by Twisted Arts
The Arrival. The Unveiling.
| "Dark Seed" Chapter One:
By: James Dudeck
Chapter Two: "The Arrival. The Unveiling."
"James, wake the hell up, will you?" Josh said as he was trying to shake James back from the dream world. "You've been asleep for the past 3 hours man. We're here." Josh punched James in the arm as hard a he could after he seemingly refused to wake up.
"OW! You son of a bitch! What in the hell was that for?" James asked as he was rubbing his now throbbing arm. He then rubbed his eyes to clear the after-sleep haze that he got when ever he woke up. Within a few moments, he realized that they had finally reached their destination. "It's about damn time. 8 hours of driving and listening to the same 3 Dane Cook CD's was getting kinda boring."
"Guess what we're listening to on the 8 hour drive back home then." Greg said as he gave James a kind of chuckle. He got out of the car and stretched. He looked around and noticed that everyone else was doing the same. "Lets get going, we got an abandoned freeway to explore." Greg gave everyone a modest wink and began to walk towards the freeway.
The freeway wasn't but two hundred feet away and was blocked off with mounds of dirt. Trees enriched the top of them and looked almost as it was just a normal, run of the mill entry into the woods. Once they were about 20 feet away from the 'entrance', they noticed a sign that read:
Underground Mine Fire.
Walking Or Driving In This Area Can Result In Serious Injury Or Death.
Ground Is Prone To Sudden Collapse.
Dangerous Gases Present.
"Hey guys, take a look at this!" Josh said as he pointed to the sign. "I'm going to take a picture so in case we die from falling into the 'abyss', they know damn well we knew it could happen." That was the sense of humor him and James shared. 'Dark and twisted, just the way we like it' they always used to say, and for the most part, they meant it. Although their sense of humor had it's limits, it was pretty far out there.
"Are we seriously gonna go? I mean, just read the sign." James said sarcastically, but the truth is, he really was kind of leery of going any further. "There ain't no one who wants to die by falling into a flaming pit. I know I sure as hell don't"
"Shut the hell up and come take a look at this." Josh said from the top of the mound. Through the trees and other growth at the top, you could see, what seemed to be a normal freeway, surrounded by trees. Only difference was, about fifteen feet from the mound, there was grass growing, and the farther from the mound it got, the taller it was. Another fourty or so feet from the start of the grass growth, it turned to tall shrubs, growing into the cement divider of the freeway. At the end of you sight of the freeway, about 100 yards, there was a sharp bend, that took the freeway from sight. "I can't see through the trees, but it seems the freeway goes for a bit beyond the turn."
"Well, lets go take a look then." James said as he pushed through Josh and Allison. "We'll just see how far the rabbit hole goes, and see just what's at the bottom." James preceded down the mound, and walked on the freeway, carefully. A few moments later the rest of the group caught up with him, and were walking just as carefully as James was. All of a sudden James screams and falls to the ground, and begins to laugh violently at the fact he scared the shit out of Allison.
"You ass hole!" Allison barks as she slaps and beats James on the shoulder, but he continues to laugh, and is the only one doing so. "You scared the hell out of me! I hope you're happy" James's laughter subsided, when he realized how mad Allison was at him.
"Look, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." James said, and began to lightly laugh again. "I truly am sorry."
Allison, Josh, and Greg began to walk away from James. Josh turned his head and looked at James, and gave him a smile. James ran to catch up with the rest of them, and began to walk at their pace. None of them were carrying on with any sort of caution.
"Shit!" James said as he held out his arms to feel the falling rain. "You think we should turn back?" As soon as he asked, the rain stopped. "Well, then again, we could continue." James remarked as he looked oddly at the sky, as if he were asking it "Why?". They preceded past the bend, when they noticed an area of the highway where there was a patch about fourty-five feet long and thirty feet wide, completely covered in graffiti.
"Check this shit out man. 'Blood Is Your Friend, Let Me Spill Yours' ? Are the people come here like fuckin' insane or what?" Josh said as he was pointing at the ground in which it was written. "And this one, 'Shit Happens'. I like that one, must be like Centralia's official motto, 'Shit Happens'."
They ignored most of the rest of the graffiti, a moved on to a crack in the road. The crack was about twenty feet long, two feet deep, and three feet across at it's widest point. "Holly shit." James said in utter amazement of the sight. As soon as he said that, it started to hail, and poor down rain. "Fuckin' hell, not-" in the middle of his statement, lightning struck in the center of the crack, and it widened.
"What the fuck?" Josh said as he took a few steps backwards. "What the hell is going on?" Josh looked around at the rest of his friends, as they just gazed at the widened crack. Then all of a sudden, the rain and hail stopped, and the ground began to give away into a pit, eighty feet deep. "Shit!" Josh said and they all began to run.
The ground was now collapsing nearly at the heels of their feet, barely out running it. They were a quarter mile from the mound, and a half mile from safe ground, that is, if it stayed safe. They kept running never-the-less simply because it was better than the alternative. James, Allison, and Greg reached the mound as Josh fell to the ground. The ground stopped collapsing at Josh's feet and formed a patch of road around his body.
As promissed, here is the brief history on Centralia:
_ May 1962.
· Fire Commences.
_ 1962 1978.
· State and Federal governments expend $3.3 million
($10.8 million in 1994 $) to control fire with limited results.
_ 1979 1982.
· The United States Office of Surface Mining (OSM) acquires 34 impacted properties and contracts for a study to determine its potential to spread.
· DER (i.e. DEP) initiates air quality monitoring program.
· OSM study estimates that $663 million is required to extinguish fire.
· A vital transportation link, Route 61, suffers severe subsidence damage from fire. DER stabilizes roadway at a cost of approximately
· U.S. Congress appropriates $42 million for voluntary acquisition and relocation of impacted businesses and residences due to dangers caused by fire (i.e. subsidence & noxious gases).
· Grant administration ceded to the state.
· Previously acquired properties transferred to Commonwealth.
_ 1985 1991.
· 545 residences and businesses acquired and residents moved.
_ January 1992.
· The Centralia Task Force, with authorization from OSM, utilizes condemnation procedures to acquire properties and relocate remaining residents. This action is taken due to threat from noxious gases and subsidence.
_ 1992 1993.
· Condemnation procedures initiated against remaining 53 properties.
· Property owners file preliminary legal objections to this action.
· Borough, as owner of minerals located under the municipality, brings suit against "de facto" taking of coal by condemnation.
· Route 61 closed indefinitely due to fire damage.
· Fire continues to spread.
· Total expenditure of funds is approximately $40 million ($53 million in 1995 $).
· County court denies property owners' objections (February 1994) and decides against Borough (November 1993).
· State Supreme Court also rules against property owners (September 1995) and Borough (December 1995).
· Federal grant's expiration date is currently set at December 31, 1997. This coincides with Commonwealth agreements' termination dates.
Impact & Costs
Population of 1,100.
545 Families and Businesses
Population of 46
Population of 11
Provided By: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/bamr/centbrf.htm