The Big One…………Chapter 5

The ball game ended about an hour after the tremor with the girls still chatting in the afternoon sun outside the barn. Abe and Jacob emerged from its open door talking scores and stats and throwing predictions around about the next game that would take place the following day. Their attention then turned to a young dairy cow that had drifted close to the foot of the hill. Jacobs dad had recently had some difficulty with her when she dropped her last calf and so the conversation turned to that and the two youngsters walked down the hill to take a look at her and continue their conversation.

The three girls continued their talk of babies marriage and men , with no notice of the fact that a number of things had begun to happen. One such thing was that the birds over the meadow had begun to rise from the trees and fly about in a rather strange fashion remaining in the air. Secondly the ground under the their very feet was slowly shifting because deep beneath the earths surface one of the major plates was doing the same. Greta suddenly stood to her feet shouting to her brother in the valley below and as she did a large tremor shook the earth culminating in a loud groan from its depths sending dust into the air leaving the girls on the hill and young men in the valley below frozen in shock.  As the dust began to clear the girls stood looking down  into the valley at the two young men but they seemed to be looking back up , not at the girls but at something else pointing in speechless horror. The girls finally turned their gaze towards the barn where the men were pointing and froze once more in horror. The entire backside of the barn including the horse and buggy that had stood next to it were gone. In fact the entire section of the hillside was gone and had instead become what appeared to be a large gapping crater. Some sort of strange steam like substance seemed to rise out of it. The boys now stood beside the girls looking with speechless awe into the steaming crater.

Ada was the first to break the silence with a croaking, stammering attempt, ” father- father – we must go now to tell father and have him call the elders”.

Abe edged close to the crater as if trying to catch a glimpse of their horse and buggy but Greta seeing his intentions grabbed his arm hissing, ” no Abe stay back, don’t be foolish”.

Jacob seemed to come to his senses all at once and bellowed, ” come on lets get to the house, we need to tell my dad and the others”.

This seemed to light a fire of action under the youngsters and they all toke off on foot after Jacob towards the other end of the farm where the house stood. It was all good and well that they did because a few minutes later the crater swallowed the rest of the barn and a deadly steaming cocktail of gas belched from the depths of the earth killing the young dairy cow instantly.

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