Simon woke up. He remembered the ground had stopped shaking. He opened his eyes. It was still dark. He was still there. Wherever there was. It was the darkest he could remember it ever being. He stared straight ahead, and tried to see anything. Nothing. Just black. He figured there was dust. His mouth tasted like he’d eaten dry cardboard.
He tried to move once more. Found nothing had changed. He could wiggle his left foot, but couldn’t move his left leg at all. He couldn’t even feel his right leg. Couldn’t tell if it moved or not. He could make a fist with his left hand. Wave it up and down at the wrist. But when he tried to bend his left arm at the elbow, all he saw was this brilliant white light. And he got really hot. And sweaty. And, Momma, did it hurt to try to move his arm. His right arm worked. Sort of. He could feel it move around. He could bend it at the elbow. Swing it up over his head. Hold it out in front of himself. He supposed that was actually holding it up, pointing at the ceiling.
He could breathe. Thankfully. But it felt like he was stuck under a sheet of plywood that some football team was sitting on. He couldn’t budge that plywood sheet at all. It was tough to breathe, but at least he could.
OK. Nothing had changed since the last time he’d tried to move. Simon tried to smile about that. “That’s a good thing,” he thought to himself.
“Testing. Testing. 1. 2. 3.” Simple to say. Really simple. He tried to say it several times. To him, it felt like he was saying it. He swore he could hear it. Hear his voice. But he couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was just his mind wanting to believe he could be heard. He could call for help.
Simon took a few minutes, and screamed at the top of his lungs. As loudly, and long as he could. No need to scream something that made sense. “Aaaaaaa!” was perfectly acceptable. He figured “Aaaaaa!” would be something people would be listening for. That they’d be listening for any sound at all.
Hell, for all Simon knew, his screams were silent, and couldn’t be heard by anyone. But, you now. Optimism. His family. His friends. They’d always said that. “Keep your chin up!” and “You need to be more optimistic.” And all that. So, OK. He’d be optimistic, for once. And assume that he was screaming at the top of his lungs, and could be heard for miles.
When he was out of breath, and his lungs ached, and he felt horse, and his throat hurt so bad he couldn’t even whisper, he stopped screaming. It was time to use his right arm. He bent that at the elbow, raising his right fist up, and then he straightened his arm out, slamming his fist into the ground. Or, if it wasn’t the ground, whatever the hell it was.
Simon kept that up as long as he could. Until he couldn’t even close his right hand anymore. Until he couldn’t wiggle the fingers because it hurt so much he screamed. Until all he could do was cry from the pain.
He had no idea what day it was. No idea how long he’d been stuck there. Unable to get up. Unable to move, pretty much. All he remembered was the ground shaking. It was an earthquake. Everyone scattered. Panicked. All the training, all the practice, all the drills. “Climb under your desk.” All that crap went away when the building started moving, and the ground started acting like a trampoline with a football team jumping up and down on it.
He should be hungry, he supposed. At least he should be thirsty. But somehow, he wasn’t. For all he knew, he could have been there for hours. Or days. He had no way to measure time. No way at all.
Simon decided to stick with his routine. A simple one. Make a lot of noise. And when you can’t make noise anymore, take another nap. So, he closed his eyes, and slowly drifted back to sleep. He’d sleep for a little while. And then, when he woke up, he’d make more noise. Someone would find him. He had to believe that. Someone would find him.
In the meantime, what else was he to do but wait?
I composed this tale for fun, based on the prompt for the 38th ThursThreads flash fiction challenge. The challenge is hosted weekly by Siobhan Muir. There are always spellbinding entries in the challenge, and some amazing works of fiction. Please explore them all, read them all, and enjoy them.