We make good time. With everyone more in tune to nature I need not concentrate on keeping us together. Instead I guide us, sensing the directions the others can’t quite hear. It is becoming clear to me that, though my education is lower, I am somehow more at ease with my abilities.
I can sense the edge of the forest when I feel the first rumble.
“Earthquake!” David and Hazel exclaim in unison.
“Can we outrun it?” Katha asks.
“I doubt it,” I’m trying to connect with Earth, but it’s being very stubborn.
“I don’t think it’s going to stop,” Hazel moans in desperation.
“Don’t try and stop it, just control it, find its purpose.”
David nods. It’s becoming harder and harder to stay on our own two feet. I can hear the trees groaning. The rumbling is turning to rippling; wave, clam, wave, calm. I hear the crashing of trees, as the next wave steams towards us. We are tossed about like ships on a stormy sea. Sounding like thunder, the ground splits open before us.
Before anyone can regain their balance another wave tosses us about. Luke screams as he falls over the edge. Without thinking Theo and I catch him with air. Martha quickly aids us. It gives me an idea.
“Air cushion,” I say as we are all jostled by another wave. I nearly fall in. “If everyone is on an air cushion raised a few feet above the ground we’ll be safe.”
“From the earth,” Katha amends. “There are still trees to contend with.”
More trees crash to the ground. “We’ll just have to make a bubble of air, everyone try and gather around me."
I build the air beneath my feet and extend it beyond me. Theo and Martha quickly join forces. I build a roof of air over us as a tree comes crashing down upon us. We hit the ground, then bound up as it deflects off.
“Everyone who’s not Earth help with the air; every little bit counts.”
Even Michael is helping keep our Air pocket solid. I sit in the center with David and Hazel who are concentrating hard on the Earth. I wish I could help them, they are clearly becoming exhausted. I must use my strength with air to keep us protected. Nature lends her strength as we bound along. We are hurled hither and thither; bumped up by the buckling earth; knocked down and to the side by falling trees.
Our energy is nearly spent. Michael, Katha and Luke collapse. Their affinity is not with Air, they cannot sustain it any more. In a few more minutes I know Theo and Martha too will give out. I’m not even sure how much longer I will last. A scream of pain cuts through the woods and suddenly all is silent.
There is a small clearing nearby. I guide the bubble there before letting the air go, with profuse thanks. It laughs as it runs away, telling me we should do it again sometime. I would laugh, if I wasn’t so tired. We all eat.
That scream bugs me. It keeps echoing in my mind. Something is hurt. Something is dying. I close my eyes letting nature fill me. The food I was eating drops from my hand. As I stand my dojo jacket slips from my shoulders. I am off like the wind.
I feel as though I’m flying above the trees and through the trees. And it is in a tree I find him; the victim of the earthquake. It is Zack. He could have surfed the quake to the finish line, if he’d thought about it. We could have done the same in our Air bubble if I’d had the presence of mind to do so, but that it not the issue now.
Zack lies pinned by a tree. Worse than pinned, a broken branch has stabbed through his leg. Blood oozes from the wound. Wishing I’d left my jacket on I work quickly to free him of the tree. He groans, his eyes fluttering open, but he doesn’t say a word. I lay him out as gently as I can and kneel beside him. I tear moss from the ground to stanch the wound. His blood loss must be slowed.
My hands examine him with the precision of Grandma B. His arm is broken in two places. The stab wound is the only other major injury he has. I close my eyes and let nature and water flow into me. They build inside me, rising from my feet to the top of my head and spilling over. They cascade down my shoulders onto my arms and into Zack.
I am oblivious of anything but healing Zack. When at last I sit back I notice my jacket has been thrown over my shoulders. I look around to see my group beside me.
“You should keep your jacket on,” Katha whispers to me as she hands me some food.
I nod and put my arms into my jacket and accept her offer. Zack’s eyes blink open.
“What the hell are you doing here!” He quickly scrambles into a sitting position, edging away from me until he is against the tree that nearly killed him.
“You ought to Thank Morgan,” Katha states from next to me. “She just saved your life.”
Zack looks at me, at the ground covered in his blood, and at the tree.
“No way!” he scrambles up and runs away from us.
Katha sighs and turns to me. “Are you ready? The suns going to be setting soon and we’re not far from the edge.”
I nod and stand. Healing has taken a lot from me, but I will make it through.