Earthquake in the Early Morning
Weâre headed for the park!â said Betty.
âWe canât. Weâre on our way home, to our parents,â said Annie.
âWell, get going! And be careful!â said Betty. âLetâs beat it, Fred!â
The photographer grabbed his camera equipment, and the two of them rushed off.
âI donât think Betty and Fred recognized us,â said Annie.
donât recognize us,â said Jack.
Another blast shook the ground.
âCome on,â said Annie. âLetâs beat it!â
Jack and Annie jumped up. Jack put their sign in his bag. Then they started back down the hill.
Jack and Annie ran over the cobblestones. Dynamite blasts echoed behind them.
They headed back down the hill. Flames shot across the roofs, traveling from one house to another.
âWeâre heading right into the firestorm!â Jack shouted over the noise.
âWe have to keep going,â Annie shouted back, âbefore the tree house catches fire!â
At the bottom of the hill, thick smoke was rolling through the street. It made Jackâs eyes burn.
âWhereâs the tree house?â he shouted.
âHere!â said Annie.
Jack followed her voice.
She was holding on to the rope ladder.
âItâs still here!â Jack said with relief.
âOf course. The tree house wouldnât leave without us,â said Annie. âDonât youââ
âGo! Go!â said Jack.
Annie started up the rope ladder. Jack followed. They climbed into the tree house and looked out the window.
All around, buildings were going up in flames. Black smoke seemed to be smothering the city.
Jack could scarcely breathe. His throatburned. His eyes were stinging.
Annie grabbed their Pennsylvania book. She opened it to the picture of Frog Creek and pointed.
âI wish we could go there,â she said. âGood luck, San Francisco!â
âGood-bye, San Francisco!â said Jack.
The wind started to blow.
The tree house started to spin.
It spun faster and faster.
Then everything was still.
The songs of early-morning birds filled the woods.
Jack opened his eyes and sighed.
They were back in Frog Creek. He could breathe again. His eyes didnât sting anymore. He was wearing his own clothes, even his sneakers.
âI wonder what happened to everyone?â Annie asked anxiously. âAndrew, Peter, and their aunt, and Betty and Fred, and all the other people.â
Jack pulled out their research book. He turned to the last chapter. He read aloud:
After the earthquake fires were put out, people from all over the world sent help to San Francisco. The brave citizens of the city never gave up hope. Many even wore badges that said, âLetâs rebuild at once.â In less than ten years, San Francisco was once again one of the loveliest cities in the United States.
âOh, good,â breathed Annie. âHey, do you have our sign?â
Jack reached again into his pack. He pulled out the sign from Peter and Andrew.
He placed it on the floor, next to the list from the Civil War, the letter from the Revolutionary War, and the slate from the pioneer schoolhouse.
âWe have all four writings now,â he said.
âSo what happens next?â said Annie.
Suddenly, there was a roar. A bright light flashed through the tree house.
Jack covered his face. When he peeked over the tops of his fingers, he saw Morgan le Fay.
âMorgan!â Jack and Annie cried joyfully.
They both hugged her.
Morgan hugged them back.
âWe found the four special writings for your library!â said Jack.
Annie picked up the list and the letter. Jack picked up the slate and the sign.
âHere they are!â he said.
They started to give everything to Morgan. But she held up her hand.
âDo not give them to
â she said. âSomeone else needs them more.â
Suddenly, a blinding light flashed through the tree house again. There came a great roar, then silence.
When Jack and Annie opened their eyes, they were no longer in the magic tree house.
They were standing in a huge, shadowy room. The room smelled wonderfulâlike leather, books, and a wood-burning fire.
Flames crackled in a huge stone hearth. Along the walls were rows and rows of tall bookcases filled with books.
âWelcome to my library,â Morgan said softly.
âWow,â whispered Jack.
âSomeone here is waiting to meet
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