Consciousness returned. I opened my eyes. It was completely dark. I could hear noises, shouts, children calling to each other. The building made groaning noises. I tried to move. My foot seemed pinned down and that whole leg stiff and sore. There was a weight on my shoulder. I tried to move and there was a groan from the rubble. I could breathe, and feel a small eddy of air. At least I wasn’t going to asphyxiate waiting for rescue.
My mouth was dry. I thought I recognised one voice. Philip. What was he doing here? Then I remembered, he had a lot of experience in rescue work. He would rescue me! I tried to shout, but couldn’t draw enough breath for a good yell. A little croak came out.
I tried to feel around for something to use to make a noise. But there was nothing within my reach. If I moved, there was a lot more creaking. I tried to be still.
Then I heard Philip’s voice further away. Authoritative. Rounding up people, telling them to come. A truck starting. The noise of the vehicle diminished quickly. Then silence. I tried shouting, but my voice seemed very small. I couldn’t draw a big enough breath.
I was on my own. The darkness and the occasional groans from the building above me, was terrifying.
I remembered that baseless fear I had so experienced several times as a young teenager. I had gone to the barn to experience and face it. Trying to drive it out. It was back. I had to be strong. The darkness just meant a night. Maybe they couldn’t see to dig any further through the night. I could breathe. They would be back at first light and rescue me. I could hear a phone ringing, then it stopped, hopefully someone would soon miss me and come back.
Surprisingly, I managed to sleep. I woke cold and wet, the water dribbling down through small cracks. I realised I was very thirsty. I managed to move my head back a little and the trickle that had made my hair all wet was reachable. It seemed to take ages to get enough moisture to swallow. Then again, and again. It tasted dirty, and had little rough bits in it. I wondered what I was taking in, but at least I was not so desperate for water now.
I tried to shout but again, the sound that came out seemed so small and strangled. It was still dark. I must have slept again, cold and wet. All that day I dozed, drank a little and became wetter and colder. It seemed they were never coming back again. Had I really heard voices, Philip’s voice? Had he deliberately abandoned me? Why did no-one come? Was everyone dead? No; I had heard voices, there were people alive. My phone rang again a few times. I couldn’t move far enough to find it.
It got darker again. A whole day had passed and no-one had come. People don’t survive days after an earthquake under the rubble. They die.
Am I going to die?