Twelve [The Carnation]

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Day 3,647

Petrichor; the sweet, earthy scent of rain on parched soil. Most people associate it with summer since it's the smell that accompanies the first rainfall after a period of warm, dry weather. Typically the aroma comes before any substantial precipitation, as if the sidewalks are dying of thirst and awaiting the first drops with their mouths open and tongues hanging out, so eager to quench their craving that petrichor prematurely oozes from their pores in gratitude.

It's unusually quiet in the lush hills and valleys surrounding Harry, his bare feet stepping one foot in front of the other as he travels a narrow path on concrete. A road that's large enough for only one car, iron gray in color and contrasting the sage hue of the surrounding rainforests. Dark clouds hang low enough that it seems like he could jump up and touch them, their frown a menacing glare in his direction as if threatening to drop lightning on him at any given moment.

He can see a small village in the distance, clusters of homes composed of white stucco and burnt sienna roofs, an expanse of royal blue water off to the east and in the distance beyond civilization, a sizable snow capped mountain. His surroundings are saturated in color and in a moment of clarity, he comprehends exactly what kind of dream he's having. He drops to his knees in the middle of the empty road, sitting back on his calves to breathe deeply and take in the serenity of the scene around him before the imminent disaster strikes.

He searches for road signs or some sort of evidence that would offer a clue as to where he is, his environment totally unrecognizable by sight. His palms dig into the rough and rocky street below his knees before he pulls himself to standing, taking off into a jog to draw closer to the town at the bottom of the hill for more hints as to why he's been brought here.

It's populated and bustling, the position of the sun overhead indicating that it's roughly lunch time as people hurry down the streets with children in tow or barking into their telephones. The streets are busy with traffic but not as crammed as the city where he resides, lots of citizens choosing to ride bicycles due to the warm weather. A farmer's market is set up a couple blocks away, rows of fruit and vegetable stands manned by venders as customers amble about to purchase groceries for the week.

The abrupt rumble of the earth below Harry's feet is so powerful that it almost knocks him to his knees, his hand darting out to clutch the bristly wall of the building beside him. It takes him a handful of seconds to register what is happening, his heart pounding in distress and resonating within his ear canals. Blood echoes inside of his skull, the gasps and screams of everyone around him drowned by the symbiosis of his fear reflexes all firing at once.

He draws his gaze up to the streets around him, pedestrians running in a hundred different directions and cars slamming on their breaks as drivers exit their vehicles and take off in a sprint with their doors left wide open. The ground under his bare feet continues to vibrate with an ominous growl, the sound similar to a gust of angry wind outside of your window in the midst of a hurricane. Except instead of having an air-like quality to it, it's craggy and harsh like massive rocks slowly grinding together, the origin of the omnipresent noise indiscernible.

People run past him shouting in a wild panic, their children clutched in their arms and their belongings tossed wayside as they flee. Apples and eggplants roll from the farmer's market stands in endless waves, the produce hitting the ground and tumbling away from their tables as if they are also attempting to escape. It takes him a moment to realize that everyone around him has organized and begun to run in a similar direction, the opposite of the angle he is choosing to stand and their shoulders bumping into his repeatedly as they breeze past.

His gaze is drawn to the sky where it becomes clear that flocks of birds are also making their getaway in a similar fashion and then his sight lowers to the horizon as he focuses on the looming mountain in the distance. He finds himself slowly walking forward through the hoards of people who are stampeding like elephants past him, his sight glued to the jagged charcoal gray mountain as he seems to be magnetized towards it.

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