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Six Sentence Story: Fault

Sometimes, it takes me a while to figure out what I will write for Six Sentence Stories.  Other times, like this week, I had a story jump immediately to mind.  This week's prompt:  Fault.

The light fixture above the table swayed, and a persistent rattling sound came from the apartment upstairs.  


Photo:  A small apartment's kitchen and dining area, with a hanging light fixture above the round table


"Helena's usually so quiet; I wonder if she's taken up aerobics."

On October 1, 1987, at 7:42 a.m. (give or take a few seconds for the truth to sink in) I realized I was experiencing my first earthquake.  When the earth quieted again--after what seemed like minutes, but was really only seconds--my nerves quieted, too, and I thought, "So this is what I can expect living here in southern California." Later, I learned that most earthquakes would be less intense.  The Whittier Narrows earthquake ultimately registered as a 5.9 on the Richter scale, resulted in 8 deaths and 200 injuries, and revealed a previously-unknown fault line.    



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Comments

  1. That was a powerful earthquake, quite an introduction to Southern California! My first experience with one was while living in Germany in a 4th floor apartment. I awoke in the middle of the night to feel the bed shaking and hear things rattling. It didn't last long and my then husband was sure I had dreamed it until we went to the Army post that morning and everyone was talking about the earthquake. It is a very unnerving feeling! You certainly did have the perfect story for this week's cue! :-)

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    1. I'm kind of glad my first experience was a bigger one, though, because it made me think that was the norm. Nothing broke in my apartment, so I could see/feel that a large earthquake could be OK. (If I had been closer to the epicenter, I might have had a different experience.)

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  2. I've lived in Southern California all my life and that earthquake rattled a great big plate glass window in my home.

    I would love to say that you get used to them, but they come so unexpectedly and always manage to send a jolt through your body!

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    1. I've been through several others since then, and you're right, they do tend to get the adrenaline flowing!

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  3. I experienced my first earthquake when I was in Japan. Scary, but interesting, too.

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    1. Japan, as I understand, is well-prepared as a country for earthquakes.

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  4. I was there in the 70s for a slight quake and a HS friend of mine was on the bridge when it collapsed in the 80s. We both survived through no fault of our own!

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    1. Nice play on words! (How scary for your friend.)

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  5. I remember that quake! When I served my mission in the Deep South I was asked how I could live in California "with all those earthquakes?" I replied that in all my twenty-one years on earth I'd only felt one earthquake, whereas they have hurricanes every year! I now live in the mid-west where the blizzard winds and summer tornados scare the bejeebers out of me. And they happen almost every year!

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    1. I felt more than one when we were in Orange county in the late 80s, but have been amazed I haven't felt many at all since our return to SoCal.

      Tornadoes would scare me, too!

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  6. This is why i would rather live with hurricanes, at least we can see them coming!

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    1. Earthquakes are unnerving, but even though we don't know when one will hit, we can take measures to minimize damage and to be prepared.

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  7. WOW, great story. I remember the only earthquake that I "felt"--it was relatively small, but I can still feel the strange silent way that the couch I was sitting on "trembled".

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  8. yow! I've been in hurricanes and blizzards and as exciting and story-worthy the experiences are, I have never been even the slightest tempted to think that it would be cool/interesting to live through an earthquake. way, way too fundamental an event

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    1. I don't know. I think that experiencing one (in which there was no damage to my apartment complex) helped take some of the fear out of the occurence. That being said, I have no desire to feel an extremely strong earthquake.

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  9. Luckily the earthquakes in South Australia are gentle ones although big ones have occurred. For the most part I have slept through them only to be told about them the next day!

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    1. Even earthquakes of the same magnitude can feel different depending on how the plates move, how deep the quake is, and how far you are from the epicenter. (And as long as nothing can fall on you, a bed is a pretty safe place to be in an earthquake.)

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  10. I've experienced three or four earthquakes that were fairly mild, but what scared the bejeebers out of me was realizing how utterly helpless I was against the power of Mother Nature.

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  11. I remember living in southern California....my first earthquake scared the life outta me. It was huhe!

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    1. Which earthquake were you in? We moved to Washington not too long before the Northridge earthquake, which caused quite a bit of damage and would have been much scarier than the Whittier Narrows quake.

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  12. A few years ago an earthquake shook the East Coast and that has been my only experience. It was mild but everything seemed a little weird. That's the only way to describe it. The sea was a little roiled up and the stairs shook on our not so secure deck.

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    1. Earthquakes are weird, and when they are mild, it's how I would imagine vertigo would feel.

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  13. Great story! I was in the SF Valley during the '71 Sylmar quake and living in a apartment much like the one in the picture! Very scary!

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    1. Oh, that would have been scary! Much too close to the epicenter!

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  14. I know that exact feeling! My first one was the January 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake. 6.7 and seemed to last forever! Great use of the prompt!

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    1. Was there an earthquake in Northridge in 1991? For some reason, I was mixing up the date on that quake. Whenever it was, I wasn't there then, and a 6.7 must have been terrifying!

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  15. I've never lived through an earthquake. The earth doesn't move much in the UK.

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