EARTH DAY

 

 

 

         "I will thank you to .... I can do all the telling that is necessary here," he said.  He glared at  Mr. Rastus as if he would like to murder him then, turning to the audience, he began speaking in his smooth and silken voice again.

         "We will all stand to sing the Science Institute anthem and then you will be allowed to go home early to prepare for the happiest day in a hundred years," he announced.  While we were singing, Mr. Rastus again burst into a harsh cackle, and a huge tear rolled down his face.

 

         I walked home with Christopher.  He was thinking, barely noticing me beside him.  Christopher had always been shy and quiet.  My mother worried that he was too quiet, but these past few weeks he had chattered away about Earth Day just like all the  other boys. Now he looked disappointed, as if the special treat had already been spoiled. Neither of us mentioned Mr. Rastus. I didn't know why but our happiness had dissolved into a feeling of dread. 

 

        That night my parents were too busy to notice that Christopher wasn't talking and laughing anymore.  We went to bed early.

        "To be fresh for the celebrations tomorrow,"   my mother said.  I lay down on my bed, but it was a long time before I fell asleep.  My head was full of strange thoughts. The air in my room felt, like the air in your mouth when you hold your breath. 

       "Eva,  Eva!" Christopher's voice was calling me. I floated through darkness and opened my eyes to find him beside my bed, he was shaking my arm. A dirty orange glow filled the room.   "Eva, listen!"  I could distinctly hear a rumbling, grating sound coming through my window, from down below on the street. Then the room started to shake.  I flung my arms around my brother and we inched across the floor toward the window. 

       We gaped at the amazing sight.  An angry purple and orange sky was not only above, but around and below us.  The house was hovering in the air.  I could hear my parents panicked voices calling us.

       "We're ok!"  I shouted over the noise, which now sounded like the roar of a storm or an earthquake.  The orange glow was so hot it scorched my cheeks. My father lowered the protective glass in the open window.  From high in the clouds we looked down on cracked and broken sidewalks. We watched trees, garden gates, benches, and mail boxes all being swallowed by fissures that opened up in the earth.  Christopher clung to me,his face buried in my shoulder.

"What's going to happen to us?" he whispered.  My mother's calm and comfortable voice answered.

"Whatever comes we'll go through it together," she said.