She wanted to escape the damp black fog that was inching up her legs.

Collin held the coal between his fingers, twisting it until its notches matched the notches in the hole. He leaned over slowly. Courtney and Morgan leaned over, too. Collin lowered his hand until it was level with the hole, and let the piece of coal fall.

Thunder erupted around them.

The coal crackled, stretched and burst into flame.

You win -- this time, the thunder exploded, loud and angry. The next time won 't be so easy. The thunder rolled around them, quieter now, quieter, then slowly it disappeared.

The fire burned away, and the hole was no longer empty. Instead, it was filled with a large piece of black coal with the fossil of a leaf embedded in it.

Collin looked at Morgan, relief and question in his face. "I don't understand. It was a stick when we left the jungle. How could it turn into a piece of coal?"

Morgan ran her fingers over the imprint of the leaf, then looked up at Collin. "Remember when we were talking about dumps and rotting stuff and the smell of gas?"

"Yeah, but what does that have to do with coal?" Collin asked.

 

 
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