My older brother, Seth, and I were fighting over the remote control wanting to watch different shows before we had to go to school. I wanted cartoons, but Seth wanted game shows. Our mother came over and grabbed the remote from the both of us.
“You two will watch the news until you can learn to get along,” she snapped changing the channel to the news.
As an 8-year-old, I grumbled because I hated the news. It was always so boring. Except for today. There was a report on something big happening. A video of people running in terror away from a gigantic black rock that covered the sky played on repeat. Being so young, I didn’t really know what to think of this.
“Anyone in the northern midwest area is required to evacuate. Estimates of this meteor hitting within the next 24 hours will cover Toronto, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Great Lakes area, parts of New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If you are in that area please evacuate to at least a 100 miles from the radius shown on this map.”
A map of the US popped up on the screen and there was a big red flashing dot on the states the anchorwoman mentioned earlier. We lived in Minneapolis, which was on the border of the red area.
“Kids, go get dressed now,” our mother said in a worried voice. “Steve!” She was yelling for our father. “Seth, make sure you get Ash dressed quickly.”
Seth pulled on my arm and shoved me to my room. “Hurry up and get dressed,” he told me before leaving the room.
I picked a cute dress that I loved wearing and put it on over my head. I pulled on tights and then tried to buckle my shoes, but found it difficult. Seth returned when he was dressed and helped me put on my shoes. When we went to the living room, our parents were running around in a panic.
“What’s going on?” Seth asked. He was 12 so he was able to understand things a little better than I could. I was getting scared by watching my parents freaking out. I gripped Seth’s hand in fear.
“There’s no school today. We will be going on a trip. We can visit your grandma in Portland. How does that sound?” Mom said smiling and smoothing my hair down. Then she looked at my brother. “Seth, no matter what happens, never let Ash out of your sight. Take care of her like a big brother should.”
“Mom, you’re scaring me,” I whimpered.
“Let’s go Lisa. Traffic is getting bad and we have to get at least 50 miles away from here,” Dad stated. Mom nodded and we all went to the car. Seth buckled me into the car booster seat I still had to sit in even though I hated it. There were cars honking and driving down the streets very fast. Everything was too chaotic for me to understand. Seth never let go of my hand and I could tell he was scared as well. Why was everyone so scared?
Dad drove us down the streets, barely dodging other cars and people that were in the streets. “Steve lookout!”
Dad slammed on the breaks and I screamed when a body slammed into the window next to me. It was a man trying to open the door. He got it open and began pulling on my clothes.
“Help me please!” The man begged. I starting crying and hitting at the man. Seth unbuckled himself and turned to kick the man in the face with both of his feet. The man let go of me and fell to the ground. Dad started driving again without even letting the door beside me close.
“It’s okay, Ash. It’s going to be okay,” Mom said trying to calm me down. “You did great Seth, protecting your sister.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore! I want to go home!” I wailed. I saw the big black rock covering the sky and a purple haze was starting to form around us. The people in the streets were collapsing while holding their throats. I was absolutely terrified.
Dad pressed on the gas and I heard my mother scream as we were blinded by a light. I was jerked around and felt like I was flying. Seth wasn’t buckled in and I latched onto him as the car flew into the air.
A truck had hit the car, sending us rolling down the street into the side of a house. When it was over, I felt pain erupt all over my body. Warm red liquid was everywhere. Splattered on the seats and windows. It was covering Mom and Dad’s faces. They weren’t moving at all. I looked over at Seth and I saw him trying to unbuckle the booster seat I was on. The car was flipped over so when I was released I fell to the ceiling. It was getting really hot, really fast and Seth seemed to be trying to kick the door open.
“Brother, the window is open here,” I sniffled pointing to the back window. It had shattered on impact, but there were flames starting to form around us. It was suffocating and my eyes were watering from the smoke.
“Climb out now, Ash!” Seth yelled. I wiggled my way out with Seth following me. I ignored the pain in my body as Seth pulled me away from the car.
“We have to get Mom and Dad out!” I cried resisting him.
“They’re gone, Ash.” Seth said as tears started to flow down his cheeks as well. Realization dawned on me and I looked back at the car that was now engulfed in flames. I was about to run back to the car, but we were both thrown back with the force of the car exploding. Seth wrapped his arms around my head so I was protected when we landed on the ground.
“Seth!” I yelled. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Seth groaned. But the truth was that neither of us were fine. We were both injured and now orphaned in the chaos.