September Flash — Pyroclastic Flow

Swooped Down in the Dead of Night

Adrasteia woke terrified in the dead of night, she could not say why. The air was too still, but exhaustion should have kept her in dreamless sleep until she was roused to board their ship. Yesterday they’d packed their treasures, portaged, and placed them all on the boat that would carry them to safety. At first light they would leave their home, escaping, and likely forever.

Adrasteia rose and fumbled in the dark for her robe. In the inky blackness she struggled to don it. No need to put on her jewelry, she merely needed to put her fears to rest. She cast open the shutters and found no light. The gods were angry, so angry they had blotted out even the moon and stars with their clouds of ashy pitch blackness. The silence was oppressive, the absence of light a fearful portent. Adrasteia felt for tinder and lamp.

The silence was broken by a roar and a shaking so violent that Adrasteia was cast onto the floor and battered there by wave after wave of quaking and falling plaster and even stone. She thought she heard herself screaming in the dark, but coughing the dust from her lungs, she knew that what she heard came from other throats. She would have wept for fear, but she knew her children were here somewhere in the dark and some of the screams might be theirs. If only she could find them.

There came a ruddy glow through the open window. Adrasteia thought it might be the Sun, hoped it might be, but no, it came from the mountain. She struggled to stand as hot wind blew back her raven hair, then searing heat and smothering dark.

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