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On the Edge
Judd clung to a steel railing as the motorcycle disappeared into the river. He tried to climb the side but knocked more concrete from the edge. If Judd didn't hang on, it meant certain death. He cried for help.
The shaking stopped. Then came a splattering in the woods. Tick, tick, tick. He wondered if this was another judgment of God. Then something hit his head. Raindrops, slowly, then pouring.
Judd slipped and nearly let go. The rain beat fiercely. A steel support lay between him and the river. He didn't want to hit that on the way down.
His strength was giving out.
Judd tried once more and found something firm with his feet. He was almost to safety when the slab gave way and tumbled into the water. He fell back, his hands barely grasping the railing. Judd closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, but he couldn't hold on.
As he let go, someone grabbed his arm.
The room felt ice-cold. Everywhere Vicki saw sheet-draped bodies on tables. A hand stuck out from the body in front of her. She willed herself to pull the sheet back. The face was chalky white.
Vicki screamed as she awoke. Darrion and Vicki sat up in the small tent.
"What's wrong?" Darrion said.
Through the flap Vicki watched men carrying bodies. The earthquake was over. Fires dotted the campsite, casting an eerie glow.
"Nightmare," Vicki said. "Where's Shelly?"
"Somebody came and asked for volunteers," Darrion said. "Shelly said to let you sleep."
Vicki scurried out of the tent, still wearing the same tattered clothes from the morning.
"Where are you going?"
"I have to find Ryan."
Shelly raced toward them. "Good news," she said. "A lady says they've opened a shelter a few blocks from here. It's the closest one to your house, so Ryan might be there."
"Let's go," Vicki said.
"We have to wait till dawn," Shelly said. "They're shooting looters."
"I don't care," Vicki said. "I have to find him."
"We don't need another death," Shelly said. "Get some sleep and we'll find him in the morning."
Vicki dragged herself back to the tent and tried to sleep, but she kept seeing the white, chalky face in her dream.
Lionel turned the gun over beside him on the bed. The GC insignia was engraved on the barrel of the pistol. He had signed papers that made him a Global Community Morale Monitor. He felt proud, but at the same time, things didn't seem right.
"I thought you'd be asleep by now," Conrad said, sitting next to Lionel's bed.
"Looks like you're going to be my partner," Lionel said.
"You don't seem too excited," Lionel said.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to feel," Conrad said. "Everything's changing so fast. And that stuff in your luggage has me spooked."
"What stuff?" Lionel said.
"The Bible and your journal," Conrad said. "I can't wait to get on the Internet and see if this rabbi guy will answer me."
"Maybe when we get to Chicago, we'll figure it out," Lionel said.