It had started like a distant rumble of thunder, which had grown into the roaring of a hundred jet engines. The trees, then the whole earth seemed to shake from the full force of the wind.
She had begged her husband to leave before the hurricane hit, to just save them selves. He had told her the wind would die down, the boarded house would be fine, and the water would soon go. That was before the roof began to peal off the top of the house, like a giant pealing back the skin of an orange. That was when the panic had set in.
Looking back, several months later, the images of that night still sent shivers through her body. Like still photos sliding across her mind, the sound, the fear, the destruction all seemed so fresh. Hanging onto each other hoping this was not to be their last moment on earth.
They had been found many hours later in what was left of their home, still in the same position. Numb with shock and the impact of what had happened, the rescuers had taken them to an overnight shelter. That night rolled into days, and days into weeks.
Their whole world had gone, in just a few small hours there was nothing left of what once was their home and their future.
When she had eventually been allowed back to the broken timbers of the smashed building where they had planned their future together, it was like a giant hand had taken their lives and emptied them… there was nothing left.
After a few months, a family member had provided a caravan for them to live in.
This was parked in what once was their driveway. Her husband's workplace no longer existed, vanished in that terrible night. After some time, he had found work in another state, many miles away, leaving her to pick amongst the pieces of their lives and wait for whatever would happen next.
The alarm woke her from her sleep, she shuddered the cold creeping through the ill fitting windows of the mobile home. At least she had a roof over her head, more than many she thought, reaching for the kettle and hoping there was still water in the tank and she would not have to make the trip to fill the water container again.
Lighting the small gas ring she put on the kettle for a hot drink. Looking out the window she could not believe her eyes, it had snowed overnight, the ground was covered in a quilt of white.
A while later she sat sipping her coffee, wondering how her husband was getting on, hoping he might be able to make it home for Christmas. Christmas … some Christmas this was going to be.
After clearing up and making her bed… "No excuse for not caring" she had told herself when first they had moved into the caravan. She went outside to see if things looked any better under the curtain of white.
At least it hid what was left of their home, broken timbers, the scarred surfaces, all was now smooth and white. Something made her look down.
There in front of her was a set of prints in the snow. Too large for a cat, not that of a dog… sort of hoof like. She shrugged "Oh well good luck to them finding any food around here."
Her mobile phone rang. It was her husband, her mood brightened at the sound of his voice. He had some great news, his company was going to rebuild the factory, and they wanted him to help work on the new design. He was coming home!
A silent prayer of thanks was said, he was coming home.
Throughout the rest of the morning she worked on what she could do to try and make this Christmas special for her and her husband. Despite everything, they would be together and that was a start. She was in the process of writing a list of items that she needed to try and purchase to turn their mobile accommodation, in a home when there was a knock at the door.
A man stood there, a smile on his face and an envelope offered towards her.
"I think this might cheer up your holiday plans" he said handing her the envelope.
She went inside and opened the envelope, it was a check, a very large check, the insurance had finally come through. Now, they could get on with their lives, rebuild their future.
She tried to contact her husband to let him know the good news, but could get no reply.
What a day, first her husband coming home, with a new job, now the insurance money.
Her hand brushed a small bell that lay on the table, something they had found amongst the rubble of their home. Christmas, yes, it was all part of Christmas, and this year she would make sure it would be one they would never forget.
She rang the bell again, and again, ring… ring.. ring…
She struggled through the tangled web of her dream, only to surface into reality. It had all been a dream, a wonderful dream, but just a dream all the same. She looked out the window, hoping to see the white covering of snow that had been there in her dream. But all she saw was the scarred debris of what had been left after the hurricane had hit.
Sighing she put on the kettle and opened the door to greet the day. Her eyes caught site of some prints in the mud in front of her, too large for a cat and not that of a dog, sort of hoof like.
It couldn't be, could it? And her mobile phone rang.