For Children

Emily Gaw

A Dream?

2012 3rd-4th Grade Prose Winner

It was a still, hot day in summer. One of those days where the doors and windows had to be left open to tempt even the slightest breeze. The clothes hung limp on the clothes line and the usually cold fresh water tasted hot and stale.

Marcher and Pitch were loitering around lazily chewing on dry brown grass, as it was too hot even for Pa to do the field work that needed to be done. He was making bullets to replace the empty stock in his gun. I was too hot even to play, so Minnie and I sat and played with "baby" Lucy. It was even too hot for that, but it was the only thing we could think of except for the banned idea of stripping off these stifling leggings.

We were playing Miss Mary Mack with little Lucy...

Miss Mary Mack

All dress in black

With silver buttons

All down her back

She asked her mother

For fifty cents

To see the elephants

Jump over the fence

The jumped so high

They touched the sky

And they never come back

Till the 4th of July

Lucy loved that game, and it distracted her from the dismal weather.

Suddenly, Lucy ran outside. I followed. Across the grass was a long black funnel reaching up into the sky. It was tearing grass up at an alarming speed. I scooped up Lucy and ran back into the house with her screaming in my arms.

"Ma, Tornado!" I screamed.

Ma was startled and dropped the ball of dough she had been kneading. "Really?!" She ran out to see for herself. As she came back in she called, "Minnie! Tornado! Gather..." and she began to list the precious items that would have to be saved.

Pa was well informed too by Ma's shout. He grabbed Lucy from my arms, opened the trapdoor leading to the cellar and climbed down with her. I grabbed Lainy, my doll, and her little box bed, and waited for Ma and Minnie in the cellar. It was frantic. At last they climbed in, arms full of precious china.

It was dark down there. Lucy seemed to be enjoying herself. She was the only one. Ma and Pa looked tense and wary, but silent and waiting. Minnie was fidgeting. I felt like fidgeting too. Lainy was the same as ever, little brown curls bouncing around a pink rag face, blue eyes motionless, red lips curved into a kind smile.

The sound of a roaring tornado suddenly filled the air drowning out all else. It whipped and screamed, then all was quiet and still.

Moments later Pa whispered, "it should be safe now." So we climbed out. No damage had been done except that our chimney had been torn off. Pa would need to fix that. Marcher and Pitch were frightened but not harmed, and before long were back to munching lazily.

As the hazy heat of the day over-took our wariness, we settled into our regular routines once again. Ma pounding bread. Lucy clapping and singing "Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack..." and Lainy tucked in her little box bed, trying her darndest to finally doze off.