The Storm Cellar
THE STORM CELLAR
Dallas G. Releford
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN, OKLAHOMA HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR MICHAGAN, ILLINOIS, INDIANA AND OHIO EFFECTIVE UNTIL TWELVE O’CLOCK TOMORROW. PEOPLE IN THIS WATCH AREA SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR STRONG WINDS, LIGHTNING, HAIL AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES …
“Turn that darn thing down,” Laura told Randall trying to concentrate on her driving and attempting to make the kids in the back seat behave at the same time. Couldn’t Randall do anything to help her, ever? She wondered why he didn’t want to take any responsibility for anything.
The dusty gravel road in Western Indiana was leading them to a new home and she hoped, to a new beginning where things would surely change for the better.
Randall reached over and turned the volume down on the car radio. “Sorry honey,” he apologized. “I’ve been afraid of storms since I was a kid. I guess I just wanted to hear what we were heading into.”
“Well now is a bad time to tell me that,” she replied applying the brakes in an attempt to miss a squirrel that was sitting in the middle of the road. She stopped the vehicle and slapped the steering wheel with both hands, ”as I was saying, now is a bad time to find out that you’re afraid of storms because Indiana has a lot of them and most of them are bad. It’s just something you’re going to have to learn to live with Randall. Quit being such a big baby. As a matter of fact, there just about isn’t any place that doesn’t have severe weather and tornadoes but just relax and take it easy. We’ll have a nice big deep storm cellar where we’re going to live so you will be safe. Okay?”
“That’s great about the storm cellar,” Randall said patting her on the shoulder. “We’ll make it honey,” he assured her, “since I lost my job at the insurance company two years ago things have been rough but this new job at the bank will work out and you still have your writing. The farm will pay off eventually too. When we’re making a little money, I’ll hire some help and we can spend more time together. You’ll see --- things will get better and everything will be fine.”
She had spent the last two years listening to his promises and wondered if things really would be different. It was her writing that had kept them going and if it hadn’t been for the book she had sold last year, they wouldn’t even have been able to afford the farm they had just bought. “Sure,” she said pulling the Explorer back onto the road again, “things have to get better.”
As she drove down the long winding road, past and present events ran through her mind. The furniture had been delivered yesterday, the electric and gas service had already been turned on and everything else seemed to be going according to the plan. They had started the long drive out from New Jersey the day before yesterday just as the sun was coming up.
Laura King had driven the entire way from New Jersey and her husband Randall, after twenty years of marriage, hadn’t even offered to drive one single mile of the way. After spending all night at a rundown motel in Ohio, she was just about exhausted by the time they had arrived in Indiana.
She remembered many things that she couldn’t get out of her mind. The air conditioner in the Ford Explorer had broken down in Ohio. The only option they had was to ride with the windows down and now the dust was so thick that they all were just about choking to death on it. Randall had insisted on completing the journey and then have the vehicle fixed later, as soon as they got a chance.
She wondered about the three kids in the back seat. Katy was only three years old and tried to imitate everything that Jody did. Jody was twelve and was beginning to take notice of girls but was usually found with a book in his hand. If he popped his eyeballs out, she would try it too. Cindy was the typical teenager of sixteen and usually kept to herself thinking about most of the things young girls her age thought about.
She thought about all the things that had prompted them to want to buy a farm in the country. Randall had lost his job and at his age, it had taken him a long time to find another one. When he did get an offer, a good one, it had been in Indiana. She remembered that things hadn’t always been that way. When they had first got married and even after the kids had arrived, things had been wonderful. They had bought a nice house in a respectable part of Trenton and it looked like they were going to have a good life.
Just when she had thought that things were going to be that way forever, strange things began to happen.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WATCH ---
She turned up the volume enough to hear the last part of the weather bulletin and then just tried to relax so she could watch her driving. She realized that she was way too tense and seemed to be stressed out. Maybe it was just all the driving and worrying about the kids that made her that way but she thought that the heat and the humidity had a lot to do with it. The last thing she wanted was to go off the road and hurt somebody. The Explorer could be replaced but they couldn’t.
She had never driven on gravel before but she was already beginning to learn how treacherous it was. She wasn’t sure which was the worst, the gravel, the dust or the sweltering heat and humidity. She knew that all these things combined could cause her more problems so she told herself to be aware and to stay alert even though her eyelids were about to close and the only thing she wanted was to get a few hours sleep.
Her thoughts returned to the past. Jody had been five then. He had been out in the back yard chasing fireflies. He liked to put them in an old fruit jar and pretend they were fairies. Jody talked to his little friends at the dinner table, when he was taking a bath and sometimes, she could hear him talking to someone when he was supposed to be sleeping. She would quietly open his bedroom door only to discover that he was sleeping and nothing was there with him.
“Turn left on the next road,” Randall told her suddenly interrupting her thoughts and the memories that were almost too painful to recall. “That road should get us out of this dust since it is paved. You’re awfully quiet. Are you mad at me or something?”
“No,” she assured him, “but I was just thinking about some things that happened to us and trying to concentrate on the driving at the same time. I just can’t get those things out of my mind no matter how hard I try.”
“It will go away in time,” he told her, “but if you want to share your thoughts, I’m a good listener.”
“Not especially,” she replied, “because there really isn’t anything to share. I was just thinking about the events that brought us to this point in our lives and you already know about them.”
“Things will be different. We left all that back there behind us,” Randall assured her.
“Mommy, Tracy wants to know how much longer it will be before we get home,” Katy said holding her rag doll snugly in both of her little arms.
Laura had hoped that Katy would forget about her imaginary friends but it appeared that they were still on her mind.
“Oh Katy dear, it won’t be long now but we left all our other friends back there and we’re going to make new ones,” she told her hoping that she would understand. “Do you understand what I’m talking about, Katy?”
“Yes mother,” she said sweetly, “but mommy, Tracy says we have to hurry because a terrible storm is coming.”
“Never mind what Tracy says,” Randall warned her looking back over the seat, “we’re perfectly fine. The weather service will tell us if we’re in any danger.”
“Listen,” Laura said turning up the volume on the radio just in time to get the full weather statement.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN, OKLAHOMA HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING FOR CENTRAL ILLINOIS AND WESTERN INDIANA. SOME TOWNS AND LOCATIONS IN THE PATH OF THIS STORM ARE:
IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS, HUDSONVILLE AND GRAYSVILLE
IN CENTRAL INDIANA, ROBINSON, SULLIVAN AND BLOOMFIELD.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM THAT IS MOVING FROM WEST TO EAST. THERE ARE NUMEROUS REPORTS OF TREES AND POWERLINES DOWN. YOU SHOULD MOVE TO A SAFE PLACE NOW. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO BE IN SULLIVAN COUNTY IN FIFTEEN MINUTES.
Laura turned the volume down quickly because she didn’t want to frighten the kids any more than she had to. “Take the next road on the right,” Randall informed her, “that will get us to the house in less than fifteen minutes but it will be close.”
“It’s headed in our direction,” Laura said getting more concerned than she had been previously.
“We’re going to make it,” Randall assured her, ”but just take it easy and don’t wreck. That would be bad.”
Laura really didn’t need any prompting from him. She knew what Tornadoes could do and she didn’t want to be caught out in one. Everything had become deathly still. Not a leaf moved, not a branch swayed and if it hadn’t been for the noise of the tires on the road, she probably could have heard a leaf drop to the ground. The sky got darker in the west and it was beginning to look like it was already night. A light rain began to fall, the first rain they had seen on their three-day journey.
“See the gravel road on the left --- near the mailbox --- turn in there but be careful. That’s our new home,” Randall said urging her on with the motions of his hands. She could see that he was getting nervous.
“I know where it is,” Laura insisted, “but I appreciate you reminding me.” Laura glanced in the back seat. Katy was holding her doll and looking out the window. Cindy was looking scared but Jody seemed to be unconcerned. She slowed the Explorer down and made a perfect turn into the driveway. She managed to avoid a skid on the wet gravel and colliding with any of the numerous trees that lined the driveway on both sides from the road and almost to the house.
Even through the falling rain and the darkness, she could see the welcoming twelve room white frame farmhouse at the end of the driveway.
She parked the SUV as close to the big porch with the four round, tall white pillars, the concrete steps and the floor that had been painted gray as she could. No sense getting wet if you don’t have to, she reminded herself.
“Mommy,” Katy said, her voice trembling.
The wind was now blowing harder and the trees around the house were swaying back and forth while the hail was beginning to fall hard pounding the vehicle with loud noises that sounded like rocks hitting the metal of the SUV. The sky was darker than Laura had ever seen it and she knew there wasn’t any time to waste. Just when she thought it couldn’t get any darker, it did. The hail that was the size of eggs splattered all over the SUV and on the green uncut lawn.
“What is it Katy?” she asked turning off the wipers and shutting off the engine. She had rolled up the windows just in time to keep them from getting hit with the rain and hail.
“Mommy, Tracy is scared,” Katy replied her voice still trembling and Laura could see tears in her eyes.
“We’ll be safe in a minute,” Laura assured her turning her full attention to Randall. “Take the kids through the house and then directly out to the cellar. Grab some blankets and some food especially bottled water. Everything should be stocked in the refrigerator with all the things that I ordered. That was in my instructions because I didn’t want to go shopping just as soon as we got here. Hurry because we don’t have much time.”
“Don’t worry about a thing,” Randall said. “What are you going to do?”
Before she could answer the question, the radio came back on again.
THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS STORM --- TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. STORM SPOTTERS HAVE REPORTED SEVERAL TORNADOES ON THE GROUND IN SULLIVAN COUNTY MOVING TOWARD SULLIVAN.
“That’s impossible,” Laura shouted frantically holding the ignition key in her hand. “I turned the engine off --- this can’t be happening. The radio can’t be on!”
Randall just looked at her with a blank stare that told her he didn’t understand what was happening either. “No time to worry about that now,” he said. He turned his attention to the kids in the back seat. “Okay guys, grab your personal items and head for the front door while I find the door keys.”
The kids grabbed their small bags from the back seat and got out of the Explorer with the hail pounding them every inch of the way. They used their bags to cover their heads.
“You mean you didn’t even have the damn house keys ready?” Laura asked frustrated and wondering if he could do anything right.
“Don’t be so hostile,” he said taking the keys from his jeans pocket and holding them up for her to see. “Now, what are you going to do while we’re headed for the shelter?” He asked opening the door a little while waiting for her to answer him.
The wind was getting dangerously violent now and the hail was becoming larger. The windshield was starting to crack in several places. “We don’t have much time, get the kids to the shelter in back and I’ll see if I can locate some flashlights, pillows and some other things we need. We don’t know how long we’ll be down there. Move it Randall. I’ll also see if I can find the weather radio that we packed away. I know which box it’s in.”
Randall got out of the car and ran behind her as they joined the kids on the porch. Randall struggled against the wind and the rain trying to get the door open.
“Mom,” Jody yelled as they fought to get the storm door open. The wind was so strong now that it was hard to stand up. “Mom!”
“What is it Jody?” She asked finally taking the key from Randall and sticking it in the lock in the inner door as the storm ripped the screen door from the hinges.
“Mom, Daniel turned on the radio so we could hear the warning,” he told her as they rushed into the house slamming the door behind them. They were finally inside just as the trees began to come apart and the wind scattered branches and limbs in every direction.
“That was nice of him,” she replied, “but we’ll discuss that matter later. For now, you guys grab what you can carry and get to the cellar.”
She rushed through the boxes and garbage bags that were stacked neatly giving them the ones with the blankets, pillows and other items that they might need. As Randall rushed out the back door with his arms full and with the kids following along behind him, Laura got busy in an attempt to find the flashlight and the radio.
She could hear the wind getting much louder and she knew that time was running out. At the last moment, just when she was considering giving up on finding the box with the needed items in it, she stumbled upon the box and almost fell over it. Grabbing what she could and stuffing it into an empty garbage bag, she headed for the refrigerator where she repeated the acquisitions process.
Tossing the heavy bag across her shoulders, she made her way between the boxes and out the back door. It was totally dark by the time she reached the back porch. She seemed to just freeze there for a brief few seconds. Her legs felt like marble and her feet seemed to be frozen to the cold concrete floor of the porch. The rain was blowing horizontally carrying limbs, shingles and just about everything else with it. She heard a creaking, groaning sound and looked in the direction from which it seemed to be coming. All she could make out was a big Oak tree that had very few limbs anymore. Its dark form cast an eerie impression in her already distressed mind.
As she shuddered and attempted to hold her own against the fierce wind, the tree came apart with several pieces of the trunk slamming right past her. All of a sudden, the tree itself was gone just as if a giant hand had plucked it from the ground and pulled it up into the sky. Suddenly she heard a loud rushing noise that made her think that a hundred locomotives were coming at her. She knew she had only a few seconds to get into the shelter and get the door shut.
Just how stupid can that man be, she wondered as she pounded on the closed doors with one fist while trying to hold onto the garbage bag with the other one. She told herself that if she survived the onslaught of the tornado, she was going to absolutely kill him.
She heard someone slide the bar back and she struggled desperately against the wind to open the door but it was just as difficult to close it again. “You kids get as far back away from the door as you can,” she yelled to them casting an evil eye at Randall that said, “I’ll get even with you later buster.” Randall looked like a scolded puppy and decided that it was better not to say anything to her.
She tossed the bag on the dirt floor of the cellar and pulled out three flashlights. She gave one to Cindy, handed the other one to Randall and kept one for herself.
The steel door had been set into a steel frame that seemed to be bolted into the concrete wall so she hoped that it would be secure from the strong winds.
She pushed the button on the MAG-LITE and the powerful beam illuminated the room. The cellar was actually larger than she remembered when they had looked at the property.
Just as she was about to curse her luck, she realized that whoever had built the cellar had designed it with storms in mind. It wasn’t a square room because there was another section that ran off to the right away from the door. Even if the door were sucked out of it’s frame, they would still have some protection from the winds. Had her luck changed for the better?
Her doubts were due to the fact that the kids were still talking about the visitors. With everything that was presently happening to them, it was hard for her to really believe that their escape from the “house of horror” had been a reality.
The roar became increasingly louder and the ground began to vibrate all around them. Even though they were well below ground, they could still hear trees being uprooted and tossed about and other things that told them they were in a lot of danger. Laura was worried most about the door that was really beginning to vibrate and shudder as the tornado moved closer to them.
“Get back into that room as far as you can,” Randall ordered them, “that door could go at any time. We’ll be safe back there around the corner.”
They all huddled together in the far corner of the cellar as the Tornado beat and banged at the door demanding entrance like some monster that wouldn’t give up. From the sound of the strong voice, it was determined to get in.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING FOR THE LAKER FARM IN SULLIVAN COUNTY AND ALL SURROUNDING AREAS.
“What?” Laura yelled not believing her ears. “That radio can’t possibly be on,” she said frantically. “I didn’t get a chance to turn it on and besides that, the NWS doesn’t issue warnings for individual houses or at least I don’t think so.” She rushed over to the garbage bag as the winds grew even louder and poured everything on the cellar floor. She retrieved the weather radio and checked to see if it was on. Just as she had thought, it wasn’t on. She carried it back to the corner where the rest of them were and put it on the floor in front of the kids. “Now,” she demanded, “which one of you can explain that to me?”
“Daniel,” Jody replied nervously pushing his trembling body even farther back into the corner.
“Daniel,” Katy agreed, “and he did it to save us from the storm but Daniel is angry at you mommy.”
“Why is Daniel mad at me?” Laura asked emphasizing the name of Daniel as she had always held that name in complete contempt. He was the little demon that had harassed and tormented them for so long but she had hoped that she had heard the last of him. If it had not been for Daniel and his horde of invisible friends, they wouldn’t be in the predicament they were presently in. Wasn’t it Daniel, Tremor, Figor and Scotch that had done all those terrible things that had driven them from their home? If it weren’t for Daniel and all his demon friends, they would all still be back in New Jersey enjoying the comforts of their country home. If it weren’t for Daniel, her marriage and writing career probably wouldn’t be on the rocks.
“Daniel is angry because you moved us way out here and didn’t want to bring them with us but they came along anyway,” Katy informed her holding the doll closer to her as if she thought that someone was going to take it from her. “Daniel says that you will pay for your actions. They really loved the old place so much better. It had connections.”
Laura wasn’t really too impressed with what Daniel thought and the anger began to swell up inside her. “Well, if they hadn’t done all those horrible things then we might have been able to live there,” she replied hoping that Daniel had heard her yet her mind was denying that he had ever existed except as part of three little kid’s imaginations. Had she seen him and the others on several occasions or had she been imagining things too? She also wondered if it had all just been one long, terrible nightmare that had manifested itself in their lives and wouldn’t let go.
She remembered waking up well past midnight with a horrible creature standing over her with a knife in it’s hand and if that wasn’t a real nightmare then she didn’t know what a nightmare was. Fortunately, the thing disappeared just as Randall turned over and put his arm around her. That was one time that she was really glad that he was around because she wasn’t sure what the creature would have done if he hadn’t awakened enough to put his arm around her.
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by another sound similar to a train and within seconds, something heavy hit outside and something knocked the door down.
The kids began screaming and clinging to each other as the strong winds blew into the room. It was as if a giant hand with long fingers was searching for them, trying to pull them from the safety of the room. Dust, leaves and their possessions swirled around the room but just as suddenly as it had started it ended.
Randall stuck his head around the corner and looked at the door. “A big tree trunk knocked the door in,” he said almost too calmly to suit Laura, “but the worst of the storm seems to be over.”
“Can we get out Randall?” Laura stood beside him surveying the extensive damage to the door. She would never have anticipated that a tree trunk so huge would be the culprit that would bring the door down. Her major concern had been the wind. The door had been completely knocked off the hinges and in its place was the jagged end of a huge tree with the roots, mud and smaller limbs blocking the doorway.
She looked at Randall and he looked back at her with a doubtful look on his face. She could read the concern on his face. “It might be difficult,” he replied, “but I reckon that we will get out of here someway, I reckon.”
Laura wouldn’t have normally been concerned with his answer but she looked at the blocked doorway and knew that the answer was directed at the kids and not at her. She felt a little more love for him since she had finally realized that he did have some love and consideration to give them. He was plainly trying not to scare the kids and that was considerate of him.
“Daniel says that the house and everything is gone,” Cindy said breaking the stillness after the storm. “Daniel is happy now because we’ll have to move back to New Jersey.”
“Not you too,” Laura declared. “You have never talked to Daniel, Cindy. Why are you talking to him now? What gives anyway?”
“He’s here and he has all his friends with him Mother. Why can’t you see him? Why can’t you and daddy hear them?”
“Maybe I’m tired hearing about the little troll,” Laura said, “and furthermore, if he doesn’t get out of here; if he is indeed here that is, then he and his crew are going to be sorry.”
“Mother, you better be good to them,” Cindy warned, “because they’re saying that they caused the Tornado to blow a huge tree into the entrance and we can’t get out until we agree to go home and live with them.”
“No way! Never!” Laura exclaimed. “You can bet that we’ll get out and we will rebuild and we will find a way to get rid of those evil creatures, once and for all.”
All of a sudden, the entire room lit up. It was like the sun was shining for a few seconds but after a blinding instant there was a blue glow in the center of the room. As they all watched, too shocked to speak, the single globe divided up into five glowing blue spheres.
The five spheres changed into five of the most hideous creatures they had ever seen. Each had their own distinct characteristics and each was different from the others.
When they had fully materialized, it looked as if the entire Board of Directors of Hell stood before them.
Laura shuddered and she edged closer to Randall who put his arm around her waist and squeezed her tight. She had never felt so out of control in her entire life as they stood there just staring at the five beings.
“Well, you wanted to meet me,” the first being said with his large dark eyes staring directly at her. She noticed his long hairy fingers moving about as he spoke. She also noted the long sharp claws on each of his hands. His huge hairy head seemed to be out of proportion with the rest of his body. “You wanted to meet us and here we are. I’m Daniel and this is Jason, Tremor, Pegor and Scotch. We are finally happy to meet you and well --- your lovely family.”
“What do you want of us? Why don’t you just go away and leave us alone?”
“We can’t go away,” Daniel insisted, “and we can’t leave you alone until we get what we want.”
“What DO you want?” Laura asked getting frustrated with the creatures that had caused her family so much suffering. “Is it something that we have that belongs to you? What?”
“Katy,” the creature said with his thick, red lips trembling as he spoke the word and his dark eyes glistening with excitement. The very way he said her name and his tone of voice made her think of a lovesick boy who worshipped some childhood sweetheart. The thought of such a thing repulsed her. Then she thought, what if they wanted her soul? “We want Katy,” he said again with his eyebrows moving up and down as if he were waiting for a response from Laura.
“She’s my baby and you’re not going to get her. Never! Do you understand? Never!” Laura looked at Randall but she could see that he was completely in shock and she figured she was on her own again. “You can stay here until Hell freezes over and that will never happen. You will never get her,” she insisted.
“What makes you think that Hell isn’t already frozen over?” Daniel asked but Laura ignored him so he continued speaking, his eyes still on Katy more than they were on Laura. “My --- what talk you have in front of the children,” he teased her. “Maybe you need a reminder to keep your mouth clean while you’re around them.”
Laura opened her mouth to yell at the little darling that had insulted her intelligence and something strong and noxious burned her throat and roasted her nostrils. Soap bubbles floated out of her open mouth as she threw her head back in an effort to scream but the screams just turned into more soap bubbles.
The kids just stood there watching. Katy was laughing and pointing at the hundreds of soapy bubbles that were now filling the room. “Mommy is magic,” she laughed not understanding the real predicament her mother was in. Cindy stood with her eyes blank and her mouth open. Jody was yelling at Daniel to stop. “Daniel stop it, quit it,” he yelled. “You’re hurting her. I don’t like you anymore Daniel.”
“She has to learn a lesson not to play her stupid games with us,” Daniel insisted, “and maybe we’ll teach you a lesson too,” he threatened.
“I don’t care,” Jody yelled pleading with him. “Please just leave my mother alone.”
By this time, Randall was getting angry wondering how he could put an end to the fracas for once and for all time. He wanted to get rid of the little Trolls so their lives could get back to normal. He looked at his pretty struggling wife knowing that she was slowly choking to death and that he was powerless to help her. He felt a great deal of fear and remorse for her. She was choking to death while he was trying to figure out a way to help her. Desperately, he stepped forward and took a swing at Daniel but his heavy, weathered fist merely went through him like a jet plane shooting through a cloud.
“Naughty boy,” Daniel said with a burning anger that made him even more dangerous. “I guess you aren’t ready to give your daughter to us either so I guess you have to be convinced as well.” He was looking directly at Randall and pointed his hairy finger at him repeatedly.
Randall felt the searing pain of a million flakes of hot metal touching his skin. He couldn’t see the small red bumps on his face but he could feel them and he could see them on his hands and arms. As he watched and yelled in anguish as they burned him, each of the tiny bumps that reminded him of the time he had the measles, began to grow.
“Leave my mommy and daddy alone and I’ll go with you,” Katy screamed as she watched her mother shaking all over and struggling for breath. The tiny bumps on her father were now huge. As she watched, something else happened to the bumps. As they got larger, they began to extend outwards and a worm-like creature emerged from each of the bumps.
Jody thought they looked like the head of a snail but they had the body of night crawlers. Each horn on their slimy little heads didn’t quite look right to him but he didn’t grasp just how different they were until they started sticking the horns into each other. Randall screamed, fell to the floor of the cellar as hundreds of wormy creatures that were part of his body stung each other with their head mounted stingers.
All three of the children were now yelling for them to stop but Daniel and the others just ignored them. After all, what did the children know that they didn’t already know? Hadn’t their race been on the earth a long time before the humans? Hadn’t their race evolved into a pure spiritual state even before the humans found their cave habitats?
It was clear to Jody that if they didn’t do something and do it quickly, both of their parents were going to die. But what could they do? What chance did three mere children have of defeating five vicious, evil creatures from the evil place? Jody didn’t know of any magic spells to cast on them to make them stop the misery and he didn’t know any scientific answers to such things. Maybe there weren’t any answers or maybe there were and he just didn’t know what those answers were?
The situation wasn’t improving and Jody was so confused and terrified that he could hardly think. But, he told himself that he must think and that he must think clearly. Time was running out for his parents.
The creatures were having a field day enjoying the misery of the two humans who had opposed them and then had dared to deny them access to their property. They were laughing so hilariously that they were rolling all over the floor and occasionally pointing at the two miserable humans. The female human was blowing bubbles that were killing her and the other was being stung to death by his very own flesh. How much more funny could that be?
As if Laura wasn’t in enough pain, the worms had grown so long that they were now reaching up and stinging her, mostly in her lower proximities.
“What do you want and why?” Cindy was no longer the disinterested, disgruntled teenager that she was a few minutes ago. “Tell me exactly what kind of garbage you are to do something like that to my parents.”
“Garbage,” Katy repeated slowly staring at Daniel with a mistrust and hatred that her young heart had never felt before.
The voice that answered her was deep and sounded so evil that it sent chills down their spines but the most gruesome element was the strange echo in the room.
“Every thousand years we must select a queen to rule over our lovely kingdom. We must choose the first born on May 31st of that year or there must be an extensive election to select a queen. We, of the underworld or the Gnome world like to find a queen, the first born on May 31st because we can train her in our ways. If we have to elect a queen then that means that we lose all control over our paradise. The queen that is elected is usually much older, much wiser and cannot be easily trained. You can see our predicament. If we don’t find a queen then we’re stuck with some old hag that makes our lives miserable for a thousand years.”
“Wait a minute,” Jody replied. “Do you absolutely have to select a queen from that exact date?”
“Yes,” the Troll said, “so it is written in our laws and so it will be forever. The exact date must be observed.”
“If you were to make a mistake, would that mean that you would have to leave our world and right all the wrongs that you have done? Would you be in a lot of trouble?”
“Yes,” Daniel replied getting even more puzzled by the moment. “But, us Trolls don’t make mistakes. Trolls never are wrong. Daniel has never been wrong. Where is all this going?” He finally asked.
Jody bent over laughing and then reached over and whispered his great secret in Cindy’s ear. “Where it is all heading is to your dismissal from this planet probably,” he told them.
“What are you getting at?” Daniel demanded to know.
Cindy whispered the secret into Katy’s ear. They all laughed very loudly and that irritated the Trolls. They couldn’t understand why the children could be so happy when their parents were suffering so much.
Jody bravely stood in front of Daniel with his arms crossed. “Because your entire race is nothing but a bunch of screw ups,” he informed him. “For your information, Katy wasn’t even born on the 31st of May. She was born at precisely 11:45 on the 30th of May. You freaks from a midwestern freak show can’t even tell time much less get the date right. Now, according to your own laws, I want you to take your spells off my parents, restore everything back the way it was before the storm and I want you all to get out of here. I don’t ever want to see or hear of you again. You won’t find anything here from us but hate, resentment and rejection. Leave here forever and never come back again.”
The sudden shock of Jody’s statement made Daniel lose his concentration and both Laura and Randall began to slowly return to normal. The soap bubbles began to disappear and Laura could breathe better once again. The slimy worms took much longer to disappear but soon Randall started to look like his old self again.
“Can this be true? What proof do you have that this is true and that you are just not making it all up?” Daniel was clearly trying to find a way out of the dilemma. The last thing he wanted was to be outsmarted by a bunch of kids.
“Just look on her birth certificate,” Jody replied. “Every court in the land will honor that so if you are bound by your laws then you should also.”
It was then that another figure appeared. He looked a lot like the rest of the Trolls except that he had a look of authority about him and he carried a sword and wore full body armor. “Daniel, your presence is requested in the high court. I think you have really done it this time,” the figure warned him.
“UH, OH!” That was the only two words that Daniel uttered before the huge red light enshrouded them and they all imploded into nothingness. That was followed by a popping sound similar to a Fourth of July firecracker.
The sun was shining and the little family stood outside in the garden looking over their new home. “Do you think they will ever come back?” Jody asked.
“No honey,” Laura answered. “I don’t think they will, not with three intelligent kids like you around. If it had not been for you, we might not be here to enjoy all this today.”
“We just did what we had to do,” Cindy said.
“Yes, I know,” Randall replied, “and I’m so proud of all of you. I wasn’t looking forward to a life as a worm.”
They all laughed even though they all understood that it had not been funny at all but the thought of Randall being a worm was hilarious.
“How about some ice cream?” Laura asked. Nobody said anything. They didn’t have to because they all knew the answer to the question without having to say anything. They all followed her up through the back yard, onto the screened in porch and into their house. It was the home that was finally all theirs.
As they walked away, a large glowing blue ball of pure energy left the cool darkness of the old barn and briskly moved toward the house. Without hesitation, it slowly dropped down the tall, red brick chimney. They have entered the building.
Story Description: A family buys a farm and takes shelter in the storm cellar when a tornado threatens their safety. They are surprised to find that they are not the only ones in the storm cellar.