San Francisco, CA, 2020 - We thought our lives would be great, that nothing would go wrong. Barclay, Bolesław, and me, Francis, All of us were foreigners who moved to San Francisco a few years ago, and we were at the height of our lives. College was going great, and we did what everyone did in California, enjoyed life and have fun. But one day would change everything. It shook us to our core, and it didn’t stop.
San Francisco, CA, August 27, 2020.
It’s amazing how little we know about our own world. In two days of my third year classes, I’ve learned more about seismology, than anything that I’ve researched about in my spare time.But, I’d rather not bore you with the specifics, and as I won’t be able to write often, I’d like to keep these short.
It’s only been a few days since I arrived here in San Francisco as a transfer student, along with Boleslaw, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, and Barclay, also an immigrant, but from Poland and one whom I’ve been in contact with for some time now. The three of us are attending The Golden Gate University, each one of us attending to our own studies. My current classes put me on the track of becoming a seismologist, while Barclay is looking forward to becoming an Architect. There’s actually a neat little story regarding how we crossed paths, but I’ll leave that for another letter. As for Boleslaw, he wants to become a practitioner of medicine, and has moved here under an exchange program. We ran across him at the airport and helped him get accustomed to life here in the U.S. and he’s been with us since.
Seeing as this is the first week here for all of us,, we’ve been taking it easy. Also, you weren’t kidding when you told me about the earthquakes here. There has been 14 in the past three days alone, although quite small in scale, they’re still quite noticeable. But, being a seismologist, the professor has decided to make use of the earthquakes, have had several “hands-on” lessons. Anyway, life is great so far. Miss you guys back home, but this is the best place to learn my discipline. Look forward to my future letters!
San Francisco, CA, September 14, 2020.
Wow, Here I thought being a seismologist was going to be easy, but learning how to be one? Different story. Mid-terms have been nothing but pure practicals, and having to take readings on several different earthquakes in one day...has been chaotic to say the least. My friends, Barclay and Boleslaw, are adjusting well to life here in the US, and we upgraded from our lodging in the student dorms to an apartment building with quite a bit more room, however, it doesn’t leave much in the budget, but I’m sure we’ll manage.
Anyway, I’ll talk about them a little later, a few scientists in my field stopped by during our lecture. They kept going on and on about how we need to send our data to them as it’s a matter of “utmost importance”, though half of them were still trying to get their PhD, probably needed it for their thesis. Sorry, getting ahead of myself again. Anyway, it got me thinking about the occurrence of these quakes, and Barclayagrees with me that this is quite unusual. If this amount of quakes were common, the buildings as well as the landscape would have been reinforced for this situation, but across California, we’re seeing landslides, roads being torn apart, it just seems too strange. However, from what I have learned, it’s nothing to be worried about, not yet at least. If these are indeed foreshocks, and are foretelling a much larger seismic event, then we won’t have to worry for long, as predictions place it no larger than the last major earthquake in the region back in 2010. Sure, it’s going to be expensive, but people will know how to react to it, and are prepared for such an event...Wow, can’t keep my word can I?
Boleslaw and Barclay are doing just fine, and in fact, we went to Baker Beach a few days ago. Tides were higher than normal, but I simply wrote that off as the moon being closer or something of the sorts. I look at the ground, not at the stars. We primarily stood there, enjoying the scenery, and I found myself being much calmer than usual. We left roughly half an hour later as it was getting late, and the thought suddenly came to me, As much as we can walk on a beach, and no matter how many footprints we leave, they’ll eventually get washed away, as if they were never there. Where this poetic line came from is beyond me, but it strangely resonates with me, and I have yet to know why. Maybe you’ll give an answer when you reply. Hopefully, I can visit during the winter break!
San Francisco, CA, September 31, 2020
A fissure opened on the fault line today; you probably saw it on the news. The seismologists came back today assuring us that nothing was wrong and to keep sending them data, but I can’t stop thinking that something is off. All of us are on edge about these quakes and are just baffled at the rate which they are occurring, If it increases any more, we’ll soon hit the record for quakes sustained in a single day! Tomorrow, the three of us are going out to the fissure for ourselves, see if it’s anything worth while. Hopefully, the old truck that you guys gave to me stands up to the terrain out there. I’m going to keep this letter rather short as we have a long checklist of items that have to be done before we leave. Also, you won’t be receiving mail from me for awhile, as several notices were posted saying that all land-based shipping would be halted as roads need to be repaired almost daily. Hopefully I can write to you soon!
Outskirts of San Francisco, CA, October 1, 2020, 2PM
I’ll be writing in journal format for awhile as I doubt I’ll get a message out any time soon. My god, the quake that hit today, it’s unfathomable. We were on the outskirts of town when it happened, looking down at the city from a few miles out. Boleslaw pointed out that there was quite a bit of shaking, and it was just escalated from there, it sounded like a roaring explosion as I watched buildings get ripped apart at their bases. Watching from afar as people rushed to get out the way, buildings coming down on top of them….a horrifying experience. I wasn’t able to see what happened to the bridge from where we were, but if what the radio says is right, it’s underwater now...along with everyone who was on it. We’re getting the hell out of here. That quake was ripping apart the ground around the city, as if it was trying to break off the entire area, and supposedly, it’s the same situation at a few other coastal cities. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I don’t care as long as I’m no longer on this continental shelf. We’re going to try and head to the San Andreas fault line and cross it. Get a few miles over it, and then we’ll be safe.
Middle of California, October 2, 2020, 6PM
I never paid attention to how bad the gas mileage on this truck was. We’ve been struggling to reach the next gas station before we nearly run out, and because of it, I can only be thankful that I have my credit card on me. We still have a day at most before we can cross the fault line. We probably could get there in less time, but the roads are in no shape for transport, so we can only follow from the side. As for the cities were leaving behind, they’re nothing but rubble now. The cracks in the surface continue to grow and pieces have begun to drift away. I have a suspicion that I know what’s going to be the final event due to a story I once heard as a child, but if that’s to be the case, we won’t be safe across the faultline. Although, it depends heavily on whether or not California decides to slowly become an island, or to forcefully eject itself from North America.
Middle of California, October 3, 2020, 2AM
I wonder where my sense of morality has gone. The fear of California detaching while we’re still on it is just too much for me to handle, and that came to light earlier this morning. We were taking turns while driving to let the others sleep, and during Boleslaw’s shift, he stopped randomly, causing us to wake up earlier than expected. As it turns out, he stopped to help a small SUV that ran out of gas, by siphoning the little gas we have available. I pulled him over before he began siphoning to...discuss with him what he was doing. I was then hit with the strongest revelation I’ve ever had. Boleslaw said only five words, “Where did your kindness go?” I could only stand there stunned as he looked me in the eyes, and began to siphon the gas. I returned to the van only to sit in silence, even after we arrived at a gas station an hour later with a nearly empty reserve tank. It was during this time that I reflected on what i’ve done for the past two years. I realized how I would always help a random stranger in need. Didn’t matter who it was, what they needed, or where it was. If someone was in need, I would assist if I could. And it was the same kindness that I showed Boleslaw that morning at the airport. The kindness that is probably lost somewhere in San Francisco. I soon started to think about if I could try an help anyone during this time, and each thought ended with, “As long as I survive, that’s enough right?” To think that this is what it took to drive me to this state, Not a hostage situation, not an event caused by another person, but by a rock. A rock that has supported life for millions of years, and that's what caused me to lose my “humanity”. I just….I just can’t wait to see my family again, but then I think about all the families left on the coast, and wonder If I’ll end up just like them.
Somewhere in California, October 3, 2020, 5PM
It’s official. A report was broadcast across all TV networks, SMS services, and radio stations detailing the situation that was going to occur within the next two weeks. It was confirmed the California was going to break away from the North American continent, but it is unknown as to whether it will float, or completely sink into the ocean. If it floats, then there really isn’t anything to worry about, at least not short term...but if it sinks, then we have got to be in the Central plains, or we won’t outrun the water. We’re within a few miles of the fault line now, and I’m running out of pencil lead. At least once we cross we should be safe for awhile. Makes me wonder what the world is doing on the global scale, to prepare for the cataclysm that could follow.
Southern tip of Utah, October 5, 2020, 4AM
It happened much sooner than expected. It defied every calculation written, every simulation run, it contradicted them all. California broke off only a few hours ago, we only just escaped the water. I shudder to think of what would have happened had we been an hour or two behind. To make matters worse, California ripped away, violently, as the Richter scale capped at ten, and seemed like it was trying to increase even further. It then proceeded to sink at an incredibly fast pace, and the tsunami wave generated from it… is expected to wipe out Japan, and any cities alongside the coast of Asia. I’ve always thought that the world’s map would be redrawn after WW3, but it seems that our own home redrew it for us. At least, we’re in the clear for now, and for a few days, we’re going to go slow and recuperate. We need to rest.
Somewhere in the Central Plains, October 7, 2020 7pm
I don’t know where we are anymore, we haven’t seen signs for a day now, cell towers are down, and haven’t found a map anywhere. Gas stations are empty, but, thankfully, self serve and still have fuel. I looked back at the journey that we’ve taken, and then at my group as we try and move forward. Both Barclay and Boleslaw have been dealing with this event in their own way, and are still somewhat shaken by the initial quake, but we all know, that we have to keep moving. The sun is setting now, hopefully foretelling the end of this event. Although, I do have to say it appears much brighter than it did last night...oh...I guess the world map won’t be redrawn for awhile now.