PRELUDEFear sliced through her with icy, demonic fingers. Ifshe had eyes to weep, she would. If she had legs to run,she would. If she had a voice, she would shout warnings toeveryone in Eastland, Iowa. But she didn’t. She could onlyreach out, as best she could, to those few who could hearher, and even then, little could be done.Back in those days, the old farmers heard her speak tothem. In the still quiet of a Midwestern summer, theycaressed the loam between their fingers, and she told themof storms to come. Men in conversation would look downtoward the ground rather than eye to eye, dragging worn-outdusty boots along her surface. Of course, the wind and skyspoke, too, but the land was something they could hold intheir hands. Times were changing, though, speeding up, andthe old ways were dying. Most couldn’t hear her anymore.When a wanderer arrived, passing through the Midwest,she saw the future and cried in the only way she knew how,determined to send warning to those who could understand,and forced to put her greatest trust in the least of them.