Scroll down to discover a short story for your reading pleasure.
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Enjoy one of my short stories.
Thinking about an anthology – do you think I should?
Shocks and aftershocks.
(A true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent – me!)
It wasn’t a pretty sight!
As they drove along, the sight of rubble everywhere was just unbelievable.
“That sign back there,” Barbara nodded backwards as she spoke to her husband. “It did say we were coming into a town, didn’t it?”
Jerry shook his head in confusion. “Yeah!” he mumbled, but he was more interested in looking around at the devastation.
“Look!” Barbara pointed. “There’s a couple of demountables.”
“God!” Jerry exclaimed, “One of them reckons it’s a shop.”
Sure enough, a wonky sign with crooked letters declared,
“MEcKeRInG GenEral sToRE”
in letters that had obviously been hastily scribbled.
They stopped their car and caravan in front of the sign. As they were about to enter the shop, an old man sauntered up. A dog, tail down and looking as if the world was about to end, followed close behind.
Jerry spoke. “What the hell happened here?”
The man looked at him sideways. “Didn’t ya’ hear on the news, mate? We had an earthquake!”
“Oh!” Barbara exclaimed and Jerry looked astonished. Barbara spoke again. “I suppose there’s nowhere we can set up our caravan for the night?”
“We..ell!” said the old man, scratching his head under his hat. “If ya’ go down the road a couple of clicks, turn in near the cemetery, there’s a clearing next to the train line. Guess ya’ could stay there!”
In the shop, the shopkeeper shook his head despondently when they asked about the people around here. “It’s been a hell of a time,” he said. “Most of us have lost everything – they brought in a bulldozer and pushed a lot of the town to the dump!”
Barbara and Jerry got some milk and bread, confirmed they could stay at the out-of-town clearing and turned to go.
“By the way,” the shopkeeper added. “ We’re getting quite a few aftershocks. Nothin’ to worry about, tho’!”
Barbara and Jerry looked at one another. Should they stay? Or should they push on? They got in the car but the sun was setting and they were tired, so they found the clearing and parked the van for the night.
That night, parked by the side of the local train line, within sight of the cemetery, was not really conducive to sleep. Every sound woke them. Neither of them felt secure. Next morning Jerry told his wife that he would go to the shop, see if there were any jobs going, and if not, then they would move on.
As Barbara tidied the caravan, putting away their breakfast plates, the caravan suddenly rocked furiously and a low, deep boom filled the air.
She raced outside quickly, feeling jittery. As she did so, two workmen came into sight near the cemetery gates.
She ran towards them.
“You two OK?” she asked, just a tad frightened and jumpy “Did you feel the aftershock?”
“Nah, Lady!” one of the workmen drawled. “The bloody ground around here is so hard, we just let off two sticks of dynamite to dig a six foot hole!”