The Shattered Swan
Krystiana Stacy Kelly
Copyright 2010 by Cristina Matta writing as Krystiana Stacy Kelly
This book is dedicated to the people of Ica and Pisco, Perú
and to anyone who has suffered through an earthquake.
Many thanks to Barbara Newman, Dan Kieckhefer and Carlos Matta for their help in proofreading and editing.
The noises began shortly before the house started moving. At first it was just a gentle tinkling sound coming from the knick-knacks in the curio cabinet. A second later the lights went out and with a jerky series of rumbling in between, the clinking glass fell and a roaring whoosh physically filled the air.
“What’s going on?” I turned to where my aunt had been standing. She was gone. The floor shook. I stood up from the sofa. In the darkness I felt, rather than saw, people milling around.
Sergio, my cousin, materialized as if from nowhere and shouted at me, “Don’t move. Stay where you are.” Then he was gone too.
The tile floor rolled beneath me in ripples. Shocked, I stood obediently in front of the sofa as if held by some unseen force. Things were falling down around me but I continued to stay where I was. Then I felt a sharp pain in my head. Flashes of light pulsated under my half closed eyelids and my body was forced forward. I tripped over the glass table in front of me and fell. After lying sprawled on the floor for a moment feeling dazed, I decided to get up - numb and reeling from confusion.
My hand hit something as I fumbled to get to my feet. I picked it up and felt it absentmindedly with one hand while using the other to test for blood on my scalp. Feeling none, I concentrated instead on the object. It turned out to be a small crystal swan that I had seen earlier adorning the shelf above the sofa. It must have flown off its perch and come crashing onto my head on its way down. I sat up and turned to look at the wall. A huge crack slashed its way down the wall, getting bigger as I watched. I stared, able to see only faintly by a greenish glow seeping in from outside, until another rolling wave of sound and movement invaded my space. I heard the earth roar, its cadence drowning out the delicate sounds that had started the whole debacle.