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Disasters in a Jar Box Set

Disasters in a Jar Box Set

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Disasters in a Jar Series: Individual Stories of Hope when Mother Nature, Murphy, or Mankind has other ideas.

John Hollie:
"I was devastated when the Wash Out hit. I had just purchased my dream house in a prestigious community, but I lost everything in a matter of days. The flooding was rampant, and the ocean had taken over the land. But it was a man-made disaster that left the world in ruins. And you'll never guess who the culprit is..." 

Read Chapter 1

“Okay, so I want to show the viewers again how the Earth works.” A diagram zoomed onto a black background and enlarged itself to cover the entire surface. It was simple and covered the four layers of the Earth’s crust.

A man’s voice spoke over the image. “The tectonic plates, when viewed together like this, form the lithosphere. They’re sixty-two miles thick, but are made up of two different crusts, as opposed to one solid crust as you might imagine. We have the continental crust and the oceanic crust. Two extremely different densities which is why they are sometimes caused to shift and which, in turn, causes friction between the plates.” The image on the screen panned back to the expert currently being interviewed by the reporter: a man in a scruffy gray suit, his hair tousled like he’d been dragged straight out of bed and into the studio. He aimed his hands at the camera, side-by-side, lowered his right hand a fraction and then made a sawing motion with them to demonstrate the movement. 

“So, this friction,” the news reader said, “is what’s called subduction?”

“Correct, Penny. Energy accumulates between the plates as they shift. Imagine a spring—what were those toys called that we used to play with when we were kids?”

The camera caught the spontaneous frown on Penny’s face, instantly replaced by the usual smile, and wide, innocent eyes. “Slinkies?”

“Slinkies, yes,” the expert continued, oblivious to the young woman’s reaction. 

John Hollie, watching the news report on his cellphone, smiled to himself as he stirred scrambled eggs in the tin pot on his camping stove. Studio dynamics generally intrigued him more than the report itself—he often wished he’d gone on to study psychology in college—but today’s interview was of particular interest to him, given the events of the past twenty-four hours.

The man pressed his hands firmly together. “Imagine a compressed spring. What happens when I remove my top hand?”

“It springs up?” Penny said.

“Exactly. It springs back into position. Now, when this happens in the ocean, the force of the movement creates a huge wave.”

“A tsunami.”

“A tsunami, correct. These waves can travel long distances. Generally, what happens before a tsunami hits land is that the shallower water slows the wave causing the height to increase. Scientists call this the trough. Water retreating from land is often a sign that a tsunami is approaching.”

Another diagram of the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ appeared on the screen, the area off the coasts of Chile, Japan, and Indonesia, where earthquakes and tsunamis are most common. This was followed by video footage of a tsunami hitting a coastline. 

Hollie stopped stirring his eggs and watched, open-mouthed. The height of the wave, when you realized that this thing was real and not just a scene from a movie, was terrifying. Imagine that coming at you, he thought. You wouldn’t stand a chance. The footage immediately switched to scenes of mass destruction: buildings flattened, entire coastal resorts underwater, trees and debris being carried along on a torrent of dirty water. 

“There are three main forces behind the movement of the tectonic plates,” the expert continued. 

Penny glanced at the camera and fidgeted in her seat. 

“Let him speak,” Hollie said out loud, realizing that she was trying to hurry the scientist up and bring the interview to a close. “You got him in there for a reason.”

“Basically, it’s all down to gravity.”

Hollie sighed. He was expecting more.

“We all know that heat rises. The newly formed oceanic plates are warm, while the older plates are cooler, which makes them denser, which in turn causes them to sink, dragging the warmer plates down with them.”

“So, this is a natural occurrence is what you’re saying?” Penny asked.

“Climatologists have been warning us about this for years. Decades. We’ve been repeatedly warned that if we didn’t make serious attempts to reverse the damage already caused to the ozone layer, this would happen.” The man’s voice was rising, his words tumbling out as if he realized that the interview was being cut short. “Now, what we’re seeing is a direct result of—”

Hollie’s screen went blank.

He grabbed the phone from his foldaway camping chair and pressed the ON button. His battery must’ve died. A burning smell behind him caused him to drop the phone back onto the canvas seat where it promptly slid off and hit the grass underneath. His eggs were burnt. Hollie removed the pot from the low flame and stirred the lumpy mixture, black flakes getting caught up in the top layer, the part he should’ve been able to salvage. Oh well.

He sat down and ate breakfast straight out of the pan, blowing each spoonful first. Yesterday, he’d jumped in his boat and set off with no destination in mind; he simply wanted time to think, and the boat always helped. It was the reason he’d moved to his new home by Lake Erie in the first place—that, and the project that the universe had sent his way at the right time. He loved being close to the water. It was therapeutic. Relaxing. Some people had dogs—Hollie had his boat.

He’d tuned into the news report because he hoped it might shed some light on what was going on right now. The night before, he’d found a secluded area to moor the boat, read fifty pages of a thriller novel written by his favorite author in bed, his eyelids drooping with the gentle lap of water against the side of the boat, and slept on it, certain that an explanation would’ve at least begun to form in his mind. But he was still bewildered. The scientist hadn’t told him anything that he didn’t already know either.

Hollie’s seat gave him a perfect view of the lake and not a single soul staring back at him. Since relocating here, he’d realized that, in the city, with the relentless noise and traffic and long days spent at work, he’d never truly relaxed. He’d always been in fight or flight mode, shoulders tensed, eyes narrowed. Here, he felt the tension physically draining from him at the end of the day over a cold beer and a plate of nachos. Here, he didn’t have permanent grooves between his eyebrows. 

He hadn’t been out to the islands yet. Maybe in the summer. He closed his eyes, soaking up the sun’s gentle rays, feeling the warmth seeping through his skin. How did some people spend their entire lives in the city? They never got to experience peace of this magnitude, the water rippling onto the shore, the fish nipping to the surface, the birds singing. 

His eyes flew open. The birds had stopped singing. His Spidey senses were switched on, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up, the blood gushing in his ears. 

Then he saw it. The huge wave hitting the land east of where he was sitting, like this were nothing more than a sandcastle being flattened beneath a child’s bucket of water. The pan hit the floor, specks of scrambled egg mingling with the grass. Hollie stood, the camping seat tumbling backward. 

He froze. If he’d not just watched the news report about tsunamis and tectonic plates, he’d have squeezed his eyes shut and told himself that he was dreaming. Tsunamis didn’t happen here. He mentally shook himself. Even if tsunamis did happen here, they hit the coast, they didn’t travel inland before they came crashing down. His breath caught in his throat. If this was a tsunami…

Hollie covered the few steps between him and his boat in an instant, his feet barely touching the ground. The moment his feet touched the deck, he whipped the penknife from his pants pocket and began carving through the mooring rope; he didn’t have time to loosen the knot, and besides, his hands were shaking so badly, his fingers wouldn’t have cooperated. 

With the rope sliced, he started the engine, praying that it wouldn’t stall. It started first time. Hollie pointed the boat away from the wave and hit the gas. He could hear the water crashing behind him like a waterfall. The boat lurched, the prow rising into the air and forcing Hollie onto his back, then it was crashing back down again, mini tidal waves rising above the deck either side of the boat as it landed, saturating Hollie’s clothes.

He wiped water from his eyes with his wet sleeve and grabbed the wheel. A glance over his shoulder, and he could see the gigantic wave foaming into the lake, the domino effect of the force causing another series of waves to lunge his way, while the tsunami kept coming.

There was no time to think about it. An image flashed into his head of the damage this must’ve caused between here and the ocean, and he shut it down. He had to focus. Hollie sensed the wave growing behind him and, knowing there was no time to outrun it, killed the engine, hoping to ride it out like a surfer. He clung to the wheel his knuckles white. 

The wave seemed to dip beneath the boat’s stern and then raise its head like a serpent playing with its prey, knowing it was only a matter of time before it won. The boat was in the air, riding the crest of the wave. Hollie held his breath. Time stood still, and then it crashed down into the water, the entire prow sinking beneath the surface. Still clinging to the wheel, Hollie twisted his body around and dragged himself onto his knees on the flooded deck. He waited for the boat to right itself, water pouring over the windshield. Much more and the boat would go under. He couldn’t think about that. The seconds dragged by as the wave continued surging forward, sucking the boat along with it. It was heading toward the other side of the lake. From there, if it kept going, it would take out the residential areas closest to the water, the properties, the schools, the entire community. 

Hollie started the engine, the motor squealing beneath him, then he turned the wheel. He was facing the north bank; if he could make it across the lake, he could warn people to get away, get to higher ground until this whole thing—tsunami or whatever it was—subsided. 

But the roaring sound coming from the eastern side of the lake filled him with terror. Hollie looked around as another gigantic wave, taller than the first, loomed overhead, blotting out everything but the body of water that again reminded him of a serpent poised ready to strike. He had no time to react. The wave, reaching its highest point above him, suddenly dropped, the full force of the foamy water hitting Hollie’s boat. 

Instinctively, he let go of the wheel and crouched on the deck, arms covering his head. It was a futile move. He felt the boat splinter beneath the weight of the water, and he was plunging down, debris from the boat, planks of timber, the locked cabinet containing the first aid kit, all sinking with him. Something hit Hollie’s head, sending him spinning backward. Arms and legs flailing against the current sucking him deeper and deeper, he ignored the sharp pain in his left thigh, the throbbing in his skull. He had to reach the surface. Had to breathe.

His eyes were stinging. He could see nothing but the remains of the boat hurtling around him as the water dragged it down. Hollie crossed his arms in front of his face as the motor spun toward him, kicking out with his feet to push himself backward, the motor skimming past his chest. His lungs were on fire. He looked up. He needed to reach the surface, but all he could see was water. Debris. Bits of his boat spiraling around him. He tried to splash, his legs and arms numb, and stared up at the surface which was still so far away…

Get the first three ebooks in one box set!

This set contains:

  1. John's New Place
  2. Gwen's Misery Beach Cottage
  3. Jessie's Last Signal

What are Cozy Apocalypse Books?

  • No gratuitous violence or sex scenes
  • No foul language
  • No weaponry lists or zombie gore

Main Tropes

  • Survival After the Fall
  • Forming New Family Bonds
  • Thriving After the End
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