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Autumn Storm


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10.50 AM, November 4th, 2013, 4500 Swan Drive, Ashton


The Parson's Elementary School construction site was positioned on a small hill, just on the edges of Freedom City. To the north and west and mere yards away, the Wharton State forest loomed in a mass of reddening or yellowed oaks and ashes disrupted by the odd sentinel green pine. This site had been chosen, and the architecture modified after exhaustively-precise surveys, to present as little disruption to the beloved and vast national wood as possible.


The concrete foundation had set by now, and the two-story frame was already getting into spindly wooden shape. Sounds of hammering and the sight of workers carrying boards and lengths of metal into place gave the scene an oddly old-fashioned quality despite the nearby yellow construction equipment. Jasom Ballard, head foreman of the local DeCosta Construction team, nodded shortly to Arnold Felt, the main foreman who had been overseeing the work in his absence, as he walked briskly up the hill to get a view of how things were going. "Any trouble, Arnie?" he asked hopefully.


"None Mr. Ballard! Everything's been quiet this last week." Arnold smiled in relief. Everyone on the crew had heard the rumors, and it had taken a little bit of talking to keep people on schedule instead of leaving when the shadows started to deepen.


Jason clapped him on the shoulder a few times and nodded in silent thanks and trudged on, all but running up the ladder onto the second floor framework to check out an iffy-looking bit of scaffolding.


Everything was going well in the crisp morning light, until one of the amber-covered trees at the forest's border got up, cascading loose rock and soil in an explosion of dust, and started walking towards the school with heavy, slow strides on each formidable taproot that sent a faint tremor through the ground. At first the rest of the dimming trees were still. Then another, and another rose in a shower of dust and rock and joined the growing vegetable procession marching impassively onwards and churning up the ground as they went like a dark wave. The first had gotten the attention of the workers, who watched in growing horror as it approached and was joined by rustling, creaking cohorts. The rest sent them into a very soft and orderly panicking retreat.


"Mr. Ballard? I think we should...um...go. And possibly take the digging equipment. Don't want to get them smashed." offered a nearby worker, edging away towards the ladder and trying to tug Jason along with her.


The foreman shook himself abruptly from the shock of seeing walking trees, and said with quiet earnestness "Yeah, good plan. And we need to call for help!"

Edited by Arichamus
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