Earthquake of Crows

Something Precious...

Something Old...

Something Given...

Fifteen-year-old Tara Callaghan is making the most out of her life. Or at least trying to. After her mum looses her job and leaves them financially broke, she's a little disorientated, anxious and scared.

So when she wakes up to the sky looking as if it is on fire and the car does not start... she believes it's just another thing to whack her in the face.

But when strange things start happening to her, she joins a world that she did not know existed and change her life... but for the better or for worse, she does not know.

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2. TWO

Tara was panicking. No one was moving. It was as if they really had frozen.

At first she had thought that everyone was playing a prank on her, but as she observed the entire school and searched for other people. No one was moving, it was literally as if they had frozen in the last place they were stood in, the expression on their face as the last reminder that they were not a plastic dummy.

As she left the school building to continue her search on the outside, she was surprised that all of this was really happening. She kept thinking that she was dead or trapped in a nightmare. All those faces, hollow and cold... they were making her go mad.

The warm weather that Tara knew was waiting for her on the outside was gone. It was as if she could not feel anything at all, no cold, no warm... nothing.

Around the school grounds she could see all sorts of people. Two of the teachers coming off duty, holding their badges to get back into the school, and they were both holding coffee's carefully in their other hand. Some students were hidden behind the bike sheds, smoking and doing the stuff that they shouldn't be. Trying to hide from the teachers whose job was to make sure everyone was inside.

But the same factor for all these people were that they were frozen in time, just like everyone was on the inside of the school. Tara really was hoping that she would wake up. It was hurting her head. It honestly felt as if it would explode right then and there.

The expression of the people on the outside of the school were different however, they were happy, mischievous almost.

Almost like the earthquake had not hit them. Maybe it had not, but whatever Tara was going through right now, there was nothing to explain it. She wouldn't even be able to fob it off to the dodgy meat that the cafeteria served for lunch, even that would not warrant her having this kind of dream. If it was a dream.

Tara grabbed her phone that had been in her pocket and dialled the first number that she could think of: Her mum's.

She stood there with the phone to her ear for an entire minuet. Hearing but not listening to the static on the other end of the phone line. It was not that she did not realise the extent of this problem, it was that she did not want to accept it was happening. So she just stood there and listened, hoping for someone, anyone to pick up the phone.

No one did.

Tara took the phone down from her ear and stared at it like it had grown arms and slapped her in the face. The time on the phone had not changed since she dialled her mum, it was as if no time had gone by.

It was really as if no time was moving at all.

Would it ever move again?

Was this just temporary?

"Maybe it's just affecting this area," Tara said to herself. She knew the first sign of madness was speaking to yourself. But when you have no one else to speak to, you are your only company. She knew however, even with the hope in her mind, that it would not just be affecting this area. It would be affecting everywhere. Disasters like this tended to do that. She had seen it in all sorts of films.

It was as if Tara was trapped inside one of those disaster movies, except the monster or thing that caused the disaster did not exist... at least she hoped it didn't. It scared her to think that she was the only one left though. She didn't want that whatsoever.

"Come on, please, don't be real," Tara said to herself once again as she ran towards the centre of town.

The centre of town was not far from the school, just a few streets away. But as she passed those streets she began to lose hope of finding someone else who was walking around. As she passed the streets she could see car doors opened and people frozen inside them. People walking their dogs – the lead trailing aimlessly behind them as the dog's small legs tried to catch up, all frozen. Literally as if they were shop window dummies modelling clothing.

It was real. But Tara did not want to believe it – she didn't want to believe it because it would make it that much more real.

She needed to find her mum. Tara just had to know if she was okay.

Running like her life depended on it, Tara began to get out of breath. But she pushed through the pain in her chest. It did not matter, only her mum did. Suddenly things started to make sense. The sky... it must be connected. She believed that with all of her heart. It had to be connected to this frozen time phenomenon. This whole thing could not be natural at all.

She did not want to believe it.

Tara noticed that she had not had much emotion since this had happened. Mainly because she hoped that it was all a bad dream and that she would wake up in the middle of class. Waking up with Miss Anderson shouting at her from the front of the room to answer a question. But something about this whole thing gave her the impression that she would never wake up from any sort of dream.

Why was she the only one out of those people to be left the way she was?

Why did she not freeze?

There was nothing special about her, she was a normal girl trying to live a normal life. That was all. That was all there was.

When she came around the corner close to her house she saw her mother's car door open at the driver's side, as if she had been trying to start the car when it had not worked earlier this morning. But her mother was nowhere to be found.

The trees weren't moving as if there was no wind to blow them, and the birds on the top of the house roofs were not moving either. Her mother was not going to be moving either, Tara knew it with all her mind.

She wanted to see it with her own eyes though, she at least had to see her mother's body.

But once she did, she would know and have to accept that this was now reality. She would have to accept that she was really alone.

Tara walked cautiously towards the front door of her house, noticing that it was slightly ajar, before pushing it open all the way, to see her mother stood close by. Holding her phone in her hand – trying to call the car company to fix the car...

Tara was taken back. Everything was real. Everything was no longer normal. She was not a normal girl anymore, no, Tara wasn't even sure who she was anymore.

"No!" Tara shouted out loud. But no one heard it. And no one would.

Seeing her mother the way she did was the reason that she broke down, the first evidence of tears streaming down her face as she stood there and stared at the frozen body of her mother. Tara knew that she may never be able to talk to her again... that she may never be able to speak to anyone again.

She wasn't sure what was going to send her crazy first. Being possibly the only person left moving on earth or not having anyone to talk to.

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