Often a dream turns into a nightmare in a split second. Fear grabs at your throat like an iron fist.
It was midnight. I was sleeping soundly when there was a rumble, a roar, a noise that we had heard far too often lately. Was this another earthquake dream? No, it was real and I was out of bed like lightning. Please not again.
When I looked out of the window I could not believe what I was seeing. The house next door was gone! Just gone. Collapsed. The house over the road was moving; back and forth like a swing. Tilly looked up helplessly. What, if anything, could I do? I threw on some clothes, grabbed my bag and hurried downstairs.
People ran everywhere through the debris. Mothers cried as they looked for their children in the rubble. Fathers dug with their hands in the hope that they would find their children alive.
Tilly was waiting for me. I hugged her and jumped into my car.
As we made our way out of our little street and up the hill in the heavy traffic, we heard the sirens. First just an alarm, then it was wailing and now...well, now I knew a tsunami was coming.
Tilly and I were terrified. We lived right on the water’s edge. Living here had been a dream come true for me. It was so calming with the house on the beach, sun in the sky and the water lapping. How wonderful it had been to sit and write, looking out over the ocean with the birds flying low overhead, diving for fish.
Now...now we were dashing to save our lives.
We could see it–an enormous wall of water. One huge wave. No noise. A stillness.
The birds had left.
On land there was panic everywhere.
As we made it to the highest point on the island, we witnessed the thirty metre wave consume our village. The bay disappeared. The yachts that had been moored there were washed up and carried into the few buildings still standing. Smaller buildings were destroyed. They were like a massive landfill–on the move, taking others in their wake, gathering up cars, buses, larger buildings and worst of all, people. It was a seething mass of life and death on the move.
It was no longer quiet. There were sirens, alarms, screams and the sounds of panic and pandemonium. Hundreds of people were on rooftops calling for help and hoping that their buildings would not be caught up in the huge, horrifying, collapsing mass around them.
I cried and clung to Tilly, thankful that I was able to save myself and my wonderful dog.
Soon the water will be gone.
The dream was over, but the nightmare was only beginning.