It is the vibration that wakes us. A shudder that jostles the bed just enough to register in our synapses that something is unusual. We exchange a look, our eyes crusted with sleep and too much binge TV.
“Probably a tremor,” you mutter and roll away from me.
“Yeah,” I mumble. However, I’m not relieved because we don’t live near an obvious fault line.
There it was again. A long rumble and vibration.
“Earthquakes don’t make noise like that,” I say, looking at the back of your head and willing you to face me.
Your shoulders shrug under a swath of blankets. “Construction. Aren’t they doing the turnpike expansion? They use explosives some –“
“– times. Multiple blasts.”
Finally. You roll over, your face a mask of annoyance and dispassion.
I am not convinced. “Why would they need to blast sand and silt?”
“Then it’s a construction crane or jack hammer thingy.”
“What?!” I swallow hard. It took a long time for me to accept that fireworks displays were not planes hitting buildings or bombs going off. I look at the clock: Saturday 6:48 AM.
“You know that thing that drives in pylons and stuff!” You sound exasperated, definitely annoyed.
“What if it’s happening again. Doesn’t it sound like it’s getting closer?”
“Just the wind carrying the sound. Like on those mornings we can hear every word of the announcer at the marathon when it’s miles away?” You rub your eyes and put a pillow over your head.
“Shouldn’t we look –“
The cat jumps from the bed and hides underneath. The window rattles and a car alarm goes off. You pull the pillow from your head. But you don’t move. I slip from the warmth of the covers and feel vulnerable in my shorts and T-shirt, the hair rising on the back of my neck and arms.
BOOOOOOOOOMMM! And a tremendous smashing sound of breaking glass and splintering, groaning wood.
Under the bed, the cat growls and hisses, then yowls mournfully.
I throw aside the curtain. The window faces east into the cold, pink glow of the sunrise. I see smoke rising. And buildings, houses – flattened?? My mind can’t make sense of the disarray. The unfamiliar familiar.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM! The house shakes and pictures fall, but I can’t see the source of the noise and vibration. It sounds close – like next-door, on the other side of the house. On instinct I sink to the floor, still clutching the curtain.
I look at you. Your eyes are wide, your mouth an “O” of shock. Riveted, frightened, incredulous is what you are. I know you won’t pull your gape away to look at me even if it is for the last time. So, I rise and turn to look outside. I measure my movements, because it feels important not to draw attention.
I turn just in time to see an enormous foot, both buggy and reptilian, step gingerly over our roof line and rest on our neighbor’s house. Then a powerful thigh, scaled and black, drives the foot and the house into the ground.
Copyright © 2017, Ilana Hulsey Rea. All rights reserved.