tsunami - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The people wandered the shore like lost souls, seeming to shimmer and twist in the heat of the burning sun. To my back, palm trees hung on grimly to the sandy rise, blocking signs of the destruction I knew was there. The smell of the smoke twisting through the air was acrid on the hot breeze, and regular crashes rang out as pieces fell off the buildings we had worked so hard to build, destroyed in an instant by the shocks rippling through the ground like it was water. I kept my eyes fixed on my horizon, trying to realise the enormity of what happened, to convince my reluctant brain that it had happened. The earthquake had happened.
I was so lost in thought it took a while for me to realise why the beach looked so strange, so abnormally large. The surf had drawn back hundreds of metres, the abandoned sand shining pale and bright.
And that could only mean one thing. I scanned the horizon, desperately hoping I was wrong.
Then I saw it, the blue line on the horizon.
'Tsunami,' I breathe
The tsunami wave crashed louder than the explosions in the quarry and the water washed in the town like it were no more substantial than an architect's scale model abandoned on the sands. It was the extinguishing of a dream, of a way of life, easier than wet fingers on a candle flame. It wasn't just the buildings that got taken out to sea, it was everything we were. In its wake we were like empty jars on a shelf, still holding our forms but without anything left inside.
When the wave retreated we walked down the mountainside in single file, the occasional cry from a child or a gull wheeling above was the only break in an otherwise oppressive silence. The land now smelled just like the beach, all that salt seeping into the farmland. All around were household items: teapots, kettles, toasters, chairs and computers. Every one of them oozed sea-water, saturated and broken. All these things we "needed" from the stores were now just hunks of metal and yet we had to be glad that our hearts beat in our chests and that our bones weren't as cold as those scattered appliances. The homes that still stood were beyond repair, the walls leaning and roofs gone.
When the water came over the land it wasn't with the gentleness of spring rain but the power of a nuclear-blast shockwave. It moved over the sleepy fishing town with more ease than a wave over the sand, reducing the homes of generations to kindling. The people had moved to higher ground, huddled in a barn and prayed. The devastation was total: no salvage, no livestock, no boats. That was the day that my brother was born, his cries echoing under the ferocity of the gale, as if to demand that life went on no matter how tough it got.
The ocean had always conjured comforting ideas into my head. Whenever I was frazzled in the head I would close my eyes and visit it, dive right in, feeling the cool caress of the brine. So on that fateful day I was at ease, there was nothing that calmed me more than the feel of damp sand between my toes and the early morning rays warming my red hair. Sometimes I would wonder if I had more freckles than the beach had shells, but that morning all such self-absorbed curiosities were erased. The water began to draw back, right back. I was such an idiot, I pulled out my phone to take a picture and sent it with a LOL to Greg. It pinged back in a second. "Run, tsunami." I've never felt the heat leave my body so fast as it did in that brief moment. Then an alarm rent the air, violent and crude. I knew I had to move before the roads got jammed. I'll never forget the aftermath, the flattened homes and tossed vehicles, some of them packed with fleeing families, kids and all.
“If you've ever tried to move a full bucket of water you know how much that small amount weighs, now imagine billions of buckets moving with the speed of an express locomotive twenty feet high. It's not something you want to mess with, son. So if you ever hear that siren or see the ocean tide go way out all of a sudden you get the hell out of dodge. And don't even think of looking for your Mom and me, we'll get ourselves out. You take that motorcycle of yours and get to the high ground. You will have to live without us someday anyhow, but we'd just die without you - whether our hearts were beating or not.”
I am told there were a group on the beach that never ran. They sat and prayed on bended knee. Personally I would have run until my lungs exploded. God is a spirit, he doesn't make or stop tsunamis, earthquakes or hurricanes. He'd love to rescue us all I'm sure, but he can't. He won't ever leave you, no matter what, but you need to help yourself. We haven't found the bodies yet and perhaps we won't; that mammoth wave pushed through the town like a mile wide freight train and went on into the forest behind. I hear there are laundry machines on top of mature trees and fragments of house spread like kitty litter.
The tsunami wave that hit was nothing like the waves that lapped the shore every minute of every day. It was a wall of water, cold and powerful. It raced at the shoreline as swift and unforgiving as an axe, felling anything and everyone in its path. It had no emotion, no thought, no hesitation. It just came, granting a few seconds to enjoy breathing the ocean air before it wrapped each victim in frigid foamy fingers to the ocean floor. But we weren't ready to die. While we could still draw air there was a chance and we took it, racing, racing for the higher ground.
Suddenly I saw it. A colossal, blue-green wave, sweeping towards the bay at over 100 miles per hour. Rushing, racing, roaring; angry froth foaming from between its lips. My body was paralysed with fear, my breath coming out short and sharp. I knew I had to run, but my legs refused to move. I watched, eyes glued, as the wave surged in, threatening to destroy everything in its path. It was unbelievably strong, powerful, unstoppable.
The sound of carnage still rung in her ears. She remembered how the wall of water plummeted onto the building, curled back, then thrashed against the fine timber again, and again; a merciless beast of nature that would stop at nothing until its victim was demolished into rubble. She remembered the frightening way the water reflected the fear in their eyes, and how they shrieked as they raced for the exit. However, it was all for vain, because then the house cried out a bloodcurdling howl and collapsed on top of them, and whoever was outside was swept along with the wreckage.