I spend the majority of my time thinking about things that scare the hell out of others. It’s what I do. My goal as a writer is just that, to scare you.I want my tales to keep you up late into the night, thinking about the horrors that I have wrenched from the dark and thrust into your mind. But there are much scarier things in this world than any monster a writer can come up with. This Spring has seen some truly horrific events unfold in our country. Unusually strong storms have spawned incredibly destructive tornadoes that are quite literally wiping towns off the map. Although tornadoes are not unique to the United States, we do lead the world in the phenomenon, averaging around 700 tornadoes a year with Australia coming in at a distant second with 200 a year. Add on floods and hail damage to crops, and this has been a particularly brutal Spring.
Just a few short weeks ago, I stayed up half the night watching the radar as over 100 tornadoes in a single day, destroyed much of the state of Alabama, including a town that I lived in for a couple of my teenage years. I then watched in fearful anticipation as the line of storms attacked Georgia, narrowly missing the suburb of Atlanta where my only sister and her family live. It was almost a week before I was able to contact my friends in Alabama and make sure they were all alive. Just last night, a massive tornado took the town of Joplin, Missouri in what was the deadliest single tornado event in more than 100 years. My friend and writing colleague, Kevin McClintock lives in Joplin. Thank God he and his family were spared.
There is video footage online that allows you to listen to five minutes of hell as people in a gas station in Joplin, huddle in the cooler of a gas station while the tornado destroys the building around them. Five minutes of panic. Five minutes of destruction. Five minutes of the most horrendous screaming you may ever hear. I don’t care to ever hear that five minutes again. I sobbed as I listened, glad that I was alone at that moment. Their terror will haunt me for a long time. I pray for the people of Joplin and every other town that has suffered the wrath of mother nature this year.
I will never write anything that will inspire even one tenth of the terror that those people have endured, and for that I am grateful. I don’t want to. Horror as a genre is meant to cause fear, but mostly as a release for the everyday fears we all harbor in our hearts. Sometimes it’s nice to scare ourselves to be reminded that we are alive, and to give us an outlet for the terrors of this world which can’t be completely dispelled. I ask that you all pray for one another, that we may see an end, for this season, to the violent storms that are causing so much destruction. And help in any way that you can, be it monetary donation, volunteering or just keeping them in your thoughts. I have to go now. As I type, the sky is growing dark. I think a storm may be coming.
Why don’t you share the love and hop over to Kevin McClintock’s author page on Face Book and click like. It won’t help the people of Joplin, but it will put a smile on one resident’s face!