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Rated: E · Chapter · Fantasy · #2306253
The beginning, a thunderstorm.
Ortega Family Adventures: Prologue
Their First Thunderstorm


elena woke with a start. She laid still, and she stared at the model of the planet hanging over her bed. Her father had built it and put it up a few weeks ago. It showed all the continents and rotated, so that she would always see the side that was lit by the sun.
         The whole room briefly lit up with a very bright light, followed quickly by a loud boom. She yanked the blanket over her head, then curled up into a ball on her side.
         "That was loud," said a small brown bear that was lying next to her.
         "Do you think it's Godzilla, Banu?" she whispered.
         "If it is, I hope he doesn't eat us," Banu responded.
         "I don't think it is Godzilla. He lives on the other side of the ocean. It must be something else. But what?" she asked.
         "It could be Ogres. They might be mad about something again," Banu replied, then added as he shifted to a more comfortable position next to Selena. "'member when they got mad last month and broke that building?"
         "Yeah. It might be them," she said, paused, then continued. "But what about the -"
         The room lit up again and another boom. This time, the time between the light and the boom was a lot longer.
         "- light? Last time they got upset, it was a lot of shouting and banging things. I don't remember any light."
         "Then it's probably witches and warlocks fighting again."
         The room lit up, but it was definitely not as bright and the boom took a while to get to them. Selena pulled the blanket off their heads and sat up. The room was still dark.
         "I wonder what time it is?" Selena asked.
         "Time for a snack, that's what time it is," Banu stated.
         "OK, let's go to the kitchen," Selena said. She wiggled herself over to the ladder and climbed down. They had a bunk bed and Banu was supposed to sleep in the lower bunk, but they often slept together. He had to use a narrow ramp at the other end of the bed to climb down because his legs were too short for the ladder.
         She stepped over to her door just as the room lit up really brightly and a terrific boom sounded. She froze with her hand on the knob. She stood there for several minutes, but nothing more happened.
         "Are you just going to stand there all night? I'm hungry," Banu asked.
         Selena looked down at the tiny bear next to her right leg. The top of his head barely reached her waist. She smiled and said, "You are always hungry," then opened the door.
         Her room opened onto the hallway from the front door. To her left was an open area that served as a living room, with a hallway that went to the bathroom and her parent's room. To her right was a short hallway that went to the front door. On the left side of that was a doorway into the kitchen, just before the front door.
         Banu walked past her and into the kitchen. While he didn't eat much, he did eat often.
         Banu had his own shelf in the cupboard below the counter. He pulled out a package of jerky, took out a few pieces, and put the package back. Selena retrieved a handful of grapes from the cold storage cabinet. They walked into the living room and were standing in front of the sofa that had windows behind it when a man's voice said, "What are you doing up at this hour?"
         Selena froze and almost dropped her grapes. Banu jumped and gave out a small "EEP!"
         Banu recovered first and said, "The light and boom woke us up, pap ... I mean Mr. Ortega. I was hungry too."
         "Oh, Daddy!" Selena finally said, then ran over and hugged her father.
         At that moment, the room lit up and another loud boom sounded. Banu ran over and hugged Mr. Ortega too. Mr. Ortega untangled himself and walked over to the soft. He opened the blinds and the two children climbed up and stared out the window.
         "Are the witches and warlocks fighting again?" Selena asked.
         "What? Oh, no, Lena. The light and noise are from the thunderstorm. Look out the window, and you can see the rain," he said.
         "Geez, Lena. Of course, it's not witches and warlocks," Banu said, then added. "It's a hungerstorm-thing. And it's definitely not Ogres. I bet the pixies are behind it. I wouldn't put it past those little devils."
         Selena looked at the little bear with narrowed eyes but didn't say anything.
         "Thunderstorm. The loud sound is thunder and the flashing light is lightning," Mr. Ortega said.
         They stood looking out the window for only a few minutes when a jagged bolt of bright white light from the clouds struck the mountain, it was both beautiful and frightening. Then the thunder rolled over them, startling Selena.
         "That was lightning, that jagged bright light. Because it travels so fast it makes a big sound. We call that thunder. If you count the seconds between the lightning strike and when you hear the thunder, you can tell how far away it is from us."
         "So it's not witches and warlocks fighting?" Selena asked.
         "No. It is just a thunderstorm. We don't get them very often. In fact, the last one was just about three years ago. You were pretty young and probably don't remember it."
         Eventually, the storm moved on, and they all went back to bed. Banu decided to sleep in his bed since it was closer to the ground and easier to get into. Before they separated, he said, "Your father is really smart. I hope I can be like that when I grow up. I want to know everything."
         Selena nodded, yawned, and climbed up to her bed.

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