Copyright 2012, Lynne Wells Walding
The TV was on low in the next room. Mother was in the kitchen doing household chores, and her many children were outside playing. A shrill siren pierced the air, and Mother ran to the living room to turn up the sound on the TV.
"To all within hearing range . . . there is a monstrous storm bearing down on us. Winds are beyond our measuring capabilities. It's leaving nothing standing in its path. Take underground cover as quickly as possible. This is an emergency. To all within hearing range . . . there is a monst . . . "
There was a flash, and the screen went blank.
Mother looked out the window at her children, happily at play.
The wind was picking up.
She ran to the nursery and snatched up her infant twins. Then out the door, shouting to her children as she ran. "Come quickly. To the storm shelter. There's a terrible storm coming."
Some of the children ran quickly to her. Others hesitated before reluctantly joining. "But, Mother, we were having fun."
By now, the smaller trees were bending over, nearly to the ground.
"Come, children. Now." she shouted against the wind.
From high in a large tree. "Not now, Mother. We're having too much fun."
"You must come down, now. This storm will sweep through and take you with it." She searched the tree tops through tear-drenched eyes. "Please, my children. Come under the ground with me. For just a little while, be buried with me, and I'll keep you safe."
"We'll be okay, Mother. We don't want to give up our tree fort. It's so neat. Look, we can see heaven from here."
"It's not heaven, little ones, it's an illusion. You'll see heaven after you've weathered the storm in my arms."
The wind was blowing so hard now that Mother could barely move against it toward the shelter. The twins clutched her neck, and the other children clung to her skirt, crying. With great effort she herded them to the entrance of the shelter. Then turned . . .
"Please, please, my children," she cried. "Please come to me before it's too late."
"Pretty soon, Mother. Just a few more minutes of fun . . . "
The storm hit just as Mother let the heavy cellar door slam shut overhead, her obedient children at her feet. Thin lines of light from above forced their way through the tiny cracks between the boards. She sat down on the lone bench and held out her arms. They gathered around her and she comforted them, while the storm raged above them.
But her heart was breaking for her disobedient children.
Lost to her forever . . . so they could have a few more minutes of fun.