Dylan goes through a major crisis in the first of a three part story arc on Harpers Falls.
This July day was dark and very dismal. The weather bureau had reported highly dangerous thunderstorms all over Massachusetts. Coastal flooding had battered Cape Cod; and down in Fall River. There were several tornadoes that had touched down around the more rural parts of Massachusetts, wind damage had been reported in and around Boston.
However, despite the area of Boston, Harpers Falls was a sitting duck for a tornado. Miraculously, most of the town was spared, but some of the houses on the extreme southern part of town, about a mile or so south of the Harper Estate, and the Harper Academy Campus was totally obliterated.
Rachel Hutchins' mansion was spared any destruction, but another old mansion, the Willoughbby mansion was totally demolished.
Several people who lived outside of town had been gravely injured, Nolan Weller, Anyssa Forson's former boyfriend, who had since married a young woman out of town and had moved back into town had died.
What made the tornado's damage even worse was that at the Willoughby Mansion, there was also a huge explosion of a ruptured gas tank at a nearby natural gas facility. Andrew Walsing, the head of the gas facility perished in the explosion, the force was so powerful, most of town had felt it, in various degrees. The explosion nearly scared Dylan Harper out of his mind.
Alex, who had been in the kitchen had bolted upstairs when he heard Dylan scream.
"Dyl," Alex asked, "are you ok, sweetie?"
"I felt an explosion," Dylan said, in a gasping voice, "it scared me to death."
"It was the natural gas facility south of town," Alex said, soothingly.
Just then, Sheila and Allen ran in, followed by the rest of the family. "Dylan?" she called.
"Up here, Sheila," Alex said, "in our room."
Sheila and the others came up. Dylan was shaking. "Sweetheart," Shelby came to him, "are you all right?"
"Mama," Dylan whispered, "I am scared."
"We're here, baby," Shelby said, holding her traumatized son close, "we're here."
Sheila nodded, coming close to her cousin, "We're not going anywhere," she said.
"Right," Marjorie said, watching over the whole scene, "and you're our priority now."
Alex held Dylan close as he sobbed, the fright of the explosion finally hitting him hard.
Just then, Anyssa's cell phone rang, it was Susannah.
"Nyssa," she said, "what is going on? What happened? I saw on the news about an explosion in Harpers Falls!"
"Yes," Anyssa said, "the gas refinery down south of us exploded, after the tornado went through the south side of town."
"Nobody's hurt, are they?" Susannah asked worriedly.
"Nobody here," Anyssa reassured Susannah, "Dylan is a lot shaken by what happened. the tornado wasn't bad here; and the explosion scared him near out of his mind."
"Oh, my heavens," Susannah said, "is there anything I can do?"
"He's in a very bad way," Anyssa admitted, "Bryan and my family are here to help him, but he is nearly shattered."
"I'm coming out there," Susannah said, "immediately."
"Susie, are you sure you can travel?" Anyssa asked, "at least in the air?"
"I can have someone drive me," she said, "maybe my mother."
"Or we can have someone charter a flight directly here," Anyssa said, "Dr. Steinbach can contact Dr. Erickson."
"What about Ellen?" she said, "maybe I can have her come."
"Susie," Anyssa said, "you are most welcome to come, but let's wait and see how things go, ok? I don't want anything happening to you. Aunt India went to get some medication for Dylan, anyway."
"Aunt India?" Susannah asked, "Why does that name sound familiar?"
"India Hillman lives here now, Susie," Anyssa said.
"Ohmigoodness," Susannah said, "I am glad she is there. How is she?"
"As fun as ever," Anyssa said, "and I am happy that she is helpful to us."
"I am very glad," Susannah said, "I hope Dylan is all right."
"He will be," Anyssa said, "he's in good hands."
"We, in Somerset, are at your call, if you need us," Susannah said.
"Thanks," Anyssa said, feeling a lot better.
Dylan was in bed, India had brought his meds. "He took them and went straight away to sleep, the poor dear," she said, feeling really terrible for her nephew.
"He'll be fine, India," Michael said to the woman who was as much family as the rest of them, "believe me."
The entire family looked at Dylan, who was asleep on his bed. Alex sat down next to his beloved. "My poor sweetie," he said softly, "I wish I could take it away!"
"I know, Alex," Shelby said, hugging her son in-law, "I know, he's got us who love him."
Megan Harper felt stricken, she touched Dylan's brow, "I can't believe that he would be shaken by that explosion," she whispered.
Vanessa, sensing, as she always did, when her twin was suffering, put her arm around her sister, "There is only so much that people can take," she said, "and my goodness, Dylan has taken his share of body blows. This may take him a while to get over."
"I remember Aunt Van saying that," Megan said, "she was always so wise, even though I scoffed at it numerous times."
"I think she would have understood," Aileen Mercier said, "she really would have."
Meanwhile, Marcus Johnson was laughing. Carlton glared at his brother.
"Don't you dare laugh, Marcus," Carlton said coldly, "this town has suffered, and you LAUGH about it?!"
"I don't care!" Marcus laughed, and walked down the street, "I'm off for the Silver Kettle, it wasn't damaged."
"Fine!" Carlton said angrily, "I will tell Mother!"
"You tell her, and I will destroy you!" Marcus threatened him.
"Stop it," Valerie Johnson said, "Carlton, it's all right. How's Dylan?"
"Megan told me that he is really shaken," he said, while Marcus yawned, "that explosion at that gas refinery was rather scary. He's under a heavy sedation. They are treating him at home."
Stacey Marshall shook her head, "That poor child," she said, sadly, "he's had a rough go of it."
Dylan was still sleeping in his bed, while his whole family watched over him.
At the Law Enforcement Center, Anne Hamilton was working on the report of the gas refinery explosion, like most of the town, her thoughts were on Dylan.
At Wheeler's, Vickie Paisley Cannell was working on some paperwork; Julia was helping her out, tears were falling from Julia's eyes.
"Mom," Julia asked, "I need a hug."
Vickie put down her pen and hugged her sobbing daughter. "It's all right, baby," she said, caressing Julia's hair, "Dylan will be all right, I am sure of it."
Veronica Harper was sitting next to Dylan at his bedside, holding his hand. "You're going to be all right, darling," she said, "I know you will."
The family was just waiting and praying for Dylan to come out of the sedation.
The story of Dylan in crisis will continue tomorrow on Harpers Falls.