Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2014: The Way the World Ends (Prelude: A new begining)

Written and owned by Greg Lenier Miller copyrighted 2012. Copyrighted through the Library of Congress 2011.
Written 2011-2012. Written while traveling and living in United States, Costa Rica and Spain.
Final published manuscript will be for sale roughly around September of 2012.
This is a work in progress which means there will be major changes until its done. I have 460 pages written, 270 are shared for free to the public and world. This is a post apocalyptic zombie book. This is book one out of three. The previous blog post before this one shows the first 270 pages with the old beginning.

2014: The Way the World Ends


George Washington Hospital, Washington DC. A day before.

The low level lab technician for the Center of Disease Control shuffles towards room 133 at the George Washington Hospital. He can’t wait to get away from prying eyes. His hands shake uncontrollably and he is chilled. 

Dr. Morris calls out, “Seth, where are you going?”

His superior’s voice berates like nails on a chalk board. A headache rages behind his temples. He tries appearing collected but knows his demeanor isn’t satisfactory. The technician’s small frame shakes as he does his best in keeping the twitches of withdrawal away from the doctor.

Seth mutters, “Sorry, I’m tired and have a migraine. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

The doctor flicks an arrogant look at him and says, “Whatever, I need you to take these vials to the lab ASAP.”

Seth stifles a groan and pockets the vials. He fidgets as the doctor peers into his eyes, his lips thinning to a sharp, disapproving line.

 “Your pupils are dilated.” Dr. Morris says, gripping the technician’s wrist. Seth’s mind races but the drug hampers any chance at an adequate response.

Seth says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Unhand me this instant.”

The migraine induces body tremors and slight slur to his words belie his confident façade as he tries to yank his hand free of the doctor.  He wants to stumble and vomit.  His heart beats fast, veins sticking out thick on his neck.

Dr. Morris continues to pry, “Your skin is chilled and your heart is beating fast. Are you on cocaine?”

Finally Seth yanks his hand free and shoves away from the doctor. “I said stop touching me!”

The CDC doctor continues undaunted, “This is no way for a work study fellow from France to behave!  You’re throwing away your opportunities and nothing good will come from this.”

 “It’s not what you think, I have a migraine,” Seth sputters.

His vision won’t clear. He’s dying to get away but the doctor is his superior. Seth was accepted in a work study program as a fellow at the Central Disease Control in Georgia two months ago. However he had found his coworkers difficult to get along with and the attitude of the doctors insufferable.  They treat him as if he were as low level as they come.

Seth asks, “Why do you care? In a couple of months I’m going back to France. My work visa has an expiration you know.”

Seth knows he sounds snotty and it isn’t helping. Taking a breath, he musters all the sincerity he can manage and continues, “But your wrong, I’m not on drugs. I’m just in pain from a migraine”

The doctor sighs, “Your behavior has been erratic of late. I worry about everyone who is under my watch.”

Seth snorts; short, haughty and utterly reminiscent of his own abusive father far away in France, “You Americans think you can fix everything.”

Seth turns and sharply starts walking down the hall but the stubborn doctor doesn’t take a hint. They pause, eyes fixed on each other before their concentration is broken by the intercom announcing a code red emergency. Many staff workers from the George Washington Hospital pause in their routines as they listen.

A RN shouts, “We need help in room 162, code red!”

Half a dozen hospital workers drop what they are doing and rush to the room.

 “Why don’t you come to my office later”, the doctor asks, already turning toward to go. “We can discuss your future and your migraines. Come on, let’s see what’s happening.”

Seth begrudgingly follows the doctor back to room 162. A black man, tall and broad blocked Seth’s view into the room. Lin was a brilliant researcher for the CDC and one of the few people Seth could stomach. His name tag was spoofed and rhymed even more then Seth’s. Majority of Seth’s jobs is to test blood, cleaning messes, making coffee and to clean toilets like a common janitor. He job hasn’t been working out the way he wanted. A commotion is occurring in the room.

Seth massages his temples, “Hey, I wasn’t expecting to see you here. Aren’t you supposed to be in Georgia?”

They enter the patient’s room as Lin replies, “I was, but I pulled some strings. Isn’t this patient 73, what’s her name?”

Seth flippantly answers, “Who knows, who cares.”

From the doorway the scene is chaos. There are half a dozen hospital staff workers holding down a thrashing female patient to the bed. The woman doesn’t say anything but sniffs the air in jerking animalistic motions. Black crud cakes her eyes, sealing them shut. Something like blood, but darker and somehow more sinister, leaks from the corner of her mouth.

A RN shouts over the others, “Calm down! Mrs. Smith? Can you hear me Mrs. Smith?”

The woman doesn’t reply. She continues to thrash and sniff at the air like a hungry animal, occasionally silently snarling.
Dr. Morris asks, “What’s the commotion?”

 “The patient woke from the coma and attacked me.” The brunette nurse answers from the corner of the room, her eyes are wide and fixed as she stares at the bed.

A male RN interrupts, “Did she hit you Natalie?”

 “No but he can’t say the same.”

With a slightly trembling hand she points to the left. Seth sucks in his breath sharply. A janitor lies in a crooked heap, the side of his neck and upper torso gored and bloody. Dr. Morris rushes to the downed hospital worker.  A second CDC doctor brushes past Seth into the room with a very big and scary syringe.

 “Dr. Peterson, this patient is out of control, I hope you have a tranquilizer?” Dr. Morris asks, his fingers pressed to the janitor’s neck in search of a pulse.

The second doctor pauses as he studies the struggling patient. Blood drips from the woman’s finger nails. Her muscles are rigid; fingers are curled into stiff claws that she tries again and again to lift from restraint.  Her mouth is opening and closing. 

She looks like she tasting the air.

Seth’s blood chills as he watches the woman open and close her bloody mouth. She reminds him a late night zombie movie he saw once when he was a kid.. In the movie the zombie’s head had been severed, but the mouth just kept going, open and close, open and close. He had nightmares of it off and on for weeks afterwards.
“This has only been happening with 10% of the patients who received the drug”, Dr. Peterson says as he plunges the syringe into the patient’s thigh.

 “The janitor is dead,” Dr. Morris interrupts, a mix of anger, regret, and guilt playing across his face as he rises. The nurse, Natalie, breaks down from her shocked silence into hysterical tears.

Dr. Morris approaches the bed as the drug quickly sedates the patient. “The patient killed the janitor! This is getting out of hand.”

Dr. Peterson answers coolly, “The patients are all volunteers and have given proper written consent to be here.” He turns to the sound of Natalie’s sobs. “Would someone remove that woman? The janitor’s family will be well compensated.”

 “I will escort her”, Seth volunteers, moving swiftly to the sobbing woman’s side and guiding her out of the room.

Lin jumps at the chance to have a few free moments with Seth, “He might need my help.”

 Dr. Peterson tells the rest, “We have almost found the cure to diseases affecting the memory, thinking, and behavior. We can’t stop while being close,”

Seth can hear Dr. Morris justifying the CDC’s presence to the remaining witnesses as they settle a scarily calm Ms. Smith back into her bed. The bed is built with many restraints. The last thing Seth hears before turning the corner with the sniffling nurse is the thick slap of leather restraints. 

 “A man is dead because their playing God,” Natalie mutters before allowing herself to be removed.

Seth ignores her.  As they walk they pass eleven other rooms with similar patients being treated with the new designer drug. There are three other hallways just like this one. A total of 76 patients, Seth shutters slightly at the thought of it. Or maybe it was withdrawals returning now that the distraction passed.  Seth and Lin deposit the raging woman at the nurses’ station and hurry off.  Down the corridor a middle aged white man in a blue suit stops them.

The man in the blue suit says, “Sorry to bother you, I’m here for my blood pressure check up and I’m lost.”

Seth shakes his head, “Sorry, we are with the CDC, if you go to the nurses’ station someone will help you.”

A middle aged woman walks out of the woman’s bathroom, “Mike, did you find out where we are going for your blood pressure?”

The man in the suit points to the nurses stations, “Over there. Thanks!”

Seth replies, “Sure, glad we could help.”

The two workers enter an empty storage room near the bathroom. Seth locks the door.

 “I think Dr. Morris is onto us,” Lin grumbles.

Seth angrily sucks in his breath, “We both need the money! Is Phillip getting any closer on figuring out a way to combine the two substances without losing its potency?”

The French man fishes out a small baggie from his pocket, in the baggie are four round purple pills; two of them have been smashed into powder.

Lin’s tall frame gives a slight tremor. “I love this stuff, man. Do you think we are going to go into a coma like Ms. Smith and the others though?”

Seth laughs, “Hell, no!”

They use the smooth surface of a stored bedside table to snort from. Lin takes out a lighter and his driver’s license and hands them to Seth.

The French man delicately places the license over the two purple pills and deftly uses the lighter to crush the pills to powder.  

Next Seth fishes out a white pill bottle which contains a gram of cocaine. He chops and mixes the two drugs with the edge of the driver’s license and separates the pile into four lines. Lin rolls a twenty dollar bill into a tube and hands it to Seth.

Lin absently comments, “I can’t believe we found out if we combined the two drugs we get super coke. Do you remember when we made the discovery?”

Seth nods and then leans over and snots up a line. They discovered the mixture purely by mistake a couple of weeks previous when they ran out of blow during a break. One of Seth’s many low level duties with the CDC was to clean the labs and dispose of unwanted and hazardous chemicals. To the researchers, Seth was on par with the lab rats so it wasn’t surprising they would speak openly in front of him. What was surprising was their discussion on the highly euphoric effects of the new Alzheimer’s drug they were running trials on.  The little happy purple pill the researches called it. Fond of cocaine, which runs rampant in Georgia and DC, Seth was immediately interested and swiped a few. The study was so well funded they had tons of them.

When Seth and Lin ran out of coke, Seth suggested trying one of the little happy purple pills he swiped. The combination was beyond either man had experienced. Being good friends, they shared with their friends, who shared with theirs and soon they had a regular business selling a product no one else could get.

That was before the comas; before the woman with the ever opening and closing bloody mouth. Seth shakes the image away and hands Lin the rolled twenty.

 “I remember.” Seth says. “What am I going to do when I go back to France? How am I going to bring these with?”

He didn’t want to go home. He liked America. He liked American drugs. He liked American opportunities.

Lin says, “You know I have been selling some of the finished product in DC?”

He draws the drug into his nostril through the twenty dollar bill with a deep snort.

After a moment Lin continues, “I’m getting three times more for it here than in Georgia.  Do you want to help? Maybe you can make enough to stay in America or something.”

Seth beams with pleasure, every fiber of his being humming with enjoyment. He tries not thinking of Ms. Smith and the others who went into comas. He thinks they are weak. His vision blurs as rage and bliss becomes one. His body and mind go numb. He shuts his eyes. Lin’s voice is distant. He feels a bottomless hunger which isn’t normal.

Lin continues, “I have distribution set up in DC and in Boston. However I think the CDC might be onto me. We might want to stay in DC and become rich instead of going back.”

Seth mutters, “Sure, whatever you want.”

“The Beautiful Island” The Same Day but in Spain

Dr. Joseph Herbert watches as a large migration of birds take flight; he wishes he hadn’t forgotten his binoculars which would have allowed him to see the small critters with solid clarity. Joseph bursts with excitement as he hikes the stone path which is riddled with petro glyphs. Jessica, an undergraduate student in archaeology, has been making him a little uncomfortable of late.  She asked him to meet him for lunch at a clearing up ahead. The terrain encompasses three colors which are blue, green and black. The blue represents the ocean, the green the plants and foliage, and the black comes from the volcano rock. The terrain is Spain wasn’t what he envisioned as a child. A lot of yellowish sandy spots full of rocks and brush can be seen on the beautiful island.

Herbert is a conservative and is happily married. Earlier in the day he decided it’s time to put the student in her place. It is university policy that faculty under any circumstances are not allowed to have intimate relations with their students. This still doesn’t stop many of his colleagues from having affairs but he isn’t one of those men. The hills in front of him lazily sprawl in the distance. The island is small; the Atlantic Ocean fills the space around it with crystal blue and green water.

Herbert asks himself in personal reflection, “So why am I out here? I could have e-mailed her.”

The path leading up Cumbre Vieja on the island of La Palma is a very beautiful. Dr. Herbert has been making it a point to study the volcano for the last ten years. Eight months out of the year he teaches at Michigan State. The other four months he’s at the Canary Islands directing study abroad programs and volunteering his time at the observatory. This is his 9th trip. The island is the fifth largest island out of seven.  It’s roughly 700 km and is made by a chain of volcanos. The environment consists of a temperate cloud forest with many Jupiter trees; the smell of pine lingers in the air. Paths are not rigid as one would expect but have been smoothed over from much use over the last thousand years. Herbert loses himself in his thoughts. The island has a large highway system made from asphalt but he’s not on that. He prefers dirt and rock under his feet. He ponders his luck on being able to teach on the island which pays for his trips.

This year has been different. For the first time in his career an undergraduate student by the name of Jessica has been making him feeling athwart. Whenever she’s around his heart races and he loses focus.

The professor chides himself, “It’s almost as if I’m in puppy love. There are more important things to worry about then a hussy.”

Michigan State awarded him a grant to help put into place a new seismograph in the volcano. Seismographs detect signs of movement which is a precursor to the volcano erupting. Up to date there are only three devices monitoring the volcano but in his opinion there should be five or six. In 1949 the western flank of the volcano split and a future eruption could possibly generate a tsunami that might destroy the East Coast of America within eight hours. Not to mention many other countries and coasts.

But in all honesty it might take over 1000 years for this to happen. It’s uncommon for earthquakes to hit the Eastern Seaboard and what’s the probability it will happen during his life?

Herbert smiles as he pauses on the path.  He sees the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the distance. The observatory is one of the world’s leading astronomical observatories. In conjunction with Michigan University the observatory received a donation from a private donor to install the new monitoring device this summer. They had to cut through much red tape to get this far. The government in Spain has a very slow administrative system which means it takes years to get something like this done. The people in the Canary Islands are not on their list of importance when it comes down to end of world scenarios.

A rustle in the dull green bushes gives Herbert a new pause. Ten feet to his left is a paved road leading to the summit, he’s on the dirt path. Up ahead the road branches to the right which leads to the observatory. The locals call the rock formation around the observatory ‘the lad’. The summit of the volcano is four miles above sea level. He’s supposed to meet Jessica another ten minutes ahead.

Herbert asks himself, “Why is she doing this? I haven’t given her any mixed signals have I?”

A lizard deftly flips flops onto his path with its tiny legs. It pauses as it looks at him with calm eyes. Herbert happily intakes his breath, he fears any movement might startle the magnificent lizard. Until recently the lizard was presumed to be extinct.

Dr. Herbert whispers, “You’re a Gallotia auaritae. You’re a beautiful La Palma Giant Lizard aren’t you?”

The lizard looks at him lazily, after a moment it begins to wobble away. Herbert takes out a dessert made from honey and almonds. He tries making a clicking sound to gain the attention of the lizard. He got the dessert while drinking coffee earlier in the day. The locals refer to the dessert as Pricipe Alberto. Originally the dessert is made with sponge, chocolate and almonds but his has honey in it. Over the years the café owner learned his preferred taste. Now he gets desserts just the way he likes. He really loves the Canary Islands. The giant lizard pauses and sniffs the air. The professor is excited as it attentively becomes interested in his dessert. Herbert urges the lizard to take the dessert by praising the endangered species.

The professor beckons the lizard, “Come here boy, no one is going to hurt you.”

Both Herbert and the lizard smell the honey. Herbert continues, “Your species has been rediscovered in 2007. What came first, the lizard or the egg?”

The lizard flicks its tongue and tastes the honey. After a few licks it darts into the brush. The foot long lizard is gone as fast as it came.

Dr. Herbert continues his hike. He’s surprised the lizard would be this high up on the volcano. Usually they only come up 700-900 meters past sea level. Lizards on the island have become rare do to rats and being a favorite cuisine of the locals.

Dr. Herbert’s thoughts are cut short.

A geeky male yells to him, “Hey Professor, I’m over here, fancy meeting you out here!” It’s not Jessica but a male student who has been giving him grief of late.

Herbert attempts to put on a fake smile but his disdain still comes out. His moment with the lizard is deflated as his attention zeros on the lad in front of him.

“Hello Steve. What brings you out here this fine morning?”

Dr. Herbert attempts to walk around the skinny male student dressed in khaki’s. A few buttons on his shirt are loose. The lad doesn’t know how to dress properly. The young adult looks like he should be in Hawaii, not the Canary Islands.

My God, why is he wearing flip flops on this trail? I think I will be giving him a C, his papers and topics are always based on the Volcano erupting and the world ending. I prefer more objective students who appreciate the moment, not those who live in a fantasy world where everything is about conspiracies.

Steve comes from a rich family. His air is snotty as he responds, “I’m trying to gain evidence for my blog on the bloody conquest of the Spaniards over the locals in 1400. Check this out, I found this arrow head in a pile of bones. I think it might have come from a Spanish soldier.”

Dr. Herbert rolls his eyes, “You mean you’re not trying to show me how the volcano is going to create a tsunami which will destroy man kind?”

Steve refuses to take the bait. He continues, “The threat is real. Can you look at this for a moment professor?”

Dr. Herbert sighs in resignation. Jessica is going to have to wait a few extra minutes.

“Sure Steve. What did you find today? I hope this isn’t going to be like last week when you found a local fisherman’s wheel and thought it was prehistoric. Do you remember that?”

A week previous Steve thought he found something ancient which ended up being a lost fishing pole that wasn’t even twenty years old. Steve excitedly gestures to the right; it’s obvious he doesn’t feel any embarrassment from past mistakes.

In a hush tone Steve replies, “So I was walking and pondering stuff when I stumbled on this, what do you think?”

They reach a clearing. At first Herbert doesn’t see anything outside of dense folia. Steve directs him to a hollowed out tree.
On the ground is a pile of rags mixed with black volcano rock. Dr. Herbert brushes some of the debris off of the rags and startles with the discovery. In the midst of the rags is a scabbard. Without pausing Herbert brushes off the dirt and whistles in surprise.

“Steve, did this come from in the tree?” The professor doesn’t really care but doesn’t want to be rude.

Steve nods, “Is it old professor? What is it?”

Dr. Herbert smiles in disbelief, he can’t believe this. Without hesitation he brandishes the scabbard and draws out a small short sword with the Spaniard emblem stamped near its hilt.

“Steve, I think you just redeemed yourself from last week’s blunder. If I’m not mistaken this sword is an officers sword from Alonso Fernandez de Lugo.”

Steve replies, “There is more stuff in the tree. Who is that?”

Dr. Herbert can’t keep the disdain from his voice, “Haven’t you been paying attention to anything I teach? Lugo is the Spaniard who defeated the local chief Tanausu in 1493. The Spaniards set the local chief up and ambushed him during a made up truce. What else did you find?” Steve withdraws a few arrows and a Spanish helmet from the tree.

Steve becomes more excited, “Is it worth something on e-bay?”

Dr. Herbert doesn’t bother to give the lad a response. He’s engrossed in holding the odd shaped helmet. He doesn’t understand why the stuff would have been placed into the tree but shrugs it off. He instantly thinks of fame as he starts putting two and two together. He’s sure the new discovery will lead to a wonderful journal or article which would allow him to receive new grants in the future.

The discovery is short lived, the earth shifts as a new tremor mildly rocks the island. He doesn’t pay it much attention for the Island has minor earthquakes and tremors weekly. Steve however isn’t used to it. He’s from New Hampshire.

Steve forgets about his discovery as his eyes go big. The earth under their feet gives off a small rattle. It abruptly stops as fast as it began. They do not lose their footing.

Steve shouts, “Is this the big one professor?”

Dr. Herbert sighs, “No Steve. This is normal for the island.”

Birds fly over head. There must be thousands. They are small birds referred to as ChiffChaff. They have round wings. Dr. Herbert enjoys hearing their sing song chirps. Within moments the flock is gone.

Dr. Herbert tells murmurs, “We need to get this stuff to the capital city of Santa Cruz de La Palma. I have a few friends who 
can help us determine the age and origin of the sword and helmet.” Steve doesn’t let go of his fear as he starts to hyperventilate. Dr. Herbert doesn’t respect the show of weakness in the lad but tries to hide his feelings. He gathers the sword and helmet.

Steve interjects his fears as he forgets about his discovery, “Professor, what happens if the volcano erupts and we all die?”

“Steve, there is no recorded history of a tsunami destroying the eastern sea board like your wrote about last week. 

Philadelphia and Delaware experienced a tsunami in 1817 and 1884 but it did very little damage. I tried explaining this to you in your last paper which you got a C on.” Dr. Herbert wonders why the sword and helmet weren’t in a cave and why Steve was able to find them in a tree.

Herbert asks, “Why were you looking in a tree?”

Steve doesn’t calm down. The lad continues his charade, “Professor, I had a bad dream earlier. An earthquake destroyed everything and a tsunami took out our capital! I looked because it was a feeling.”

Dr. Herbert snorts, “Steve, that scenario isn’t possible. If a tsunami hits Washington DC the Potomac River will surge and create only a little damage to DC. Do you remember hurricane Isabel in 2003? The Chesapeake Bay would flood its estuaries and bays which would in turn create minor damage to the city and the surrounding area. Your fears of the capital being destroyed are not real.”

Steve interrupts, “But professor, if Cumbre Vieja erupts it will send a massive landslide into the ocean which in turn would send a three hundred foot tsunami to America, this would destroy everything inland for about twenty miles!”

Not too kindly, “Steve, why do you go on and on about this? Did the volcano erupt? Are we dead? What’s with your morbid fixation?”

Steve stutters, “But Professor, do you deny the 1949 eruption didn’t create a separation in the island? There is a massive amount of earth which is ready to fall into the sea at any time! Anyone can see the rubble in the bay.”

Dr. Herbert explains, “The threat can happen anywhere between 10 years to 50,000 years from now. The likely hood of us being alive is almost zero, and that’s if it happens. Current scientists have rebuffed your fear, why don’t you take comfort in what the professionals have to say?”

Steve kicks at the dirt. He shrilly responds, “Professor, I read your marks against my paper. I understand that a massive flank failure on the left flank is unlikely and is a rare phenomenon. Please hear me out. The volcano has already erupted twice in the last hundred years in 1949 and in the 1970’s. We already have a large section of earth on verge of falling into the ocean which would create the tsunami! Anyone who visits the island can see it.”

Dr. Herbert doesn’t want to deal with this outside of the classroom. He would prefer Jessica’s company over Steve’s any day. He attempts to walk past Steve but the lad doesn’t catch a clue.

“Steve, why don’t you head back to the observatory and see of the new monitoring device came?” Herbert thinks it’s amazing that Fed Ex is global, twenty years ago it would have taken 4-6 months to ship something to the islands, or so he assumes. Steve doesn’t want to stop talking.

The kid won’t stop being annoying, “Professor, I think the situation is direr then you give credit.” Dr. Herbert doesn’t hide his annoyance from his voice as he quickens his pace. He forgets about Jessica as he tries explaining to Steve how wrong the lad is.

Dr. Herbert goes into lecturer mode, “Even though there is evidence within the world’s history stratovolcanoes fail in their underwater flanks, there is no written account of what you postulate. It’s an idea based not on fact. Current data shows the western flank of Cumbre Vieja to be made of pillow lava which is supported by pyroclastics. In other words, your worry is simply an unjust fear. You can learn from Freud when he says sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

 Steve doesn’t want to listen which is typical of most students.

“Professor, what happens if the sea floor buckles with an earthquake? Would this not create a gravitational pull which in turn would send a landslide into the ocean which could create the tsunami?” Steve is out of breath, Dr. Herbert hopes the lad will run out of steam if he keeps his fast pace.

“Steve, I know you fear the 2.5 kilometer rift which was created in 1949, but the depth is only 2 meters deep. There is no scientific data that shows the volcano is unstable.” Steve is losing ground; the lad is now five to six feet behind.

Steve counters while puffing with exertion, “What happens if magma is rising and if the volcano blows? This would create enough inertia to create the landslide and tsunami.”

Dr. Herbert wipes the sweat from his brow, “The BBC document END DAY blows your hypothesis away. By the way, you really should do thorough research. Your idea was originally voiced by BBC Horizon in 2002 and was shown to be a fallacy. If you would have written this in your paper without citing the proper sources you would be plagiarizing. Recent documentation shows the 1949 eruption did not drop the earth towards the sea and there is no evidence the rift you mention is a threat. For that matter there has never been a written record of a mega tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean. Why don’t you do proper research before bothering me with your fears? We have gone over this many times in the classroom.”

Dr. Herbert enters a clearing; and almost trips over a large black lava rock. He’s stunned when he sees Jessica. He forgot about her.

Jessica is dressed in a red slip. She is 5’6 with blond hair going down to her waist. Her crystal clear blue eyes go big as he bustles into the clearing. She smiles and stands up in one fluid motion.

Jessica’s voice is full of sultry intent, “Professor, you came!”

Dr. Herbert’s freezes and his heart beats faster. This isn’t what he wants or is expecting. Within seconds Steve plows into Dr. Herbert and they both fall to the ground in the small hamlet. The sword and helmet roll to the side.

Steve looks up in confusion, “Holy shit Jessica! Why are you here? Why are you dressed like that?”

Jessica shrieks in embarrassment, “Professor, why did you bring him with you?” She wraps herself into a summer blanket which is sprawled on the rock overlooking the bay. Fruit and flowers go flying. Among the tossed items are the islands ingenious Bird of Paradise flowers, avocados and grapes. A bottle of wine with an assortment of cheese can be seen to her left.

Steve gets to his feet. He can’t help but scan Jessica with amazement and lust. His voice takes on new understanding, “Professor how could you? You’re married and have children.” Steve’s voice takes on sorrow as he loses respect for his instructor.

Dr. Herbert counters without much conviction, “This isn’t what you think Steve.”

Steve retreats a few steps, “Sure professor. Now I understand why you were trying to lose me on the trail. You leave me no choice but to report you to the department head. What you’re doing is ethically wrong.” Steve picks up the sword and helmet.
Dr. Herbert instantly sees his career and marriage disintegrate if Steve reports him. Thinking fast he counters, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t what you think. How about I give you an A and you forget about this?”

Jessica quips, “Please Steve, don’t do this. We never did anything.”

Steve replies, “Even if you didn’t do anything you were going to do something. The only reason you didn’t is because I am here. How could you do this Jessica?”

Both Jessica and Dr. Herbert look at the ground. They don’t know what to say, it’s really hard to deny her intentions. At this moment the unexpected happens.

The earth under their feet starts shaking with a deep rattle. At first Dr. Herbert isn’t concerned but within seconds the rattle becomes a deafening roar. Dr. Herbert and his two students fall to the ground as the earth pitches forward. Thousands if not millions of birds take flight. A cloud which encompasses the Bay dissipates.  Dr. Herbert is speechless as he watches the upper half of the volcano shoot lava high into the sky. His mind goes numb as he watches the impossible happen; the pitching earth prevents him from getting to his feet as he falls again. Never in his life has he seen the volcanoes shoot lava straight into the sky, it’s often a small trickle when it erupts. The rattle changes and now feels like a train is passing by. The middle of the bay boils as brown mud lifts from the sea floor. It’s obvious a great massive shift is occurring near where the boats are docked.

Steve shouts, “I told you professor! I dreamed about this today! I told you!”

Jessica shrieks in her blanket as she rolls on the ground. It’s apparent she is stuck in the thick cloth. Dr. Herbert doesn’t know what to say. It appears the earthquake started in the Bay!

Ocean water surges towards the capital city of Saint Cruz. Fishing boats ride the wave as the city and its 90,000 inhabitants instantly disappear. All around them steam shoots from the ground. The steam blocks their vision of the volcano. The earth underneath their feet rolls towards the ocean as 500 kilometers of earth rush downwards as the wave reaches for its newest victims. The Western flank of Cumbre Vieja speedily meets the ocean. It feels like they are on a very large slide within an amusement park. Mud from the center of the bay and lava from the volcano shoot into the sky.

Dr. Herbert cries out in disbelief, “NO! This wasn’t supposed to happen!”

Steve has to have the last voice which makes Dr. Herbert insanely mad, “I told you professor! The end of the world is at hand just like I dreamed! You and all your scientific data are wrong!”

Dr. Herbert ponders the implication; he knows there isn’t anything he can do. Today is the day he dies. The world isn’t ending with a whimper but with a bang. The first wave is going to be over 1900 hundred feet high. It will travel over 600 mph through the Atlantic. In six to eight hours our nation’s capital will be destroyed! This won’t be the only wave. Many more will follow but they will be around 100 feet high. We should have implanted the warning devices in the volcano much sooner!

Dr. Herbert looks up one last time, it’s a clear day and the sun seems much brighter than normal. The sun looks a little larger than normal.


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