"Thank you for coming, have a nice day!"
Nira was feeling good this morning. She had woken up on time, taken a shower, and made her way to the Wayward Coffee Shop, her favorite place on earth. While some people detest getting up early to go to work, Nira enjoyed it quite a bit. She was able to see her best friend Katie, who worked as a barista at the coffee shop. And almost all her customers were easygoing. In fact, the majority of the customers were from the nursing home down the street, so if they weren't nurses or orderlies, they were the elderly who came in for a warm cup of coffee, and someone to talk to. She was lost in her thoughts when a voice snapped her out of it.
"Do you ever get scared of them?"
Nira looked over at Mrs. Evans. Mrs. Evans was a 75 year old widow and one of the many residents of the nursing home who came in regularly for her cup of cappuccino. She had been looking at the TV in the corner of the shop that was replaying last nights earthquake, and the devastation it left behind.
"Sometimes, only when they're really strong" Nira smiled at Mrs. Evans, hoping her calm demeanor wouldn't make the elderly woman feel anxious about the subject.
Turning to the news broadcast, Nira strained to hear what the reporters were saying.
~While this last Earthquake left many residents of Southern California unsettled, it was not as damaging as previous Earthquakes, such as the 6.5 earthquake we saw last week that resulted in 3 deaths. Seismologists have yet to find a rationale cause for the increase in seismic activity we have seen the past few months. The fact that the earthquakes are isolated to Southern California and have not affected the fault lines in the north make figuring out the cause that much harder.~
The reporter then moved on to a robbery that happened earlier that morning. Not wanting to make herself anxious, Nira turned her attention back to Mrs. Evans, who was sipping on her coffee and staring at another patron sitting alone at a booth. Nira turned her head to the direction of the patron, and upon realizing who Mrs. Evan was staring at, couldn't help the small giggle that escaped her lips.
"Why don't you go talk to him already, I'm sure he would be more than happy to talk to you" Nira told Mrs. Evans.
"Oh no, I could never," she said. "His wife passed away a few weeks ago, now is probably not the time for me to talk to him. He's still grieving"
"Well I know its probably not a good time to flirt," Nira told her with a cheeky smile, "I'm sure he wouldn't mind a friend to talk to though." She reached over the counter and held Mrs. Evans hand long enough to give it a reassuring squeeze.
Usually Ms. Evans wasn't shy about going up to people, something about "having nothing left to lose". While some might find that sobering, Nira thought it was quite feisty of the senior. It made her feel that she had all the confidence in the world. She gave her a small smile and nodded her head over to where Mr. Walters, another resident of the nursing home, was sitting.
As Mrs. Evans made her way over to him, Nira took a moment to look around the shop. There were only a few patrons sitting around after the initial morning rush. She decided this was as good a time as any to take her break. She turned to Katie and told her she was stepping outside for some fresh air.
Untying her apron and setting it down on a nearby chair, Nira stopped in her tracks. There was something wrong. Everyone in the shop was silent. She turned to look at Mrs. Evans who was looking back at her.
That's when she felt it. The low rumble that was slowly rising. She was frozen in her spot and as she was debating on what to do, the rumbling suddenly turned into violent shaking and she heard a few of the patrons start to scream. Her ears were assaulted by the sounds of glasses breaking near the counter, the TV falling off of its place on the wall, and the rumbling of the earth. As she tried to step under the doorway, she lost her balance and fell with a loud oof.
With her hands sprawled out in front of her for support, she looked around and noticed the ground still shaking. Luckily she noticed the other patrons were already under the cover of their tables, but that meant she was the only one exposed, and the nearest empty table was at least ten feet away from her.
Putting one hand in front of the other and on her knees, she slowly moved toward the table. She started coughing as her lungs were suddenly filled with a dust that came from the collapsing ceiling. Her heart rate skyrocketed as she felt the earth shift violently beneath her and the ceiling start to crack above her. She did the only thing she could think of as the ceiling collapsed on top of her. She curled herself up to protect her head and body, and prayed that this moment wouldn't be her last.
Things moved so fast yet so slow. One moment she was crawling on the floor of the coffee shop, the next she was surrounded by darkness. She couldn't see, couldn't hear. She wondered if she was dead. She couldn't feel her body, but something inside her wouldn't let her accept this fate. She could feel tears streaming down her face, or was that blood?
Am I dead? Am I never going to see my parents again? I never even said goodbye.
The thoughts that ran through her head made her feel defeated. This was how she was going to die. All alone, trapped under her once favorite place to be. She wondered if Mrs. Evans or Mr. Walters were also trapped. What about Katie and the others who were also in the shop?
Her breathing started to get shallow then. She was running out of air. This was how she was going to die. With all the force she could muster, she decided she would try to call for help. At least she would die knowing that she had at least tried to get rescued.
With the biggest breath the small space allowed her to take, she started to scream. "Help me! Please someone help! I'm trapped!" A coughing fit took over her, and just as she was about to take her last breath, she felt a weight shift off of her. Her lungs suddenly filled with air, the intensity of it making her cough once more. She tried to open her eyes to see what was happening, but her head still felt light and the sky was so bright.
With her consciousness fading, she was able to open her eyes long enough to see a pair of bright green eyes staring back at her. The rest of their face clad in black material, her eyes slowly flitted closed, the image of green never leaving her mind.