UPDATE: The winners are…Pansy, Colleen, bn100, Debra, and Sue!
When my sister Delilah Devlin puts out the call for a short story anthology, I can’t resist. She does such a good job of choosing the stories to be included, and I feel honored that she lets me participate. The stories are so varied and by such a talented group of authors!
When we decided on a theme of First Responders, I knew where I wanted to set my story. It had to be in my Hellfire Series. It gave me a chance to revisit the town and to introduce two new characters. And it’s always a huge challenge to pack a complete story into five thousand words! Okay, so I always go over the five thousand…
I live in a part of the US called “tornado alley.” Just 40 miles north of me is Joplin, Missouri, a town devastated by a tornado not long ago. I decided I needed a tornado to hit my little town of Hellfire, Texas. Tragedy, adversity, and forced proximity (trapped with someone else) can bring two people together to work out their problems. I hope you enjoy my story about Logan Mitchell and Charlotte Jones and how they survive the devastation of a tornado.
Excerpt from “Sheltering Charlotte”
Passions ignite between a cop and a city girl trapped in a cellar while a storm ravages Hellfire, Texas
At the end of his shift, Logan parked his service vehicle and climbed into his truck. The wind had grown wickedly strong, slapping the trees around. A wall of ominous clouds charged like a freight train from the southwest, spewing bolts of lightning and continuing clashes of thunder.
Logan swung by the diner to offer Charlotte a ride home as the rain started to fall. He parked in front of the building, left his truck running, and ran inside.
“Charlotte?” he called out.
Al stuck his head around the swinging door. “Left an hour ago. Said she wanted to get home to sand her floors. You need anything before I close up? That storm’s gonna be a doozy. I want to get home and into my storm cellar before it hits. Weatherman says it’s prime condition for twisters. Got a tornado watch for this area.”
“Go home. It’s getting bad out there,” Logan said. “I’ll check on Charlotte.”
As Logan left the diner, a weather alert sounded on his cellphone. He glanced down at the text.
Tornado on the ground five miles southwest of Hellfire heading northeast at twenty miles per hour. Seek shelter immediately.
Logan’s pulse quickened.
If Charlotte was using an electric sander, she wouldn’t hear the alert on her cellphone.
Just then the town’s tornado siren spun up, blaring its warning to all.
Hell, Charlotte might not hear the siren, either.
Breaking the speed limit, Logan raced down Main Street toward Charlotte’s place, just past Lola’s. He pulled into the driveway as the wind whipped leaves and branches from the trees. He jumped from his truck and raced up the front porch steps. Over the blare of the tornado siren, he heard another sound that made his blood run cold and his feet move faster.
A heavy roaring sound, accompanied by sideways rain, made him glance toward the end of Main Street.
That’s when he saw it. A wide funnel cloud, pounding the earth, spinning everything up in its path, headed straight for Hellfire. Sheets of mangled tin roofing, boards, huge tree branches were caught up in the funnel and flung outward.
If you haven’t read any of the Hellfire series, you can check them out HERE. Comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of HELLFIRE, TEXAS, the first book in the series. I’m giving away 2 ebook copies, so you have twice the chance of winning!