Escaping The Ash

Mt. St. Helens eruption, 1980
Mt. St. Helens eruption, 1980 (Pinterest)

[This was a prompt from another site. Free Write Friday. Here is the prompt. Posted originally on 5/8/2013]

You’re young. You are standing in front of a shop window watching something on the black and white television inside. A woman grabs your hand and runs down the street pulling you along…

I don’t understand why this lady is pulling me along. Is she trying to kidnap me? What would she want to do with me? All these thoughts pop inside my head all at once. Yet I haven’t even had the muster to ask her what is going on. Once we were in the middle of road, the cars that were coming towards us were going faster than ever and the ones going forward were slowing down. They could see the same thing that the woman and I were now staring at. The volcano has awaken. It hasn’t erupted in a few hundred years, and today just had to be the day it does it. The lady gets a tight grip of my arm and I feel the pain it gives out. I yell out in pain and look towards her. “That hurts, what’s the matter with you?” I say, but she never looks up at me. She lets go on my arm and there is a nice bruise on the upper arm. I’m going to have a hard time explaining to people. As my thoughts begin to calm down, the road begins to shake violently. The woman and I start to lose our balance. I can see more and more come out of the businesses and look towards the dark sky. The mountain top looks more dark than normal, then all of a sudden, the ground is fine again. The woman and I look at each other again, “I have had nightmares of the volcano waking up. I didn’t think it would happen, you know? It’s been asleep for years.” I noticed our bodies were trembling with fear. With one loud pop, a big cloud of ash fills the dark sky and it comes to us at roaring speed. “We have to get out of here!” I yelled at her. She nodded and we got in her car.

We quickly got in the small car, it was clearly an old car. Must be from the 50′s or 60′s. A little retro car that fits this woman very well. She has always acted like she could’ve been brought here by a time machine because she didn’t fit in this time–she didn’t even have a good stereo system in her car! What would you need a radio when you’re running from ash and lava, right? I’m a music lover. Don’t judge me. She was parallel parked in this small space, which was now getting bigger since different people were now trying to get into their cars at the same time. She turned her car as fast as she could, once she got it to come on. There were three cars behind us and about four in front of us who couldn’t move fast enough. People were running everywhere and screaming. We sat inside the car hoping for a small miracle that the cars would move soon. The retro woman kept looking into her rear view mirror and had a look of panic on her face. “They’re not going to move! We have to run.” She turns off her cars and tosses them into the floor board. She pops her truck and grabs a bag and small purse. Boy! This woman came prepared. I hopped out of the passenger seat and waited for her. I don’t know what I did that, I just felt like I needed to do that. I didn’t want to leave her alone.

We locked hands and ran like hell. We never screamed or anything, just ran. We kept passing different frantic people. Everybody was scared and you know they had a lot of thoughts going through their minds as they were running from their homes, cars, and lives. The sky kept getting darker. My watch on my phone said it was 5:45pm and it was summer, so the sun wasn’t supposed to go down yet. We were slowed down by reckless drivers only thinking about themselves, but I guess anybody would only think about themselves in times like this. There was one driver who I’ve known my whole life, Ethan, he was in his old pick up coming towards. Apparently, he wasn’t scared of a little volcano. As he was coming towards us, a little girl in a red dress was running and screaming, “Mommy! Mommy, where are you?” I seen her just in time and scooped her up and when we were safe, I sat up as fast as I could. I kicked the rear of his baby blue truck, which lead to him stopping in the middle of road, getting out and slamming the door. I pissed him, Good going, Carrie!

“What the hell do you think you’re doing Carrie?!” Ethan yelled.
“You almost ran over this little girl, have you lost your mind?” I snapped back.
The little girl was now attached to my hip and had her arms wrapped around my neck. Ethan paused and got up close to check her out.
“What’s your name sweetie?” he said, nicely. Ethan was never the mean type. He just looked like a ruthless country boy, heart made of steel. Nothing ever bothered him.
“My name is Honor Kemble.” she said in a soft voice.
“I was trying to find my mommy.” she said, as she looked like she was going to cry.
The retro woman came running towards us, waving her arms around.
“Come on! We gotta go!” she said.
“Jump in!” Ethan said as he ran back to the truck.
The woman tossed her stuff in the back of the truck, along with jumping inside too. Honor and I jumped into the front seat and Ethan didn’t waste any time to get the hell out of dodge.

We rushed out of the town, by the country back roads. Surprising not a lot of people were taking those roads. Ethan was resting his head on the side of the truck. We were no longer at the mercy of the old volcano, but we didn’t feel good that we just abandoned our homes and families. Saddest part was, Honor was sitting next to me, resting on Ethan’s right arm for comfort. I kept looking the rear view mirror to check on the woman facing the wrong way. She turned around and looked up at me in the mirror and gave me a half-smile. What was supposed to be a day of refurnishing my new apartment has now turned to the possibly of starting the new life. I wonder what I’m going to do with this little girl sleeping beside me? The rest of the trip went in silence, before we started seeing the setting sun glare on my right side. Ethan must’ve had enough of the quiet and turned on the radio. He switched to a country station, they wee playing the end of “Poison & Wine” by The Civil Wars. I never thought they were country, but it fit. After it was over, the news reporter came on to tell us about the volcano report.

“We are getting numberous reports of Mt. Cleveland has awaken. It has caused havoc on the cities and towns nearby. People have reported of sightings of the volcano exploding and seeing ash down the mountains. We are authroziated to go into the cities yet, as there is still a threat of it exploding again. If you are in that area, I would strongly urge you to get out now! Do not wait! These are dangerous! The ash will kill you and everything you own in its path. Also, please say a prayer for the families that live in that area. They need our prayers at this time. I sign off on the report, back to you John.”
“Thank you, Keith. We are certainly thinking about the people affected by this horrible event. Please safe out there.” He paused. “Now let’s get back to the music, here is some Jason Aldean with ‘Johnny Cash’.”

Ethan switched off the radio. I began to cry silently and wipe my eyes from getting called out by Ethan. Not that I don’t think he would do that, but I have known this guy for years. If he didn’t have a problem with doing it in school, what makes you think this time is different? “Are you okay?” he said, without taking his eyes off the road. “I guess, it just doesn’t seem real to me.” I said. “I know” he said as he moved his right hand and grabbed mine. He held my hand, but as we came into oncoming traffic, we stopped, he looked down at Honor who was in dream land. He looked up at me and noticed my arm. That bruise that the retro woman who was now singing to herself, gave me before all this started. He looked at me with confusion. I looked at my arm and then at him and said, “her fault.” He turned around and saw the back of the classy woman with red curly hair and then looked back at me and asked, “how do you know her?” I don’t. She grabbed me in the shop and pulled me outside. He had a small grin of his smile and chuckled at me. We looked at each other as the traffic started moving again, and we couldn’t control ourselves and began laughing. He was still holding my hand, and Honor was still asleep. For once, I started thinking of good thoughts. I hoped it would last.

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