He had not been expecting a letter. Nelson Scrawley tucked the green envelope under his arm, closed his mailbox and walked quickly back up the driveway to the shade of the carport. He took a deep breath as he wiped the sweat off of his forehead with the back of his hand. Nelson took the envelope out from under his arm to inspect it. What a beautiful shade of green! There’s no name or return address, that’s strange. The handwriting looks familiar. He narrowed his eyes in concentration and then turned to look across the street at his neighbor who was mowing her yard with a wide brimmed straw hat on her head. Nelson turned his attention back to the green envelope and sighed. Guess I’d better get inside and open this letter up. It’s too hot to be standing around here, sweating like a pig anyway. While inside his house Nelson made sure to dead bolt the door behind him. A weatherman on the television in his living room warned about a storm front. Nelson paused a moment to listen.
“The Channel 5 News Weather broadcast areas that are highlighted in red are under a thunder storm advisory until nine ‘o’ clock pm. A thunderstorm warning is in effect for the following counties: Crittendon, Desoto, Shelby – “
Nelson stopped listening and walked over to the kitchen counter to retrieve his letter opener. He bit his lip as he slipped the letter opener into the corner of the envelope and slowly cut it open. Dark clouds started rolling in and the sunlight that was pouring in through his kitchen window dimmed. Nelson leaned over the counter to flip up the light switch so that he could see better. He pried the envelope open with his thumbs and index fingers to reveal a folded piece of crimson red paper. He felt his heart pound in his chest and his stomach tightened as he unfolded the letter. The sound of Mrs. Roque’s lawnmower across the street stopped and was replaced by the sound of a push broom scraping against asphalt. An advertisement for an injury lawyer blared from the television. Nelson decided to turn the television off so that he could concentrate on the letter. He sat down in his overstuffed leather recliner and turned on the lamp on the side table. The letter read as follows:
Beautiful paper and envelope aren’t they? I knew that it would grab your attention. This letter is of extreme importance! A tornado is on its way into your city. The news stations will broadcast warnings but the inclement weather sirens won’t work. Several people will die if you don’t warn them. If you got this letter on Saturday afternoon as I planned and you didn’t take a long time to open it, there will still be enough time to save them. Don’t doubt this letter. This is not a joke or a prank. My visions and dreams are always reliable. I am writing you this letter because I won’t be able to remember my vision and I have to let someone know who will do something about it. GET OUT THERE AND SAVE YOUR NEIGHBORS!!!!
Nelson felt his face grow pale. What the Hell? This is crazy! What does NWS stand for, National Weather Service? He stood up quickly and as the blood rushed to his brain he felt dizzy and nauseous. He walked over to the television and turned it back on. He looked at a weather radar screen full of green and red moving cloud patterns on a map and tried to listen to what the weatherman was saying, but his heart was pounding in his ears. Nelson rushed out of his living room, through the kitchen to his carport door. As he unlocked the door a flash of lightning made him blink. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four- A hair raising crack and boom followed. The rain drops started to fall. Nelson rushed back into his house and retrieved a bullhorn from his hall closet. He threw on a rain coat, grabbed his car keys, and ran out into the storm. He spent two hours driving up and down the streets of his city, shouting out the warning of an oncoming tornado over the sound of heavy rain and thunder, through his bull horn as he drove. The people who peered out of their windows or walked out onto their porches during the storm all told reporters, after the incident, that the man with the bullhorn had saved their lives. One woman recalled seeing 3 black letters written on the side of the bullhorn and had figured that they were his initials. They were N.W.S. Nelson Walter Scrawley had saved the day.