Following God’ plan, rocks moved deep under the sleeping city of Ravenna. Sudden movement released a rush of gas and steam that waited for this moment.
One source of heat found an ancient steam pipe to flow into. Moving faster than other pipes under the mud pots, this jet announced its arrival at the surface with a bright flash of released energy and claps of rolling thunder. Just south and below Stinkytown, a pulsing geyser of steam and mud shot into the air sending birds into flight and started cows bawling in the higher pastures to the west. Three sharp jolts followed by swarms of mini quakes rippled through the area heading for Ravenna.
Raven woke to her apartment moving. Dishes rattled, books fell. Her apartment windows blew out in shards of glass. She heard other noises, louder and louder, seeming to come right toward her. What’s happening? What’s that awful smell?
Like ripples in a pond move away from a sudden splash, primary shock waves rippled out for miles in each direction. These waves were followed instantly by secondary waves that twisted the ground as they reached out and up. Some ground simply blew up in cascades of dirt, trees, or building pieces.
The great crescent piece of land that was Ravenna dropped three feet. One exception was the ridge of land holding a line west to east ending at the high bridge. This seven mile ridge rose five inches.
As the shock waves rolled on, old electric transmission lines rose up, then back down sharply or over to the side, lines snapping in countless places. Trees and electric poles shattered, some pieces flying hundreds of feet from the sudden impact. Windows blew out and water and gas mains ruptured.
Cities across five Midwestern states had their morning ruined by the sudden loss of power. They also experienced windows blown out, bells ringing, old masonry crumbling, and old buildings swaying past their structured ability to stand.
Ravenna ceased to exist as a functioning city. Centuries old layers of gravel, silt, and mud dissolved under the city. Old brick warehouses and docks in south town fell in defeat to the weight of the waters. Streets cracked and buckled. Trees, electric lines, and shattered buildings teamed together to obstruct those in flight. Both fire stations fell in on the soon to be needed fire equipment. No matter, as the old broad streets outside became impassible.
Alarm bugled from the small tank farm south of Ravenna. Two tanks, stressed beyond the fracture point, gushed their contents north, back toward the city, for only a moment checked by the dissolving berm, engineered there as control. Soon the dark tide entered the city, adding an explosive element before the river could sweep it clean.
The natural gas line through Ravenna followed the river for miles, then angled away to the west ten miles upstream, then back again close to Stinkytown. No one knew or cared where the spark originated. A huge ball of flame mushroomed into the morning sky. The blast blew an oval shaped hole in the soft ground ten feet deep and twenty wide. Like another thunderclap, the sound waves reached Ravenna, turning heads to see the bright glow in the sky. No one paused for even a moment but pursued the run to safety to the high bridge and beyond.
Nante Drug on the corner of 3rd and Bridge Streets became the source of the first fire. With plenty of material to burn it soon engulfed this structure and spread to buildings on each side. A sudden flare and whoosh sounded as five blocks to the south in a crooked row erupted in oily flame.
People ran in terror dressed in their night clothes or less into the peril. The few vehicles that tried to overcome the streets soon became part of the disaster.
The old south bridge couldn’t take anymore. Years of corrosion on the massive steel plates came into play. With a series of shudders it collapsed into itself, hitting the water below in a quick series of foamy splashes.
Neither of the two old rail bridges fared better. Twisted and buckled beyond what engineers envisioned, they also collapsed in rapid succession. Roads out of the city jammed with debris and abandoned cars by early morning. People running for their lives through the maze of debris filled streets had to often stop and pick through for a safe passage. All this time, the ground continued to heave and shudder as aftershocks ripped through the area. By noon, early morning fires spread through the top structures, unimpeded by the buried fire equipment. No emergency plans were ever conceived for disaster of this proportion.
The city population ran in mass away from what was known toward what was unknown, toward the only hope shining above them on the bright sun. The little white church on the bluff!