Groundswell: Chapter Twenty-Three



“Fracking. That’s what cracked this one open. And it doesn’t take much to do a whole lotta damage. No wonder people are going nuts.”

“I thought fracking was some kind of Battlestar Galactica swear word.”

“And I thought you were an intelligent person who kept up with current events. Fracking is where they inject liquid into subterranean rocks at high pressure in order to release oil or natural gas. Comes with a host of environmental side effects, including earthquakes. Lot of earthquakes in Oklahoma lately.”

“Why’d they place these here then? Why not someplace that doesn’t have earthquakes?”

“This was a place that didn’t have earthquakes. None of any significance, anyway.”

The other man ran his gloved finger across the cracked and rusted cylinder that stood against one of the walls of the control center, held in the grip of a long-dead tree root that looked like a desiccated human hand.

It was one of four, each of which were connected by pipes. A larger pipe ran from the top of the center one into the wall.

“Don’t tough that!” said the other. “Even with the suits. It’s not even safe for us to be down here, but somebody’s got to clean up their messes.”

He shined his flashlight around the room. Time had certainly taken its toll. Tree roots had squeezed themselves through cracks in the walls, seeking the black, stagnant water that stood several inches above their feet. Control panels were covered in globs of red mud, cobwebs and chunks of concrete. Computer monitors lay smashed on the floor, one of them permanently impaled on a root. A lizard skittered across the wall and disappeared into a crack.

He walked over to one of the control panels and shined his light on the cracked and peeling Prismaro decal someone had slapped on it decades earlier. He shook his head and looked up at the moon through the open hatch on the ceiling. “Alright fellas, let’s move this shit out,” he called to the men standing above them.

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