The rumbling started softly, shaking loose a few bits of shale here and there. A low roar quickly followed the shaking, and my sister dropped the quartz-infused rock she was considering for her collection. We spared a moment for a glance, and I saw fear in her eyes that matched my own. Then our feet took off and we followed.
I could hear the roar coming closer, and searched the sides of the red and beige stripped ravine desperately. A crevice cut through some gray stone on the left side, and I grabbed my sister’s arm to steer her in that direction. I shoved her into the crevice to ensure she went first. She comprehended quickly, and grabbed at the natural handholds to climb the twenty feet to the top of the otherwise sheer sides.
I followed, so close behind that one of her feet caught me in the jaw, nearly knocking me back down. I slide slightly, and a sharp piece of shale cut a jagged gash in my arm. I clawed for a better handhold, breaking at least three fingernails in the process. Above me, she sought an additional foothold, unable to pull herself up by hands alone. I braced myself and shoved my hand against the bottom of her foot to provide her with leverage. She cleared the top and I followed a heartbeat later.
As one, we turned and looked back into the ravine. The wall of water was about seven feet high and carried with it brush and rubble that rendered it the color of mud. Here and there reflections of the red stone from the ravine gave it almost a blood-like hue. To the west, the brilliant blue sky held only a memory of the rain clouds that had spawned the flash flood.
Beside me my sister gasped for breath. I caught her eyes, and we both fell apart in adrenaline-fueled laughter. She caught my wrist and looked at the shallow gash and ripped shirt. “Mom,” she observed, “is totally going to kill you.”
“It was,” I reminded her, “your idea to go rock hunting on a day it rained.”
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