A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

by Harriet Morgan (Jul 2013)



“Mz Elliott.”

Why are kids in my room?

The young teacher opened her eyes, but still couldn’t see. Why is it so dark and why can’t I breath?”

As the fog began to lift, Marsha Elliott remembered. The tornado! She wasn’t in her bed at home at all. She was at school and their school had been hit by a tornado.

She remembered how her TA, Linda Tracy, had helped her push the desks against the inside wall of their classroom and ushered her students under them. The two adults stretched out full length facing the first-graders. Now Marsha felt as though the weight of the world was literally on her back. She couldn’t move. Deciding that, although she was uncomfortable, she was going to live, Marsha knew she needed to check on her class.

Dear God, please help me know how to help these precious children.”, she prayed silently and gasped, “Class,…we’re going to… play a… game. It’s… called ‘This Is’… I’ll start by… saying ‘This is… Miss Elliott and I‘m… doing fine’. Each… of you… say… ‘This is’ and… your… name and how… you’re feeling.”

Three or four young voices started at once.

“Please… talk one at… a time… First?”

“Teacher, this is Thomas. You don‘t sound right.”

“I have a… weight on my back… that… makes it… hard to talk,… Thomas. How… are you?”

“I’m stuck.”

“Is anything… hurting?”

“No. I’m just stuck.”

“Help should… be here… soon. Next?”

“Mz Elliott, this is Christine. My arm is hurting.” The six-year old began to cry.

“I’m… sorry you’re… hurting, Honey… Don’t… cry.”

“Okay.”, she sniffed.

A whisper from above Marsha’s head said, “This is Stephanie. It’s dark and I’m scared.”

“I… know… Stephanie. You’re very… brave.”

The children continued the game that allowed their teacher to briefly assess the extent of their injuries. It also appeared to calm the children.

After hearing from the nine children who seemed to be within the same pocket with Marsha, one youngster suggested, “Teacher, let’s sing a song.”

“I know a good one.”, said another , and she began to sing “Jesus loves me this I know…” Several of the kids knew this Sunday School song and began to sing along.

When small pieces of debris and dust began to rain down on her and Marsha could hear adult voices she said, “Hey,… Kids. Those are… the good… guys coming to… get us… out. Everybody sing… loudly so they… can… find us.”

Except for some scratches and bruises, all of Miss Elliott’s first-graders were okay. Two other students in their school, a kindergartener and a second-grader, had a broken arm and leg, respectively. The most serious injury was Marsha with a piece of wood through her right shoulder. No vital organs were injured.

All the teachers were called heroes, but as for Marsha she knew there had been a divine hand over all of them that day. Thank you, Father, she prayed on the way to the hospital.


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Revised July 2013.