After tornadoes blast through Alabama in April of 2011; I wrote this book in memory of those that lost their homes or even their lives. After seeing the tornado destruction and losing power for over a week, and seeing many lives changed that day, I wanted people to remember what happened not only to the state of Alabama but throughout the south.
Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a girl who loses her parents and is forced to live with a country-fied redneck uncle from Alabama. There she has to rediscover who she really is. She goes from the snooty beauty queen cheerleader to part of the southern charm. She has to choose between two young men that she likes.
Heather has everything she ever wanted; money, clothes, friends, popularity and parents that adored her. Until one terrible day, she loses it all. She is uprooted from a place she loves to a small town in Alabama with a uncle she doesn’t know. The small town of Huckleburg was nothing like Manhattan. Country rednecks owned the town and no one accepted Yankees from New York. Heather didn’t think things could get worse until a tornado comes and blast through the small town. Heather has to lose herself to rediscover what life is all about. She meets two guys that she can’t decide between who she really wants. Join Heather as she discovers that there is more to life than money and fame. Will Heather ever fit in and find true love or will she remain an outsider living in the south.
“Uncle Mick, something is wrong with my television. Can you fix it?” she yelled through the walls to Mick. Within seconds she heard an alarm sounding. “What in the —-”, she said. Her bedroom door came flinging open and Mick ran inside. “Heather, there’s a tornado warning going on. We got to head to the storm pit!” he exclaimed.
“What?” Heather questioned. “I said come on,” Mick said as he grabbed her arm and pulled her behind him. Heather didn’t know what to think. She had never been in a place where tornadoes ever doomed the city, so she just followed Mick’s lead..
As Mick opened the front door, Heather was stunned to see the sky so dark. It had only been a few minutes that she drove into the driveway with a clear sky. Now suddenly a dark cloud hovered overhead. Heather and Mick ran toward the back of the house. Heather started to worry when she saw a cement looking building carved into the ground. Mick grabbed the door handle and pulled it.
“Get inside quick or we are going to be blown away!” he exclaimed. Heather could hear a roaring sound like a strong wind approaching them. She turned to look at the sky when she saw a funnel shaped cloud in the distance. Suddenly, fear came over her and she didn’t know what to say or do. Mick pushed her inside, and he pulled the door closed. Then he latched the door closed. “What are we going to do?” she cried.
“Don’t worry, we are safe in here. I’ve been through several of these storms in the past and everything will be fine,” Mick said, trying to console her. Mick tried to act calm for Heather’s sake but deep down he was terrified. He was worried that the tornado was going to blow the door off the storm pit, and they were going to be sucked out into the twister. He had been fortunate in the past to escape a tornado’s fury, when it ravaged his neighbor’s farm and left his untouched. He wasn’t convinced that this time, he would be as lucky.
Mick’s words of encouragement did nothing to calm Heather’s nerves. She was more scared than she ever had been before. She didn’t know what to expect or what to think about the idea of a tornado approaching. That is something that she never had to experience living in Manhattan.
An extreme fear came over her and she was in shock. Yes, her parents’ passing had traumatized her, but she never felt this type of terror and doom before in her life. She was afraid that this could end her life and Mick’s and she wasn’t ready to leave this world yet. She felt her life was just beginning. She hadn’t lived the life that she always wanted to live. Mick could see the panic in Heather’s eyes and by the expression on her face. Mick heard Heather mumbling something that he couldn’t make out. Then he saw her close her eyes as if she were praying. She cried as she asked God to forgive her and to protect her and Mick from the storm. Heather wasn’t a religious girl but she believed in a higher power. She believed in God as a creator of all things. She knew that now was the best time to make her peace with God, because she didn’t know if she would make it to live another day.
Then suddenly without warning they both heard loud noises coming from outside. Heather heard a crash like something had been hit by a fast moving train. Then she head a hard thud and some clattering and crashing sounds. Her body could feel vibrations through the ground and the walls.
“Lord, I don’t want to die, please help us God,” she cried. Trying to keep his emotions to himself, Mick reached out to hug Heather. She held her uncle tightly hoping that the storm would soon be over.
The vibrations from the ground grew stronger while the deafening booming sounds got louder and louder. Then all of the sudden, there was a complete silence. The storm had only lasted a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity to Heather. After everything became quiet, Heather fell to her knees and began to sob.
“Heather it’s over, don’t worry,” Mick said. Mick was concerned and worried what kind of terror was going on inside of her head. He could see her distress, but he didn’t know what to do, except hold her until she stopped crying. He was hoping that he could regain his own composure in the process.
“Everything will be alright, I promise,” he consoled.
After sitting on the concrete floor for several minutes, Heather finally quit shaking. After seeing Heather come back to herself, Mick leaped up off the concrete floor and went to open the door to the outside. The sky began to lighten and he walked outside to look around. Heather slowly got up on her feet and crept outside. She was taken back at the sight she saw before her eyes. A pile of rubble sat where the house once stood. All she could see was a dirty field full of debris. Their furniture and possessions looked like garbage, scattered acrosss the ground.“Are you okay,” Mick asked.“Yes, I’ll be fine,” Heather replied. After climbing over a pile of of wood Mick said, “Look, your car is over there and there is my truck. Maybe they are driveable.” “I guess things could be worse. At least we weren’t injured,” Mick said as he surveyed the area. “How can you say that? You lost everything in that terrible storm. Don’t you care that we are both now homeless?” Heather asked with frustration. “I know you are upset, but we’ll figure something out.”Heather couldn’t understand why Mick was so calm and unemotional. He has lost his mind or something, she thought.
Mick walked over to his truck and tried to crank it. The truck started up without a hitch. “Come on Heather, let’s go see if someone might need our help.” Heather was still a little shaken up and confused when she followed Mick to his truck and climbed inside. Mick started to drive down the gravel road leading away from his farm when they observed a horrendous sight. They both were astounded at what they saw before their eyes. They looked around as Mick drove and they saw piles of debris scattered along the road and fields. They noticed the path of destruction was over several miles and only a few homes were left untouched.
“It is weird but it looks like the tornado picked its targets,” Heather said. “I see what you mean. Some houses are left and others are completely gone. It even cleared out all the trees,”Mick replied. Mick pulled over to the side of the road by a mound of rubble. He jumped out of the truck and ran over to where a house once stood. “Is there anyone in there?” he yelled.
Please help us!” Noises came from underneath the wood fragments. Mick ran to the debris and started pulling off planks of wood and garbage. “Come help me!” Mick exclaimed as he motioned for Heather. Heather quickly hurried to help Mick pull off the jagged and sharp boards from the heap of rubble. “Be careful, these have nails in them,” Mick instructed.Finally, Mick could see an older couple peering out from underneath the wreckage. He dug faster but carefully trying not to injure them. At last, an elderly man and woman climbed out from underneath. “Thank you! Thank God, you came. We don’t know how long we would have been under there,” the man said. Heather could see how glad the man and woman were that they were rescued. Suddenly Heather felt good that she was able to help the couple. After checking for injuries, Mick told the couple that they were going to look for other people who needed help. They waved goodbye as they quickly drove down the rode. So many people were out examining the area looking for survivors and anyone that was trapped.
Heather saw steel power lines snapped in two. Cars and trucks were turned upside down on their axles. Huge trees were uprooted and pulled up from the ground with the roots lying on top of the ground. Cement slabs were robbed of the houses that once stood on their surfaces. Shreds of cloth that once resembled clothing lay on the ground. Pieces of twisted tin were wrapped around trees that still stood amongst the wreckage.
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