The God of Vortex“Claudia!” I shout, racing towards the Tall Tree. Claudia is climbing to the top, where we always sit and pick cacao and talk. She looks down at me, gripping the bark of the tree with her hands.
“Carlos!” she yells. I smile and grab the trunk. With all my strength, I pull myself up.
Claudia is already at our spot, picking cacao and eating a mango. She offers a piece to me and I accept, the juice running down my chin. I reach out for a cacao pod and am about to pick it when shouts ring out from below. I look down and see the town square crowded with people, all waving tickets in the air and squeezing onto a rickety bus.
“What’s happening?” I ask. Claudia’s eyes are wide as she shrugs.
I make out one of the shouts. “Leave! We must hurry! The God of Vortex is here!” someone yells from under us. Claudia panics and quickly climbs down the tree, forgetting her basket filled with cacao, mangos, and sugar cane. I grab it for her and follow her down.
When I get to the bottom, my eyes scan the crowd for Claudia. I spot her climbing into a small wagon. I sprint over to her and heave myself in the back of the wagon before anyone sees me. Claudia throws a cloth over my body and I squeeze into a ball. We stay as still as statues for a long time.
Suddenly, a great rumbling noise comes from behind us. It shakes the ground and I close my eyes as tight as I can. A small ball hits me in the back and I peek out from under my cloth. It’s a rock. I look up. White flakes are falling from the sky. It’s snowing!
The crack of a whip gets my attention and I duck back under my cloth. The wagon we’re riding on starts vibrating, and then it shoots off. I focus on trying not to cry. The ash is almost suffocating me. I cough it up, but luckily the noise of the mountain covers up my noise.
Claudia squeezes my hand tightly. The wagon accelerates. The driver cracks a whip and shouts something to the horses pulling us, but I can’t hear what he says over the sounds of the mountain. A tear slips down my dirty face, leaving a trail in the ash. Within seconds, more tears are dripping, and then I’m crying. Claudia is, too. We’re silently shaking with sobs.
I’m very tired. The noise of the mountain seems duller now. My eyelids feel heavier and heavier until they drift closed and I black out.