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Sugarloaf Rising -- Flash Fiction for 200403

Every week the Facebook Fiction Writers Group posts a picture prompt for a 300-word flash fiction story. Here's this week's prompt:

And here's my story:

Sugarloaf Rising

At first, I thought my stumble was because of the many daiquiris I had on Ipanema that afternoon. But when I noticed the reactions of those around me, I stopped my trek up the beach. People were rising from their beach chairs in a panic. I stood, confused, until my feet started sinking into the beach. The sand sucked at my feet like hot tar.

Liquefaction. The word floated up from a back corner of my mind. My first running steps sank only a few inches, but as I scrambled for the sidewalk, more and more of my feet disappeared into the quicksand with each step. My legs were submerged up to my knees when I was finally able to crawl onto the concrete which rolled like a storm-tossed sea. From my knees I turned back toward the bay, following the gazes of those who stood slack-jawed around me.

The icon of Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, was ringing like a bell, sending temblors rolling across the bay, turning the sand to mush, and cracking the streets. The hotels and apartment towers behind me groaned and their windows shattered, spewing shards of glass onto the streets. But, no one paid any attention to that devastation. Everyone was focused on the mountain.

A single crack appeared near the top then extended down the mountainside, widening as it went. Like a taproot searching for water, side cracks forked off the main one and spread around the mountain’s girth. When the first mega-tonnage of rock peeled off and fell backwards into the water, a mini-tsunami raced across the bay and up the beach. Other slabs fell away as the mountain came apart like a dry sandcastle. The rocket ship that stood where the mountain had been roared to life and rose on a pillar of flame.

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