“Snow!” he shouted.
“It can’t be. It’s still autumn. It’s not snowing anywhere.” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Satoru touched the white powder that covered the roots of the trees. “No…wait. It’s not snow.”
“Then what is it?” I didn’t have the courage to touch it.
“Frost. There’s a lot of it so it looks like snow. I don’t know why, but the ground is much colder than it should be so the water in the air froze.”
The only place where frost never melted was in the permafrost layer deep underground.
It’s all messed up, I whispered to myself. Everything here had deviated from the normal rules of nature.
We took a detour around the frosted area. A hundred meters later, the forest ended abruptly.
“Careful,” Satoru said quietly.
We lay on the ground and crawled toward the forest’s edge.
It was a dizzying sight. Beneath us was a bowl shaped hole in the ground two hundred meters in diameter and a hundred fifty meters deep. It looked like a giant ant lion pit.
“Unbelievable. Did a meteor do this?”
“Sh,” Satoru put a finger to his lips. “There are people over there.”
There were human silhouettes at the bottom of the hole.
“…it wasn’t a meteor. One that’s big enough to make a hole this size would cause a huge explosion. We never heard anything,” he whispered in response to my earlier question.
“Then what is this hole?”