General Fiction posted October 21, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
A man has to survive after a huge earthquake

The shakes

by oliver818

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Swirls of crimson fish-blood rolled out where the knife pushed in through the thin skin. A pearl of grey ash crumbled off his cigarette, splattering the table with dark dust.

"Shit," he said, crushing the cigarette butt into the ashtray.
Thick, vermillion wine stained his lips as the glass tipped back. A dog was barking.

Suddenly, the cutting board jumped off the table, and the walls seemed to rock in towards him. Dishes rattled and glasses clinked as he pushed himself towards the doorway. His knees snapped together, and the concrete floor seemed almost liquid again. His fingers grasped at the edges of the doorframe and he watched as
fine lines crept along the rippling floor towards him as if a giant hand were engraving an ancient script. His ears rang as a cupboard tumbled forward, reducing plates and glasses to dancing shards. The splintered panels of the grandfather clock crumpled on the floor, and roman numerals tumbled out of the clock face. A giant crack ran down the table where a huge roof beam cracked down onto it, and the sun threw shadows on the bouncing walls as roof tiles poured in.

Finally, as a metal bowl twirled slowly to a stop a metre away from him, his fingers loosened a little from the door frame. His shoes banged against long splinters of wood, glass and plastic as he pushed his way over to the door. He looked up at the blue sky and streaks of black smoke twisted up from where the skyline of the city normally hung, high and proud. His hands trembled as white-tipped waves crashed onto the shore, and further down the beach the sea frothed as stones and branches dribbled down the hill in a mass of brown mud.

Pieces of his life littered the ground around him, and he couldn't help wondering why he was alive.

All of a sudden, the wrinkled arms of starfish began appearing on the black rocks as the sea swirled and ran backwards. The crack of the metal hull of his boat on rocks rang in his ears as he turned towards the steep path that curled up the side of the hill.

If you can see the tsunami, it's too late. That's what his high school teacher had said.

"I can't see it yet," he said aloud.

"John, there's a tsunami coming, hurry up." The voice came from above.

"I'm coming."

Rocks cracked together, and wood snapped behind him. His knees cracked into stone. Rumbling sounds rolled in from behind him, and he pushed himself up. Pain ran up his leg, but he tugged his foot free from his shoe. Skin came away from his fingers, and drops of blood painted the path as he drove himself up the slope. Hands grabbed at him.

"Come on, we need to get higher." His head swung around for a moment, catching a glimpse of a wall of water tearing in towards the beach.

The image of the last photos of his late wife disintegrating in a salty mess brought tears to his eyes as he flung himself up, away from the sound of water crashing over his home. Trees cracked and splashed, and he could feel drops on his neck.

"It's pulling back, John. We made it."

"Yeah." Warm arms wrapped around him.

"I'm glad you weren't able to start the house renovations on time, Pete." His eyes swept over the concrete foundations of his house, pierced only by a few broken, wooden teeth.

"Too right, John, because I don't do refunds."


Just a little piece I wrote. New Zealand has had a lot of earthquakes but luckily I have never been in one this bad.

It may sound unlikely, but itâ??s inspired by scenes I read about a couple of Japanese boys escaping the tsunami that hit there a few years ago.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by dragifortuna at

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