A Strange Warning
Emily rushed through the forest, branches scraping at her arms. She had to find Peter — the village elder had warned of danger.
As she broke into a small clearing, she found Peter gathering firewood. “Peter, we must leave immediately. Jered says the mountain is stirring — an eruption may come.”
Peter eyed her doubtfully. “The mountain has slept for decades, Emily. What cause has Jered to fear?”
“He had a vision — the earth shook and fire rained from the sky. Please, let us gather the others and make hast for the valley.” Emily was out of breath but desperate he understood the peril.
Dark clouds were starting to form over the peak as they raced back to the village. Jered met them at the edge, face ashen. “Look what approaches. My vision was true — we must flee before the ashes take the sky!”
The mountain rumbled in the distance as villagers packed what they could carry. But would they escape the destruction that crept ever closer?
Exploring the Ruins
The village survived, but a gray shroud now covered the land. Cautiously, Peter and Emily picked their way through the ruins, calling out for any survivors.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” Emily’s voice echoed in the ash-filled streets. Only silence answered.
They entered a house, its roof mostly intact. Chairs and tables were buried under thick layers of ash. A porcelain doll poked out, its painted face eerily untouched.
A noise came from behind. Peter whirled, grabbing a wooden beam as a weapon. But it was only Jered, climbing through a window. “I thought I heard voices. Have you found anyone?”
Emily shook her head sadly. “This ash has claimed them all, it seems.”
“Not all,” said Jered. “Follow me — there is something you should see.”
He led them to the mountain’s foothills, to a small cave entrance now visible where ash had piled. A shuffling sound emerged from within, and a gaunt figure appeared, eyes wide in a pale, dirty face.
“Mary? You survived?” cried Emily in disbelief. But there could be others still out there…