"Is it OK?" Tim asked Omega. Tim was the kid mostly likely to cause a ruckus somewhere, some how, some time.
"The glow? If it is Alpha's doing, then it will be healthy and safe and beautiful. If it's something like radioactivity, then it could be safe, like the radioactivity in a watch or a computer. But it could also be very dangerous. Whatever, I think we should be moving along. Get a drink of water, get the sand out of your shoes, get moving," Omega was nervous.
A bang, maybe a bam. It was sort of a modified, organic blow up. The top of one of the cactus was gone. It scared the kids out of a year's worth of growth. They were seriously befuddled. Petey and John-John weren't helped by it either. Everybody had to catch their breath.
"Wha. . . " Suzie said, ducking down a little bit. She was the curious one, and she reached over and touched the flesh of the cactus. "It's really hot, like boiling water. That makes no sense."
"It's like the cactus reached the boiling point inside," Rick said, "And when the water became steam and expanded, the cactus blew."
"Weird." remarked Tim. "Is Alpha in the business of blowing up cactus?"
"No," Omega said. "He doesn't blow things up, besides he likes prickly cactus."
"Like he likes prickly kids?"
"Like kids who question too many things?"
"That's not an issue."
"Like kids who mouth off?"
"Likes them too."
"Kids who do goofy things?" That was Tim.
"They are good to go."
"Just checking," Tim sighed.
There was another mushy explosion.
"Those things are getting boiling hot from the inside out. Best be moving along. We're as organic as a plant." Rick said, leading the way out of the oasis. He was getting too hot.
Then there was a giant sound of cracking, maybe, sounding like a rip in the cosmos, almost a screech. It could have been a lightning strike, except for this—the sky was clear. The cottonwoods along the creek banks had leaves tossed into motion by the post-midnight winds.
A giant tree limb fell off, thirty feet up, almost a third of the tree, landing hard on the packed sand.
The kids were seriously spooked by that point. Omega was having trouble with his eyes. He wasn't believing them.
"Oops," Omega said. "That one was me."
"Maybe; maybe not," Petey said. "This place is bad enough you got the glitches."
"We need to go," Tim said.