5. When Things Go From Bad To Worse
I open my eyes. It's dark. Maybe the tremor had caused a power cut. Or maybe it really was nighttime. I try to sit up. The rush of blood from my head makes me shudder and almost pass out. I check my watch. 6:04PM. I had missed the safe rooms. They would all be locked by now. I breathe out forcefully and stand up. Tremors are very dangerous but two in one day means that it is a build up to an earthquake. Feeling something wet in my hair, I touch my head. It is wet. I look at my hand with the small amount of light that's emanating from somewhere. Blood.
I stumble into the corridor. The safest place in the compound apart from the safe rooms would be in the Council meeting room. I treaded carefully. There isn't much light but I know the Compound well. I make a left turn and I speed up. Everything isn't as blurry as it was before and my eyes adapt to the dark. I start to jog. Earthquakes are unpredictable and could hit at any time.
I hear footsteps and I crouch in the shadows. I'm not sure why, probably just a reflex. But I hide. Voices echo and I strain to hear what they say. Then I see them. Two drunken men, shuffling along with bottles of beer. My eyes widen and I suppress a gasp. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in the Compound. They start to speak again.
"Say, d'ya think that we could actually survive this?" one man says with obvious difficulty.
"I dunno mate. They're saying it's one hell of an earthquake thas about to hit," the other man says in a serious tone. He looks the less drunk of the two. They shuffle along in the direction of the garages and I relax.
Standing up, I start to run. I don't know how much time I had left.
I reach the room and dive into one of the chairs. The Council Meeting Room had steel reinforced walls. I had been hoping that that would save me but I look around the very brightly lit room and I see a window. Made of glass. My heart sinks. Glass is not the best protection from an earthquake. I hear a clatter of feet on the hard floor and I turn around. A scruffy boy is standing before me. Slightly recognisable, I realise he lives not far from me.
"How come you aren't in a safe room?" he asks, blatantly very confused.
"I hit my head and passed out," I reply coldly. "You?"
"I... uh..." he looks very embarrassed and quickly mutters somethings: "I wanted to explore the Compound."
"Right." I turn my chair around. I look around the room again for the best place to hide and stay safe.
"So I'm Charlie," he says cheerfully. I turn my chair around. He is still standing there. He holds out his hand and has a moronic grin on his face.
"Atalanta," I reply but before I could attempt to ignore him once more, a shard of metal plunges through his chest.