Chapter 2 of The Punishment Rock

Southeast side of Iceland, July 1783–

The small, rural town of Klaustur sat in the direct path of an appendage of lava growing from the Laki fissure volcano. An apocalypse was upon the simple people of this land. The magma river had already swallowed many farms upland. The town’s people gathered at the small church led by Reverend Jon Stengrissom as the hellfire approached. With their demise eminently at hand, the Reverend delivered an impassioned prayer referred to as The Sermon of Fire. The advancing lava flow miraculously halted and the church and its people were spared.

However, this was a small victory among a much larger story. The crack in the Earth kept erupting for months afterwards, even as the calendar flipped into the next year. More importantly, it continued to eject massive amounts of poisonous gas high into the atmosphere.

Laki’s sulfur concoction spread throughout the northern hemisphere’s skies, and altered the climate worldwide. Millions of people perished either directly, or secondarily from its malicious reach.

The monstrous echo from this event continued to play out for years, and was heard and felt in many strange ways. Historical records would commemorate it as the year the sun became blood in the summer, and the rivers turned to ice in the winter. But that was not the only thing remembered and recorded. There was also a peculiar whisper that seeped through the under-cracks of cultures, spreading from one mouth to the other.

It was just whispers, but it told of a man, at a church, who stood up to Laki.