©FrozenMan Productions, Revised Edition, 2013
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Earth’s Blood Table of Contents
By, Ethan Holmes
Chapter 1: In the Beginning...
11 July, 2014: It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and snowing heavily on the diminutive former copper mine town of Jerome, Arizona. It’s a soft, heavy snow; chock full of quarter-size feathery flakes coming down just thick enough that you can still see the ghost-like outlines of the historical buildings perched precariously on the steep slope of Mingus Mountain. The enchanting scene is quickly covered with a downy blanket a foot deep and silences the world as only a heavy snowfall can. There are only two problems; it’s not supposed to be snowing here at this time of the year and the world does not need silencing. That happened a while ago.
1June, 2012: Mary Ellen Siemes was proud of herself and justifiably so. The bleached blonde, who managed to just crack a measuring tape at five foot two inches, was sitting at her computer processing medical claim forms for insurance companies and doctors in a home she had purchased all by herself just two years ago. After getting her accounting degree from Mesa Community College, Mary Ellen spent twelve years
working for Bell and Thomas, Inc. in Phoenix as a certified public accountant. One day, not long after her thirty sixth birthday and with the proverbial ‘big four 0’ looming in the not so distant future, she had enough of the long, stress-filled days that could stretch to fourteen hours during tax season.
It was a profound yet rewarding step starting up her own home-based company
from the house she had purchased on Black Mountain, the most notable landmark in
Carefree, Arizona. Here at her modest late seventies ranch-style home she could do all the work on her own computer and never have to commute among the three million other inhabitants of the Phoenix Valley except when she had to drive into the city to pick up or deliver paperwork from her clients. All in all not a bad arrangement and the money was getting better all the time, particularly after she invested a princely sum in the new accounting software which cut her computer time by a third.
Today, Mary Ellen planned to make the trip into downtown Phoenix from her
home twenty-three miles north of the valley to deliver some work and pick up a rather sizable check; the kind that makes a small business owner very happy. Sometimes she still had to put in long hard days but now she was investing in herself and her own future.
Mary Ellen reached for the green print button on her new HP all-in-one machine
when suddenly the whole house shuddered violently and the power went dead
instantaneously. She had an APC Backup Pro to prevent any unforeseen power
interruptions or spikes but cursed under her breath as she watched the monitor go black.
At the same time her tan leather office chair took off on an impromptu trip across the floor. Frantically, she clung to the edges of her white pine office desk hanging on for dear life.
“How am I ever going to explain this to those people?” Mary Ellen envisioned
the invoice evaporating into the black hole of cyber-space, lost forever. “Did anyone else feel that?! An earthquake in Carefree!? And when my computer comes back up I can’t wait to see what else I lost on there!”
The shudder itself was the strangest and most disconcerting thing she had ever
felt despite the fact that she was a veteran of the 2008 Mission Bay quake that had brought down a chunk of San Diego and temporarily emptied the bay. This one didn’t shake or roll nor did it last very long at all like most quakes seem to do. The whole house just sort of jumped up sharply and then back down, like someone snapping a blanket to spread it across a new-made bed.
All the software and music CD’s had fallen out of the flimsy, plastic storage
tower next to her computer and the family photos on her desk were either lying flat or had crashed to the floor. The three-drawer, metal filing cabinet was leaning against her pine bookcase with the top two drawers bent on their runners and sticking halfway out.
Surveying the mess, she saw that her calendar, her wood-framed cork bulletin board full of multicolored post-it notes and anything else which used to be hanging on the walls was now lying on the floor in a chaotic jumble.
“It’s going to take a whole day just to clean this up!”
Mary Ellen struggled to her feet, kicked some debris out of the way and stumbled
to the kitchen to find every right-hand cabinet door wide open. Dishes, boxes, cans of food and pieces of glass were scattered everywhere. The refrigerator and freezer doors were wide open. Most of the food and beverages were splattered on the floor in front of and to the left of the appliance. The white, four-slice Cuisinart toaster, normally sitting on the counter on the right side of the sink, was sitting cockeyed in the sink. It looked as though the whole room had abruptly shifted to the right and forgot to take all the contents with it.
Clambering over various household furnishings into the bedroom, she found the
same odd looking chaotic mess in there. She was astonished to see that her queen-sized waterbed mattress, though still intact, had been thrown completely clear of the bed frame.
It was sitting half on the floor and half against her antique wormwood dresser, nearly a thousand pounds of loose water sitting in a giant contorted sack on the left side of the room. All of it was still neatly covered by sheets and a white goose down comforter. The chenille-covered pillows were still sitting on the wooden slats within the metal bed frame on the floor.
From behind the disconcerting pile that was her mattress, she heard the pitiful,
choking cry of her pet brown and white terrier. Darva had always liked to sleep on the waterbed whether Mary Ellen was in there or not despite her half-hearted attempts to break the dog of the habit as a puppy. The truth was she didn't mind Darva sleeping with her. At least something was in there with her when she lay her head down at night.
Mary Ellen scrambled over the big sack of water toward the master bath in an
attempt to find the dog. Following the cries she peered under the far end of the mattress half-propped against the dresser and there was Darva tightly pinned between the dresser and the mattress. She could see blood running from both corners of her dog’s mouth as she came to the realization she could do nothing to prevent Darva from being slowly crushed to death.
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