Wednesday, 24 December 2008 - 10:49 pm

Falling down

It’s quieter now. Everyone else is sleeping, except for one young girl who won’t stop crying.  I’m so tired that I can hardly move, but I can’t sleep.  There’s just so much running around in my head.  I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what’s happening.  My hands are shaking almost too much to type. 

I’d never seen a dead body before today.  Now I’ve seen so many that I’m not sure they’re real.  I’m covered in dust and glass and soot and other people’s blood, and I still can’t believe that any of this is actually happening.

I can’t post this right now; I can’t connect to anything.  But I need to get it out, I need to get it down. I’m afraid that I’ll get up tomorrow and forget everything I saw today.  So this is for me.  This is for the maybe of one day being able to tell the world what happened here.


I should start from the beginning.  Yes.  The first thing that happened was the power going out.  I was walking down to the hardware store and there was a strange thud, and all the lights flicked off.  I looked up – I’m not sure why, perhaps it caught my eye. 

It was beautiful.  Silence had fallen – no carols, no cheesy Christmas songs, no garish play of lights.  Even the shoppers had gone quiet.  Up there in the sky was a widening halo, spreading to encircle us all, grey chasing the glow on its leading edge.  A delicate smoke ring, puffed out so high up.

Then the buildings around us exploded.  It started at the top and swept downwards, rings of glittering glass flying outwards from the walls.  It was like a great hand slapping down on the city.  I guess that was the shockwave; at the time I didn’t know what it was.  All I remember is the deafening noise and running, and being slammed into the concrete.  I have so many bruises, but I was lucky.  Oh god, I was so lucky.

I scrabbled into the first cover I could find, right through the shattered window of the nearest store.  Shards of glass and metal and concrete were raining down outside, smashing themselves into pieces on the ground.  And on whoever else was out there.  My ears were ringing, but I could still hear the shouts, and the screaming.  They sounded as if they were coming from so far away, but they weren’t.  They were right on my heels.

I hid.  It was all I could think of to do.  Everything was falling on us, so I dove under a table and tried to hide from it.  I curled up and just hoped that it was enough.  I’ve never felt that tiny and powerless before. 

The more it all fell down, the more dust that was thrown up; it got dark so quickly.  It was hard to breathe and it made my eyes water.  All I could do then was listen through the fog in my ears and hold onto myself while everything shook.

It didn’t seem like it was going to end.  The debris kept hailing down outside; a pattering compared to the crashes of whole chunks of buildings detaching and falling down.  There was the awful screeching of steel warping and concrete giving way, twisting under pressures they weren’t supposed to withstand.  It felt like the whole world was trying to tear itself into tiny pieces, to crush us in the rocks in its stomach.