Recap: Bayla went to the general store for Mrs. Cantor and she met Margie Truman there. The girls are leaving the store together when the world turns green. Suddenly, there’s a tremendous roaring wind blowing everything in sight. Margie screams, “It’s a twister!”
I wondered what a twister was. Margie tugged on my hand and ran faster. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was so frightened. A dark funnel-shaped cloud was twirling in the air. Tree branches creaked and broke, flying everywhere. Dust and branches swirled around us. The sky was an eerie olive green. That funnel clued me in fast. I was in a tornado!
We raced towards a house with a wraparound porch.
“Mama Truman’s!” She shouted as she pointed. “We just have to sprint up the walk.”
The roaring wind was so strong that I couldn’t move. Margie tugged at my arm.
Huge tree branches hurled through the air. “Duck!” she screamed. “Please, Hashem. Please get us to the house.”
Suddenly a huge tree branch tumbled overhead and hit my head. A sharp twig stabbed my forehead and I felt myself falling. Margie pulled me up the steps to her grandmother’s house. I touched my head and felt something sticky.
Margie’s grandmother slammed the door behind us and motioned us to follow her downstairs to the cellar.
My head was throbbing. I felt like I was in a dream.
Her grandmother wet a cloth and put it on my head. “Keep pressure on that. You’re going to need stitches.”
“Grandma, this is my friend Bayla.”
“Well, fine time to bring a friend home in the middle of a twister.”
The wind roared so loudly that I felt like I was back on the boat I’d taken from England to America, when the ocean waves roared around us.
“It’s a tornado?” I asked. No wonder it was so scary and loud.
“Sure. Isn’t a small rainstorm, dearie. That tornado is picking up speed and destroying everything in its path. The radio is warning everyone to get into their cellars and storm shelters.”
“We don’t usually get tornadoes this time of year,” Margie said.
“Well, you can tell that to G-d.”
Even though my head was exploding with pain, and I was terrified at the thought of someone sewing my head, I had to laugh at this ridiculous conversation.
“No laughing, there, missy. You got to stop that bleeding. Soon as the wind dies down, I’ll send my son to bring the doctor.”
I realized that her son was the senator. “No, it’s okay,” I said. “We can get the doctor.” I was thinking of Mrs. Cantor. She would do it for me, wouldn’t she?
“Nonsense. You aren’t going anywhere till that head wound is stitched. Now lie still and put pressure on it.”
I was feeling dizzy, so I obeyed.
Margie sat near me and tried to distract me. “So, tell me about where you came from.”
“It was a beautiful place with flowers and butterflies and my family. Sorry, it’s hurting my head to talk.”
Margie’s grandmother put another wet cloth on my head. The gash was just at the hairline. It was burning and throbbing. I didn’t want to cry in front of my new friend. I bit my lower lip.
“I’ll talk for us both. I’m so sorry you got hit by that branch. That was a wicked wind. Have you ever seen a twister before?”
“No,” I whispered.
“I’ve seen a lot, but I was never out when one was blowing in. That was terrifying. Just think: We both have a story to tell our grandchildren.”
A wave a pain shot through me and I grimaced.
“You poor thing.”
A mantle clock was ticking over the fireplace. I concentrated on the tick-tick and tried to blot out the pain.
“The wind’s finally dying down,” Margie’s grandmother said.
“Everyone all right?” A friendly male voice called out.
“Daddy!” Margie ran to her father.
“We were caught in the tornado. My friend is hurt.”
Mr. Truman rushed over to the couch where I was lying. I was so embarrassed to be lying here in front of the senator.
“Please fetch the doctor,” his mother urged. “A branch caught her, and she’s got a nice gash.”
“We’ll get the doctor to come sew you up,” he said cheerfully.
I couldn’t respond because the waves of pain were too overwhelming.
I dreaded the doctor coming. “I don’t want a needle in my head,” I whispered.
Margie nodded sympathetically. “I had stitches when I was eight, when I fell off my bike. It’s not so bad and they use anesthetic.”
I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded scary, too.
A short while later, the doctor bustled into the room. “Please bring me some hot water,” he said.
My eyes were closed because I couldn’t stand the light in the room. His voice sounded familiar. I opened my eyes and saw Dr. Laurent leaning over me. I felt my cheeks flame.
“So, we meet again,” he chuckled. “I believe the last time we met was during a bit of action in England.”
“You met before?” Margie asked.
He opened his doctor bag. “Yes, now let me have a look at the wound.” He gently removed the wet cloth on my head. I shivered from the pain. “Nice gash there. I wouldn’t recommend walking through tornadoes any more than a blitz.”
“I hadn’t planned on it,” I whispered.
“So, we’re going to have to stitch this, but first I need to clean it. I don’t want you to feel the pain of the stitches. I will administer ether. It will make you drowsy and you won’t feel the stitching. Is that okay with you?”
I grunted. None of this was okay but did I have a choice?
“Daddy called the Cantors. They know you’re having stitches.”
I wasn’t sure if that mattered. I was just a workhand to Mrs. Cantor. She’d probably just be annoyed that I was out of commission for a while.
Before I knew it, the doctor was putting a mask on my face and telling me to breathe. I didn’t want to. The smell was sickening but I felt myself growing more and more drowsy until everything went black.
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers 2020), Denver Dreams (a novel, Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials, and features in various magazines, including A Bridge in Time, historical fiction serial (Binyan Magazine, 2017). Fiction serial in The Jewish Press – Falling Star (2019), article in the Winter 2019 Jewish Action Magazine. She contributes to the community column for the Queens Jewish Link and writes freelance for Hamodia. She works as a writing consultant in many yeshivos and teaches creative writing to students of all ages.