Just as I had promised last week, here is one of the short stories I wrote in my new COMPLETE THE STORY JOURNAL. The bolded words that start the story are what was given. The rest is mine.
At first we thought the black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and that we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money. Our first choice was a vacation. Somewhere green and majestic, with huge amounts of water. Somewhere entirely different that they dirty, dry, flat land we’d grown up on. Colorado, Portland, Banff.
We hadn’t gone as far as purchasing tickets, but Grayson was already packing. He had always been the optimistic, dreaming kind. At twelve he held more hope than the rest of us combined. Which was sad. Sad the rest of us couldn’t have faith that things would all turn out. But, we’d seen too much.
The saddest part though, was when we found out what all that black liquid, gushing from the hole in the backyard, a ceaseless tide of ebony fluid, really was. When we found out Grayson was devastated. His dreams and plans drowned in a dark pool of evil.
The word was melting from the inside out. Heat trapped in the Earth’s core had somehow spread. It spread way past its normal range and skipped its usual escape route. I remembered hearing about an extraordinary amount of volcanoes and earthquakes in the past month. The news anchors seemed to talk of nothing else. And now as I stared at the growing sea of sickly melted earth, the glaringly obvious truth of it all washed over me in a wave of nausea. The heat had nowhere else to go so it was eating its way through the many layers of the planet, one by one.
Who knew about this?
Should we tell someone?
Where should we go?
Could it be reversed?
Was it too late?
We needed a plan. A good one. A plan crazy enough that it might, if we were very lucky, save our sorry souls.
“Grayson,” I hollered into the house. “What should we do?”