Chapter One: In the Dark, In the Night

Evelyn lay in her bed, listening to the thunder crash outside her bedroom window. Once, twice, three times, a flash of lightning lit up her room making it look like day instead of the middle of the night. She clutched her doll closer to her.

“Don’t be afraid, Annabelle,” she whispered into her doll’s ear. “It’s only a storm. Mommy and Daddy are just in the next room.”

She wanted to go to Mommy and Daddy, but she also wanted to be brave. She wished her little sister, Alice, would wake up and call for them, but Alice slept through.

Evelyn remembered her Dad telling her that if you count the number of seconds after you see a flash of lightning until you hear the thunder, you can figure out how far the lighning is. What had he told her? Every five seconds between the lightning and the thunder meant 1 mile of distance.

She waited, breathing quietly.

Then it came. A brilliant flash, lighting her room.

“One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi, Four-Mississippi, Five-Mississippi,” she whispered to Annabelle. One mile. “”One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi, Four-Mississippi, Five-Mississippi.”

A clap of thunder seemed to shake the house. Two miles, the storm was only two miles away.The rain pounded on the roof and she could hear the rain gushing down the gutters.

The room lit up again. “One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi, Four-Mississippi, Five-Mississippi.” Thunder crashed. How could Alice and her parents sleep through this? One mile. It was getting closer.

Another flash of light. “One-Mississippi,” Evelyn spoke the words outloud, but the thunder drowned out her voice. This time the house did shake, and the sound of the thunder seemed to boom inside her own head.

Evelyn bolted up and ran out of her room into her parent’s bedroom. They were both awake, standing by the window and watching the storm. She leapt into her father’s arms, crying.

“It’s very noisy, isn’t it?” Her father stroked her hair and held her close. “Don’t be afraid.”

Evelyn wiped her eyes. “Why is it so loud?”

“Well,” said her father, putting her down. “In ancient times people believed the sound was caused by clouds running into each other.”

Evelyn smiled. “But clouds are so fluffy.”

Her father nodded. “The sound of thunder is actually caused by the heat of the lightning causing the air to quickly expand. That creates something called a sonic wave and that sonic wave is what we hear as thunder.”

“It’s kind of scary,” Evelyn looked at her mom. “Is it okay if I sleep with you for a little while?”

Her parents looked at each other and her mom nodded slightly. “For a little while, until the storm quits.”

“I’ll get Annabelle,” Evelyn ran out of her parent’s room and tore the blanket off her bed. No Annabelle. She shook out the blanket, thinking maybe Annabelle was stuffed into one of the wrinkles of her big, fluffy comforter. Nothing.

She looked under the bed. No Annabelle.

A crash of thunder sent Evelyn running back to her parent’s bedroom without her beloved Annabelle. She crawled in between her mom and dad, and she held their hands tightly.

“I couldn’t find Annabelle,” she said. Would Annabelle be afraid? She was, Evelyn knew, just a doll, but she felt badly for leaving her dear friend alone in the bedroom during the storm.

“Annabelle will be fine,” her mother said, planting a kiss of the top of Evelyn’s forehead. :”Try and get some sleep.”

As Evelyn drifted to sleep, the storm moved away, the lightning flashes fading and the thunder growing quieter and quieter with each burst.

Where was Annabelle? was her last thought before the darkness of sleep slipped over her.





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