Excerpt from Settled on the Coast

Settled on the Coast is now finished and in the hands of the beta readers and editors. It is intended that publication will be in May.

I must have dozed off myself and wake to the bed shaking and puppy whimpering. The twins are suddenly awake and crying and I hear the familiar groaning from deep in the earth. The building starts to shake harder as the ground sways and heaves. I stand the babies clutched in my arms and hear the cries of fear going up around the village. Staggering I head for the doorway of the bedroom and slide down to the floor clutching the children tightly to my breasts and puppy curls up across my knees shaking in fear. I bow my head over the babies and cuddle them tighter as the house groans around us, but stands strong. I can feel the door frame twisting behind my spine and glance up from under my eyelashes in time to see the front window pop open and the front door sag on its hinges.

The unearthly groaning and growling fades and the erratic movements cease after what seems like hours. Then the silence that follows is punctuated by cries and yells as the village stirs from the shock of the quake and the fear. I stagger to my feet once puppy moves off my legs and head for the pram and place the twins inside. Pushing at the sagging front door I open it and wheel the babies outside.

The sight that greets my eyes tears my mind back to January and the shock of the first earthquake. I park the pram in the centre of the village green and put Sandy in charge of the small group of younger children who are gathering there as the school evacuates. With mostly women, children and elderly people available to help until the men can get up the hill I quickly organise crews to head to the school which is sagging and twisted. We have to get the children out. I also organise a crew to go from house to house and check that everyone is out. Helen arrives with her medical bag slung over her shoulder and we start to check for injuries among those gathered here on the hill.

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