The Homestead

Written By Justin Tuts

The winds howled outside, bringing with them an air of uncertainty that washed over our home; rattling the loose planks that lined the walls and tearing free the shingles that had long since expired. 

“We need to get down to the cellar Marcus!” 

I looked to my father whose fear stricken face was pale in the moonlight that poured through the newly formed hole in the ceiling. 

“Pa, we gotta wait for Jeremiah and Ma! They can’t be too far!”

Thin lines etched themselves into my father’s face, “there’s no time to wait son, come on. Move-”

His words were cut short by a tremendous gust of wind that shattered the window behind him, he launched himself to the ground on pure instinct as shards of glass were blown through the window and into the small space surrounding us. I brought my arm up to shield my eyes as I began to understand the dire situation. 

“Okay Pa! Let’s go! Hopefully they found somewhere to hole up!”

He struggled onto his feet, wincing as he removed a piece of glass that had lodged itself in his hand. 

“Hurry now Marcus! Right down here son.” 

I scampered over the floorboards towards the large cellar door that my father now held open. I furiously ran down the steep stairs as my father closed and latched the door behind him, barring it against the storm. A thin beam of light formed in the space between us and I looked to see my father holding a flashlight. 

The light bobbed in his shaky hands, ““Marcus, you see that rope? Bring it here.”

I nodded and ran to the rope that lay piled in the corner, like a rattlesnake resting in the sun. I picked it up and brought it to my father, who was now standing next to a large wooden support beam that was cemented into the ground below. 

I realized what he was doing and shot my eyebrows up, “Good thinkin’ Pa!”

“Stand with your back to the beam son.” He wrapped the rope around the beam and then my torso, then he looped it around his torso and tied it around his abdomen. “Hold on tight my boy.” 

He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and the pole, I could feel his muscles tightening as he held himself firmly in place. Outside, I could hear the wind picking up as the storm readied itself for another bout. 

My father mumbled a quiet, “I love you boy, you’re gonna be a good man.” right as the ceiling above us was torn free and debris was thrown around the room. 

I closed my eyes and buried my head into my father’s chest as the world around me erupted into chaos, his arms tightened around myself and the pole. His body soon began to shake from the strain of holding us in place as the storm raged around us. 

“Pa, I’m scared.” 

He said nothing as the storm continued on, giving us little chance for idle conversation. 

Hours passed before the storm finally let up and I was finally able to open my eyes. My arms were slick with blood and hurt from the multiple lacerations I’d sustained from the flying debris of the storm. Though, as I finally brought myself to unclasp from my father, I realized he was limp. 

“Pa, the storms over. You can wake up.” 

He leaned back, though his head lulled forward. 

“Pa, I’m going to untie us now. Then you can wake up.” 

I clumsily untied the tight knot in the rope between us. 

“Pa, you just sleep it off. When you wake up, we’ll bring you to the doctor. He’ll fix you up”

To my dismay, my father collapsed onto the ground before me, landing hard on his shoulder. I rushed to his side, noticing the large pieces of wood and glass embedded in his back. 

Above us the moon shone through the clouds indifferently, illuminating his smiling face as I rested his head on my lap. He just needed his rest. 

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