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Rubble (860 Words) (1 Viewer)

Jeff Degginger

Senior Member
Hey there mad cats, thanks for reading. Wrote this for a creative writing assignment early last year. It was written based on a headline of the Haiti Earthquake and I dusted it off today so I thought I would share it.


All it took was one look at her old home to know that he was dead. She looked at it for a long time, the walls having crumpled over, shattered onto the road below, the roof having split and fallen in. The old place were they were living together, for the longest time now into her mid forties, gone.

On the first day there were many people crying, Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Cousins, Sisters, Brothers, they all mourned what had been taken from them, “swallowed by the Earth” some said. It was all a lie. She knew there wasn’t any swallowing that the Earth could do, the Earth only stampeded on them, and that’s exactly what it had done this time.

She cried. She spent a long time that first day rocking herself on the street and crying and wondering when help was going to come along. She spent a long time waiting for a friendly face or a helping hand, and she received neither of them. As if it wasn’t bad enough sitting there lonely and shaken on the street before the house they had lived in, another house had landed on top of it, and the hundreds, the thousands of destroyed houses around her the several thousands of lives it had taken and the hundreds of thousands of lives it had destroyed, the spirit of the place seemed to fade away.

She had seen them the first day, but it hadn’t sunk in until the second day to see all the dead lying the road that way, tossed, either by strangers or by families who had been digging through the rubble. There was a street that they had begun calling the “dead lane” where they gathered the dead bodies, and they piled off the ground in mass numbers. Still they were pulling some people out of the destroyed places alive, and that sparked her to do it.

She climbed onto the rocks, her feet scratching against the more jagged of the rubble and she took a rock and moved it. She searched desperately for the rocks that she could move. She was not strong, but she was determined. By the end of the third day she had cut more than three fingers, and she had help.

The people gathered around when she called out in pain and in misery for him. She lifted a rock, which bounced into a growing pile of smaller rocks and she called his name. They came to her to help, offer their assistance, they asked what his name was, who he was, and without another word they picked up a rock. Some rocks took two people to lift, and when two wasn’t enough, three would have to do. They came and they worked despite their own injuries and despite their own sufferings to help her find who she was looking for.

The most important thing was that they didn’t thank each other. They only nodded, and it was no time for pleasantries. By the time help did arrive, they were covered in dust, and the majority of the rubble had been moved. As the helpers moved to gather whatever had been left of their families she continued to dig, because they hadn’t found him yet. She no longer cared if he was alive, if he was in the worst shape possible, she needed to know that he was there.

She called out his name, receiving no answer forever. She moved rock after rock, searching for anything, blood, a finger, a hand. Nothing but more rocks greeted her, day after day. At night her body ached from all the work, and the bottled water that was handed to her didn’t help. She couldn’t tell if she ever got sleep anymore, and she would eventually move back to her old house, as if a remnant of her own life, just to find one sign of him.

There were more people to help now, stronger people who hadn’t been there before, some had left as they worked, grown thick with coughing and drained completely of their energy. She too could feel it working inside of her as she fought against the alluring feeling of the Devil sapping her energy, leaving her mostly crumpled fingers worthless, and when the thought entered her head, “Your fingers are too busted to continue,” she would retort with, “I’ve still got two working hands.”

And she dug, and she dug, and she dug, until she could no longer pick herself up. All she could do was lay there, as the helpers came and moved the building for her. She faded often, in and out of her dreams while she lay there, now helpless, coming and going. She could only whisper his name now, and she could hardly breathe.

She awoke one morning to find him lying next to her, as busted as she was, with white powder from the stony rubble aligning his face. She no longer had the energy to smile at him.

She grabbed his hand.

And it chilled her to the bone.

Olly Buckle

As if it wasn’t bad enough sitting there lonely and shaken on the street before the house they had lived in, another house had landed on top of it, and the hundreds, the thousands of destroyed houses around her the several thousands of lives it had taken and the hundreds of thousands of lives it had destroyed, the spirit of the place seemed to fade away.
There is a certain randomness to sentences like this, try thinking of the elements you are trying to get across, then construct the sentence out of them, like this.
It was bad
There was worse
She was lonely and shaken
She was sitting on the street
Her house was in ruins
Another house was in ruins on top of it
Many other houses were also in ruins
Many people were dead
Many more had had their lives destroyed
There was a sense of hopelessness
That is actually an awful lot of information to build into a single sentence, but when you see it like this it is easier to build a logical order.

She was lonely and shaken sitting on the street, the immediate prospect seemed bad, but she knew the overall picture was much worse. Her house was in ruins, with another house on top of it, but surrounding her was an entire city of ruined houses. Inside them many had died, but even amongst the living there were few lives that had not been ruined. A sense of hopelessness prevailed.

That is a very quick write and far from perfect, but I hope it illustrates what I mean about sorting the core facts.

"white powder from the stony rubble aligning his face." Two points, I think you may have the wrong word in "Aligning", that means putting in line. Also the way it is phrased makes it unclear if it is the white powder or the stony rubble doing the aligning, but that may become clear if it is in fact the wrong word.