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Earthquake

The sun was low and the weather was warm. The smells of fall surrounded the four friends as they walked down the path that wound around the city park. The path was surrounded by trees that were bathed in brilliant Autumn colors. A ravine, to the right of the path, held even more beauty in color. Walker and Gage were discussing a recent case, while Alex and Sydney walked behind them pushing six-month-old Angela in a stroller. Alex was talking about Angela's latest milestone of attempting to crawl. Sydney laughed.

Gage heard her laugh and smiled. It was his favorite sound in all the world.

"What do you suppose is so funny?" Gage quizzed Walker.

"Alex probably told her about Angela trying to crawl. She gets up on her hands and knees and just when you think she's gonna take off, she goes backwards. It's hilarious," Walker said with a chuckle.

Alex pulled the stroller to the side as Angela began to fuss. Sydney reached into the stroller and unstrapped the little beauty and held her to her shoulder. "What is the matter with you, cutie?"

Gage smiled, he liked the way she looked holding Angela. The way the smile stretched across her face and the sound of her cooing at the now laughing baby. He stepped toward them. He stopped as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He glanced over his surroundings and noticed Walker doing the same thing. "What is it?"

Walker shook his head "Not sure."

The two Rangers neared their ladies as the ground started to shake.

Gage was only a few feet from Sydney who was still holding Angela. Alex shreiked and Walker pushed her to the ground. Sydney lost her footing and slid to the ground. The dirt beneath her feet gave way and she rolled down the embankment. Pulling Angela close to her chest and covering the infant's head as she saw the tree in their path. Thinking fast, Sydney rolled away from the tree trying to get some sort of traction in the loose dirt. She felt the impact as her back slammed into the tree.

Gage, caught in the same rock slide as Sydney, slid past her and rolled to a stop at the bottom. He took a second to catch his breath and his bearings, then pushed himself up to survey the surroundings. He could hear water near him. His ribs hurt and he suspected one or two of them were broken. Sydney was up against a tree about 300 feet up the ravine and the dirt was still really loose. He was worried about an aftershock causing more rocks and dirt to fall. He ran a shaky hand through his hair and took a deep breath. "Here goes," he told himself. He started slowly placing his feet in the dirt to try and reach Sydney.