Elements of Mystery takes chemistry to a new level in the ongoing series of mystery novels by author Terri Talley Venters.

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Sophia bolted upright in bed as the room shook around her. The light fixtures rattled and the pictures fell from the walls. She peered out her window overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Pebble Beach, California. Everything appeared normal on the west side of her home on the famous Seventeen Mile Drive.

“Danny, get up! It’s another earthquake,” she said. She nudged her lazy husband and ignored his reluctant groans.

“It’s not even a 5.0, go back to bed Sophia,” he said. He rolled over and placed the pillow over his ears to block out the sounds of his nagging wife.

“Listen to my Irish immigrant.  You’ve lived here a year and think you’re a native.  I’ve lived in California my whole life and this is it. This is the ‘Big One’, ” she said, making finger air quotes.

“Oh, alright,” Danny said.

He climbed out of bed and pulled his flannel pajama bottoms over his tanned legs. He clicked on the remote control and watched their big screen light up to Fox News. He rotated the enormous flat screen towards the sliding glass door, enabling them to view it from the outside.

Sophia put on her silken robe and walked out unto the first floor terrace. They stood safely outside as they heard the shocking news report.

“A 12.0 Earthquake hit greater Los Angeles this morning. After shocks are reported as far north as Vancouver, and as far south as Baja. This is the ‘Big One’ predicted by geologists,” the newswoman said.

“We should be okay this far north,” Danny said. He wrapped his arm around Sophia to comfort her.

“Tsunamis,” she said, staring at the ocean.

“This cliff is at least 200 feet high. We’ll be fine on high ground,” she said.

Crack! Crack! Crack!  

Sophia turned to Danny, her face turned white with fear. The earth trembled beneath their feet. “What was that horrific sound?” she asked.

“I don’t know, it sounded like thunder, but only from the ground,” Danny said.

They whipped their heads back towards the television.

“The San Andreas fault is shifting along the entire coast of California. The western plate is moving towards the Pacific,” the newswoman said.

The live aerial footage showed the enormous crack in the earth’s surface. It moved like a lightning bolt and crackled like thunder. The crack widened as the western side of the fault floated towards the Pacific.

The television turned black as the power failed.

“The geologists were right. They said when the “Big One” hit, half of California would fall into the Pacific Ocean,” Sophia said.

Sophia and Danny held hands as they watched the earth beneath them drift away from the Continental United States and fall into the sea.

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