6. When We Are Condemned
I scream and hit the floor as quickly as I could. The steel must have prevented us from feeling the start of the earthquake. I shuffle backwards. The door is bending. The metal looks so soft, like rubber. I crawl backwards and sit under the table. There is a brief moment of silence. I look up. A glimmer of hope lightens the whole room.
Then the room falls apart and the ceiling collapses onto the table with a loud metallic clank. I scream and curl into a tight ball. I try to concentrate on anything but this.
"Mum. I don't want to go! I'm sleepy!" I cried out.
"Come on Attie, it will be fun!"
"Charlotte," my dad interjects, "we can't let a six year old trudge through the snow and listen to a frozen choir squeak out the harmonies to Hark! the Herald-angels Sing."
"Timothy. She is coming with us and this is final!" my mother snaps in reply.
After a long drive and a walk through the snow, we settle into the church. I see a frost coated chaplain speaking about the warm and cosy manger whilst the congregation shivers. My dad leans over and whispers in his usual sarcastic way: "Heating is apparently a lost myth to the organisers of midnight mass." I giggle in reply and we both receive a glare from my mother.
I open my eyes. The room is still shaking but things had stopped falling. It is completely dark. I sat up. I put my arms out and proceed to grope the darkness. One of my hands hits a crumbly wall. I touch it, tentatively looking for a way out. It was blocked.
I was stuck.