Earthquake (flash fiction)




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.


Joanne Fisher


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 β€œWhat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger?” provided by the Carrot Ranch May 14 Flash Fiction Challenge.



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Β©2020 Joanne Fisher





12 thoughts on “Earthquake (flash fiction)

  1. At 4:35 am you had the presence of mind to get in the doorway! What a devastating earthquake, an sad that the later aftershock prooved so deadly. I just went to look up the magnitude of the earthquake that hit Nevada in 1954 because I thought it was also a 7.1 in magnitude. It was, and then I saw there was one today! Not far from my parents, so I better check in with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was in one when I was a teenager and I recall it was a 6 point something. The thing I remember the most is all the neighborhood dogs barking right before it happened and my bed rolled from one side of the room to the other and then back again. I had no idea it was an earthquake.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been through a few major ones in California, including the infamous Loma Prieta “world series” quake. It went on for a full minute and got stronger as it went. When it was over, we had 3 foot tall waves in the condo complex’s swimming pool.

    Living in California most of my life, I yawn at anything under a 5.0 After that, it starts getting serious fast though.

    Good story and picture. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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