A Boy Named Joshua: The Final Storm


Haeleigh Bayle, Editor

Before beginning the final piece of this story, if you haven’t read the first part, check it out here.

It’s been five hours since I showed Joshua my Gift, and since he showed me his. After the reveal we went inside and sat on the couch, and I asked Joshua countless questions about how he got his Gift, when, and who he was. He avoided most questions but spoke with knowledge far beyond his years when he looked at me at one point and said, “Miss Eleanora, you may not believe everything that has just happened, but you need to embrace it.” I have always tried to cover up my Gift, but with the simple words of Joshua I can’t help but begin to think maybe I should be embracing it…not hiding it.

Sitting on the couch now, I can’t help but fear that when the police come and try to take Joshua away, it may throw him into a flurry of storms. I quickly thought of a plan to make sure Joshua could stay. I picked up my phone, hands shaking with nervousness and dialed the police station’s number. Blake picked up on the first ring. “Eleanora…”

“Hey Blake,” I paused, my breath coming out like I had just got done running. “It’s Joshua…I tried to stop him but he ran into the woods. He’s gone. I’m sorry.” Lying was easier than I thought. I hardly had to act like I had just got done running because my anxiety already made me out of breath.

“I was afraid that might happen. I’m sorry we couldn’t get there sooner. We are running an important investigation right now. Can I get a description of Joshua, though? I want to still put out flyers and notify the surrounding barracks. I also want to do a quick search through the woods in a few hours. That okay?”

“Uh, yeah, yeah, fine,” I stammered. “Um, Joshua is six years old, his eyes are a striking blue-ish green, he has a scar that runs the length of the right side of his face. I’d say he is about three and a half feet tall-ish. He’s shorter for his age. His hair is a dirty blonde and he is wearing ripped up jeans (not styled that way of course) and a forest green t-shirt. Hope that helped.”

“Got it, thanks Eleanora. Keep an eye out in case he comes back. See you in a few hours.” Blake hung up first, and I slowly brought my phone down from my ear, my hands shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe I had just lied to Blake who was an officer…I could be arrested.

I felt a small hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay, Miss Eleanora?”

“I think so. But I may have just got myself into some trouble. Joshua,I’m going to need you to hide in the cellar for a little bit in a few hours, okay? It’s a long story but you have to trust me.”

His big eyes stared back at me, wide with anxiety. “I trust you.”

Blake showed up a few hours later in his patrol car and casually jumped out. I had sent Joshua to the cellar with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk to keep him occupied for a bit. He begged that Biscuit be left with him, though, which may put a wrench in the plan, but I caved and let Biscuit stay in the cellar with him.

“Hey Eleanora,” Blake gave me his usual tentative smile.

“Hey Blake.”

“Where’s ole Biscuit?”

My hands started to sweat and I tried to casually say, “Oh she’s inside sleeping the day away–lazy old girl.”

“Alright, well, let’s just check the barn real quick and then we will quietly walk through the woods for a minute or two just to see if he stayed close. He might have left an obvious trail we could follow as well.”

“Okay, sounds good.”

We headed for the barn and did a quick sweep. Of course, we did not find Joshua. I kept silently praying he and Biscuit could sit still for just a few more hours. Blake startled me while I was deep in thought by asking, “Now which part of the woods did he run into?”

“He headed straight for the main trail right here,” I pointed to a mowed path that led back to the old oil rig about a mile back. “There’s so much woods here, though, it’ll be darn near impossible to find him,” I added for the effect.

“I know, but at least he has a path to follow, which is making me think he may come back.”

“I hope he does, I’m worried about the little guy.” Acting should have been my career choice. I surprised myself with how easily everything flowed out. Then again, my worrying about Joshua wasn’t a lie at all, so maybe that helped ease the nerves.

We walked down the path until we got to the oil rig and I busied myself with calling his name, looking in small hiding places in the oil pump itself and all around in the bush. After a half an hour of looking we headed back, all the while calling his name at different points. By the time we got back the sun was setting and the leaves were flipping harshly in the wind. A storm was coming.

“Well, that went about how I thought it would. I know you are worried about him, Eleanora, but I am sure he’s around here somewhere. A storm’s coming. He’s sure to be knocking on your door tonight.”

“Thanks, Blake. I’ll call if I see him.”

“Okay, take care Eleanora.”

“You too.”

Later that night after dinner, the storm started to blow in. Joshua, who had made a storm himself hours before, sat paralyzed on the living room floor in fear.

“Joshua, are you alright? If the storm is frightening you, please don’t worry, it’ll pass in just a little bit.”

“Miss Eleanora, I am not afraid of the storm, I am afraid of who follows it.”

My hairs stood on end. “What exactly do you mea–?” Just then a huge crack of lightning lit up the entire house, making the electricity flicker. I could feel the static of the lightning on my arms, and prepared myself for the huge rumble of thunder that would follow. I crouched beside Joshua just as a the peel of thunder vibrated the house and windows. It was louder than I had ever heard before. Joshua screamed and covered his ears with his small hands. I gathered him into my arms and held tight, waiting for the vibrations to end.

Panting, Joshua looked at me and said, “He’s here.”

The front door blew off its hinges and a figure walked in. Dark clouds surrounded him and an eerie mist hovered around his body. “Well hello, Joshua,” he sneered. “Did you miss me?”

Beside me, Joshua stood up. “I don’t care what you do to me, but do not hurt Miss Eleanora. She doesn’t even know who you are.”

“Oh, but Joshua, here’s the thing,” the figure whispered in a way that made me shiver, “because you brought her into this, she’s going to have to pay as well.” He smirked and looked directly at me.

I stood up, “If you want him, you’re gonna have to go through me. And believe me, that won’t be easy.”

The figure laughed a hideous laugh, “Oh you’re too funny. Isn’t that what they all say? And don’t they all die in the end? Well, maybe not all. But you will.” With that he lunged at me. I threw Joshua onto the couch and held my hand out, channeling anger into my Gift and sent a wall of fire sailing into the figure’s face. He and his mist disappeared before my eyes.

Joshua screamed, “Run! He’ll be back in just a minute.”

I grabbed Joshua’s hand and sprinted outside into the pelting rain. I looked at Joshua, “What is that thing?”

“He’s…my dad.”

Just then the figure reappeared in front of us, snarling and hurling balls of mist with static electricity in them at us. I ducked and dodged, struggling to protect Joshua as well. “That thing is your father?!” We raced into the barn where we were somewhat protected and waited for Joshua’s father to appear for his third attack. “Okay Joshua, talk to me. How do we defeat him?”

We can’t. But I can.”

“No way, absolutely not. I am not letting you face him alone.”

“You don’t understand, I am the only one who can get close enough to him to destroy him.”

“For such a young boy you sure are smart and bossy,” I laughed and ruffled his hair. “I’ll make a distraction.”

I stepped outside the barn and looked around, waiting for the figure to appear. I felt a sudden drop in temperature and whirled around. The figure’s face turned into a grin as he said, “Who knew a small farm girl could possess so much power. You really left a sting in that punch. But unfortunately for you, I can’t be beat.”

I wanted to say, We’ll see about that, but instead I said, “You talk too much.”

I hurled flame-ball after flame-ball at him. He dodged most of them, and the ones that did hit him only left temporary holes in his misty body. I could see Joshua slinking around in the back and was hoping I could cause a long enough distraction to give Joshua the right opportunity. I decided to really kick it up a notch and went from hurling fireballs to dodging his electricity waves to keep him focused and even more involved with our fight. I flipped and ducked and dodged all around. Finally, I heard the figure gasp in surprise and looked up to see that Joshua had created an almost force-field like barrier around him and was focusing on shrinking him more and more. He was trying to condense him to the point of obliteration. I felt so useless, as I wasn’t sure what to do. Joshua looked stronger than before, his little face determined and contorted into one of extreme exertion. With one final heave he crushed the terrifying figure and sent the electric waves into the sky, where the storm dissipated and eventually the night grew calm. I could hear Joshua breathing hard as he looked up into the sky with triumph but also grief.

I sprinted over to Joshua, who had wobbled a bit from his exhaustion but remained on his feet. I enveloped him in a hug and he weakly hugged back, laughing and saying, “You’re hugging me so tight I can’t breathe.” I loosened up my grip but still held on. After a minute he looked up at me with sad eyes, “I wish I could stay but I have to go. There are more beings like him who want to hurt good people. I have to stop them.”

“No, no, no. Joshua I know I am not your mother but I cannot let you go. You are too young for this.”

“Miss Eleanora, I have to.” His eyes pleaded with me. “I have already lost half of my family to these monsters. I don’t want to be responsible for losing you too.” He sounded like a grown man; it broke my heart.

Tears streamed down my face. “You better promise me you’ll come back and visit.”

He smiled a sad smile, “I can’t make a promise I can’t keep.” He paused before continuing, “I have to go now. But I’ll always be with you…just wait for a gentle breeze or a fresh rain.” I gave him one last giant hug as he walked into the middle of the yard and transformed into this small, gentle ball of mist and rose up into the night sky.

I walked to the porch and plopped onto the porch swing, my heart shattered yet full. A gentle breeze tickled my cheeks and sent the wind chimes into a soft chorus. I looked into the night sky and whispered, “Be safe, little Joshua.”