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About EarthQuake

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    9.5 on the Richter!

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  1. So I went on a field trip with a rather large group of classmates, mostly people I went to high school with. There were several other classes going, but I didn't know anyone from them and they were on completely different buses anyways. The first thing I remember is stepping off the bus after our arrival. What immediately caught my attention was that we were in a giant redwood forest... or at least I believed so. I had never actually seen one in person, but the trees were so wide, and so tall, I don't think I could be mistaken. Anyways, it was in the middle of the afternoon, and just enough sunlight made it through the canopy above to make it not seem otherwise.

    It was a very creepy and surreal place. We were parked in a large clearing in the middle of a dirt road that looped around and back through the forest. One road, from which we came, and the other, which we would soon be walking down. Other than the wind rustling through the giant branches above, there were no sounds to be heard at all, except those of my excited classmates. This place was dead, and our living presence here disturbed me greatly.


    I don't recall the details of this trip, or exactly where we were or what we were there to see, but it was a very isolated place. I remember seeing several dilapidated buildings on the way, and from what I could gather were the remnants of some archaeological expedition. Lots of storage containers, crates, abandoned trucks and jeeps. I wondered what they were doing, and how long ago it was.


    We began making the hike down the dirt road. Everyone seemed so excited. I was not. The further down the road we walked, the darker things started to get, which was not because of the passage of time, but rather because the trees were seemingly closing in on us. Eventually we were traveling through near-darkness, with splotches of light seeping through the canopy illuminating the dirt road.


    We finally arrived at the cable car that would take us on our ascent through the canopy and give us a better insight as to what we were here for. Supposedly this was one of the highlights of our trip, but I was pretty uneasy, as I have a decent case of altophobia. I could tell from the expressions on my classmates' faces that they were experiencing the same thoughts.

    Several trams waited for us, with the "tour guide" standing beside them, waiting patiently for us to approach. His face was expressionless. We divided into groups and slowly boarded each tram, one by one. Each person stepping aboard made that car sink downwards more and more, with the entire compartment shaking and rattling. It made me wonder how such a thin cable could support the weight of all these compartments.

    After each tram was loaded, and the doors sealed shut, the guide moved to the corner of our tram and engaged the pulley system that would pull all of our trams upwards into the trees.


    Instead of a slow ascent like I expected, we traveled away from the dirt road that led us here and immediately floated over a steep cliff. The view below us was unsettling.... I vastly underestimated the height of all the trees, which stretched down just as far as they stretched upwards. Instead of ground below us, however, it was just empty darkness, with the trunks of the massive trees fading into the black void. The area around us was well lit, and you could even see the sun setting far ahead, into the distance. But that darkness below us felt like the gaping maw of hell. I was perfectly fine dangling way up here.

    I thought to myself, if this cable were to snap, it would be all over for me... for us all. Interestingly enough, as soon as I thought this, some of the girls with us made this vocally clear. But nah, I held my faith in this rickety machine and those thin, worn cables. The chances of a failure were impossible, I assured myself.


    We sailed through the branches of the giant redwoods, passing several of the cable car support towers along the way. In the darkness below, you could barely make out the tops of various buildings. This made me feel a little bit better about our ride, knowing there was actually ground not far below that shroud of darkness.

    The tour guide then spoke for the first time, instructing us to look to our right. "In a moment, you can see the highest point of the temple." Everyone moved to the right side of the car and was peering out, looking downward towards the ground. You could feel the entire tram swaying to their movements.

    I stared alongside them, but to no avail. We started climbing higher and higher, but still nothing was to be seen. What exactly were we looking for again? Then, as we breached the lower layer of the canopy, right in front of us, merely several feet away from the car was the top of this crumbling rectangular tower. It was made of smooth, rounded cobblestone, with moss and vines crawling all over it. You could see the interior from a great opening in the top, which was well-lit from all the holes in the sides of the tower. The abundance of trees around this so-called "temple" was astounding. No wonder we couldn't see it from a distance.


    We passed the tower, and once again the tram suffered a great deal of shaking and swaying as everyone resumed their original positions. A fellow student made note of this, and just as I was about to negate her worries, the tram suddenly jolted to a dead stop. With eyes wide open, I glanced around the car. Everyone donned the same expression.

    Then all was silent. And then all was black.


    I come to and find myself surrounded in darkness. I look to my left and to my right. Nothing but black void surrounds me.

    I happen to look up, and it's as if a revelation has struck me. A web of tree trunks extend almost infinitely upwards, lit with the familiar, yet eerie shade of dusk. I know where I am...

    The redwoods are not far from me, but I cannot see the base of any of these trees. I rose to my feet and started walking around. It was a very unusual experience, surrounded in such darkness with the only illuminated objects far above me. It was hard to navigate, but eventually my eyes adjusted to this strange, unnatural darkness. I don't know what happened, or why I ended up all the way down here without a scratch. I also don't know why I am suddenly alone, stumbling through this awkward scene. But I do know that I am afraid and very "alone".


    There were no signs of any life down here. Not even the remains of the cable car I was once in. Upon gazing upward, the canopy was so oversaturated with light, that I could not reliably discern any details about what happened. I could not see any cables, no other cars, nothing. It was a blurry mess of tree branches and white light.


    I could now see something in the distance. It's base is darker than black, but just as the trees, the darkness only covers the bottom. It's surrounded by a thicket of trees. I know this is the place I saw not... long ago? My perception of time at that point was off, at best. I have no idea how much time had passed since I blacked out.

    Anyways, I proceed to the what appears to be the temple I had seen earlier. As I approach it, it becomes clear that my guess was correct. Far up, I can see the same tower, but at a different perspective. It was truly amazing how large this structure was, despite most of it obscured by those gigantic trees.


    I looked around the empty corridors, and was shocked at their appearance. I was expecting some "forgotten-Aztec-temple" appearance. This was not the case. Each room was definitely modern in appearance, although just as run-down and dust-filled as those buildings I saw during my entrance into this forest. One room had tables and chairs, a meeting place of sorts. A projector on a desk, and a chalkboard with one of those pull-down projector screens. Maps hanging on the walls. Crates and boxes piled up in the corner. It definitely fit in with the archaeological "theme" here.

    And then I woke up.

    Sorry... :(

    1. TimeOfDeath


      Your bday's on tax day. :)

    2. 40oz


      EarthQuake said:

      And then I woke up.

      Sorry... :(

      I skipped to this part anticipating some kinda question being asked, as I wasn't sure what the purpose of reading that giant body of text was.

    3. Cupboard


      Sounds like a Doom level inhabited by a ghoul-screamer.