Everyone looks up and hastily grabs their packs. We rush off, I find myself in the lead again. Trees crack and crash. I allow just enough energy to sense the whirlwind. Like the Fire and Water it has been given a purpose from which it will not deviate. I change my course slightly. As suspected it swerves to follow us.
“Theo and Martha, help me try and slow it.” I feel their efforts join mine.
I will explain my theory later, right now we need time; time to find shelter. I zigzag us through the trees. To shelter from a tornado, you need a bridge, a ditch, something to get you underneath its path. This I remember from endless drills in elementary school. Even Grandma B had a tornado shelter.
Nature tells me there’s a hill ahead with a cave. I listen to her and lead us there. As we near I recognize Zack’s squeal. He shoots from the den followed by a bear. This time he has no idol to port him. Though I feel bad, it means the cave is unoccupied. I usher everyone inside. It’s barely big enough for the eight of us, so Martha, Theo and I take guard at front.
“Why won’t it dissipate?” Theo is concentrating on it with all his might.
“We’re not meant to dissipate it. We’re meant to survive it,” I tell him.
“How do you figure that?” Martha asks. She too is concentrating on the whirling wind that lies in wait outside our shelter.
“Can’t you sense it?”
Martha cocks her head to one side. Theo furrows his brow. He whistles and Martha makes a surprised noise.
“How’d you figure that out?” Theo wants to know.
“It was the same with the water and the fire before that.” No one questions me.
We are at a stale mate. If we move out of the cave, the tornado is close enough to take one of us or even all of us. It must complete its purpose before it will leave us alone. I step forward, shrugging of my bag. The tornado whirls in place. I take another step forward.
“Morgan what are you doing?” Katha calls out, fear in her voice.
“It has to take one of us. Theo and Martha can help me get out.”
Martha’s voice is cut off as the tornado takes me into its whirling embrace. I can hear nothing but the whistling of the wind. It’s moving. What direction I cannot tell. I close my eyes to try and keep from getting dizzy. A new voice joins the wind. I dare to look and see Zack has been caught. His eyes are focused on me in utter fury, as if I am the cause.
“Counter the wind!” I yell at him, suddenly knowing what we need to do.
Telling Zack, if he can even hear me, is futile. I begin the process of creating my own whirlwind, rotating in the opposite direction. Though it would be easier to do from the inside, I form it on the outside, hoping Theo and Martha will see and understand.
All I can do is produce half the strength of Tornado that has me captured. Slowly it begins to build. Theo and Katha have joined my efforts. As soon as the strengths match I shrink the eye. Mini whirl winds swirl as the two edges meet. I’m caught and spun first one way then the next. By the time my feet touch the ground I am ready to hurl.
I lie on the ground letting my dizziness dissolve from me. I hear my companions talking around me, but I can’t quite understand what they say. My ears are ringing from the noise of the tornado. Someone puts their hands on either side of my head. I feel the healing of water flow through me.
I sit up. “Did Zack make it?”
Katha, Theo, Martha and David exchange concerned looks. I hear someone throwing up in the bushes nearby. I stand and make my way over there. My legs are slightly wobbly. Zack is bent over empting his stomach. He looks up at my approach. I move my hands to heal him as I was healed.
“Stay away from me freak!” he jumps back and takes off, stumbling through the woods as fast as he can.
I watch sadly and sigh. There is nothing I can do for Zack. I look back at the group. Michael is staring in direction Zack left, a stunned expression on his face. I squeeze his shoulder as I pass. This is the second time Zack has abandoned him. I accept my pack from Hazel and sit. I rummage for food. Theo and Martha do the same.
“Do you think we’re out of the woods yet?” Hazel asks very quietly.
I take a deep breath. As I let it out I let myself flow into nature. I smile as a soft breeze ruffles my hair. “We’re not far.”
“How do you know that?” Michael again insists on asking.
“Nature will tell you if you ask.” I feel the others joining me in my communion. Nature exalts as she touches each one of us.
“Well,” Katha breaks our silence. “it’s not that close, so we best get going.”
“And watch out for Earth,” Hazel states quietly. It is the only element we have yet to face.