Starting Over (Author only) - Young Adults

Written by: Ray Stone
Mom passed years earlier, and Pop tried to run our small orchard farm, but the bank were repossessing. Hank left before that happened, promising to keep in touch but he never did. I got a couple of letters, but nothing else. Hank had seen the end coming and urged Pop to move into a retirement home. There was dough under the floorboards, so to speak, but Pop wouldn't have it, saying he’d rather die on his own sod than someone else’s. That was Pop. Stubborn to the end. A year later, he had a stroke. After the ambulance left, I knew he wasn’t coming back.

I called Hank and spoke to him for a minute, telling him I was on the way – then I lost him – I mean, his voice just faded and, like, it seemed someone just cut the whole cell system to hell. Mad at not getting on with telling him dad was in the hospital, I decided to drive down to Jacksonville from my hometown, Homerville, a small place on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. I guess what I really wanted was an excuse to get away from Georgia and head for the good times Hank kept telling me about. Florida was where the dollar was at, and he was already earning. My plan was to take a short flight from Jacksonville, dumping the old Dodge pick-up at the airport.

I finished packing and was down in the basement when it happened. There was a distant rumble, and within a second or two the house shook. It rocked a second time, then everything went so quiet I could hear my own breathing. My first reaction was – Twister. I crawled under a workbench, and that was all I remembered until I woke with the sun in my eyes. The house was gone, a mangled mess of splintered black smoking wood and glass. From where I lay, I could see our tractor, upside down on the road at the bottom of the drive. Power lines were down, and a few of the poles leaned at different crazy angles.

Blood oozed out of a couple of cuts but other than some bruises, that was it. I looked at my watch and was amazed. I’d been unconscious for twelve hours. My biggest shock came when I managed to climb out of the basement. As far as the horizon, all the fields and trees were black and smoldering.

***

It took two days to reach the State line and two to reach the outskirts of Jacksonville. More specifically, I was headed for International Drive, Orlando, the last place I heard from my older brother Hank before all this crap hit the fan. I remember him telling me a real big storm was brewing and the sky there was turning black as we spoke. His was the last voice I heard - apart from the one recounting memories in my head.

 

 

Comments

What I like about this opening chapter is that I had a very clear sense of the narrator, his circumstances and state of mind. But the best thing of all was I was asking myself why things had gone so badly and i wanted to read on. You awakened my curiosity. Very well written. I look forward to reading the next few chapters. I like the voice in the narrator's head. This opens up the possibility of internal monologue - a challenging but interesting style if done well.
As always, thanks Ed.