Sonia, Age 9, Calgary, AB
Crack, crack. Branches broke as Holly climbed up the tree. It was a pine tree, so it had the minty scent that pine trees normally have. Holly pulled herself up the last limb. The tree swayed as Holly looked out onto the sight before her. Confusion took hold of her almost immediately. She could not see anything. It was like she was trying to look through a wall of fog. Then she felt the wood beneath her begin to crack. The branch she was standing on collapsed, and Holly fell for what seemed like forever.

Holly sat up in bed, panting. It wasn’t the first time that she’d had this dream. She remembered having it two days ago, and then the week before that she had had it an almost unbelievable four times, although she had absolutely no idea what it meant.

* * * * * * * * * *

The alley was dark, hot and dry, and there was a block of concrete in the wall that came loose when you pulled it out. Holly had put a square of carpet inside, and had stored paper and pencils in there so that she could write whatever was on her mind.
The wall was there so that nothing came in from the unknown, where it was dark and there was nothing but forest. Holly’s house was on the edge of town, and that is why it was next to the wall.

Suddenly, her cat, Raven, frantically started rubbing against her. Holly made eye contact with him, and he spoke into her thoughts. Somebody’s coming. Holly looked down the road and could see that he was right. Somebody was coming. Right away Holly noticed that it was a boy. He was tall, and Holly guessed that he was about three...Right away Raven noticed that there was a cat following him. It was nosing around the fences, like it was curious. The boy leaned down as if the cat was talking to him, then he nodded and started to jog in Holly’s direction.

* * * * * * * * * *

Holly had no knowledge of this boy, and she did not intend to have any, and so she hid. She hid behind the wall, where she knew he would not see her. For a moment, all she could hear was her own breathing and the sound of the afternoon breeze whistling through the cracks in the concrete. And then she heard footsteps. They were loud, very loud, and Holly suspected that the boy was trying to make himself heard in hopes of talking to her. So, very cautiously, she peeked out from behind the wall.

* * * * * * * * * *

Hi! That was the first thing he said. Holly decided that meant he was friendly.

Hi, she said nervously.

I’ve noticed you like to hang around here, he said.

Holly looked away, too shy to speak. I don’t know your name, realized Holly. Since she did not know his real name, and did not want to, she asked if she could call him Crane.
Since you’re so tall, she explained. The boy laughed and said, Sure you can call me that. And by now, Holly had decided to be brave. Holly, she answered proudly.

Just then, a powerful shaking ripped into the ground. Dark clouds filled the sky. But it wasn’t until a black funnel cloud formed on the horizon and started to move across the ground that Holly realized what was coming. Tornado!

* * * * * * * * * *

Holly bolted for the wall, Raven close behind her. It wasn’t until she was over the wall with her face pressed to the ground that she remembered Crane. She stood up and looked over the wall. Sure enough, there he was, mesmerized by the dirt and debris swirling around him. She took one look, and knew he shouldn’t be there. She yanked him over the wall just in the nick of time. The grey cloud of wind was like a monster, tearing up and consuming everything in sight. They waited with their heads pressed into the ground for what seemed like a long time, and then it was gone.

* * * * * * * * * *

No more terrifying masses of wind, no more splinters flying every which way. The tornado was gone, but its mess wasn’t. Piles of what used to be houses lay in heaps by the road, and trees were everywhere. Holly and Crane were silent.

They ended up just walking around the city, looking at the wreckage, and talking. Holly learned that the white cat, which would keep disappearing and then show up again minutes later, was named Whitestorm. Because of my coat, he thought.

They ended up just sitting on the edge of a tree trunk which had fallen over in the storm. Thanks for saving me, he finally said.

You’re welcome, said Holly, but her mind was somewhere else. She was thinking about that dream she had been having. What if it was a warning about the tornado? She shook her head. She’d think about that later. Right now, she just wanted to go home.
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