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Chapter 10 A Letter from Graham


Outside, Rachel and Harry looked at the mountain. 'You were right,' she said.

A building fell on to the school bus. 'I must go home. I must get the children,' Rachel said.

'Let's take my car,' said Harry. They ran over to his off-road car. They had to push through a lot of people.

There were earthquakes all the time now. Buildings fell, windows broke. The road broke open and a car drove into it.

Harry spoke on the radio. 'Paul, are you there?'

'Yes,' said Paul. 'We're at the hotel. We're taking the equipment and leaving. Where are you?'

'I'm with Rachel. We're going to get her children.'

'Harry,' said Paul, 'I'm sorry. You were right and I was wrong.'

'Forget it, Paul,' Harry said. 'See you soon!' He turned off the radio.

But when they came to Rachel's house, she screamed. 'My car!'she said.'It's not here!'

She ran into the house. 'Here's a letter from Graham,' she cried. 'He says he wants to get Ruth! He's driving up the mountain!'

Harry fought through the other cars. He couldn't drive across the river by the road, because there were too many cars. The water in the river flowed strongly. 'We can do it in this car,' he said. He drove into the river. The water pulled at them, but Harry's car got through. Other cars began to follow, but were not as lucky. The water turned them over.

Behind them, the garage exploded in the town, and fires started.


In the hotel Greg looked at his equipment. 'The lava is coming up,' he said. 'It's very near the ground now.'

Some people waited outside the hotel. 'Why are these people here?' asked Nancy.

'The helicopter's coming for them, 'Paul said.

Now the people could hear the sound of the helicopter in the night sky. Hutcherson brought the helicopter down by the hotel. He opened the door and looked at all the people. 'Eleven people only, 'he said. 'No more than eleven.'

Elliot Blair, Les Worrell and some others took out a lot of money. They paid Hutcherson, and smiled. 'We'll get out of here,' Les said to Blair.

In the hotel, Paul said, 'Why is Hutcherson flying out? It's too dangerous.'

He ran outside, but it was too late. The helicopter left the ground. 'They paid him fifteen thousand dollars each,' somebody said.

'Stop! Stop!' called Paul. 'There's too much ash. You can't fly in all that ash.' But nobody in the helicopter heard him.

He watched the helicopter. It flew over the town. With twelve people in it, it flew slowly. It was heavy. It flew into a lot of ash. The ash got inside the engine, and suddenly the engine stopped.

Harry drove the car past the last buildings of the town. Suddenly he stopped the car. The helicopter hit the mountain on their right, fell across the road in front of them, and exploded.

Harry spoke into his radio. 'A helicopter is down on Exeter Street. Send help.'

'OK, Harry,' said Stan. 'What are you doing? Where are you?'

'We're driving up the mountain,' Harry said. 'We must get Rachel's children.' He turned off the radio.

'Harry, listen to me,' Stan said. 'There's no time, Harry. Come back. The lava ...' But there was no answer from the radio.


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