This Sight is Continuously Evolving

Children of the Coyote

Chapter 26
Disaster Strikes

    Bigmouth is strolling along the bank of the stream enjoying the sunshine and the fact that he doesn't have to struggle through Rose and Willow thickets.
        Three-toes follows behind him a short distance.
        The young wolf is looking from side to side, his ears rotating back and forth searching for any unusual sound. He stops for a moment, sniffs the air and begins to howl mournfully.
        Bigmouth halts. He turns and looks quizzically at his friend.
        "What's wrong," he asks in a concerned tone.
        The wolf continues to howl.
        "What is it!" Bigmouth demands.
        Three-toes stops howling. "We must get away from the river," he says. "We had better climb to the north rim quickly."
        "Why, what's wrong with where we are." Bigmouth asks.
        "I feel that we may be in grave danger where we are," Three-toes replies. "I think that it might have some thing to do with the black mountain. If I am right we should find a place of safety and do it soon."
    "Okay," Bigmouth agrees. "Let's go"
    After a few steps Bigmouth hears a rumbling sound and stops to listen.
    "Don't stop," the wolf calls back to him. "Hurry, this way."
    As Bigmouth starts to follow his friend the earth heaves below his feet throwing him to the ground. For several moments his world is thrown into confusion. He attempts to get to his feet but again is knocked to the ground by the quaking earth. He lays there clutching the grass and his face buried in the soft turf. All around him he hears the crashing of trees being broken or torn from the ground; of mountains being torn apart; of rock slides and boulders plummeting into the valley.
    As the South side of the valley tilts upward the hard stone of the cliff crumbles, and large blocks tumble into the valley below. They smash everything in their path; Ancient trees are mowed down like wheat before a scythe. Panicked wildlife are not sparred. The slow or unlucky are crushed beneath the tumbling stones. The boulders come to rest in the middle of the river stopping its flow in many places. The turmoil deep within the earth causes the water that bubbles from the many springs that feed the Wa'ste river to become dark and sulfurous. Black pools begin to form behind the new rock dams.
        When the cliffs on the South side of the valley rise up. The South fork of the Wa'ste river flows back into the valley adding it's waters to that of the North fork. The increased flow quickly causes the stream to boil from its bed sweeping trees' rocks and creatures along in the brown flood.
        The uplifting of the south wall splits the Guardian Mount in two.
        As the South side of the basalt formation rises the north side crumbles and falls into the channel of the river stopping its escape from the valley. A thick soup of muddy water, trees, rocks and animals slams into the rubble dam. For a short time the water finds its way through the wreckage of the mountain but dirt and other flotsam stacks up against the rocks the leakage slows and a large lake rapidly begins to form.
        Bigmouth looks up from where he has been thrown.
The earth has stopped its violent shuddering for the moment.
    Bigmouth hears a loud rumble coming from behind him. He looks over his shoulder to see a wall of brown water heading directly for him. Bigmouth jumps to his feet and starts to run from the deluge as fast as his strong legs will carry him. He is almost out of reach of the torrent when his legs are swept from under him. Quickly the rushing water drags him along rolling him over and over in the flood. The current slows as the water backs up behind the rubble of the Guardian Mount. As Bigmouth is carried along the strap of the bundle he carries over one shoulder and under his arm snags on the limb of a tree that has been partially uprooted by the flood. By snagging the bag the tree has temporarily saved our hero from drowning. With the bag caught in the tree the current acting on his body lifts his face free of the water. Bigmouth coughs and sputters as he tries to breathe again. Slowly his senses return. He appraises his situation, reaches up and grasps the limb first with his right hand and then with his left.
        "Pleas friend tree," Bigmouth pleads. "Don't let this limb break."
        He carefully climbs the branch to the trunk of the old injured oak.
        "Now what?" He asks him self. "The water is continuing to rise and shortly the tree will be submerged. If I don't escape soon I will surly drown."
        As he clings to the oak he notices broken sections of trees floating by. On some of the logs are wet frightened animals who have saved there lives by riding on top of the flotsam. Bigmouth decides that this is his only chance of escape. If he can ride one of those trees to where the rocks have stopped the flow he might be able to free himself from this perilous situation. He waits patiently watching each log as it drifts by.
        Finally he sees one heading directly for him. It is about three man heights long and as big around as a large bear. As it floats along it rolls over and over lifting the stubs of its broken branches alternately into the air and then submerging them below the muddy water. The log strikes Bigmouth's tree causing it to shudder with almost enough force to dislodge him from his perch. It slides along the length of the old oak breaking off branches and scraping off long strips of bark. The shuddering and shaking of the old tree finally breaks Bigmouth's hold.
        He falls backwards and sinks below the surface. Bigmouth claws his way back to the light and air. As his head clears the water he opens his eyes just in time to see the end of his intended craft only an arm's length away and bearing down on him. He raises his hand to ward off a direct hit and is pushes to one side. As the juggernaut continues its rolling journey one of its broken branches catches Bigmouth's shoulder bag and lifts him high into the air. The rotation slows for a moment as Bigmouth hangs at the apex, then it continues to roll, dragging him below the surface and then lifting him into the air on the other side. This time when he nears the top of the ark the tree stops rolling and gently lowers him back into the water.
        With the rolling stopped Bigmouth untangles himself from the branch and works his way to the trunk. Carefully he pulls himself up and straddles the log.
        "Now this is more like it," he thinks.
        The log roles to the left and again Bigmouth finds him self in the cold muddy water. He struggles to grab a limb as the log floats away. He holds on tightly and the log pulls him along. Finally it grinds to a halt along the shore of the newly forming lake. Bigmouth finds that the water is shallow enough that he can stand. Exhausted, he climbs from the water stumbles up the slope and collapses on the grass.
        Presently he hears an anxious voice at his ear. "Quick, Bigmouth," the voice cries. "You must get to your feet. The water is still rising and you will drown if you don't get up."
        Even as Bigmouth opens his eyes to see his friend Three-toes pacing back and forth before him urging him to rise. The water laps at his toes.
        Bigmouth shakily gets to his feet and follows Three-toes farther up the slope. They stop at the piles of rubble that were, until the earthquake the North wall of the valley.
        Bigmouth turns to survey the land behind them. When he sees the destruction wrought by the quake he sits on a block of stone nearby and covering his face he sobs.
        Behind Bigmouth, Three-toes howls pitifully. He is answered by a mournful wailing from up and down the ravaged valley. After a time the howling stops. The animals of the valley return to the business of eating and being eaten. The never-ending cycle continues. The predators and scavengers will live well for a time.
        The once beautiful valley now lay in ruins. Most of the ancient trees now lye on the ground broken or uprooted. The once sparkling stream is now a series of muddy ponds. Piles of rubble from the fractured cliffs are scattered across the meadows and choke what was once the magical Wa'ste River. In the hot afternoon sun the smell of death begins to fill the atmosphere.
        Big mouth slowly rises to his feet.
        "Let’s go," he says softly. "There's nothing left for us here."
        Three-toes follows him silently.

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