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The Quakes of Mount Olympus

the quakes of mount olympus


Estimated reading time — 23 minutes

I’ve been deployed on assignment to a new fracking well installation on Mount Olympus, on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington state, for the last week, of what is expected to be a month-long job. It’s hard being away from my wife and two kids for so long, but it’s what I have to do to ensure that they have a roof over their heads, and food on the table. It’s beautiful up there, and from the summit you can see everything. It really is a very beautiful part of the country. Even though we’re here in August, the warmest time of year, it still rarely gets much above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, definitely a lot chillier than what I’m used to.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of extracting natural gas from the top layers of the earth by drilling a hole straight into the ground, then boring a hole horizontally, to pump and disperse a mixture of water, sediment, and chemicals. The chemicals work their magic, and then the fluid is pumped out, releasing the natural gas, to be recovered. Then, when we’re all finished, we pour the fluid back down into the hole, seal it up, close up shop, and go home. Some people say it’s a reckless, and potentially dangerous practice, and while I will admit to not knowing all the ins and outs of it, I acknowledge that they may be right, but to me, and a lot of other people on this project, it’s a way to make a living. It is by no means my dream job, which, for the record, is a concept I don’t even understand, anyway, because if there’s one thing I never dream about, it’s work.

My job is that of a fluid technician. After the hole is drilled, I make sure that the proper chemicals, and amounts are pumped into the ground, all while overseeing the mechanisms that I’m responsible for, those being the pumps, and chemical lines, and when we’re all done with all that, I have to collect data to present to my supervisor, and other fun stuff like that.

My company sent a team of eight of us up to the new installation, after a new trail was blazed up the mountain. So far things have gone rather smoothly, if I do say so, myself. Every day, we drive to Olympic National Park, hike up the mountain, just over two miles, where all of our equipment, and drill rig are. We’re quartered about a mile away from the base of the mountain, in the only motel, in a small unincorporated community. Since arriving, the locals have been anything but warm and welcoming. We get a lot of stares, and whispers. It’s no matter, I figure it’s because there was a hotly contested vote to allow the drilling, last November, and by a slim margin, funding to allow fracking on Mount Olympus was approved. Luckily for me, my company won the bid, and I should get a decent paycheck out of this.

We stayed up late, the night before drilling, at the local bar, drinking, playing pool, and admittedly making a bit more noise than we probably should have been, much to the locals’ chagrin. Even Sheila was with us. She was the lone woman on our crew, but she was tough as nails, and could drink at least a couple of us under the table. She was really just one of the guys. Eventually, we filed out of the bar around midnight, and stumbled to our motel, to get what sleep we could, before tomorrow’s heavy workload.
We made it to the drill site around 9:00 AM, several of us having minor hangovers, while some of us were sporting distinctly more massive hangovers, let’s say. The drill was all primed and ready to go.

“Alright, everybody, get to where you need to be, we’re drillin’ down nearly two miles, today.” Rick, our foreman, barked, while putting on his hardhat.

With that, Joe threw the lever, and the drill began its decent into the ground. We officially broke ground at 9:37 AM, Pacific Standard Time.

Not long after, though, we incurred our first problem. The drill suddenly stopped moving. There’s no way we had already drilled two miles into the earth’s surface, it had only been a couple of minutes.

“What’s goin’ on?” Rick asked, in a displeased manner.

“I don’t know, sir, it just stopped.” Joe said.

“How far’d we get?” Rick inquired.

“About 400 meters, sir.” Joe responded

“Only 400 meters, that’s not even a quarter of a mile.” Rick said, in a now more irritated tone of voice. “What kind of garbage drill is thi-“

It was at that point that the ground beneath us began to shake. It lasted for no more than fifteen seconds, and one of our men fell down in all the commotion, but thankfully no one was hurt. That was weird, I thought. But hey, there were several fault lines near here, I guess, so, likely not the most uncommon of occurrence around these parts.
We called it there for the day, figuring there must have been something wrong with the drill. Rick called for an inspector to come out and inspect the drill as soon as possible. Almost as soon as he got off the phone with the inspector, his phone rang again. He answered it, and on the other end was a local seismologist, calling to inquire about the seismic activity he had just picked up. Rick told him that we had indeed felt it, but that it wasn’t anything severe. The seismologist then informed Rick that the quake clocked in at 3.6 on the Richter scale. Not quite the Loma Prieta, but still definitely noticeable. I imagine it shook several people awake, as well as forcing some people to have to find something to grab on to, but not much damage, otherwise. After that, the seismologist informed our foreman that the epicenter of the earthquake came from coordinates that correlated with our drill site. He then asked if any of our equipment could have possibly caused the quake. Rick, now more incredulous than anything else, said that that was impossible, and that he was crazy to assume that they had anything to do with a natural disaster. With that, he hung up the phone abruptly, not allowing the seismologist to get another word in.

“Alright boys, we’re done, you can head back to the motel. We’ll pick it up in a few days, after the inspector gives ‘er the once-over.” Rick said. With that, we were dismissed.
Later that night, my coworkers and I went out to a bar in town, to throw a few back, and just decompress from the rocky start of a first day we had. As per usual the locals were staring at us, and scowling. Although, this time, they seemed a bit more intent than usual.

I called my wife, back home in North Carolina, that night, to let her know that my first paycheck was due soon, and that I was preparing to send home a pretty decent chunk of money. She was happy, and told me the money was nice, but that she wished I could come home soon. I told her not to worry, and that I would be home before she knew it. I asked her how the kids were. She said they were doing well, and that Tommy, our youngest, had recently gotten an A on one of his math tests. What can I say, he was smart, just like his mother. Not too long after. we said our “I love you’s,” and hung up. I turned around to see an older man, with tan skin, and gray hair, staring a hole straight through me.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

He just stared at me with the brightest light-blue eyes I had ever seen, before he spoke.

“No, ya can’t, mister, if nothin’ else you’ll make everything worse.” He spouted.

He then held up a folded-up piece of paper, before walking away. What a strange old man, I thought. Whatever, I didn’t have much time to worry about the locals, we had to get to bed. We had yet another early day the next day, and we had to figure out just what was wrong with our drill.

That night, as I lay in my bed, I was awoken by what sounded like humming coming from outside the motel. I got up and looked out my window. There, I saw a procession of people, marching down the street, adorned in burgundy robes, holding up torches with their right hands, and holding their left arms behind their backs, and humming. Where could they all be going at this hour? I wondered. They appeared to be headed towards the mountain. What business did they have on the mountain at this hour? Or any hour, for that matter. It wasn’t long before one of the robed figures stopped suddenly in the street, directly in front of my window, and turned slowly, making direct eye contact with me. Not sure how this person knew I was watching, but I was frozen in place, not sure where to look. When I noticed a familiar pair of bright light-blue eyes. The figure then quickly turned away, and began marching towards the mountain, again. Suffice it to say, that was the strangest encounter I had had thus far, since coming out to Washington. After they were all sufficiently out of site, I went back to bed. I spent the next half an hour, or so, staring at the ceiling, wondering exactly what I had just witnessed; before I eventually fell asleep.

The next day, the inspector still had not arrived, giving us a de facto day off. I loved those. We spent the day sightseeing, and really getting to know the area. We took selfies, and all types of funny pictures to send to our families, to show them that we were enjoying ourselves. We even took a big group picture of all of us mooning underneath a street sign for a street named Mooney Road. We didn’t share that one with our families. We thought it was pretty funny, but the elderly woman who happened to walk by, and witness us do it, seemed none too pleased. Whatever, gotta live while you’re young, I thought. Even though I was 42 and sporting some gray hair on the sides.

Later on, I hopped in one of the company cars, and headed out to see the Puget Sound, since it wasn’t terribly far from where we were staying. I spent an hour or two, just sitting on a beach, and watching boats come and go from the marina across the way. It made me think about my oldest son, Tyler. He loved boats and would have loved to have seen this. I was enjoying the serenity. It was a bit chilly, but serene, nonetheless. After a while, I left, I did have to be getting back to the motel, after all.

When I returned to the motel, I looked up at Mount Olympus and thought to myself that it really was a beautiful mountain range. I considered myself lucky that I got to work on it, but I also felt a bit bad, that our drill rig was up there, being a total eyesore. Oh well, just a few more weeks, and we would be out of there for good, and the rig would be dismantled.

The following day, the inspector arrived, a shorter man, with glasses, and a mustache. He looked over the drill from top to bottom, putting it through a rigorous who-knows-how-many-point inspection. Shockingly, he concluded that the drill was fine, and in perfect working order, save for maybe being a touch low on oil, but that was it. After that, he bid us adieu and went on his way. Mike then went and added a quart of oil, and the project was ready to resume.

Just as last time, Joe switched it on, and in a matter of seconds the drill was plunging into the earth, again. It was a bit tense, as we all waited to see if we would have a repeat of what happened two days prior.

“We’re past 400 meters, sir!” Joe yelled.

“Good!” Rick yelled back.

It was looking as if all would be okay, and that the events of two days ago were nothing but a fluke. Before we had much time to celebrate, though, the drill stopped again.

“What is going on!” Rick yelled. “How far down did we get this time?”

“439 meters, sir.” Joe said.

We hadn’t gotten much farther than we had two days ago. What was causing this?

“What is the meaning of this?” Rick shouted angrily.

“Maybe we hit somethin’”, Sheila posited.

“Well, we damn well shouldn’t have, there shouldn’t be nothin’ beneath these mountains aside from layers upon layers of rock.”

This certainly was a head-scratcher. The drill was in working order, if not better than it was before, and we still couldn’t drill down very far. I was starting to think that maybe Sheila was on to something, but then again, what could we have possibly hit?

“Alright, everybody, pick everything up, we’re calling it early, again.” Rick said in a surly, and bewildered tone. “Best just get back to the motel, and I’ll figure out what to do by tomorrow.”

With that, we packed up all our gear, and began our trek back down the mountain. This job was just getting harder and harder. I hope it wouldn’t end up taking more than a month. I really wanted to get back home and see my family.

My thoughts were interrupted when as we were all walking down the mountain it began to quake, again. This time seemingly more powerful, and violent than last time. It also seemed to go on for a bit longer than the first one, as well. Several of us took a spill, and admittedly, I too, took a tumble. The only person not to get knocked of their feet was Sheila, like I said, tough as nails. Sheila, in fact, was one of the people to help me up, after we had all collected ourselves. We collectively dusted ourselves off, before continuing our journey down the mountain. All the while talking about how incredibly strange it was, to have had two earthquakes that close together, in the same area. Suppose a major fault line must be slipping, or something.

Later on in the evening, I was sitting in the lobby of the motel, talking to my wife. I told her about all the problems we were having with the drill, as well as about the two recent earthquakes. She urged me to be careful, and to make sure that I came home in one piece. I assured her I would, told her I loved her, and to kiss our kids goodnight for me. We then hung up, and I put my phone back in my pocket. Seemingly like clockwork, as soon as I put my phone away, Rick entered the lobby, having what I would describe as a spirited conversation, with who I assumed was a seismologist. Apparently, the epicenter again seemed to be our drill site. Rick told him he was crazy, and that his machinery must be busted, insisting that it couldn’t have been us that caused it, since the quake had started 20 minutes after we had finished, and departed the site. Fair point, I thought. Don’t know how it could have been us. After that, I felt vindicated. With that, Rick wished the seismologist a good evening, before hanging up.

“How big was this one?” I asked.

“Apparently, a 4.2 on the Richter scale.” He answered. “It also did some damage in town.”

“Oh., what kind of damage?”

“I guess it broke out some windows, and collapsed a staircase, I don’t know what to tell ‘em, though, it couldn’t have been us.”

On that, he left, probably to hit the bar, and unwind from yet another stressful day, with a cold draft beer. Can’t blame him, I mean, I would hate to be heading up a project that was being blamed for violent acts of nature, too. I sat there, alone with my thoughts for several minutes, before I decided that it would be best for me to turn in early. So, I got up, went to my room, and headed to bed. After getting ready for bed, I laid there looking up at the ceiling, thinking about the recent events. I was no seismologist, but what were the odds of two earthquakes that close together, and in the exact same location? I suppose their equipment could be faulty, but if it wasn’t, and we weren’t responsible for them, what was? At that thought, I said a quick prayer for all of us to return home safely.

Before I could nod off to sleep, however, I noticed a bright orange glow outside my room, and heard a familiar humming sound. I went to my window to see what it was. When I peered out my window, I saw the same robed people from before. Only this time, they were stood outside the motel, all in a row, facing the motel, torches held high in the air, with their heads bowed, making a low humming sound. I was transfixed on their visage. What were they all doing? I don’t know how long I stared at them, or how long they had been there for, but there was something menacing about their presence. Just then, one of the members raised his head to where I could see his eyes. It was those same bright light-blue eyes, as last time. He then put his head back down, and on that, in unison, all of the robed people turned to their left, and walked single file away, towards the mountain. Who were these people?

I laid back down in my bed, wondering what I had just witnessed. It took me awhile, but eventually I fell asleep.

The next day we got yet another unscheduled day off, while Rick called seemingly everyone under the sun, in an effort to try to figure out what to do next.

“So much for getting it figured out by morning, huh?” Joe laughed.

“Yeah.” I said. “We may very well see a man reach his wits end in real time.”

After that, I asked Joe if he had heard anything the previous night, akin to a humming sound. He said he hadn’t, but that in fairness, he didn’t hear much of anything when he went to bed, because he used noise-cancelling headphones. Fair enough, I may want to invest in some of those myself, I thought. Then maybe I won’t have to deal with anymore strange occurrences at night, with those people. Right then, Mike leaned in and told me that he had heard the sound, looked out his window, and seen the group of robed people, too, but that he thought he was dreaming. I assured him he wasn’t, and that I had seen them twice now. This piqued Joe’s interest, it was clear that he now wanted to hear about what all had been happening outside of our motel, at night. I told them of the times I had seen them walking towards the mountain, and how they always maintained the same posture, of holding up a torch in their right hand, while keeping their left arms behind their backs. I then suggested that the next time we see them, we follow them, at a safe distance of course, and see where they go. Joe said he was down, but Mike was not so big on my plan.

“Nope, think I’ll just stay safely tucked away in bed.” He said. “Take Sheila.”

“Ya know what, I think we will,” and on that, we parted ways, to enjoy our respective days off.

I spent the day shopping. I went to this quaint little clothing store just off the main drag of town. I was looking for a cure floral dress to bring back for my wife. I perused the dress section for a little while, before settling on a flowery turquoise and maroon dress. It was perfect, my wife was going to love it. When I went to pay, the cashier, a frail, older woman, just stared at me, with a frown on her face. No doubt recognizing me as one of the workers from the fracking company. I tried to break the ice with pleasant conversation.

“Nice day, eh?” I said.

“That’ll be $4.50.” She snapped back.

That was cheap, I thought. I mean, I hadn’t seen a price tag, or anything. I figured it wasn’t too expensive, but I didn’t think it would be that cheap. I paid with my debit card and was on my way. As I was leaving, the cashier yelled to me.

“Heed the eight lines!”

What did that mean? Whatever, this town s just getting weirder and weirder. I can’t wait to get back to work.

It was a whole five days before we were given the go ahead to resume working on the mountain. That was a little bit more of an extended vacation than any of us had planned for. We had a lot of downtime, mostly spent playing pinochle, and drinking beer. At least there weren’t any more earthquakes, I thought, but card games and day drinking were starting to get old, and my mind was getting idle.

During those five days my company sent a team of inspectors, surveyors and a project manager to the site, to check out the drill, and make sure we were in the right place. The inspectors again found nothing of note wrong with the drill, and the surveyors confirmed we were in the correct spot. Next, the surveyors dropped a camera down the hole to see if anything was down there. The camera descended to a depth of close to 500 meters, unencumbered, but found nothing of note that would be blocking the drill’s path. When pointed straight down, it saw nothing but darkness, with the exceptions of something shimmery. We were told that there may very well be crystals beneath our feet. When asked about possibly putting the project on hold, the project manager vetoed the idea, insisting that this soil was too rich to pass up on, and that the project would go ahead.

So, back to work we went. Joe took up his spot operating the drill, and everything seemed set.

“Alright, Joe, let her go!” Rick shouted.

With that, we were off and running. I was cautiously optimistic that this time would go off without a hitch, rendering the first two attempts as nothing more than freak occurrences. Joe shouted that we had passed 400 meters, then 450 meters, but then, not two seconds after he announced that we had surpassed 500 meters, the drill stopped. Not this again, I sighed. I had been in Washington for over three weeks now, and not pumped any chemicals in, yet. We were way behind schedule, and I was starting to think our assignment may get extended, and that I may not see my wife and kids for closer to a month and a half, now. At this point it looked as if Rick was about to have a conniption. He threw his clipboard down, and walked away, hurling all sorts of obscenities and billingsgate.

We barely had time to consider what could have gone wrong, when the ground began to rumble beneath our feet.

“Oh no, not again,” I said under my breath.

Then, our work site was rocked by the most massive earthquake, yet. This quake knocked everybody to the ground. The windows on several of our trucks shattered. One of our gas containers fell over, and finally, the ground beneath our drilling rig gave way, and began to crumble, causing the rig to collapse, nearly landing on Joe, who thankfully escaped unharmed. In addition to the shaking ground, and destruction, came this short, loud screeching sound, that I couldn’t identify. I think it was the sound of twisting metal. The quake lasted for nearly two whole minutes. That had to have been a record, or close to it. After waiting for a couple of minutes to make sure that it had stopped, and that everything was safe, we all got up, and made our way down the mountain, this time, in complete silence.

When we got back to town, we saw the destruction that the quake had left in its wake. Telephone poles were toppled, and the streets were littered shattered glass. When we got back to our motel, we found that the power had been knocked out. Apparently, the power was out all over the town. despite this, however, the main bar downtown remained open, albeit by candlelight, and they only sold cans of beer, straight from their refrigeration units.

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We assumed we wouldn’t be all that welcome, but decided to go grab a drink, to tie one on, anyway. Upon arrival our suspicions were confirmed. We were met with the coldest reception imaginable. We were scowled at, and outright ignored by most. I was afraid the bartender would refuse to serve us, but when it came time, we all ordered our beers, and paid in cash. I guess no matter how much he may have loathed us, he wasn’t going to turn down our money. Just then, a local man with a transistor radio came into the bar and set it up for everyone to listen to. The locals gathered around the radio, as the man messed with the dial, in an effort to find the station he wanted. When a news broadcast crackled over the radio.

“Everybody quiet!” He yelled, plunging the bar into a hushed silence.

Over the radio we could hear a newscaster recounting the recent events, saying that three recent earthquakes, originating from Mount Olympus, had all occurred in just a little over a weeks’ time. Furthermore, that the quakes had caused widespread power outages that weren’t expected to be fixed for about a week. After that, the man turned off the radio, and the locals dispersed.

“This is all your fault.” One of the locals yelled at us, before leaving the bar.

“Boy, that was a big one today, huh?” Came a voice from behind us.

Shambling up to the bar, was Rick, who was clearly pretty soused by this point.

“You alright, Rick?” I asked.

“Never been better,” Rick slurred. That being the first of many slurred statements he made.

“Ya know who called me today? Do ya know who?”

“Who called you, Rick?”

“It was that seismologist, again, I think his name might be Barry, or Tony, I don’t know, one of the two, but anyway, do ya know what he said? He said that the earthquake from today was 6.2 on the Richter scale, and that it had to have originated at our drill site.” He continued. “Then he asked if we were up there using explosives. I said no, and then he said the darndest thing, he said, that if we weren’t making explosions, then what caused the earthquake must have-”

“You all best be leavin’ town, soon.” The same local man from before, with the blue eyes, interrupted. “Things were fine until you all showed up, now we’re all in danger.”

“Hey, buddy, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I-”

He held up the same folded up piece of paper from before, before shoving it in my pants pocket.

“Hey, what are you-”

“I don’t want to hear another word out of any of you, go back to the motel, pack up your stuff, and get out.” He said, in a venomous tone.

Even though this guy was clearly 20-years older, and quite a bit smaller than me, I got the feeling that he wasn’t someone I wanted to tangle with. On that, Mike and I helped Rick up, and we made our way to the door. Upon leaving the bar, we went back to the motel. We got Rick to his room safely, and then Mike and I parted ways to go to our rooms.

Later that night, as I lay in bed, talking to my wife on the phone, telling her about all the quakes, and assuring her I was okay, a familiar orange glow filled my window. I quickly wrapped up the call with my wife, by telling her I loved her, and promising that I would call her tomorrow, but that now I had to get some sleep. On that, we hung up, and I crept up to the window, peaked out, and saw the same, burgundy-robed people I had seen twice previously, just walking single file towards Olympus. This was it, I figured. I called Joe, and Sheila, and told them that we had some reconnaissance work to do. As soon as the last robed figure passed by the motel, Sheila, Joe, and I, snuck out of the motel, and tailed them. We followed them up the mountain, for a couple of miles, to a place on the mountain that we had never been to before, when we noticed that they had stopped in a clearing. We ducked into a bush, and just observed them. They arranged themselves into a half-circle, facing away from us, and stood completely still for about five minutes.

“Are they gonna do anything?” Sheila asked, in a hushed tone.

Just then, at the same time, they all raised their torches to the sky, left arms behind their backs. They all started humming that hum that had become so familiar. Then, they all bowed their heads, and began chanting something, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. After several repetitions of the same canticle, they all stopped, lifted their heads, straightened the semicircle out into a line, and began to hum, and walk back down the mountain.

“What the heck was that?” Joe asked.

“I have no idea.” I responded.

As they walked past the bushes we were hiding in, one of them stopped dead in his tracks, and looked directly at us. The man took his hood down, revealing it to be the man with the blue eyes, who had confronted us in the bar. While I couldn’t tell if he could see us, it sure seemed as though he could feel our presence. He eventually moved on and kept walking down the mountain. When we could no longer hear the sound of humming, we emerged from the bush, and started back towards town.

When we got back to the motel, we went to our respective rooms, I headed straight to bed, and just laid there, for what felt like hours, digesting what it was that we had just witnessed, and wondering exactly what it was they had been chanting, until sleep came.

I woke up the next day, wearing the same dirty clothes as the day before. Not the most hygienic practice, I know, but I was exhausted from the previous day. When suddenly, there was a knock at my door. I answered it to see Rick standing there, clearly much more sober than the previous day.

“Pack up your stuff.” He said. “We’re gettin’ outta here, tonight.”

“Really?” I asked, secretly elated by the news.

“I’m damn sure, our operation is in disrepair, and I don’t know what’s causing all these quakes, but this is clearly an unsafe place to work. Now get your stuff ready, plane leaves at 7:10.”

“But, what about my wages?”

“You’ll be paid in full, don’t worry about that.”

On that note, he left to go tell the others.

I called my wife to tell her the good news, that I would be home later that night. She shared my enthusiasm towards the recent development, and I couldn’t wait to see her. Just about the second I hung up, there came yet another knock at my door. I answered it, and in came all my coworkers, flooding my room, cheering, and popping the bottles of champagne that we were saving for when we were done with the job. Mike was even smoking a victory stogie. Not much a victory, but I guess we technically were done, at that point.

We spent the next so many hours, just talking, drinking, playing cards, laughing it up, and just relaxing, but with the added knowledge that soon we would be boarding a plane, and leaving, hopefully never to come back.

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Around the time four o’clock rolled around, we figured it was about time to grab our luggage and start heading towards the airport. When we made it out to the parking lot, I looked around, and noticed that things seemed oddly quiet. I get that with the power having been knocked out, businesses were closed, and all, but this was just ghostly.

“After this, I could use a vacation.” Rick said. “Somewhere tropical, like Antigua.”

That did sound nice. I think after I get my wages, I’m going to start planning a family vacation. I think my wife would love Antigua.

As we were putting our suitcases in the trunks of our company cars, out of nowhere, a group of locals descended upon us, led by the blue-eyed man, and it seemed as though they were looking for another confrontation..

“You all are never welcome back here.” He said.

“We’re leavin,’ we’re leavin.’” I said, but not before I let him with some parting words, as to what I really thought about his town. “And don’t you worry, you couldn’t pay me to come back here anyway, once was bad enough”

This got the man’s attention, before he calmly spoke, again.

“Oh, what makes this town so bad?”

“Oh, where do I begin? First off, where I come from, we have this thing called hospitality, something that you all seem to be greatly lacking. You’re needlessly standoffish. Yeah, we’re outsiders, but we’re only here to do our jobs, we could have been sent anywhere, but unfortunately, we were sent to this Godforsaken place.”

“You have no idea what you’ve done, and now, there’s no stopping it.”

“And that’s another thing, you keep blaming us for natural disasters, why?” I shouted.

He stood there, silently. I figured I had stumped him on that one.

“Oh, and what’s that cult thing that you’re in? Yeah, I’ve seen you guys, I’ve seen what you all do, with the torches, and the chanting, what’s all that about?” I snapped.
At this, he began to smirk.

“I’m not sure you’re going to make it out.” He said, ominously.

“Is that a threat?”

“No, but the time is close at hand.”

“What are you talking about?”

At that moment, the ground beneath us began to tremor.

“Ha!” I cackled. “Ya see, it couldn’t have been us causing it, we’re all down here.”

“You fool,” the man countered. “It has begun.”

This confused me, and on that, he left, followed by the group of locals that he was accompanied by. It took me a minute of assessing the situation, all while the ground rumbled beneath us, before I turned to Rick.

“Rick, what did the seismologist say about what caused the earthquakes?”

“What?” He said, not seeming to know what I was talking about.

“The seismologist you talked to on the phone, yesterday, what did he say could have caused the earthquakes?” I said, frantically.

“Oh!” He said, seemingly to have suddenly remembered the conversation. “He said that if we weren’t using explosives, and if our drill wasn’t causing it, then whatever was causing them must have been coming from underneath us, inside the mountain.”

It was at that moment that the shaking greatly intensified to a degree we had not yet felt before. People were falling to the ground left and right, and it caused many windows to shatter, thus showering everyone on the streets below with shards of glass. As I looked to the mountain, I could see a fissure starting to form where we had been working, and again came that screeching sound, but this time, it was much louder than before. People were panicking and running for shelter. A sudden, violent tremor split the concrete in front of me, and knocked me off my feet, and I landed hard on the sidewalk, cutting my hand on some glass. I watched as trees began falling on the mountainside. It really was a tremendous site. I heard a rumble to my left, and looked down the street to see what looked to be one of the older buildings in town collapse into a pile of rubble.

I looked back up at the mountain to see that the fissure had widened to near chasmic proportions, and that chunks of earth were beginning to fall into it, bit by bit. This had to be above an eight on the Richter scale. Just then, an ear-piercing screech came from the direction of the mountain. It was then that I saw something, the likes of which I had never seen before. The head of what looked to be a large creature emerged from the fissure. It was beige and red, and looked vaguely reptilian, with a triangular-shaped head, atop a rather long neck. As it made its way out of the mountain, I could see that it had six yellow eyes, three on each side, arranged in the shape of triangles. Next came two gargantuan feet, scaley, and with what looked to be six talons on each foot. The creature then pulled the rest of its body out of the mountain, to reveal how absolutely massive it was. It must have been at least 80 stories tall. The creature had a pair of front legs, and hindlegs, a small tail, and appeared to have large, sharp crystalline spikes running the length of its back. As it stood atop Olympus, it let out a shriek like a banshee, revealing its many rows of razor-sharp teeth. It was so loud, and shrill, that I had to cover my ears, lest I risk potential hearing loss. It the spread long, fleshy, bat-like wings from its back, and took flight. As it soared through the air, it swooped down towards the town, and let out one final shriek, this one shattering any glass left intact in town, as well as setting off many car alarms, before it flew away to the north.
It was then, as I sat there amidst the devastation, shattered glass everywhere, and car alarms blaring, that I remembered the piece of paper in my pocket. I took it out of my pocket, unfolded it, and scrawled in charcoal it said the following:

If you plan to go up the mount
And you plan on coming back
Ensure that your love of nature
Is never in a state of lack
Always be respectful
And do be self-reliant
But make sure that whatever you do
You don’t wake the sleeping giant

And at the bottom; in black ink it read:
All hail that which dwells beneath Olympus.

They were right. We did cause this. We roused the sleeping giant from its slumber by drilling into it. What chaos had we unleashed? I don’t know what that creature was, or where it was going, but I get the feeling that wherever it goes next, the people there may be in grave danger.

I sat there on the ground for a bit, disheveled, and in pain, when I had one final thought. For eons, man has looked to the skies, imagining all that lies beyond, without giving much of a thought to what may lie beneath.

Credit : Steven Allen

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1 thought on “The Quakes of Mount Olympus”

  1. It is really a very well-written piece of work I was just stuck to it. I would tell my friends to read this one😃

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