Natural Seismic Phenomenon
Matthew Savoca

I am sleeping. Tectonic plates shift somewhere. This happens because of a sudden release of energy beneath the surface of the Earth. Some kind of stabilization failure along what is called a fault plane. The ground shakes and so does the building. I wake up three inches from where I went to sleep. I get up and walk to the door. I open the door and stand where it stood. Tectonic plates shift some more. This causes the physical earth to crack and move in different directions. My apartment is in a building which rests on top of physical earth. In my apartment are shelves with stuff on them. The shelves move and things fall off of them. Some of the things land on the floor and break. I am standing in the doorway watching stuff move. I cover my face with my arm so that glass doesn't go into my eyes and scratch my retinas or corneas. The tectonic plates stop shifting. The physical earth stops moving. My apartment building is still again and so are my shelves. I stand in the doorway a few moments longer. Then I walk over to my bed, which is a partially deflated air mattress on the floor. I lay myself down on the air mattress and look at the sideways electrical outlet in the baseboard. I follow the cord to my computer which is a laptop lying under a piece of furniture and I take it out and turn it on. My cell phone rings but I do not answer it. I look at it. Then I look at my computer screen and it is finished turning on. I open my email browser and I check my email. There is an email from my father. I read it. The email says, "We're okay here. Are you okay? They haven't said how big it was yet. I'm going to call." I type back that I am fine and then press send. I turn my computer off and go back to sleep. I fall asleep. But before I do, I hear someone somewhere yell, EARTHQUAKE! This infiltrates my dream. I dream about walking around in the street after a catastrophic event. I hear multiple televisions saying things like 'Mother Nature' and 'Natural Disaster' and 'Catastrophic' and 'Possibly equal to Katrina.' I am walking over piles of rocks. There are clothes and jewelry, food, plates, and guns buried beneath the rocks. There are people buried under them. One hand is holding a fork. I look at it. There is a piece of meat on the fork. I look at other people. I can see the eyes of some of them. When I look into the eyes of the people, they scream, EARTHQUAKE! I walk further. I look into the eye sockets of one man and in the left eye socket I see the word retina and in the right eye socket I see the word cornea. A piece of glass flies past my face and slices these words in half. He screams, EARTHQUAKE! I go back to my apartment and when I walk in, Julie is there and she is picking stuff up off of my floor but not broken things that fell off shelves, only random articles of clothing. One of the articles of clothing is a shirt I was looking for and I say, Hey! Where was that? Julie doesn't respond. I say, Julie! She keeps doing what she is doing. I say, Julie! What are you doing here? She doesn't say anything. I walk across the room and stand in front of her. When I look at her, she screams, EARTHQUAKE! CORNEA! RETINA! She says it over and over again. I run into another room and then I wake up. I open my eyes. I touch my throat. I turn on my computer and check my email. There is a message from my father. I open the message. It says, "7.2 on the Richter Magnitude Scale." I pick up my cell phone and find 'Dad Home' in the contact list. I press call. He answers right away. He says, "Did you get my email?" I think, EARTHQUAKE! CORNEA! RETINA! I say, Yes.

Matthew Savoca's work has been published in Lamination Colony, 3AM, Robot Melon, Alice Blue, Dogzplot and others.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of Unton.

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