They believed the volcano to be extinct. They thought it was harmless, and welcomed the building of a city beneath it and the planting of crops on the fertile red volcanic soil.
The day they heard the low drumming, steady and rhythmic under their feet, they wondered if they should leave their city.
“But the volcano will not erupt,” they reassured each other.
And they were right. The volcano didn’t erupt. It did something worse.
The day the drumming got louder was the day the earth cracked open, emitting pink, fluorescent light that grabbed at their flesh and sucked the life out of their breaths. The entire city floated in the air, frozen in time, and then with a final note, the bodies disintegrated, the dust settling back on the soil.
When silence fell on the city, all that remained was a crimson layer of ash, the key to the soil’s fertility, and the volcano they thought was harmless.
© Jade M. Wong
Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks PJ for choosing my photo for the prompt this week!