The Day the Earth Shook

It was cold outside on the morning that changed Ralf’s life forever. It promised to be just like a normal day. He was sitting in Mr. Quimbly’s homeroom, just like he did every other morning, when all of a sudden, there was a loud bang. The building began to shake, so the students ducked under their desks as was standard procedure in the case of earthquakes. Then there was an announcement over the school’s loudspeaker.
“Attention students and faculty!” said the calm voice of their principal, Dr. Ramon, “There has been an earthquake, and we will need to evacuate the building immediately.”
“Okay, students,” said Mr. Quimbly to the class, “You heard the man. We need to get out of here.”
The students walked out of the building in an orderly fashion, but when they got out of the school they were stunned to see their town in this state. The tallest building, the Savings and Loan Trust building had fallen over in the quake, and it crushed two blocks of the downtown area, just narrowly missing the school. There were destroyed buildings everywhere, including the local car factory which kept the town in existence. Looking over this apocalyptic scene, Ralf realized that his best friend Kevin was still in the building. He had gone to the bathroom just before the shaking, and was nowhere to be found. Ralf knew he had to go back in and get Kevin. He creeped back into the school through a window around the back. When he got inside the school he ran out into the hallway. He had to be careful because he knew that when there is a big earthquake as this appeared to be there are often aftershocks. He looked down the dark hallway, and realized that either the earthquake knocked out power or someone had shut it off, because there weren’t even any exit signs on. He looked in the bathroom, but he could not find Kevin anywhere.
All of a sudden Ralf heard, “Hey man!” from behind him.
He quickly turned around and was extremely relived to see that it was Kevin.
“Kevin!” shouted Ralf, I’ve been looking everywhere for you, look dude, we got to get out of here now! There was an earthquake and the building is unstable!”
Kevin just laughed. Ralf looked at Kevin’s eyes and realized that they were bloodshot, he then realized what had happened.
“Kevin have you been using,” Ralf attempted to say, but he was interrupted when he felt the ground shaking. Ralf then felt a sharp pain on the back of his head, and then everything went black.
When Ralf woke up, he noticed that there was absolutely no light. He felt his way over until he found Kevin’s body. He wasn’t really sure whether Kevin was dead or alive until he felt his chest. Ralf cried for joy whenever he felt Kevin’s heart faintly beating, but he knew that it would not last for long. He had to get help. Ralf crawled out of the small cavern formed by the walls of a bathroom stall wall falling into another one, forming a hut that saved them from the falling roof. Ralf kept groping his way across the bathroom until he found the exit. He opened the door, and after spending so much time in the dark, was blinded by the faint light that came into the room from cracks on the walls in the apparent casket made up of walls and bricks.
“Oh my gosh!” thought Ralf, “There must have been an aftershock from that earthquake earlier. That has to be what made the school collapse!”
Ralf knew he had to find a way out of that fallen building, but he didn’t know how. He felt around until he found a door, and he opened it. Ralf saw a giant metal machine glowing red in the middle. This was the school’s furnace, and Ralf was in the boiler room. Ralf knew from a conversation that he had overheard from the janitors that the boiler room had the only stairway to the basement, except the one on the outside.
“This could be the perfect escape route!” he realized.
Ralph looked around the room using the faint light from the furnace. The boy spotted something flickering on the wall. Upon closer investigation, he discovered that it was a doorknob and he attempted to open it. Unfortunately for Ralf, the door was locked. Suddenly he heard a sharp whistling sound.

Ralf turned his head and shouted, “What was that?”

Then he noticed that the furnace looked like it was about to burst. Ralf ran for the door, and dived out just in time to avoid a hot, steamy death, but the shock wave knocked him back, into the wall. He hit the wall with his arm, and heard a cracking sound. He then felt an extremely sharp pain in his left arm. Ralf got back up and made a sling out of his shirt to support the weight of his arm. He then went back into the boiler room and to his astonishment the explosion had blown the locked door open. Ralf walked in. It was darker than it had been in the bathroom.
After he got his bearings in the tunnel he felt around the wall with his right arm, until he felt a long, heavy object hanging on the wall. He pushed it to the side, assuming that this was some sort of switch that would turn on the lights. Ralph heard a crunching sound and felt a sharp pain in his foot simultaneously followed by a loud metallic clunk. He picked it up and realized that it was a hammer that had crushed his foot.
“Hey!” shouted a voice from the inside, “Who’s makin’ that racket?”
“Uh…” stuttered Ralf, “I’m a student from upstairs, there was an earthquake while I was in the bathroom, and my friend’s hurt bad, and I need a way out… can you help me please?”
“You betcha, I can help ya, boy,” said the man. The man pulled out a flashlight, and said, “Hear ya go boy, Just keep goin straight, and you’ll reach some ol’ wooden doors, with a mat under ‘um. The key’s down under it. Did ya’ll say your hurt pal was in the bathroom?”
“Yeah,” said Ralf as he caught the flashlight from the kindly janitor, “There was something on his back, but I couldn’t really see what it was.”
“Well I’ll go get um for out o’ here then, see ya on the other side boy,” said the janitor.
“See you later then, and thanks a lot for all of your help,” Said Ralf, who limped in the direction that the man pointed. As he was casually walking out, thinking that he was no longer in danger. He noticed a slight shaking motion in the pillars supporting the basement but thought it to be nothing until the ground started to shake too. He started sprinting towards the exit. The ground was shaking harder and harder each second. He got to the door, flipped up the mat and grabbed the key in one swift motion. Ralf heard the beams begin to buckle, so he quickly inserted the key, and dived out into the school parking lot just as the inside of basement collapsed behind him.
Ralf waited and waited for news on the earthquake. Every day he woke up and watched the news and was disappointed. Until the tenth day, when they found Kevin, who was still barely alive underneath the body of the janitor who was impaled with a fallen piece of rebar from within the ceiling. When they took Kevin to the hospital, he was in a vegetative state, until he woke up one day six years later but that is a different story.





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