Children of the Coyote
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
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
"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
"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
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
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,"
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
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
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.
"Lets go," he says softly.
"There's nothing left for us here."
Three-toes follows him silently.
To Chapter 27
Back to Introduction