The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1)(7)

“Mom!” Tate yelled, racing toward the stands.

“Tate! Get to the locker room!” His dad seemed to materialize out of the rain beside him, grabbing his wrist.

“But Mom’s—”

“Go! I’ll get your mom. You’re the captain. Be sure your team’s safe!” his dad shouted, hugging his son hard and fast, before shoving him toward the stream of people flooding into the school.

Caught in the tide, Tate was swept along the sidelines with hysterical cheerleaders and panicked parents. He meant to go into the locker room. He meant to do as his dad had told him—to make sure his team was safe. But the closer he got to the concrete building and safety, the more he felt it—the need to stay out there, to stay in the heart of the storm, to do something … anything …

The funnel cloud connected with the earth at the far side of the field, ripping the metal goalposts from the ground and slinging them into the field parking lot and onto the cars and trucks parked there—as well as the helpless people who had chosen to run for their vehicles instead of the school. The screams started in earnest then, mixing with the wind and rain to create a symphony of terror.

The tornado moved down the center of the field in a bizarre parody of the game it had destroyed. From the sidelines, Tate watched it close in on the second goalpost.

A flash of red glinted through the rain and wind. For a strange moment—a moment Tate would never forget—he was able to see the strawberry girl called Foster. Her back was to him. She was on her knees beside the black woman she’d been sitting with. The older woman lay crumpled on her side, clutching her chest as Foster tried futilely to lift her to her feet.

Horrified that the tornado was making its way directly toward them, he ran. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “Foster! Get out of there!”

Her head whipped around and he saw those big green eyes go wide with shock as she looked over his shoulder at the black funnel bearing down on her.

He thought she would run. She should have run.

But she didn’t.

He could see in that instant she wasn’t going to. She wasn’t going to leave her fallen friend.

And he wasn’t going to get to them in time to help. He would be too late. He slid to a stop, wishing he were dreaming. Wishing he wasn’t going to see a beautiful stranger get sucked into the air and killed.

Numb with shock, he watched Foster get to her feet. Instead of running away, she stood straight and strong, and began walking toward the roaring funnel. Her lips moved, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying until she stopped, planted her feet wide, put her hands on her hips, and shouted directly at the tornado.


Her words sizzled through Tate’s body. He felt them in the core of his soul. It was as if her voice was moving inside him, as palpable as the wind and rain, and with it he also felt the power—the pulsing, pounding force that mirrored the whirling maelstrom before them. Her words were a leash, tethering the tornado as if it were as alive as a plunging stallion. Tate could feel that tether, that bind, and his mind, his heart, his soul, followed it.

The girl had somehow pressed a massive pause button. The tornado stopped! Right there in the middle of the fifty-yard line, the funnel quivered, spinning and spinning, straining at its leash, but not moving forward.

Tate stared at Foster. She’d raised her arms so that her palms were pressed forward, stop sign–like, at the whirring funnel of death and air. Her body began to tremble. She staggered back one step, then another, until her legs pressed against her friend’s crumpled body. Tears streamed down her face. Her eyes were wide and frantic, and they found his.

“Help me!” She mouthed the words as the tornado broke free.

Tate’s body moved with an instinct that felt foreign and familiar at the same time. Pumping his arms, he ran onto the field between Foster and the tornado. He raised his arms and, just as he had been practicing for as long as he could remember, football-like, Tate threw that newly awakened power within him, the power that tethered him to the storm, directly at the funnel, using the same command Foster had given it, “YOU WILL NOT COME THIS WAY!”

There was a sound like lightning striking a massive tree, and the tornado shattered, exploding into multiple smaller, but deadly, funnel clouds that scattered, tearing great hunks from the earth and leaving trails of destruction in every direction except toward Foster, her fallen friend, and Tate.

Tate stood frozen, feeling his power splintering with the tornado, unable to move as one of the new funnel clouds—the clouds he had somehow created—tunneled away from him down the sidelines, ripping through the people trying to flee the death trap the bleachers had become.

Tate saw it happen. He saw her bright, Disney princess hair disappear into the maw of the funnel—saw his father’s coach’s jacket torn from his body just as his wife had been torn from his arms—and the tornado devoured Tate’s parents.



The sun reappeared briefly, stretching its long, golden fingers through puffy white clouds. As if mocking them, sunlight caressed Cora’s fuliginous cheeks, seeming to brighten as her breathing became more labored and the glint dulled from her eyes. Foster knelt beside Cora, wiping rain and mud from her face.

“Cora, what’s wrong? Where are you hurt?”

P.C. Cast, Kristin C's Books