep in some areas and it was still raining. I tried to drive away from the flooding. I finally made it to the next town over and realized I was only about an hour from my parent’s house. The funeral is tomorrow and I knew I had to find my way. Some of these roads were flooded too but nothing like where I had just come from. I stopped at a store and looked at my phone. I tried to call my mom but it wasn’t working. The store was closed. The sign on the door said they had no power. The rain was pouring down and the wind started to pick up. I had no shelter and none of the businesses here seemed to be open. Suddenly, I looked up and inside of the store I seen the hitchhiker. How on earth did he get in there? He looked like he was looking at me but it was like he didn’t see me. I heard a rumble in the distance but not very far away. Then lightning flashed. I knew something bad was coming and I was going to have to find shelter. I got out of the car and started trying every door of every business. Finally, one was unlocked. I went in. It was dark but I started searching for a closet or a bathroom that I could find shelter in. The wind howled and it seemed as if the entire building was shaking. I found a closet and I tossed everything out of it and got in and sat down. I could hear the rain and the thunder. Everything was so loud!!! Now I knew what people were talking about when they said that a tornado sounded like a freight train. It didn’t last long even though it seemed like forever. I had to push debris off of me to find my way out. My car was fine but the building was very damaged. There were downed trees and debris all over the road.
I got on the road that I thought would lead to my parent’s house. It was still pouring down the rain and my wipers did not seem to be doing much of anything to help me see the road. There were only a few cars on the road. I passed a creek that had been out in the road and then receded but was now starting to rise again. The drains were overflowing. I came to a bridge and I decided to get out and see what was happening. I parked on the side of the road and walked to the middle of the bridge. I had never seen water that high before. This was a pretty high bridge and the water was on about a foot from reaching the bottom. The funny thing is this river helped me remember where I was. I jumped back in the car and headed up the road. At the top of the ridge, I stopped, and I stared in amazement. My parent’s town was flooded. I tried my phone again but it would not work. I turned on the radio and the news was on. The first thing it said was 58 people were killed when a tornado hit a small town in the South. It went on to talk about all of the flooding. I could see emergency crews at the bottom of the hill. I decided to walk down there and find out what was going on. The fireman said that the tornado missed this town because of the mountains surrounding it but he went on to say that it did a lot of damage about an hour away. He also said that it was supposed to continue to rain this way for two more days. How could I find out about my parents? I tried to ask him but he wasn’t listening. I got back in the car and the news was talking about all of the damage. It started naming people who had been found. I listened to see if I knew anyone. William and Kathryn Long. That was my mom and dad!!!! They were missing or they were dead? It said to go to the warehouse at Industrial Park to find out. I drove there to see what I could find out. When I got there, water was surrounding the entire building. I walked in and tried to find someone to ask about my parents. I finally heard a woman calling out names. I walked over to her and waited to see what she was saying. She named a bunch of people and finally she said my parent’s names. Then she started naming people that were killed in the small town about an hour away and she said my name. I wasn’t dead!!! What did she mean?