Two: Ruins

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All she heard was the roar, yet her body remained still.

There was also a voice.

It sounded ethereal.

Aimee opened one eye and saw blue sky.

The roof had disappeared.

"Easy now. Nice and slow." A man was talking to her as she felt hands on her wrists.

As she sat up, images around her spun.

Bile burned in her stomach as it rose through the esophagus. She turned to one side and let it all out.

"Ugh." Aimee groaned.

She noticed something warm trickling down the side of her face and wiped it with the back of a hand.

She peered down and saw the hand covered in thick red liquid.

"You took quite a hit to the head." The man spoke again.

She stared at him.

He was on his knees beside her. His eyebrows furrowed as she met his steady gaze.

A lock of dark blonde hair partially covered his left hazel eye.

"Yeah?" She muttered before turning away to get a better look at her surroundings.

Her mouth dropped.

The room. The entire building.

Now in rubbles.

"I was going to town when the quake hit." He said. "My truck got tossed like it was nothing."

"Where are they?" Aimee asked as she tried to get to her feet.

"Don't try to stand too fast." He replied as he stood with her.

"Where are Gina and Darcy?" She persisted.

She watched his expression grew somber

"I saw only the one. She's gone, I'm afraid."

"Show me."

"Ma'am, I don't think – - "

"I need to see who it is, er, w-was."

With a hand, he gestured to a spot not more than a few yards from where she stood.

There were pieces of furniture and huge chunks of cement everywhere.

Between where a door once was and what used to be a water fountain, a pair of bloodied legs could be seen.

"Oh, Gina..." She whispered, tears filling her eyes.

"I'm sorry for your loss, ma'am." The man said.

"It's Aimee." She replied. "I hate that word. You know, ma'am?"

She forced herself to turn away from the grisly scene.

"Apologies." Came his soft reply. "I'm Chad."

Aimee glanced over to him and saw that he wore coveralls.

"What are you – a mechanic?" She asked not really caring but needed something to keep the silence away.

The kind that seemed to grow heavier by the moment.

"Nope, I'm a shipwright."

"A what?" She asked as she carefully stepped over debris.

"I repair boats."

Suddenly, the ground shook and she sunk to her knees.

"Oh, god, not again!" She whimpered.

The shaking lasted only a few seconds and was gone.

"Aftershock." A woman said.

Aimee knew that voice.

"Darcy!" Back on her feet with Chad at her side. "Thank goodness! Where were you?"

"Out and about." Darcy rummaged through smashed objects.

"Damn it! A total loss!" She tossed something to one side. "Two friggin' years. Poof!"

Aimee noticed the woman's torn and bloodied clothing.

"You're hurt." Aimee said. "You should go easy."

"Pshaw!" Darcy waved at her. "Believe me, I've been worse."

"Valcour is ten miles away." Chad said. "We should try to get there before dark."

Aimee's eyes immediately darted to Gina's body.

"But we can't leave Gina!" She cried.

"My older brother is chief of the fire department in Valcour. I promise that he will send someone for your friend." Chad replied.

Aimee slowly nodded. "Let me find my cell phone." And started to walk away when Darcy's hand pressed on her shoulder.

"Don't bother. With the earthquake that size, no cell tower would be left standing."

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