Its 5.30am on the first day of January 2013, the sun is hanging like a big red ball just above the trees with the promise of stifling heat. Dust motes dance along the rays of light and the world is still and quiet, even the parrots that normally screech and scream at this hour of the day are silent. No traffic on the highway in the distance either, very unusual at this hour of the morning. Something does not feel right with the world this morning. The dogs out the back are silent and cowering in their kennels, no barking to greet the new day, no tail wags and no exuberance. Something is wrong.
The silence is unnerving me, the stillness of the morning makes me feel as if I am the only person left alive in the world, something is going to happen, or maybe it already has. I can feel it, the small hairs rising on the back of my neck and down my arms. I just don’t know what is coming. I empty my coffee grounds from my cup onto the ground beside the porch rail where I stand, with a shiver I turn around.
I return to the house and turn on the radio and all I receive is static, the television is the same. The phone is dead and the internet has gone down too. Here I am alone, twenty miles from town and something is wrong.
Heading for the bathroom to shower and get ready for the day I feel the floor of the house lurch beneath my feet and a long low rumble fills the air with an eerie vibration. The walls start to sway and I grab for the door frame to steady myself as the house lurches sideways, steadies and then moves again with a twisting motion that has windows cracking and tiles popping from the bathroom wall to shatter on the floor.