Monday, April 11, 2016

April 18, 1906

In the week coming up, well, next week, too... such an 'odd' week of birthday and event anniversaries that all strangely fell during the same seven-ten days:
Hitler's Birthday: April 20
Titanic Sinking: April  14/15
The American Civil War, April 12
 and so many more!

On April 18, 1906, the Great San Francisco Earthquake occurred. That has always fascinated me, even when I walk the streets of that city, wondering what it would have been like. I did  a lot of research when I wrote THE TIME OF HIS LIFE, Andy Mackpeace's Second Time Travel Adventure, because he and Miranda accidentally end up there.

An excerpt from Chapter 6:
Opposite Andy was the stairway leading down to the first floor. It too was intact and still attached to the wall. At the top of the stairs was another bedroom door. Miranda stood in that doorway, motionless.
“Miranda!” Andy yelled. “Are you okay? What is this? What happened?” His friend didn’t respond. 
Miranda!”
            Miranda was a very intelligent girl who clearly understood an earthquake when she saw one, but she was also a girl from New Hampshire where earthquakes were not likely to happen. Reading about them and experiencing one were two very different phenomena.
Miranda!!” Andy shouted again.
            “It’s an earthquake,” she yelled, snapping out of her shock and coming to her senses. “We have to get out of here!”
She headed for the stairs when the second, more deadly tremor hit. Miranda was thrown forward by the shock and her face hit the steps. At the same time, Andy was shoved to the ground backward toward his bed. He had no more control over where he landed than if a quarterback had picked him up and heaved him.
As much as he tried, Andy couldn’t get up. Another quick BOOM! and the massive bed lifted up, fell over and buried him up to his waist. The large wardrobe keeled over too, and Andy barely had time to cover his head with his hands. If it weren’t for the fullness of the bed acting as a cushion, Andy would have been crushed.
As the house rocked, a terrific screeching noise started to happen. The stairway was wrenching loose. With every BOOM! the stairs pulled away a bit, then slammed back into the wall. The nails holding it together were coming undone with each pull and slam. Like a stubborn dog playing tug of war with a toy, the stairs moved out from the wall, then back, then out, then back. With each tug, the stairs grew shakier and shakier.      
The house groaned and when the nails popped, the stairway came crashing down, the steps, the railing, the carpet, all of it. It folded into itself and landed with a giant heap on the first floor hall. Dust and dirt swept up and around Andy like someone had emptied out a giant vacuum cleaner bag.     
Once again, the earthquake stopped.
Silence.
Andy opened his eyes. He coughed and spat out the dirt that filled his mouth.
The house, by now, was completely tilted. The room, the floor, everything was leaning toward the stairway, or rather, where the stairway used to be.  Andy pulled and struggled and squeezed out from under the bed and looked over at Miranda’s bedroom.
Miranda was gone.



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