It seems like it all happened yesterday...well maybe because it WAS just
yesterday. It was totally unexpected. Sure, a few bad storms, so what? No biggie.
And, yeah, true, there were tornado warnings for surrounding areas in the suburbs.
But I mean, c'mon...we weren't worried. How could a tornado happen in a city, right?
Well...let's just say this: always 3xp3ct the unexpected.
So it began as a normal day. I woke up to the sounds of horns beeping on Michigan
Ave. I opened my window for fresh air, but was only greeted by the choking fuels and
gases in the air. So much for that.
I dressed in my fav outfit (a pink Ac/DC tank top and a dark blue pair of Bermuda
shorts completed with hot pink flip flops) and headed into the kitchen. We lived in a
200 story condo on the 42nd floor.
My mom was making scrambled eggs and had the TV on too. The news was on and the
weatherman was reporting.
"WE have strong winds coming in from Iowa," he informed viewers, "and a slight risk
of tornados developing in the northwest. Other than that, showers and t-storms are
expected throughout the day."
Nothing too exciting, right? Well....
"Can't you even say good morning?" my mom teased.
I broke my glance away from the TV. "What? Oh, yeah, sorry..."
She went back to the eggs and i switched the TV off. Typical Chicago weather. What's
the big deal?
I ate a fast breakfast and only when I was done scarfing down my food, I realized my
dad and sister, Brandy, weren't eating with us.
"Where's Dad and Brandy?" i asked with a full mouth of toast.
"They went to Navy Pier today," my mom explained.
"Why didn't we go?" i asked, jealous.
"Because I said the weather was going to be too bad but your father said it was OK,
so he got Brandy to side with him and they left."
"So I'm supposed to be siding with you?" i asked.
She nodded. No fair, I thought to myself.
But I dismissed it and headed into my room. Outside the window it was a clear blue
sky and sunny, and the temperature was 70 dergrees already and it was only 11 in the
I was sure the storm would pass over.
They usually did...
Later that day, it was still sunny. My mom even looked a little disappointed that she
wasn't right about the weather. I knew she felt guilty because Brandy was over at
Navy Pier having a great time on the ferris wheel and chairswing ride, and I was
stuck here at home, playing on gSm for 3 hours.
"Honey, why don't you get some air?" she suggested after I lost my 6th photoshoot in
I sighed, but agreed. I took a key and my cell phone and headed down to ground level
in the elevator.
I walked out of the building and turned onto East Congress Parkway and pushed through
huge crowds visiting the Taste of Chicago. (Taste of Chicago is when there is music
and different foods to try and stuff and on the 4th there are fireworks). Then I
passed Buckingham Fountain and walked on Lake Shore Drive by the lake.
I noticed there was a breeze picking up, but that's normal. I mean, we are called the
Windy City, right?
Anyway, I had a feeling the storm would pass over.But a smaller feeling in the back
of my mind, very veyr very small feeling, told me I was so wrong.
I cirlced back around and walked home to find my mom had gone out to the Watertower
to shop. Thanks for including me, Mom.
I sighed. I tried logging onto the internet, but the wireless internet was down.
I switched the TV on. The sky outside was cloudy, but still sunny too. If there was a
storm coming, it was progressing very slowly.
I watched some reruns of Friends and cooked myself some mac n cheese for a quick
lunch. When I was done eating, i tried the internet again. Still down.
There were TV warning scrolling across the bottom of the screen on TV...there was
just a storm watch for us. Wow, exciting.
I shut the TV off and looked outside. By now it was darker and the sun had
disappeared. But this was no problem for people out and about on the streets. It was
simply just a relief from the hot sun.
Some storm, i thought...
t was 4 p.m. now and Mom still hadn't come home. Neither had Dad or Brandy, but i
figured they would be staying late.
Outside, it was pitch black out. The storm had finally arrived. Little raindrops
began falling, but people below seemed unaware of the coming rain and went on to
whatever they were doing.
I sighed. I wanted to call my best friend Lily, but I planned on going to her house
and I really didn't feel like walking in the rain.
The internet was still down and the TV was all staticky (sp?). Nothing to do...
I tried fixing the antenna on the TV, which helped a little, but gave me an electric
shock. I was already in a bad mood, so when I did that, i got even madder and kicked
the side of the TV. The picture suddenly became clearer.
Weird...but I was happy, as long as it was working. The news was on again and they
had weather first thing.
"As you can tell by looking outside," the weatherman, Tom Skilling, reported, "you
can see it is indeed getting darker and rain has began falling. WE should see some
severe weather in the next half hour--"
Just as he finished saying that the power zipped off. I groaned. This wasn't my day
I grabbed a flashlight and headed into my gloomy room. Outside, it had gotten darker.
It was now almost as dark as night.
I stared out the window in surprise. There were a few people along the streets with
newspapers or umbrellas over their heads hurrying to shelter before they could get
soak from the pouring rain now falling. The Taste was still crowded, but not as
crowded and it appeared a lot of people were leaving. A few brave souls, though,
decided to stick out with the weather and stay at the Taste.
I looked at the clouds. Was it just me or were they....ROTATING? I shook off the
thought. Get real, Serena, I told myself. Like there's going to be a tornado in
I noticed a huge group of Cubs fans walking down Lake Shore Drive. They must have
come from a rained out Chicago Cubs game. I personally was a White Sox fan, but when
you live right near Wrigley field, you have to deal with Cubs fans all around you.
A bolt of lightening struck the Sears Tower in the distance. True, I had an amazing
view, but it seemed the storm was louder higher up.
And plus, if you were more high up and there was a tornado...i scolded myself. As if
there was going to be a tornado downtown! Uh...right?
I gulped as a lightening strike struck the Tower again. Why was I getting all worked
up over nothing?
Thunder rumbled in the distance. My flashlight was dying and we had no others. I was
going to be stuck in the dark if I couldn't find batteries while I still had light.
And no, we didn't have candles because...actually I'm not sure, but we don't have
them. So my only hope was the flashlight and new batteries.
I rummaged through kitchen drawers, but all I found were 2 C+ batteries. No good.
The flahslight dimmed and the light eventually disappeared altogether. I had tried
calling Mom on my cell but she didn't answer and I was beginning to lose signal
I sat on my bed, looking out the window. I could have sworn i saw a tint of green in
the East in the clouds, which usually happens when there are tornados. But I was just
imagining things. I was almost sure of it. Almost.
Another thunder. The 13th one in the past 40 seconds. I was counting.
It was windy outside now. Way winder than I had ever seen it. I got a weird feeling
in the pit of my stomach. What was going to happen?
More lightening and some more thunder. This one shook the building. I gulped back
fear and the wanting of calling my Mom. I was NOT going to call her again. I was not
a baby. This was just a passing storm. It would blow over eventually.
But why couldn't I believe that?
"Weeeee whooooooooooo....." what the?
I jumped off my bed and over the window. I pressed my ear up agaisnt it and
"Weeee whooooooooooooooooooooooo.....weeeeee whoooooo..." I stepped back and tripped
over my rug, toppling over my bed and onto the floor.
I stood back up and listened again.
"Weeee whoooooo..... weeee whooo..." Yup. Those were definately tornado sirens.
Well, actually they were civil defense sirens, as my mom told me later. But as I sat
there listening to them, I didn't care what they were called. I just wanted it to
I grabbed my cell, though i knew perfectly well that there was no signal. I also
grabbed the dead flashlight. Hmm, it won't do any good...
But I didn't care. Just before I was going to go in the basement of the building, I
had an idea.
I threw my cell and flashlight onto my bed and took out my video camera. Why was I
doing this? I asked myself. I need to get downstairs, to safety. But yet, I turned on
the camera and pointed it out the window.
Here's the link to the video, in case you want to know:
As another BOOM of thunder sounded, I gasped and grabbed the flashlight and my cell.
I held onto my camera. This could be history.
I ran downstairs and pressed the v button for the elevator. Then i remembered the
power was out.
"***!" i muttered and headed toward the stairs. I ran down them and into the lobby.
There was nobody there.
Then I ran down into the small basement, which was empty.
"Hello?" I called. There was no answer. Where had everyone gone?
I heard a huge rumble like a freight train. But there weren't any freight trains
I dropped the flashlight and my cell and set my camera down onto a box of tools. I
sat down and sat indian style and tucked my head in and covered it with my arms, like
they taught us in school.
That's when it hit.
I took a deep breath as the impact came. It felt like I was going to be sucked into
the air, but I focused on putting all my weight into my legs. I took another deep
breathe to keep from shaking.
Things flew around and then it stopped. It was quiet except for horns and sirens. The
wind died down and everything stopped flying.
I slowly stood up. The building's east wall has been plowed through but that was it.
It was over?
The sirens were still going, but I didn't see a sign of a storm.
Wait...what was that?
The last tip of the twister disappeared up into the clouds.
I sighed and climbed over a pile of destruction and outside. There actually wasn't
much damage. A few buildings were knocked down a little and there was garbage
everywhere. But it didn't seem too bad.
Except...wow....a tornado had actually just happened in a city...
in CHICAGO. Whoa.
I scruffled through the debris and found my way up the stairs. Back in the apartment,
the table was pushed around and the fridge fell.
Not much damage for one of the highest floors..
I got my phone and tried to call mom, remembering the video camera. I ran back down
to see what the camera captured.
It turns out when I had my head down the top three floors fell. My dad, and Brandy,
and my mom were all on the top floor.
they weren't shopping or going to the Navy Peir. They were planning a surprise party
for my Aunt.
I don't know why they didn't bring me.
If I was there, I would be with them right now, In heaven.
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