Sixteen-year-old Allie isn’t like other girls. Instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the epic vacation of a lifetime.
And she’s not disappointed. Just a few miles from the town of Evansburg, Nebraska, Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado. In person. She can’t wait to tell her friends back home. Never mind that her parents are going to kill her.
But her dream soon turns into a nightmare, and a strange event leaves her shocked. Confused. When she returns home to Wisconsin, something’s…different. Allie now bears a curse so awful, it could destroy everyone and everything she’s ever known.
With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains to find a way to reverse it. She enters a world that she had never imagined, where she becomes a pawn in a fight to save the people of Evansburg from her fate…or to destroy them.
My very first tornado touches the grass of the plains.
I stand next to the van, mouth dropping open, heart pounding. It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for, saved money for, begged my uncle to book us for the Wild Weather Storm Chasing Tours for.
Uncle Cassius swears next to me, equally in awe. It barely cuts over the wind rushing towards the distant funnel. Waves of grass bow down to the twister, whipped down by the surrounding air flying in to feed it. The perfect white cone stands out against the coal sky, slim and graceful. A skirt of dust spins around its base, signaling its dance through a field a few miles away.
“Beautiful!” Kyle, our storm chaser guide, snaps a photo for his website. He steals a glance at me and smiles. He’s all enthusiasm, joy that we’ve found our prey. “Don’t worry. We’re safe. It’s heading to the east. It’ll pass no closer than a couple of miles to our north.”
I want his job someday.
“I’m not scared,” I said, but my shaky voice betrays me. Who am I kidding? Kyle’s an experienced chaser–twenty years–but this is a real tornado. In person. Live. I never realized it would be this intense, this breathtaking. A hollow feeling fills my stomach like I’m plunging down the first hill of a roller coaster.
The tornado curves, almost like it’s leaning to the side for a better look at something. At us? It’s a silly thought, one that makes me laugh. The thunderstorm spins slowly above it, low and menacing. Thunder claps. It’s enough to remind me that the storm in front of me isn’t just beautiful. It’s a predator, entrancing like a cobra and ready to strike.
Good thing there’s no houses or buildings in its way. Only farmland stretches from horizon to horizon.
“Allie. Forget your camera?” Uncle Cassius slaps me on the arm, smiling. It’s a tense smile. So I’m not the only one with some nerves going.
I pull it out of my pocket and fumble with the slim case, fingers hunting for the button. The camera zings to life. Behind it, the tornado looms a bit larger, gaining strength and racing across the ground. More dust kicks up around the perfect white of the twister.
“Now I can really prove to everyone at school how crazy I am.” I give Uncle Cassius a nervous chuckle. The camera trembles in my hands as I catch the tornado in my view, click, and seal it in my memory forever.
I’m having the most insane summer vacation of my entire high school.
I lift the camera for another shot, backing up to squeeze the tornado into the viewport. I click another picture and lowered the camera again for another look.
My heart jumps.
The tornado looms larger, taller. Kyle holds his hand up to his face, squinting for a better view. Even Uncle Cassius goes quiet, stiffening and taking a step back towards the tour van.
All at once I understand.
The tornado has changed course.
Kyle turns. Real fear widens his features.
“Get in the van,” he shouts.
* * * * *
The one big thing I can recall from those first ten seconds is the roar, like a distant train growing closer. The wind whips my hair back, trying to pull me back out of the van. It feels like the twister’s right behind me already, coming down for the kill.
I slam the door on it. The funnel’s much bigger behind the glass, so much that I can’t see the top of it anymore.
Uncle Cassius snaps on his seat belt next to me. Kyle starts it up, punches the gas, and gets us back on the road to nowhere.
I toss my camera to the floor. My hands fumble with the seat belt. The van speeds up, slamming me into the seat. The specter of the tornado closes in, whipping across the field towards us. I’ve heard of tornadoes making sudden turns like this but I never realized it could happen this fast. It rips across the field, coming straight at us. My heart beats on a runaway course. My mind locks into overdrive. I feel like that news crew they always have on tornado shows, that one that survived by hiding under that overpass. Will Kyle make us get out and climb under one? They’re actually bad places to hide. That news crew got off lucky. Kyle knows better. He’s been chasing storms longer than I’ve been alive.
Only green and yellow spreads out ahead. No shelter for miles. Worse, no ditches. The radar on Kyle’s laptop is covered in ugly red and orange blotches like Nebraska has sores.
A hole of panic opens up inside me and for the first time, I regret coming on this vacation.
“Can’t you go faster?” Uncle Cassius leans forward in his seat, gaze hard, arms trembling.
Uncle Cassius never loses his cool.
Not even when I accidentally set his Persian rug on fire when I was seven and broke my arm at the age of nine.
Outside, the tornado grows so close that I could only see the bottom half of the funnel. The van bounces along every speed bump on the highway, every uneven spot. My stomach heaves. I’m going to be sick right here. It’s my stupid fault we’re in this mess.
“I don’t understand.” Kyle punches the gas harder, making the van jump. He turns his head like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, eyes widening. “The tornado should not be moving this way.”
He’s right. It shouldn’t. But it is.
The funnel reaches the road behind us, twisting harder, kicking up earth higher and higher. We’ve gotten out in front of it. I breathe a sigh of relief. Kyle and Uncle Cassius do the same. It’ll cross the road and forget all about us.
Kyle lets off the gas a little and the whine of the engine calms some. “We’re safe now. That was highly unusual. I’ve never seen a tornado turn like that in my career.” There’s a hint of an apology in his voice.
“Well, that was a close one, wasn’t it, Allie?” Uncle Cassius hugs me from the side.
“Yeah,” I say, willing my heart to slow down. At least I can think straight now. Can I even do another two days of this?
Wow, what a dumb idea this was.
But I still can’t resist another look at the storm. I turn as far as my seat belt allows.
My guts fall out of me all over again.
The tornado’s still on the road, bigger than ever. It can’t be.
The twister has turned again. It’s coming right up behind us. Rolling dust eats the entire highway. There’s tornado taking up the whole view of the back window. Dust rips to the sides. The bottom of its funnel spins with fury, big enough to swallow a house whole. Its roar screams against the outside of the van, shaking the seat, pushing the whole van to the side.
It’s no longer beautiful.
“Ohmigod,” I say, sucking in a breath. “Um…Kyle? Stomp on the gas. Just saying.”
“I know!” he snaps. His knuckles turn white on the steering wheel. The van lurches again but he maintains control.
“Allie, get down!” Uncle Cassius puts his huge hand on my back and pushes me towards the floor.
The seat belt cuts into my throat.
What good is it going to do? If the tornado lifts the car–
I’m going to die.
I begged to go on this trip and now Uncle Cassius is going to die too.
The windows shatter with a deafening boom and the wind screams in my ears. AllieAllieAllieAllie…
I can’t breathe.
Uncle Cassius shouts something. Kyle yells. If I’m screaming, I can’t tell. The storm’s sucking it right out of me. Windy hands seize my arms, my legs.
My safety belt snaps, whipping against my leg. I cry out with the sting. The seat disappears under me.
The tornado’s ripping me right out of the van.
The world turns to a white and brown roar. The van’s gone. I have no time to cry out to Uncle Cassius before the world snaps to black and silence takes the place of all.
About Holly Hook
Holly Hook is the author of the Destroyers Series, which consists of five young adult books about teens who are walking disasters…literally. She is also the author of the Rita Morse series, a young adult fantasy series still in progress, and After These Messages, a short ya comedy. Currently she is writing Twisted, a spin-off of the Destroyers Series due out in December. When not writing, she enjoys reading books for teens, especially ya fantasy and paranormal series with a unique twist.
Check out Holly’s Books!
Tempest (Destroyers, Book One)
By Holly Hook
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Sci Fi, Adventure
Book 1 of the Destroyers Series
Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. That is, until she meets Gary, a boy her age with a birthmark exactly like hers. Gary’s attractive, brooding, and perfectly normal…except for the fact that he materialized out of a dangerous hurricane right in front of her. Janelle’s certain of only one thing. Gary’s mark—and hers, too—mean something, but he’s reluctant to tell her what.
At last she squeezes the truth from Gary about their markings. And the truth is utterly terrifying: Janelle and Gary are more connected to the destructive power of nature than she ever dreamed possible. And learning the truth about herself is only the start of her nightmare.
Book 2 of the Destroyers Series, Inferno, is now available. See below.
*TEMPEST is a 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist and has now sold over 6000 copies since its release in September 2010!
Inferno (Destroyers, Book Two) by Holly Hook
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Sci Fi, Adventure
Price: $2.99 for the eBook (available for all eReaders!)
Book 2 of the Destroyers Series
Ever since becoming leader of the human hurricanes called Tempests, 16-year-old Janelle is overdue for a vacation. But the trip to Hawaii quickly presents its own problems when she meets Kenna, a local sophomore who makes the volcano start rumbling when she’s nearby. So when Kenna gets kidnapped, Janelle has to find her before catastrophes can start. If she doesn’t, it could mean the end of civilization as we know it, and the death of everyone she loves.
Outbreak (Destroyers, Book Three)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Price: $2.99 eBook
Book 3 of the Destroyers Series
Paul doesn’t want to kill anyone. All he’s wanted through his teenage years is to have his first Outbreak, where he’ll leave his body to take the form of a tornado. In Mobley, Oklahoma, it’s a normal part of growing up. But just as his wish is granted, he learns that his ability can be used for an evil purpose–and that those in charge are watching him.
Frostbite (Destroyers, Book Four)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Book Four of the Destroyers Series
Sophia’s teenage years have been plagued with another presence that lives inside her–one that freezes everything around her when it gets angry. When a new storm goddess arrives in town, it’s determined to get out of Sophia and join her…even it it means Sophia’s destruction and the end of the world.
Ancient (Destroyers, Book Five)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Book Five of the Destroyers Series
This is the fifth and final book of the Destroyers Series.
Things are never easy when you’re growing up. They’re even worse when you’re also a group of walking natural disasters.
With the insane goddess Andrina on the loose, Janelle and her friends have no choice but to seek out Huracan, the ancient Mayan god of storms, to combat her. But their solution could cause more problems on their adventure than they ever anticipated. Huracan is an old god who craved power and human sacrifice, and handing over power to him could return the world to those days…and mean their end.
Janelle, weary from her position as Tempest High Leader, may finally have a way out of the nightmare she and her boyfriend, Gary, have lived in since she discovered her true identity. But waking up an old, grumpy storm god and giving back her curse might not be better than anything she’s ever known.
Since Kenna learned of her place as a volcano goddess, she has struggled to control her power…and anger. Tired of being helpless in the face of Andrina and falling into her traps, she must discover her own abilities or perish. Unfortunately, Andrina has her own new plans for Kenna.
Paul, riddled with guilt from being forced to turn his girlfriend, Leslie, into an Outbreaker like him, has promised that she will be human again, no matter what price Huracan demands from him. Anything is better than watching her turn into a tornado each time it storms, unable to stop herself from destroying everything around her.
Leslie fears that she will be forced to help Andrina bring Janelle to her side. Worse, she fears that she will lose Paul. She’s willing to sacrifice her humanity forever to keep him safe, but if Paul doesn’t listen, she could lose everything she loves.
Sophia has lived her entire life harboring a winter demon in her body, a dangerous spirit that can take her over and freeze others at any moment. Her new friends need the demon’s help in order to track down the storm god, but there’s no telling what she can do and when.
An adventure told from the point of view of five different teens, this is the conclusion to the Destroyers Series.
Rita Morse and the Sinister Shadow
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
ALL OTHER EBOOK FORMATS (INCLUDING SONY READER, PDF, EPUB, AND OTHERS)
Fourteen year-old Rita Morse is the kind of girl that the teen-hating Shadow Regime doesn’t like. She won’t put up with crap that isn’t fair. Ever. After she toilet-papers a video game store in retaliation for a ban on teens, the Regime, an army of immortals secretly trying to oppress teens all over the world, adds her to their list of threats. That’s not good, because the Regime’s enemies always disappear.
Now Rita’s in the biggest trouble of her life. She’s being stalked, threatened, and nearly kidnapped by shadow people. And the Regime isn’t the only danger: they also control countless humans around the world, some of which are much closer to Rita than she thinks. There’s nowhere to turn.
If Rita can’t learn the Shadow Regime’s reason for their war on teens—and her—she might not make it through her first week of high school.
Rita Morse and the Treacherous Traitor (Rita Morse, Book Two)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Learning that she’s a Guardian, meant to protect the world from evil and injustice, has only been the start of Rita Morse’s problems. Now the teen-hating Shadow Regime has returned, with its sights now set on kidnapping and enslaving Rita’s classmates. Rita’s new powers might not be enough to protect them, and worse, there may be a traitor working in her midst.
After These Messages (A Parody)
Genre: Young Adult Humor, Fantasy, Parody
What would happen if the world suddenly turned into a giant commercial break? Unfortunately, Jade is about to find out, thanks to her little brother’s stupid wish.
Now, not only must she face stupid ads coming to life around her every minute of the day. She’s also being stalked by the most terrifying one of all: the creepy, ever-smiling Burger Planet mascot!
If Jade is unable to face him, she risks losing everyone she cares about to thirty-second slots forever.
*This is a novella at about 23,000 words long. It’s not too serious.*