The last time he was seen was right before the storm. John had been the crazy one in the family, but not the way you think. No one ever believed him when he spoke of the cloaked figure, not even when he pointed it out in all the family photos. June, John's mother, believed it was the cheap cameras Steven used. Steven, John's father never even saw the cloaked figure in any of the photos.
Everyone in town stocked up for the storm. Sarah being sure to stay with her big brother John, gatherd all the things they had and stacked them in the cellar. She remembered the last storm and was not going to get caught out in the rain and wind just to retrieve Jenny's stupid teddy bear kiki again.
"I do not understand why we cannot go to the city storm shelter. Why must we stay here?" Sarah whinnied as she laid cardboard to cover the dirt floor of their cellar. "we have plenty of time to load the truck and make it."
No one replied to her as they just kept at their given tasks. Soon the wind picked up and all the family cuddled around the radio to hear if there was any news on how long it might last. Every little while tuning in a music station and playing their favorite game. Changing the lyrics to all the mushy country love songs to something funny or horridly scary. Steven and June had always tried to show their kids that frightening things were not real by joking and playing. It worked quite well how can you be scared of the monster in your closet when it is really a confused cross dresser that likes to prance around in Sarah's prom dresses.
It was getting late but the storm was too loud for anyone to sleep. John had gone to sit in the darkest corner long ago and jenny was playing with Kiki. Talking about things that no one paid attention to. She was always talking to that dam bear. Sarah hated it. Well honestly it scared her. The damn bear was the only one to ever see her belly ring and jenny told her Kiki said it looked infected and should put medicine on it. Sarah knew it was infected but since she wasn't allowed to get it in the first place she hid it. But somehow nosy jenny and her damn bear knew.
One crazy in the family was enough!
The radio said it was early in the morning and June decided it was time for breakfast. She was amazing at baking so before the storm she had made all kinds of breakfast food and snacks. "Steven will you please go get john its time to eat." instead of getting up he just raised his voice and said "John lets eat". Never ask a man to do anything Sarah thought. Makes perfect sense. Rolling her eyes at her father she says "I'll do it momma". No one had any idea, not a clue about what was about to go down.
"hey Johnny boy moms got some of your favorites why don't you join us" Sarah said as she poked him with her toes.
Nothing. Not a twitch. Not a groan. Just nothing.
"John?" she said again as she started to pull e blanket off. "you better have close on!" but as she pulled all she saw was a black cloak. It was really pretty hot down here with them all in there so she didn't see how he could sleep with so many things on. The outline of his body all curled up was still there so maybe he had a chill. Anyway she didn't sign up for this. "fine miss food I don't care" and went to tell her mom he was out cold.
Quite a few hours later the radio said that the worst of the storm had passed and people were safe to leave but most of the town had blown away so not many would have a home to go back to. "such a shame" June said. Steven knew their home still stood. It would withstand anything mother nature threw at them. There was no reason to go up till the next one was over. You see around here there is always two storms in a row. I know it's hard to believe since the weatherman had just said it was over, but even if the skies were clear now he knew the next storm would happen. It always did.
Around lunch time everyone was starting to worry about John. He was never one to miss a meal. Now that he skipped dinner last night and breakfast Steven got up to actually get him to eat. But when he got to the corner all he saw was the beanbag and a cloak. "Sarah? Where is your brother?" Steven all but yelled.
" He is in his corner." she replied but still got up to go see. " he was laying under the black thing this morning"
They both looked all around the corner under blankets and behind boxes.
The door had been bolted shut and Steven had the only key. There is no way he snuck out.
Both very frightened they called June over trying to not let jenny hear. Don't want to frighten her if there was no need. " momma have you seen John?" Sarah asked in a small voice.
"I saw him right before dad locked us in. He was coming to this corner."
June had just started to put it together that her husbad and daughter couldn't find her only son.
Jenny spoke up " momma daddy don't worry, Kiki said the beautiful lady in the cloak took him for a little walk. She says we will see him as soon as we go up in 3 days."
Sarah was trembling at the thought. That damn bear knows what happen but she cannot make herself believe that a stuffed bear could talk or see anything. June was scared more that the cloaked lady had John than jenny talking to Kiki. Tho she would never admit to believing in either Jenny's bear or johns cloaked lady. While Steven just freaked out about someone being able to get in and out of his "safe room" with out his only key.
Minutes turned to hours. Hours to days. When finally it was time to get out. There had been another storm. The radio had said out of a clear blue sky a tornado had appeared, taking everyone by such surprise that over half the town was dead or missing. No one said much and June was so worried she couldn't eat or sleep. Finally Steven stands and says " well no time like the present" gets up and unlocks the door. Sarah cannot wait to find John. So she runs out first. June is trying to get up the stairs and out the door as fast as she can but Steven stops her when Sarah's blood curdling scream pierces the silence.
"daddy Kiki says its ok let mom go. She needs to see this." jenny says taking June's hand an dreading her out. Right in front of the door not 20 feet away is John. Crucified upside down wearing a cloak. A note on his chest that only one word was written. "STEVEN"
"momma?" Sarah asks. " momma who is Steven?"
Shaken from this site she can only whisper " I don't know honey, I have never met a Steven"
Maybe this man was Steven, let's get him down and we can head back to the house to call the authorities."
Gently they take the man down and wrap him him his cloak. Jenny places Kiki with the man. "take care of him Kiki. He needs you now more than me.". They all head up to the house.
"he never liked me you know" John sat up and said to the bear. "not in the before, not in the now, and I don't see him liking me in the next either."
The bear starts to shimmer and he steps back. " he is your father he loves you. He just needs time."
They walk hand in hand back to the cellar Steven sitting there with his head in his hands. " oh Kiki what have I done I miss you so much you and our baby.". Sniffling he just lays down and cries till he falls asleep.
"mom why can't we show him we are here? Why do you let him suffer?" John asks Kiki
"you showed him in every photo that I am here when he is done grieving he will see me till then we just wait"
Confusing? Yes. Interesting? I don't know you tell me........