The wind screeched as the rain pounded against my window, echoing around my room. I clutched my teddy bear tighter, covering his ears with my small palms. I shut my eyes and rocked back and forth, begging for the storm to end. Lightening shot down from the sky like a smear of yellow paint, staining the perfect black canvas of the sky, and I began to rock faster as the wind increased. I heard a deafening clap as the tree outside my window began to fall, filling the air with the sound of cracking wood. The tree caught on something invisible against the dark sky and sparks exploded; As the fire creeped along the branches of the tree, my lights disappeared with a pop. Now the flaming tree offered the only source of light, like a lone soldier’s bright torch. I looked around my room in a panicked frenzy, desperately searching for safety. I lunged under my bed, dragging Teddy with me. For my entire life Teddy’s unceasing smile had given me comfort against the many dangers I had faced; but in the dark, hard as I tried, I could not make out his sympathetic grin. Now I sat panting under my bed, the sound of my heart rebounding back to me, matching the drumming of the thunder. At that moment the wind and rain shoved hard and my window shattered with a boom. I screamed and ran blindly for my brothers room, I’d memorized the way long ago. I blundered through his door and yelled out his name, feeling along the walls as I went. A quiet moan come from the direction of his bed and I shot towards it, stumbling over the many toys that littered the ground. I reached for Brandon and felt the tears fall from his swollen, red eyes. Our tears combined as we sat clutching each other and our shrieks matched the violent convulsions of the storm, filling the entire house.
My mother burst through Brandon’s door, her breathing panicked and heavy; I’d never seen her like this and the fear already gushing through my body strengthened. She grabbed us in her arms, and I could feel the nervous sweat dripping through her clothing. Her voice was shaking as she whispered,
“We have to go. Now!” She yanked us off the bed and through the door. My brother and I became quiet as we realized the severity of the situation. No questions were asked as we hurried through the rain to our car, bracing ourselves against the harsh, frigid wind. We stuffed ourselves into the back and my mother ran around the other side, jumping into the driver’s seat. She started the car and we moved down the dark, deserted street; I wondered what had happened to everyone. As we drove the wind and rain slapped across the windshield and branches fell on all sides; with every snap of wood a frightened whimper escaped from Brandon’s lips and I clasped his tiny hand in mine.
Suddenly the rain and wind increased and the water began to rise; first past the wheels, then the door, and finally reached half way up my window. Water sprayed across my face and I moved away from the window.
“Mommy? Why is the water out of the ocean? It’s not supposed to be, is it?” Brandon asked my mother bewildered. She didn’t answer but instead pulled the car over. She placed her hands, pale from gripping the wheel so tight, over her face. Finally she turned to us,
“We’re going to have to leave the car now, alright boys? It’s going to be fine.” She held out her shaking hands and Brandon and I climbed into her arms and held on tight.
As soon as she opened the door, a wave of water splashed over us. I coughed and sputtered as the water entered my mouth and eyes, temporarily blinded. I squinted over at Brandon and my mother; although coughing too, they seemed alright. My mother held us tighter as she stepped carefully out of the car; the water, already up to her waist, surged determinedly down the street, sweeping away anything in its path. I shuddered and squeezed her tighter, reaching over to take hold of Brandon’s hand. My mother moved with the flood, attempting to find shelter, but every door we banged, every bell we rung, did not answer. My mother began to cry and upon seeing this, Brandon and I cried with her. Our tears blent in with the rain drops and we stood there on an unknown porch, frozen with fear and hopelessness.
“I’m sorry boys’” she said and wiped away her tears; she moved forward once more but the water had strengthened and her feet were swept away from under her. With a heartless splash the water enclosed us in its ice cold prison, dragging us along the current. With a simple tug I was ripped away from my mother, Brandon still tightly clasped in my grip. The image of my mother was fleeting as the water carried us farther away, her screams hardly audible as we were jerked up and down by the cruel current. I did my best to hold on to Brandon but his small hand became slippery in mine and he too was wrenched away. I screamed from under the water, a cloud of bubbles rising from my open mouth and popping at the surface, releasing my cry of despair. I desperately attempted to swim towards him but the current pushed me back and I became tired; now it was a struggle to even lift my head above the choppy water. The water covered my head and my lungs became strained for air; my chest burned as I reached for the surface but I was only pushed down farther. My head felt as though it would burst and my ears filled with pressure; I could not escape from this prison as the hero’s I had read about always could. I closed my eyes and gave up.
Two young boys, 2-year old Brandon and 4- year old Conner Moore, were found dead in Staten Island, one of the areas hit hardest by the storm. Their bodies were found 100 feet from each other.
Ava McEnroe, Age 13, Grade 8, Trinity School, Silver Key