In collaboration with HB (16 years old)
He peered through the windows, trying to understand what was happening. The floor had just stopped shifting. Then it started again but this time round, the building rattled and shook so violently that he was thrown across the room. He ended up like a limp rag doll on the floor, spread-eagled.
Looking up frantically, he saw the bookshelves fall with loud thuds, along with the other furniture. He could still feel strong tremors jolting the entire building. Realising that the building could collapse at any moment, his panic morphed into real fear as terror penetrated into his very being. His heart could not stop pounding.
Suddenly, there was a deafening noise and next he knew, a crack was forming on the ceiling. Instinctively, he slid under the table. Just in time for the whole ceiling came crushing down, destroying everything in its way.
When everything was still and quiet again, he raised his head. He blinked several times to sweep off the fine layer of dust covering his eyelids and lashes. The electricity had gone off. He squinted to peer through the darkness but could not see a thing. The long wail of the hazard warning siren sounded unbearably loud in the unnerving silence.
Gingerly, he tried to move. He brushed off the debris covering his body and tried to get up, but his legs were trapped under a cement beam. Leaning on his elbows, he struggled to push the beam off but no matter how hard he tried, he could not move the concrete obstruction. Torturous pain shot through his lower body each time he made an attempt to extricate himself.
Survival instinct led him to shout for help, so he screamed at the top of his lungs. He yelled until his voice turned into hoarse whispers but no help came. Defeated, he slumped against the stone slabs. Tears welled up in his eyes as the excruciating pain was too much for him to bear. He bit down on his lips so hard that blood dripped down his chin. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, wishing he was not so powerless. Distressed and nauseous, he shut his eyes. Before long, he lapsed into blessed unconsciousness.
How long he was under the rubble, he did not know. All he knew was the moment he regained consciousness, he was lying comfortably on a white bed. He tensed a little, looking around apprehensively while trying to figure out where he was. At that moment, the door opened and an old man in a white shirt appeared. “Oh, you’re awake! I’m Doctor Kim. How are you feeling?” he asked.
Upon realising that he was in the hospital, he relaxed. “I’ve seen better days,” he grimaced at the doctor. The doctor’s face sobered and said gently, “I’ve good news and bad news for you. The good news is you’re still alive. The bad news is your legs were very badly crushed. We had to amputate.”
Despondent thoughts rushed through his mind. “I can’t use my legs anymore! What about my dream to be the fastest runner in the world? Why me? I wish I was dead!” He looked at the doctor wildly but the good doctor only shook his head sadly and left.
He blinked rapidly as tears filled his eyes. He looked out of the window where the ruins of his once beloved city lay. His world had literally crumbled.
- Earthquakes (floxiehope.com)
- My first earthquake (amslane915.wordpress.com)
- Earthquake kills at least 46 in remote Pakistan, creates new island in sea (abc.net.au)