It first began as distant rumbling. I thought it was a train, but as it quickly got louder, I realised it was something else. I quickly jumped under a doorway just as the house began shaking violently. I knew I’d be safer under a table, but the doorway was closest.
It felt as though the house was rolling on a turbulent ocean. In the darkness I could hear plates, cups and glasses smashing onto the floor and shelves falling over. Almost a minute later the shaking subsided. The house was a mess, but I was glad to be alive.
This is my experience of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake we had on September 4 2010. This earthquake began a sequence of aftershocks (of which there have been over 17,000) which included the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22 2011 which devastated a large part of the city and killed 185 people. It was of lesser magnitude, but was closer to the city, and a lot shallower. However, this piece is about the first quake which occurred at 4.35 am. Because most people were asleep there were no fatalities to this quake, and only two people were hospitalised. You can read about it here: 2010 Canterbury earthquake.
This was written with the prompt “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger?” provided by the Carrot Ranch May 14 Flash Fiction Challenge.
©2020 Joanne Fisher