Chasing the tornado - Part 3

The night the creatures of D'Land spent in the caverns to protect themselves from the approaching tornado was ominous. The constant noise of the screeching wind and clapping thunder let no one fall asleep. Even though the creatures were weary from their hurried trek to the caverns and from carrying their young and rations, sleep fled. The clamor outside the caverns and the terror within their hearts gave them no peace.

The younger animals huddled into their mother's arms and wings seeking comfort. The night seemed endless.

When finally dawn came, crashing sounds joined in the chaos outside.

"What's that?" asked a startled Dazel.

"It's probably the breaking of trees. This means that the tornado is here," replied Wiz Rooster grimly. "And it will soon pass.

"Will our nests be destroyed," asked one swallow innocently.

"Will we have to live inside this cavern forever," wept another tiny robin.

The elders tried to reassure the young but their consolations sounded hollow. The caverns beneath the mountains suddenly shook. The animals held onto each other. Without even speaking about it, they all knew it was the tornado which was passing by. A flurry of rocks fell near the entrance of the cavern.

It seemed like hours until the tremors passed but it was actually just minutes.

The creatures sighed with relief.

"Listen, the crashing of the trees has stopped," added Dazel. Sure enough, outside the wind seemed to have mellowed to a gale and only thunder and lightning punctuated the wind's call.

"There is no water," Swain came to where Wiz Rooster was tending to a group of newly hatched woodpeckers. "One of the two water bags we had brought has leaked," Swain explained.

"Shall we go outside now?" asked Dazel urgently.

"Remember I wanted to chase the tornado anyways! Do you think I'll miss the chance to watch the end of the tornado," Dazel joked feebly. But Din Din who knew his friend too well realized that Dazel was concerned about her fellow creatures and that just sitting around doing nothing was agitating her.

"I want water," sobbed a beaver who had injured a foot. "I will also need water to bathe his wound. It continues to bleed," whispered the beaver's mother.

"Shall we all venture out then?" asked Din Din tentatively.

"Dazel, go to the mouth of the caverns and see the situation," instructed Wiz Rooster.

Without a moment's deliberation, and before any other animal could offer to accompany the duck, Dazel was flying through the maze of the caverns. When she neared the entrance, the wind made her stagger momentarily yet, she forged ahead.

The landscape outside was a horrific sight. The forest which bordered the caverns had been completely uprooted. Trees lay entangled on the ground creating a series of hurdles. But what caught Dazel's attention was a long column of air which seemed to be going on its way to the mountains which cordoned D'Land.

"It's leaving!" whispered Dazel in awe. A force seemed to draw her towards the retreating swirling tornado.

Without paying heed to the wind or the rain which had finally begun to fall, Dazel flew towards the tornado as if spellbound.

Suddenly a sharp beak poking into her body seemed to snap her out of her trance.

"What do you think you are doing," yelled Wiz Rooster. "Get back to the cavern right now."

Blushing furiously, Dazel changed her course and followed the wise bird.

"When you did not return at once I knew something was wrong," rebuked Wiz Rooster trying to control his anger.

"I'm...I'm sorry!" repeated Dazel, shamefaced.

The silence which now enveloped D'Land was as loud as the roaring wind had been. The animals had cleared the rubble which had fallen at the entrance of the caverns and the creatures had already started to file outside the caverns guided by Din Din and Swain.

"Not a word to anyone," hissed the rooster. "Just help everyone back to the Aviary School."

The trek back to the Aviary School took longer for the terrestrial animals who were on foot due to the fallen web of trees, bushes and rocky wreckage which blocked their path. The birds flew faster and tried to clear away the debris at Aviary School in time for the approaching creatures.

The sun was beginning to set when all the creatures finally reached the place where Aviary School had been. In its place stood wreckage. Even Wiz Rooster's home had not been spared by the tornado's fury.

"My dear friends," Wiz Rooster said clearing his throat. "Please stay calm; the worst has passed. Do not let the destruction dismay you. We will set up a temporary shelter for all the creatures here. This is a time to stay together and help each other. Slowly and gradually we will rebuild our homes. Yes, the loss of our homes is a great one, yet we must be grateful that we are all safe and sound and strong enough to rebuild our homes and our lives."

The creatures nodded solemnly. Yet, there was no fear in their eyes, only gratitude.

As the days passed, the creatures rebuilt their homes. It was the birds who constructed their nests initially on the ground between rocks, while the bigger terrestrial creatures cleared the debris of trees and rocks.

Meals were shared; new trees were planted. Schooling began for the terrestrial creatures in Fruit Park while the birds resumed their studies near the lakeside temporarily.

"Education must not suffer," Wiz Rooster kept emphasizing. "Knowledge will give us the power of mind over matter."

The End

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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