There’s No Place Like Home
From the far north they heard a low rumble, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.
Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.
"There's danger comin’, Em," he called to his wife. "I'll go for help. You know what to do." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.
Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.
"Quick, Dorothy!" she screamed. "Run for the cellar!"
Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under the bed, and the girl started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and ran for the cellar.
“Quick, Dorothy. Get down here!” her Aunt urged.
Dorothy crawled to the end of the root cellar, to the cubby hole at the back where they were able to drag the shelves in front of them. With any luck they could hide here until it was safe to come out. Nobody knew about this spot; it was a safe haven from tornados, storms and raiders – especially raiders. Since the border wars had started it was vital to have a safe haven.
They huddled together on the old mattress and listened intently to the hoots and thuds as the riders came close to their homestead. Dorothy felt her breath gutter with fear at the thunderous noise outside but she hugged her aunt more tightly and felt herself rocked like a baby in a cradle.
“It’s only two miles to town,” Aunt Em murmured, softly in her ear. “Uncle Henry has gone for help. We just have to stay as quiet as mice until help gets here. We’ll be fine, darlin’.”
Then a strange thing happened.
The rumbling, thundering, hooting, howling crowd started to quieten; the noise diminishing as it disappeared into the distance. Dorothy tilted up her head and stared up at her aunt, but she could see nothing in the pitch-blackness of their hidey-hole.
Dorothy felt her aunt gulp heavily. “It looks like they’ve passed us by. We’re too near town, I guess. Sounds like they headed off towards the Heyes’ place. I do hope they’ll be alright. At least they have the Currys nearby for support.”
Silence fell, the two women cleaving together for comfort in the mute blackness of their cranny. After the longest time Dorothy raised her lips and whispered in her aunt’s ear. “Can we get out now?”
Aunt Em shook her head. “No, sweetie. We stay here until Uncle Henry comes for us. You know that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Dorothy nodded and snuggled into her aunt again. In spite of her worries about her school friends over at the Heyes and Curry places, she soon closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.
Somehow, Kansas didn’t feel too much like home right now.
With apologies to L. Frank Baum