Ryan zoned out, thinking about what would happen if he were to hit a home run. He smiled as he imagined his surprised team members shouting in joy as he relished the victory.
The other team hadn’t gotten very far after their two-point home run.
Ryan accidentally let the Clown on third base, but Taylor caught the Mad Hatter’s fly ball and got a double play after throwing the ball to Ryan, who miraculously caught it,
getting the Clown out. The Holy One then proceeded to strike out, which got a good laugh out of his teammates.
Ryan’s team lined up to bat. Taylor was batting first, then Jonathan. Ryan was put at the back of the line, behind Tomas.
“You can’t hit the ball,” the Clown laughed. “You’re just a girl!” Everyone else just stared at him. The others sensed the tension. Ryan was confused by everyone’s reaction.
He watched Taylor’s face redden as she gritted her teeth hard enough to crush a diamond. Once the Clown gained his composure, he pitched a bad throw.
Taylor jumped out of the way, and Tomas ran to retrieve the ball.
“Strike one!” the Clown sneered, then giggled. He threw the ball again. This time, Taylor hit it. The ball headed right in the Clown’s direction and was a direct hit to the ribs.
He fell to the ground but quickly got back up in time to throw the ball to third base, keeping Taylor stuck on second.
Jonathan was more clumsy and hit a ground ball to the left field. He only made it to first base but allowed Taylor to make it to third. Then it was Tomas’ turn to bat.
He picked up the bat and looked the pitcher directly in the eye. The bat made contact with the ball, and the loud “crack” resonated in Ryan’s ears.
Nick was expecting a good hit, so he was waiting near the trees. He didn’t quite catch the ball, but he threw it home in enough time to stop Tomas from making a home run.
Ryan picked up the bat, adrenaline returning to his stressed body. He was determined to hit the home run he promised himself.
“You’d better not let us down,” Taylor said, practically reading Ryan’s mind. After three quick pitches, Ryan struck out.
Taylor angrily picked up the bat. She made it to second base, but Jonathan hit a fly ball that was caught, leading to another double play.
The game was going faster than expected. Jonathan and Taylor were playing their best game on defence, getting people out more than ever before.
The other team was taking advantage of Ryan’s terrible baseball skills and always hit the ball in his direction. That gave him a lot of practice; he started to improve.
Tomas hit a home run every time, and Ryan either struck out, hit an easy-to-catch fly ball, or hit a ground ball and got out on first base.
The Clown didn’t mess with Taylor at all since the first inning, and Taylor was softening up toward Ryan as he slowly began to improve.
He even caught a fly ball in the fourth inning, getting the Clown out. Taylor gave him a big hug, and Tomas gave him a compliment. It was the first time Ryan had ever heard him speak.
The score stayed tied most of the time, until the last inning. The other team was winning by three points.
Taylor hit the ball straight at the Clown again, but he quickly lifted his hand, catching the ball perfectly. Jonathan held the bat shakily and sloppily hit a ball down to right field.
He sprinted to second base, but Nick was faster. Jonathan also got out. Tomas even hit a foul ball! The whole team was shocked and almost lost hope.
The second pitch was hit, restoring what was lost. It was a home run.
Then Ryan was up. He took a deep breath. The Clown pitched, and Ryan hit it. It rolled up to Nick on second base, but Ryan made it to first on time.
He was internally leaping and screaming with excitement. Taylor proceeded to hit the ball directly over second base.
Nick absent-mindedly threw the ball to first base and realized his mistake directly before the ball left his hand, causing the throw to be way off target.
Ryan ran straight to second base, happier than he was when he made it to first base. Jonathan did even better, hitting the ball to the left side of the field behind second base.
Ryan ran all the way home, his whole team, including Tomas, cheering him on as he ran harder than he had ever run before in his life.
A tsunami of excitement and relief terrorized his insides as he strode over the makeshift home plate.
Taylor and Jonathan also ran, but were waiting eagerly on third and second base respectively as Tomas lined up for the next bat.
Attempting to surprise the other team, he bunted the ball, letting it roll only a few meters until it came to a stop. The other team read him like a book.
The Clown, who was pitching, picked up the ball and stood on home base, stopping Taylor from being able to run for it. It was all up to Ryan.
Ryan started to shake. The bases were loaded. There were two outs. The Clown pitched, and Ryan swung the hardest swing of the entire game. He missed.
Because of his teammate’s preoccupation of being on bases, Ryan had to retrieve the ball himself. He passed it to the Clown, who snickered. He pitched again, this time faster than the last one.
Ryan missed it again. Strike two. He retrieved the ball again and passed it to the Clown.
Ryan looked up at the sky. It was still relatively early in the morning; it couldn’t have been later than nine o’clock. Ryan thought about the whole day of school ahead of him.
He cringed at the thought of lugging through the day with the burden of knowing that he caused his team to lose the last game of baseball before it started to snow.
“Dear God,” he prayed, “may you please help me succeed through this obstacle in my life?”
He quickly snapped back to concentration as the Clown wound up for the pitch. He watched in what felt like slow motion as the ball came speeding toward him.
He swung wildly and felt the contact of bat-on-ball jolt through his arms as he heard a loud boom.
The ball flew through the air as if the hand of God himself had picked the ball out of the sky and threw it as far as he could.
Not only did the ball fly through the air, but so did the children. It felt surreal to Ryan as he saw a bright flash, and felt his body being torn off the ground and launched forward.
The next thing he remembered was hitting a tree like a ragdoll, and everything going blank.
In the back of his mind, Ryan saw his father as he watched the SS Mont Blanc burn catastrophically.
“Oh, God,” he plead, “let my wife and son survive this…” Ryan screamed internally, knowing the fate of the most important man in his life.
His prayer was cut short by the biggest explosion made by man until that point in history. Ryan watched in sheer terror as his father and the other bystanders near him were vaporized.
Nothing was left of them but pink mist and bone shards.
Later, Ryan awoke in the trees near the field. He had a throbbing headache, and he vomited because of his concussion.
After a quick, painful search, he only found Jonathan and Taylor, spread out from each other. He helped them up and limped back to the town of Halifax.
He was glad to be near people he cared about who had experienced the same trauma as him.
They stumbled through a bush and emerged to see the rubble of their beloved city burn as their ears were filled with the screams of terror and agony.