I was immersed in homework when I felt the first wave of shaking. It felt as though the ground beneath me had suddenly acquired a life of its own; a wild beast being unleashed. I stood up and waited for it to abate but the shaking sensation only increased in intensity. The furniture in my room began to grumble and the windows began to rattle. I went to my window and to my horror saw a tree collapsing on our neighbours’ car. Everything seemed to be swaying ready to give way. From the little I knew about earthquakes I knew it was unsafe to stay indoors. I grabbed my jacket and was headed towards the door when the world became black and the sound went out.
When I gained consciousness, I was confused about where I was and how I got there. Slowly the memory of the vibrating sensations came back to me. I tried to get up but I found myself trapped under debris and collapsed roof beams. To my horror, I realized I couldn’t move my left arm without causing excruciating pain. My right arm appeared to be working fine and with that I felt my forehead from which blood was slowly trickling. Fortunately, the wound didn’t seem to be large. I wondered where the rest of my family was and if they were ok. Panic struck me and I shouted for them at the top of my lungs. No one answered.
In the distance I could hear the wailing sounds of ambulances and fire engines. Never in my entire life had I been so happy to hear those sounds. I had no idea of how to gauge the time passing by but I estimated that at least another half an hour passed by before I heard a man’s voice.
“Is somebody in there?”
I answered in the affirmative. The man answered that there was debris trapping the doorway to my room so it would take several minutes to reach me. My heart began pounding loudly as I asked him about my parents. If anything had happened to them I wouldn’t be able to bear it. The gap between my question and his answering it seemed like a lifetime.
“They received minor injuries but they’re not critical. They’re on their way to the hospital.”
I almost cried with relief and then waited patiently for the rescue workers to extract me from the debris. We had just survived a major catastrophe but we were going to be alright.