CM: Chapter 10 Tornado by RedPhantom ()
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That evening I went up to the roof to pray despite the rain that had started that afternoon. Elves believed in having as little between our gods and us as possible as we prayed and worshipped, both in the way of walls and clothing. The rooftop garden was a good place for an evening of prayer. It gave me a little privacy. I didn’t care who saw me, but humans did. I stripped down to a swimsuit. It was the compromise we’d agreed on. On new moons and full moons, I’d wear the suit. On solstices and equinoxes, I wouldn’t. There was a clearing well outside of town that I go to when I can, but it’s not always possible. Then I also have to wear the suit or go Underhill.
The weather had been hot and humid, so the rain felt welcome, and I wouldn’t get a sunburn for a change. As long as it wasn’t lightning, I didn’t let the rain stop me. I’d spent most of my youth outdoors, either on Earth or Underhill. Very little weather bothered me.
Some kids came up after a time maybe to drink or smoke. There were a couple of places you could stay dry. I raised my voice, so they knew I was there. I heard one explain I was some nut that worshipped the moon. As I sat up to sing, I heard and ignored their comments. I wasn’t there for them. I finished the hymn and bowed to pray again. I repeated the cycle a few more times. When I sat up, I saw lightning. It was time to go in. I stood, my knees protesting the movement after me being on them for so long. As I grabbed my clothes, I heard the alarm.
“Hey guys, that’s the tornado siren,” I called out.
“So?” Came the reply.
“So, that’s a funnel cloud.” I pointed. I’d spotted it just after I heard the siren. “Inside and down to the laundry room, let’s go.”
“Let us see it first,” a girl that lived on the fourth floor insisted.
“No, now. Don’t make me use mind control on you,” I threatened.
“Do what?” I didn’t recognize this girl.
“He’s an elf. He does all kinds of magic. He has half the third floor bewitched,” the other explained.
“Do you want me to bewitch you too? Go inside.”
The girls finally obliged.
“Are you going to run around like that all night?” One asked.
“I figured getting inside was more important. I’ve been through enough tornadoes to take them seriously.” I slipped on my shirt as we went.
Others were in the stairwell, heading down to the laundry. I met Rich and his wife at the door to our floor.
“Everybody’s out except Mrs. Massey,” he reported.
“I’ll get her,” I offered. This place wasn’t like some I’d lived in. Neighbors here still looked out for each other.
I knocked loudly on Fran’s door. I could hear the TV. I let myself in again. She was asleep in front of the TV with her hearing aids out. I woke her.
“There’s a tornado,” I raised my voice so she might hear me.
“Did you say tornado?” She asked.
I nodded as she replaced her hearing aids.
“We need to go down to the laundry room.” I handed her cane to her.
I escorted her to the elevator. She wouldn’t handle all those stairs. “I’ll meet you down there,” I told her. I couldn’t deal with the elevator tonight. The laundry room would be bad enough. As I traversed the stairs, I cursed the military. I hadn’t been claustrophobic before they’d locked me up.
“Must you run around like that?” The mother of one of the girls on the roof complained as I entered.
“Like what?” I asked. “In my bathing suit? Haven’t you been to a pool before?”
“Can’t you put some clothes on?”
“I would have, but I was busy dragging your daughter and her friend off the roof.” I started to wring out my pants into the sink.
“Try these,” Kara suggested. ”They’ve been in the lost and found for over a year.
I took the offered sweatpants and put them on. They were way too short. “Happy?” I asked.
The woman only rolled her eyes.
“How long is the warning for?” Someone asked.
“Probably not for long. It was headed this way and looked close,” I said.
“You saw it?” Another asked.
“Yes, and it was good sized too.”
“You do magic,” one of the little kids said to me. “Can you make it go away?”
I shook my head. “No. I’m not powerful enough for a spell that size. And weather spells are forbidden.”
I moved off to a corner and bowed my head to pray.
“You think the moon will help?” One of the girls from the roof asked.
“No. But Shandalar will. She’s the goddess I was praying to. Maybe you should think about praying to your god too.”
“How can you say that if you believe in this chandelier?”
“Shandalar,” I corrected. “She’s one of the many elven gods. There are several others. There are many human gods. Or there are many worshiped as gods. If there are many elven gods, I can’t say there aren’t many human gods.”
I went back to praying. The others left me alone.
We could hear the storm outside. The little ones were too scared to try to sleep. There was too much iron for me to cast anything, or I would have used magic to try to distract them.
Finally, someone received an all-clear notification on their phone, and we made our way back upstairs. The storm still raged, but it was nowhere near as bad. There didn’t appear to be any damage to the building that we could see, so we all returned to our apartments.
I was woken a few hours later by Sam wanting my help.