Chasing a tornado - Part 2
That night, the wind howled as Dazel and her pond neighbours tried to cower in the bushes bordering the pond to shield themselves from the gale which had begun to blow after sunset. Above them, the sky was grey, murky and ominous.
"How long will these winds blow?" yelled Ribbit the frog, Dazel's friend and neighbour. He was hiding in a hole which he and his family of frogs had dug near some pond fronds.
"This evening I heard from Delma that there was a tornado approaching but I didn't think it would be upon us so soon," remarked Dazel as she trembled.
Just then Wiz Rooster flew down near them, "Dazel, it’s happening! The tornado has started near the dry terrains of D'Land. A group of eagles who live there flew here to inform me. In a matter of hours the tornado will be here. Let's hope it dies down, but we must be prepared."
Looking at the shocked expressions of the pond dwellers, Wiz Rooster said sharply, "This is no time to be paralyzed by fear; we need to rally together to prepare for the worst!"
"But what shall we do? How do we protect ourselves from this terrible tornado!" exclaimed Swain the swan who was ordinarily calm and collected.
"The first thing is to alert all the creatures of this impending natural occurrence. The second thing is to stock food and water and the third and most important is to find some place safe underground!" said Wiz Rooster, his voice drowning in the whooshing wind.
"And we have to do this all in the following two hours?" asked Dazel, her eyes widening in alarm.
"I'm afraid we do! There is no time to waste!" Wiz Rooster nodded grimly. "We need volunteers! Someone to alert the other creatures!" he looked around expectantly.
A few bluebirds which lived in the trees skirting the pond volunteered readily and flew off. Another group of sparrows and eagles agreed to collect the food. "Tell all the animals to take as many rations which they have with them. We will all meet near the lakeside!" instructed Wiz Rooster to the departing birds.
The rest of the creatures huddled in the bushes, the wind swirling around them.
"If the tornado is so far and it is creating such havoc, I can't imagine what will happen if it reaches us," said Grandfather Frog with a shudder of his green, slimy body, as he tried to keep steady by hanging onto the branch of a shrub.
"They don't call tornados nature's wildest storms for nothing," replied Wiz Rooster solemnly. "Now for the underground shelter! Dazel, Swain...any suggestions?" the rooster asked.
"What about the burrows built by the rabbits and moles?" suggested Dazel.
"Yes! That is a good idea, but the burrows will not be big enough for all the animals to take shelter," said Wiz Rooster thoughtfully.
Just then a large, dark form seemed to battle its way against the winds towards the pond. "Din Din!" exclaimed Dazel.
"Dazel," the dinosaur said gasping for breath. "Are you all okay? I was so worried about you all! It's the tornado isn't it, Wiz Rooster?"
"Yes, Din Din. We are looking for a big underground shelter," explained Dazel.
"Yes, that's the talk in Fruit Park too! The dinosaurs live in caves so we are relatively safe. That's why I came. Either you can come to our caves in Fruit Park or go to the caverns," said Din Din.
"Of course! The caverns! The caves underground are big enough to accommodate us all!" cried Dazel looking at Wiz Rooster.
"Perfect! Let's guide everyone to the caverns. Dazel and Din Din go to the lakeside at once. That's where everyone's supposed to gather. From there we must leave for the caverns carrying as much food as we can," commanded Wiz Rooster urgently.
Before long, the word had spread like wild fire and all the creatures assembled at the lakeside.
Delma the dolphin was waiting at the lake's edge for her friends. She hollered to Din Din and Dazel when she spotted them, "I hear you are going to the caverns!"
"Yes! But where will the aquatic creatures go?" asked Dazel.
"All the fish have already gathered and we will be swimming to the deepest part of the lake," reassured Delma. We will be fine. I was worried about you all. The terrestrial creatures need to be careful of falling trees."
"Remain calm and keep together," instructed Wiz Rooster to the gathered creatures. "Follow Dazel and Din Din. They know the way to the caverns."
The caverns were an hour's journey from the lakeside and the larger creatures either carried or held onto the smaller ones to protect them from being carried away by the winds.
Just when the entire troop of creatures, big and small, furry and feathered, birds and four-footed, reached the caverns, the sky crackled with lightening and the thunder began.
The creatures entered the shadowed depths of the caverns hesitantly. "The caverns are large and there is a labyrinth inside," warned Wiz Rooster. "Stay in groups or pairs atleast."
Someone lit a fire for warmth and light. Birds passed around some seeds for nourishment. Wiz Rooster helped form smaller groups for the sake of maintaining count. Dr. Owl was tending to the animals who had been injured during their trek or needed medicinal herbs.
Despite the size of the caverns, it was congested. Yet, the close proximity of the creatures served to provide comfort and security.
Outside the wind continued to howl like a pack of angry wolves.
"It's all right! We are all safe!" said Wiz Rooster comfortingly.
Just then the sky shook again with the sound of thunder and the crackle of lightening. With a cry some baby birds huddled into their mothers in fright, while the other creatures tried to put up a brave front.
End of part 2
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