Chapter Eighty Seven
Jolene Bachstrom sat at her desk perplexed by the news. Those poor people in Ravenna. Those awful videos of destruction. Can’t imagine waking up to that. How horrid that must’ve been. At least I don’t have some terrorist trying to blow us away.
Always a lady of action, she couldn’t sit still for long. As usual she went out to her favorite place by the lake. The beauty of her natural surroundings and the quiet movement of the water helped straighten out her thoughts. Something moved under us. Those sharp jolts. What next?
Jolene noticed the smell first. I know that smell but what’s it doing here? Alarmed she quickened her pace, down to the lake. Strange tingles ran up her spine as she spied the first tangle of dead trout.
Jolene looked to the right and left. Dead fish floated as far as she could see in the glare of the water.
The ground under her jumped and twisted, throwing her from mild concern to the putrid beach.
She sputtered to get up, seeing people run in panic from the lodge.
The water to her front suddenly boiled in a tantrum of spray and violent tossing waves.
More ominous, a crack opened up from the geyser pools down into the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake.
She yelled. “This isn’t a drill. Get those people away from the lake. She shuddered again in a crouch as ground rolled under her. Seems like it’s right under me.
She was almost right. For centuries the cork held in the bottle, waiting…, waiting, ready to move on command, ready for it’s place in His plan.
Jolene gasped as putrid gas spread toward her. Gotta get ’way from it. She ran in half haltering steps to her pickup and raced the engine away from the beach toward the lodge. She slammed on the brakes as another crack opened in front of her, throwing the pickup sideways in a pounding sequence of sharp spasms. If this whole dome goes, goodbye states and weather for years to come. Could this be it? The big one?
She was almost right. Buckling under pressure, one part of the dome moved. Swarms of mini quakes kept the motion going. Beneath the fracturing dome, the intensity of the magma chamber pushed on signal, forcing the torn land open, making way for what is to come. By His plan the shaking would go on, getting this geography ready for the final showdown between heat and cold.
Miles away scientists gathered for a hasty news conference, waiting for her call, for her expert opinion from the scene. Her call came in thirty minutes later, from a vantage point above the lodge, giving her view of miles of turned ground and boiling water, wondering what her next move should be.
Her call reflected her state of mind. “No, no casualties…, yet.”
“Bursting gas bubbles coming from under the west thumb.”
“Yes, I can see the rising dome, still under water.”
“No, no sign of a lava stream or more surface breaks.”
“ Lake water turning acidic, almost total fish kill. Unbelievable odor.”
“No more direct shocks since half hour ago.”
National Guard troops swung into preplanned positions. If the dome did blow, each governor wanted his state to be ready. All Jolene could do was watch, measure, and report. The signs became more ominous as day turned to twilight. Hard facts remained hard to come by as night closed her view. There sure isn’t a little white church on the bluff around here. Not much that might represent God like that…, not to me. Don’t believe that God stuff anyway.
Another round of shocks sent boulders careening down the sharp slope on which she parked, bouncing her pickup toward the edge. She gunned the engine and backed up, only to pull ahead again as trees crashed down onto her trail. Now I’m locked in here, unless I can take the portable and escape on foot to the south or west. How long will this go on?