Frank knew that luck has limits. He didn’t expect to find anymore big nuggets, but somehow, working under the sun, slushing the pan, and sweating under his wide-brimmed Stetson had its own rewards. His bare feet gripped the soft pebbles in the stream, dislodged from mountains, and carried for miles to be shaped by sand. His skin soaked in the warmth of the evening and he felt this must be what it is like to exist for eternity.

The first star shined on the horizon and Frank felt that the time had come to knock off for the day. He’d find his copy of Poe, drink a Budweiser, and think of treasure never seen by human eyes. He rubbed his fingers over the smooth gold nugget, turning pages into the night, illuminated by his miner’s helmet. He reached for the switch and there was darkness.

Frank was drifting into dreamland. There was an African leading him through the dim woods and suddenly, they lit up, like a lightbulb turning on in a dark room. And the African was shouting, his face growing larger and his mouth becoming wider. His epiglottis vibrating to a high-pitched scream. “WAKE UP!”

The Winnebago was moving. “I thought I set the parking break,” Frank said. There was a jolt and a rushing sound. He looked out the window and saw a swirling mass of debris moving towards him like a freight train. And the crash was deafening. The wave pushed him down the valley like a toothpick flicked into a raging river. He grabbed hold of his bed and watched the hula dancer moving on the windowsill. “It will stop,” Frank said to himself, but the slide kept moving. Frank noticed rapids ahead, but that couldn’t be right. And then he realized the waterfall was the debris flow pushing into a canyon and his trailer would get buried with him in it. “BURIED ALIVE, not a good way to go,” Frank muttered. And the trailer tipped and got stuck in the gap.

Frank wedged himself between his refrigerator and foldable bed. The mud continued to flow until it didn’t. Night turned into day and desperation turned into apprehension as Frank tried to figure out what to do next. The red sun past the horizon and shined a light on the wasteland. Frank didn’t read the signs that said FLASH FLOOD FOR 30 MILES. That happens when a man is focused on adventure instead of precautions.

He opened the door and shimmied his right leg onto solid ground. Everything was brown. The blue river was gone. Frank looked into the canyon. There were trees and mud everywhere, but farther down there was a red biplane sticking out of the debris.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 2 What the Storm Brings

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