(Last week: Chartan decides to continue working as a limo driver.)

Chartan stopped the Bentley at the edge of a field.  The sun was behind him and quickly dropping below the horizon.  A gentle breeze stirred the tall brown rye grass. He hadn’t taken any time these past four days to notice such simple wonders as fading light and empty fields in the city. His decision to continue to drive to support his family was final and tiring. He rested his forehead on the steering wheel and closed his eyes.

I can do this…a little longer. But is this my purpose in life, to be a husband and father and nothing else? There has to be more…

His rambling thoughts were taken over by a vibration in his forehead. It was as if the car were rolling on the road. He looked up. The field was enveloped in darkness. The shaking intensified. Earthquake!

He started the engine—he had to get home to make certain Gina and Jake were safe. If he hadn’t stopped at the field, he probably would have been home when the shaking started.

Chartan never checked the speedometer. The scenery became a blur. He acted by instinct and did not consider where he was until he opened the apartment door and saw Gina holding their son who was convulsing with tears..

“Is Jake hurt?” asked Chartan.

“The building shook and knocked down his blocks—that’s why he’s crying. Was it a quake?”

“I assume so. I heard fire engines on the way here.”

Chartan was about to put a hand on Jake’s bright red cheek when the room began to shake again.

To be continued next Sunday…



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