My cat jolted awake beside me, he yowled and dug his claws into my legs. I winced and pushed him off of my lap. I watched in confusion as he scurried beneath the table and yowled repeatedly each tortured sound getting louder, and raising another octave.
I stood up and that’s when I heard it.
Nature has gone deathly quiet. No birds singing their shrill songs, no buzzing of the insects.
A slice of fear stabbed through my gut, making my stomach clench and knot, warmth seemed to fade from my trembling body leaving me horridly cold and feeling incredibly alone.
I knew what was coming and its coming fast without mercy and without warning.
And then I heard the very thing I never wanted to hear again.
A deep throaty rumble sounded from beneath my feet, erupting from the earth’s core; the kind that you hear when boulders tumble from the cliffs and land with a tremulous roar.
The reverberating growl seemed to come continuously, but in my head I knew that the sound only lasted a mere moment before my world, and everything around shook.
The walls bended in what seemed like every direction, the doors swung back and forth in violent jerks and the floor rolled beneath my feet, causing me to lose my balance and stumble. But instead of falling I got flung around the room like a ping pong ball.
I cried out in pain when I got slammed onto the bending wall, further thumping me face first into it. I thrust my hands outwards and planted them against the wall in a vain attempt to become still but the movement from the wall transferred up my arms, making them roll and feel like cooked noodles. I widened my stance and clenched every muscle in my body; every muscle and limb shook with the effort, a thought registered that I’ll be sore later in the day but I didn’t care, all I wanted was to become still amongst the violent chaos that I know as my home.
All at once a thousand thoughts raced through my head a lie a minute, too fast for me to decipher and too hopeless to grasp onto. A million emotions rippled through me making me break into a cold sweat.
A few precious seconds ticked by as I tried to study the scene around me but it was a feeble attempt.
I watched through blurry eyes, as the TV swung back and forth teetering on the edge of the cabinet it sat upon. I took a step forward to grab it, but the shaking stopped, the doors slammed shut in one final bang and nature once again stirred to life.
The birds seemed to be screaming in fear, jittering around on tree branches and hopping along the ground in frantic movements, the insects buzzed in sync to the birds’ panic, in the distance dogs howled and cried for their owners.
And from the heart of the CBD, I could hear the wailing of sirens and the bells in the Cathedral, ambulances, police and fire trucks sped through the streets.
But inside my home, all was quiet.
I started toward the door to make sure my sister is okay but it opened before I could reach it, I looked her over, searching for any injuries but she was fine.
“Are you okay?” She asked me quietly.
I nodded jerkily and searched for the cat.
I looked under the table but he wasn’t there. I frowned and looked around the room.
“Tigger?” I called. But he didn’t come racing around the corner.
I took a step to go down the hall when I caught sight of a black ball out of the corner of my eye.
I peered into the dark corner, and saw him hunkered down, with a wild look in his eyes.
I picked him up and snuggled him to me. My sister came over and cooed to him softly.
I tuned her out as those indecipherable thoughts thundered inside my head.
Is my father okay?
Are my friend’s all right?
Will there be deaths?
Will Christchurch ever be the same again?