Excerpt from Amish Redemption
Pummeled by debris in the wind, Joshua hustled the woman and her child down the old stone steps in the hope of finding safety below. He had discovered the cellar that afternoon while investigating the derelict property for his father. He hadn’t explored the basement because the crumbling house with its sagging roof and tilted walls didn’t look safe. He couldn’t believe anyone had lived in it until a few months ago. Now its shelter was their only hope.
The wind tore at his clothes and tried to suck him backward. His hat flew off and out of the steep stairwell to disappear in the roiling darkness overhead. The roar of the funnel was deafening. The cellar door banged shut, narrowly missing his head and then flew open again. A sheet of newspaper settled on the step in front of him and opened gently as if waiting to be read. A second later, the cellar door dropped closed with a heavy thud, plunging him into total darkness.
He stumbled slightly when his feet hit the floor instead of another step. The little girl kept screaming but he barely heard her over the howling storm. It sounded as if he were lying under a train. A loud crash overhead followed by choking dust raining down on them changed the girl’s screaming into a coughing fit. Joshua knew the house had taken a direct hit. It could cave in on them and become their tomb instead of their haven.
He pressed the woman and her child against the rough stone wall and forced them to crouch near the floor as he huddled over the pair, offering what protection he could with his body. It wouldn’t be much if the floors above them gave way. He heard the woman praying, and he joined in asking for God’s protection and mercy. Another crash overhead sent more dust down on them. Choked by the dirt, he couldn’t see, but he felt her hand on his face and realized she was offering the edge of her apron for him to cover his nose and mouth. He clutched it gratefully, amazed that she could think of his comfort when they were all in peril. She wasn’t screaming or crying as many women would. She was bravely facing the worst and praying.
He kept one arm around her and the child. They both trembled with fear. His actions had helped them escaped the funnel itself, but the danger was far from over. She had no idea how perilous their cover was, but he did.
He’d put his horse and buggy in the barn after he arrived late yesterday evening. One look at the ramshackle house made him decide to sleep in the backseat of his buggy while his horse, Oscar, occupied a nearby stall.
The barn, although old and dirty, was still sound with a good roof and plenty of hay in the loft. His great-uncle had taken better care of his animals than he had of himself.
Joshua hoped Oscar was okay, but he had no way of knowing if the barn had been spared. Right now, he was more worried that the old house over their heads wouldn’t be. Had he brought this woman and her child into a death trap?