T is for Tornado Tableau

Day 20 of the challenge!

My theme is NIFTY NUGGETS. Little nuggets of writing based on a photo, a phrase and an object, which is designed to encourage lean, tight writing. I’m aiming for a word count of under 300 words.

Thank you to L.Diane Wolfe for providing the beautiful photo prompts.  You can visit her blog to check out more pictures.



PHRASE – as mad as a hatter

OBJECT – window blinds

Dark greenish sky acccompanied by low-lying clouds and then the loud roar of a freight train as it veers toward an unknown destination, on a collision course… Nature is as mad as a hatter trapped in a never-ending horrific tea party.

The event is captured in sections, not unlike the scenes from a movie, the camera rolling on and on, frame by frame, until the madness subsides.

Loaded silence.

The tableau imprints itself upon the mind.

A nightmare unfolds.

Nothing has escaped nature’s wrath. Wrecked furniture, broken doors, window blinds ripped apart, trees uprooted and cars smashed by an unstoppable force that has swept through and left havoc in its wake.

The reality of the aftermath bears down.

Survivors move through the emotional gauntlet as the grim reality bites. For some, the flood of relief and joy that it is over dominates; for others, the shock and horror of the devastation.

I have to deal with the cruel hand that fate has dealt – the complete annihilation of every material possession…


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    It would be horrible to experience. Fortunately, stuff can be replaced. Lives cannot.

  2. L. Diane Wolfe on April 25, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Shock and horror is right. That tornado touched down just 6-7 miles north of us. It damaged or destroyed dozens of homes, businesses, and a school, plus tore out all of the trees in a park. We were fortunate only to endure large hail that day, although several tornadoes touched down in our county.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 27, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Sounds scary, Diane.
      I can only imagine the horror and devastation.

  3. Chrys Fey on April 25, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    You captured the fear and destruction of a tornado very well, Michelle. It truly is a nightmare for those who have to go through it.

  4. Susan Gourley on April 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    It really is terrible to lose all your possessions but the loss of life is the true horrific result of those violent storms.

  5. David Macaulay on April 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I like it – very dramatic

  6. Gary on April 26, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Hi Michelle,

    Well articulated, my dear friend. And yet, in times of such tragedy, mankind rallies together in a unity that astounds and heartens.


  7. Patricia Lynne on April 26, 2015 at 12:51 am

    I really like the line about the tea party. That was brilliant.

  8. Michael Di Gesu on April 26, 2015 at 3:17 am

    “Nature is as mad as a hatter trapped in a never-ending horrific tea party.”


    I have never experienced one of these horrors, but I have hurricanes while I lived in Florida. I am hoping and praying I will never have to experience another again or ever a Tornado…

    • Michelle Wallace on April 27, 2015 at 1:08 am

      I’ve never experienced a tornado or hurricane.
      The worst I’ve experienced is a terrible thunder storm. Mild by comparison.

  9. Hilary on April 26, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Hi Michelle – I’d hate to be near a tornado … it must be so frightening for all – people, animals .. and the devastating destruction is so sad .. yet nature does rule and we can’t control it. As Gary says mankind does rally thankfully .. cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on April 27, 2015 at 1:10 am

      Nature is beyond our control. Only God knows.
      Yes, it does sound terrifying.

  10. Rosie Amber on April 26, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Any disaster from nature or manmade items is devastating, just listening to the earthquake fall out in Nepal.

  11. Nadine Feldman on April 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    This was a gripping piece. I’m fascinated by the combinations (photo, phrase, object) that seem so disparate but come together here.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 27, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Thanks Nadine.
      It’s been quite a challenge, and I AM behind… but I’m hanging in there.

  12. Jen on April 27, 2015 at 12:42 am

    “Loaded silence” is one of the most poignant lines I’ve ever read! This made me shudder. I live in a tornado prone region and grew up with tornado warnings and watches as part of every spring and summer. Very well written!

    • Michelle Wallace on April 27, 2015 at 1:13 am

      Thanks Jen.
      I can only imagine the effects of such a disaster.

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