“How long is that crazy old coot going to stay shut up in that boat?” said Kenan.
“At least we don’t have to listen to his fanatical speeches anymore.” Javar laughed.
The friends drifted away, looking for new entertainment.
The three-story enclosed barge stood alone on the flat landscape, the only door shut.
The days passed uneventfully.
This day began with the perfect weather experienced every day. Crops grew in the field, watered by underground springs. People went about their business or pleasure.
“Kenan, look at that!” Javar pointed to the sky. “What do you reckon it is?”
A fluffy, translucent cloud stretched from horizon to horizon.
“Huh. Somethin’ new.” Jevar stared up, his hands on his hips. “Looks like it’s comin’ down from the sky.” He poked his friend in the ribs. “Gonna be interestin’ to be inside that, if it comes down this far.”
Curious. Unique. But silent, and soon forgotten.
“What the–” Kenan jumped up from his dinner, knocking his plate to the ground. He had felt that sound vibrate wildly against his feet.
Javar, also on his feet searched the sky, the origin of the second sound. All he saw was the gentle, fluffy cloud drifting lower, but still a long distance away.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Sounding loudly from below the ground and above it, the sky and earth seemed to be answering each other.
Everything broke at once.
Earthquakes shook the ground and created great cracks. People screamed as they fell into the gaps.
Eruptions burst forth from underground.
A geyser’s spout spewed from the left of Javar. The people it caught unaware screamed as they were boiled alive.
Javar and Kenan ran in the opposite direction.
Boom! The cone of a volcano rose before them, spilling lava, scorching and roasting the humans in its way.
“Come on!” Coughing from the noxious fumes, Javar pulled Kenan at a right angle to the lava streaming toward them.
Young and fit, the men raced past most of the other people scrambling away from the volcano.
“Everything’s on fire!” shouted Kenan. His voice was lost in the booming and hissing and human screams.
The men didn’t stop at the river’s edge. Plunging into the water, they swam with strong but desperate strokes to the other side. A tall hill thrust up before them, newly made by the chaos. After a moment of shocked surprise, the men climbed to the top. From here they could watch the sea.
People racing to the river or sea did not find safety. The lava boiled the sea and evaporated much of the river. But the lava could not climb the hill. However, it set fire to the vegetation. The fire worked its way toward Kenan and Javar.
Some humans hid in their houses or caves, too crazy with fear to consider what wild animals had chosen that refuge as well. They found an unusually high tide lapping at their toes.
Suddenly a tidal wave sea reared then crashed over the land near the sea, sucking many people into the depths.
Jevan and Kenan were safe on the cliff. It was too high to be touched by the wave, but the sea sprayed over the cliff, extinguishing the fire that was reaching toward them.
But that was not the worst of the terrors.
The fluffy cloud turned dark and curled.
With the loudest sky boom yet, the cloud broke into enormous drops, deluging these people who had never experienced rain. It pelted them mercilessly. It beat them to the ground.
“The sky is falling!” They called to one another in horror.
Lightning flashed everywhere, and thunder answered like a bass drum.
In flashes of light, Kenan and Javar saw the ark begin to lift gently on the water. People near the ark slogged their way toward it, their desperate pleas for help snatched away by the wind.
The weak fell and could not get up, drowning in water or asphyxiating when those who were stronger trampled their faces into the mud.
Funnel clouds whirled over land and sea, ripping trees and houses, tossing them on the people frantic to escape.
Javar and Kenan crawled under bushes and clung to them in desperation.
The clouds of dirt and fumes from volcanos spread across the ground and were tossed upward by violent winds. The darkness grew from earth to sky, meeting the storms blocking out the friendly stars.
In the darkness, all sight of the ark was lost.
The people were lost.