Thunder slammed against the side of the house, made the knees of the structure’s foundation tremble. The lights grew weak, blinked in confusion, before they remembered their purpose. Tyler swallowed, the throng of hornets that sat in his belly content to stay put a while longer.
At least the power was still on.
Everything about this hurricane had surprised his little town. From the fact that it decided to slide further inland than forecasters originally thought, to the bad luck that his parents had gotten caught at his grandmother’s house. His armpits bled sweat as he thought of just how alone he really was.
A tremble skittered through the veins that held his heart together, the ones that made sure he was still alive. For now.
How much longer could this thing last?
He caressed the keyboard of his laptop, yanked it from the slumber it so earnestly insisted took priority. Not anymore. Tyler may’ve been only thirteen–might be wishing with all his heart that he wasn’t alone while the world crumbled apart at his feet–but at least he still had connection to the rest of mankind. A little social media was just what the doctor ordered.
The forbidden Twitter account that his parents didn’t know about popped up, loaded with pictures of waves that attacked shores and underwater graveyards for cars and all the worst parts of nightmares people chose to ignore but never really thought would happen to them.
Ding. His cell phone chimed for the first time since he’d talked to his parents.
Crazy weather outside, eh?
Tyler narrowed his eyes at the tiny screen. Unknown.
Could it be a wrong number?
How are things, Tyler? Doing okay without mom and dad?
He jumped to his feet, grabbed the offending object that dared force his blood to pump harder than it already did.
Who was this? And how did he know about—
Relax. I’m sure they’re fine. Sit back, enjoy the storm.
Every part of Tyler’s body shook, his grip on the phone now white knuckled, painful. He couldn’t rip his eyes from that screen. From those words that held too much knowledge, that made every hair on the back of his neck stand at attention and threaten to go AWOL.
Sit, Tyler. You’ll feel better.
A blink. A breath.
A thousand breaths.
Then, Who are you? How do you know these things?
A million and one seconds passed, his eyes glued to that screen. That stupid, stupid screen with all the answers he didn’t want to know.
The bubble with three dots appeared, an answer two seconds, five seconds, ten seconds away. He held all the air he could muster inside his pathetic little lungs.
Because, Tyler. I’m right behind you.
A crash of thunder and the lights went out.
©Laura L. Zimmerman
Photo Credit Unsplash Brandon Morgan