A Big Wind Through a Small Town
September 8, 1900
Ezra sat in the small cell quietly listening to the fearful mutterings in the adjacent cell. The gusts of wind intermittently shook the jail. Low groans and creaks emanated from inside the walls. Around 5 in the evening the sound of water rushing in the streets and screams and shouts of alarm here and there in the distance just over the roaring of the wind. At 7 pm, a deputy waded in and told them to get out if they could he was leaving too and couldn’t let no man drown or be crushed without a trial. He tossed the keys to a man in the cell next to Ezra’s and ran out. The man unlocked his cell and tossed the keys to Ezra as he yelled, “Good luck, stranger!” as he sprinted out the open door.
When Ezra got to the street the wind and water hit him carrying him 10 feet and hard into a lamppost. He grabbed the post and hung on. He saw the building he just left, three stories of brick swaying in the wind, sheets of water interrupted his view and felt like sand pellets on his face and neck. The wind eased up a little so that he could let it take him up the street a little and not go flying off. He found a low building and threw himself into the door. It was boarded or locked from the inside. He crawled to the front and picked up a brick that had come loose from the facade. He crept down into the alley. The wind whistled and howled in the narrow space between the buildings, but he could stand he found a small window on the side and broke it with the brick. Climbing in, he hoped no one was home. The top of building next door crashed into the alley and on top of the building he had just entered. The ceiling groaned as he ran into a room away from the alley. He slowed to a fast walk in the dim hallway and up into the empty store. He heard a creak and then a grinding crash as the ceiling in the backroom collapsed under the extra weight of the bricks.