The #CleanWIP theme for January 26, 2021 is BRITTLE. [More info]

Photo by Hans Braxmeier

Earl Chinnici ~
These are a couple paragraphs from a rough draft of a non-fiction work-in-progress—or maybe from two. I’m considering publishing two separate works, a short story or novelette and a novel. Irma Survivor is the working title of the former; the latter is Fifty Close Calls.
Because of the disturbing angle and twist of the entertainment center leaning against the enormous tree now in my bedroom and because of the broken faux wood lower cabinet door, I was surprised to see its glass door still intact as bent down to search for recoverable belongings. Since I could see through this cabinet’s door, I had aesthetically arranged things inside that were special to me but not likely valuable monetarily. Most had been spilled onto the floor, including the adorable stuffed bear and crocheted by Mom “bear blanket” she had given me just outside the door of my apartment the day I first left home. It was partly covered by mud and wet leaves, but I could tell it would clean up easily. I was glad, of course. We’ve been through more than thirty years together and this wasn’t our first tornado.
I was also surprised to see a few items remained inside the cabinet, despite its strange angle and the violent forces that had ripped through this room hours earlier and the strong sustained winds still rushing through. The roof teetered precariously so I knew I should hurry. As I quickly reached in to retrieve two old bibles, the pages of both so brittle I rarely touched them, I heard another tree fall in a neighbor’s yard about a quarter mile to the south.
I screamed. Maybe I screamed, “No!” Perhaps it was, “We’ve got to go!” I only remember screaming something then scrambling to get out from under the entertainment center to safer ground. But where? Was anywhere reachable safe? At the time, I could not be convinced of it.