Friends of this beautiful and sensitive community of writers.
This is my entry to @theinkwell's weekly call.
It was a quiet morning at the beginning of 1929.
Amelia was in the sunny house with its long patios. Doing what she did every day.
She had already returned from the beach, where she had gone with her teenage daughter to fetch fresh fish for breakfast. On the way she had met neighbours and friends with whom she exchanged the usual chats. He had received the news; a couple of runaway lovers, an argument over an inheritance, the death of an old man.
The village news was being shared with her sister and her mother while she gathered the dry leaves of the tireless fruit trees, in the warmth of the morning. As they listened the other women came and went, preparing food.
In a house next door a bitter argument between a father and a teenage girl began to be heard. The father was refusing permission and the theatrical teenage girl was shouting that she was very unhappy, the father asked her what she wanted, she replied:
"What I want is to be swallowed up by the earth!"
Then the infernal noise began. An immense explosion that seemed to come from the sky, a noise never heard before, a colossal thunder that split the air and left people unconscious, paralysed, but with their eyes wide open.
In a matter of seconds the catastrophic explosion changed to an eerie rumbling coming out of the earth. Before Amelia's eyes the earth began to ripple, carrying with it, in its movement, the pile of dry leaves. She searched with her eyes for her daughter and saw her running out of the house, trying to run into the yard. She could not move forward; with each step the moving earth returned her to the previous spot, giving her attempt to walk the appearance of a pathetic mimicry. Framing the young woman, the walls and ceilings swayed like branches in the wind.
The screams began.
Earthquake! Earthquake! Earthquake! Earthquake!
It was a terrible chorus. In the house next door, something else was being shouted.
"The earth is swallowing her up! The earth is swallowing her!
It was only ten seconds. Ten seconds in which the earth ceased to be a mother and became the most terrifying, roaring, kinetic monster.
After the shuddering stopped, seconds of silence followed in Amelia's house. The family managed to gather in the courtyard and embrace, touching each other, checking each other, looking into each other's eyes.
In the house next door the clamour resurfaced, now in the form of a litany, in the form of weeping.
"The earth swallowed her, the earth swallowed her!"
Amelia's father jumps over the dividing fence, as he runs he goes shouting for a pick and shovel. The family gives him what he has asked for.
When they hand it over, they find him, next to the teenager's father, digging in the earth with his hands. With the tools they manage to rescue her, she is fainting and they carry her to the street, where the whole neighbourhood has gathered.
All is chaos, screaming and running. From the beach comes the shocking news, shouted by people on the run.
They say that the water receded two hundred metres from the sea and returned with a six-metre high wave.
A hallucinated fisherman says he was completely engulfed by the wave.
"I could see it coming head-on like a huge showcase of water, full of fish!"
Voices overlapped in disharmony:
"The theatre has fallen!"
"There's not a house left in front of the beach!"
"The sand is full of dead people!"
"The clock of the main temple stopped at thirty-two minutes past seven!"
"God has punished us!"
Gradually the cries turn to whispers, to faint wailings.
Already the telegraphs have transmitted the news of the tragedy and the whole country mourns.
The jailer of the great poet of the city, many miles away, rejoices to deliver the bad news to the bard.
A great earthquake has shattered the city.
On the night of that seventeenth of January, in the first-born city of the continent, people are no longer running, they are just praying, they are still.
Thanks for reading