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Charlie MacDuff and the Test of Time
by I. MacPenn

Chapter 6:
Volcano

Alice said, "We have to get away from these rocks if we want to return to our time. Let's climb higher up." But before they could go anywhere, the Earth started trembling. Alice and Charlie crawled out from under the boulders as fast as they could. That was definitely not a good place to be during an earthquake.

An ear-shattering explosion interrupted their plan - the volcano had erupted. They turned to look at it. Half of the face of the mountain was gone. One huge cloud of dust was exploding over the volcano and another was heading down the slope, heading down the valley towards Charlie and Alice.

This seemed like a good time to leave. They climbed up the nearby hill to escape. The sky soon became dark, and hot, light gray ash started raining down on them. It was softer than snow, but smelled like rotten eggs. Charlie noticed that the T. rex were still eating the Triceratops they had killed. Volcanoes apparently didn't interest them as much as a good meal.

Charlie and Alice finally reached the top of the hill, and were frantic to try the time machine again. Charlie typed in the date and hit the red triangle button. The now-familiar mist swirled around Charlie, and he was was back in present-day Montana. He was standing on top of a cliff above where he and Alice had eaten lunch. He could see people on the ground below the cliff, and he was very happy to be back. He started grinning. But then he realized that Alice was gone. Where was she?

Charlie looked all around - she was definitely not here. She must still be back in the time of the dinosaurs. He realized that he would have to go back and get her, and he was very afraid that he might not make it back alive a second time. But he had to bring her back.

He typed in "70 million years ago," hit the red button, and the mist appeared again. When it cleared, he could barely see Alice through the ash fall. She was standing on the cliff next to him, and she was really angry. "Why did you desert me? I was all alone here. Where did you go?" she screamed at him. Charlie replied, "I didn't mean to leave you here. I just assumed that you'd come with me. I came back for you, didn't I?"

"What went wrong?" Alice yelled.

"I don't know," Charlie answered, "maybe we both have to hold onto the machine for it to bring us both back."

"I wish you knew what you were doing," Alice shouted.

Meanwhile, a huge roar was coming from the direction of the volcano. A wall of mud was rolling down the valley below them. The mud was studded with dead Triceratops; their limp bodies were bobbing around in the swirling mud. As the mass of mud approached Alice and Charlie, the T. rex that were eating below them reluctantly ran away from their dinner.

The steaming mud pushed the body of the gored T. rex towards Charlie and Alice. The dead dinosaur got stuck between two boulders, and its huge, open-mouthed head was only about 2 feet from where Alice and Charlie stood. Charlie realized that T. rex look scary even when they're dead, soaked in mud, and jammed between rocks.

The mud was getting deeper and wilder. "Try it again," screamed Alice, struggling to be heard over the terriflying roar of the volcano. She grabbed the machine tightly while Charlie typed in the date, and then Charlie hit the red triangle button. If this didn't work, they were dead.


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