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15 Seconds

Updated on November 19, 2011

By Erin Edwards

A reality - Based on a Real situation - 22nd February Quake 2011 Christchurch New Zealand,

Colombo Street.. in 15 Seconds


...Leaving home I grabbed the car keys and kissed my cat goodbye. Although today is warm and sunny, something feels odd, I look up to the most beautiful lucid blue sky without even a whisper of a cloud, the sun was more radiant than I’d ever noticed before. I couldn’t help thinking it was incredibly large and wondered if it were actually closer to the earth than usual. Suddenly an intense coldness violated my body as I drove along busy streets toward the city, where I had planned to meet two of my female friends for lunch at a pretty little Cafe on Colombo Street; just along the road a bit from what has been known for many, many decades as Cathedral Square; with seating for about twenty, and perhaps a dozen more outside under a sturdy frontage.

I parked my car with skepticism, wondering why I hadn’t canceled when it had been my plan to do so a few hours earlier. I’m not not normally nervous but today I feel the ‘yukkies’. My instinct is strong, but I cannot read its warning.

I knew something was wrong, I arrived at the Cafe’ to see that my friends already seated. I placed my order and returned to the table. The girls were laughing but I could not shake the turmoil flooding my veins. I felt seasick, my head began spinning, my blood ran cold then hot, I began to shake. A loud ringing in my ears then nothing but a muted silence in the bustle of the noisy Cafe’ which was suddenly replaced with what I thought was a horrendous rumbling I’d never heard before; but I had heard it before.

My face paled as I looked at my friends.

"Are you OK?" They asked in unison, I could not speak. My spine tightened, my blood chilled and without realizing it, I’d stood. In slow motion I looked around the Cafe.

With heart racing, quietly I said to my friends "We have to go, Now!"

Worried, they looked at me knowing I meant what I said. They began to rise from the table in time to grab their chairs for balance.

Chairs scraping and tables tipping as diners clambered to their feet, grasping for something to hold. People falling over people. Chairs flying, shelves fell from the walls. A refrigerator crashed loudly to the floor, but nobody heard it. Screams of fear molesting everyone as we fought to get outdoors to safety, and then the Cafe’ fell, two out of us three escaped; the third - killed!

Terrified, everybody ran onto the streets for safety, to escape the earthquake, but buildings were crashing on top of hundreds of people running for their lives. It was happening so fast. We ran, we ran so fast we never looked back, almost impossible to avoid the destruction around us. Screaming, so many people screaming, running for their lives. it didn’t matter how fast we ran, buildings thrust upon them. hell on earth had opened its fangs and shown us its fury with such a force we are unable to stand up to its lashings.

Tears pour down our cheeks as the roads shatter in front of us, lacerated by the earths invisible claws, unscrupulous in its power and with such voracious hunger; masticating everything in it’s path spitting up sand and silt depleting those unknowing. Cars abandoned, people screaming, holding each others hands running as fast as they can then. Suddenly it stops, leaving a terrified city.

It lasted 15 Seconds!

Copyright © 2011 Erin Edwards New Zealand
All rights reserved.


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    • sugz profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

      Just came back into HP mostly to check how things are going, and regardless of being more than 2 yrs since this shake... The memores and screams and lightest rumbling sound puts me on edge.

      I dont live in chch anymore but we still get shakes and no matter how much time has gone.. It never changes.

      I dont have working computer so i cant update anything but hub pages is deinately calling... And there is going to be an entire segment of hubs.

      Watch this space ...

    • sugz profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

      Hi Ed, sorry i havent logged in here for a long time.

      Ty for your comment :)


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow , you are amazing and live in an amazing place ! Be vigilant my dear !......Ed

    • sugz profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

      and again.. mother nature breaks loose.. 2012 isn't quite such a far fetched movie as the critics say... live it.. we, along with others around the world do...

    • sugz profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks Meow and others.. yeah it was pretty horrific, each time we get a small shake or a bus stops at the gate, we all wait for the rest. It doesn't matter how logn it is between big ones, the little ones keep us on edge regardless of havign to go to work, or drive round the city, something i don't do at night anymore. scares me still. :)

    • meow48 profile image


      6 years ago from usa

      just stopped by to check out your hubs and found this, no words can describe the profound feelings you demonstrated to all who read this. we, who are far away, heard about this quake and with a detached, oh my, went on about our lives... thankyou for bringing it to life in a way to make us all pause.... hope all is a little better now, take care.

    • sugz profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks :)

    • justom profile image


      6 years ago from 41042

      Reading this was so intense my body is tingling. Wow, I'm not sure what else to say. Peace!! Tom

    • louiseelcross profile image

      Louise Elcross 

      6 years ago from UK

      Again, wow!. well written.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! In just a few words you projected the reader into a horrific catastrophe


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