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Out of the Storm

Length: 351 pages5 hours


Alissa Montgomery never really knew what drew her attention first—the calling of her name in the wind or the child’s cry.

She only knew she was called outside, into the gathering storm. Outside the back door on the wide porch, she stopped to listen again.

“Aaaalllllisssssssssaaaa ....”

There, she heard it again. It really was the sound of her name on the wind. The call was followed by a low rumble of strong, approaching thunder. Then, once the thunder was over, Alissa heard the child’s cry again. It was a baby’s cry, and it caused her heart to pound. Who would leave a baby out here?

Even the door on the old red barn banging closed along with the building wind could not drown out the sound of a baby crying. It had to be close and there were no other houses within sight. For a long moment, Alissa stared at the old barn, the building that had been her reason for buying the house. She hoped to someday fill that building with horses.

Neither her name called on the wind nor the baby’s cry came from that direction.

Filled with dark, angry clouds of gray, green and black that rolled at a pace that left Alissa slightly dizzy, the sky looked frightening. Lightning touched down in the distance and the loud crack of thunder that followed caused her to start. She had been so caught up in the story she was trying to put together that she hadn’t even realized a storm of this magnitude was drawing close. She should be in the dank basement she put off cleaning instead of out on the porch. It was, after all, not uncommon for tornadoes to touch down here in the heart of Illinois.

The baby’s cry was like a cold hand that kept her from fleeing to the safety of the basement.

The wind blew her hair wildly, and she was forced to brush it out of her face as she searched the field before her for the baby she heard. She saw nothing but the grass blowing in the strong wind. The baby let out a loud wail, and maternal instinct called her, compelled her to move. Following the sound of crying, she left the porch. The freshly cut grass was soft and cool beneath her bare feet. She wouldn’t normally be out barefooted in April, but the storm was closer and the baby’s cry was closer so it was too late now to go back for a pair of sneakers.

Away from the shelter of the house, the air was charged with energy that caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand up. Also the air was cool, much cooler than Alissa remembered it being before. Doing her best to ignore the threatening weather, Alissa followed the calling of her name and the crying toward the meadow, that strange place where the purple flowers grew in the spring and summer and even up to the first snowfall. The wind whipped her hair about even more than before. Fighting against it, she wished she’d tied it back. Then her name was called again, and she ignored her hair and continued to the meadow.

Lightning struck, touching down just ahead of her, startling her enough to nearly knock her off her feet as it blinded her momentarily and hurt her ears with its crash as the ground shook beneath her feet.

The baby’s crying grew louder, telling her she grew close to its origin.

“Where are you, little one?” she asked out loud, yet her own words were quickly lost in the sound of the wind. It amazed her she could still hear the baby when she could hardly hear her own voice.

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