Isobel Cairns

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The city was soaked in floodlights. I ran up the stairs that were mouldy at the edges to find the doctors that I knew were there. They were surprised to learn of the earthquake and I shepherded them off the fifteenth floor. Outside I found you. We fished a way through the puddles left by the floodlights, away from the army coloured buildings to a city of fabric. After the first day I wished we had brought a bigger tent. By the second day someone had broken their neck falling over a guy rope in the dark, so one of the others painted a white line to show where it was safe to walk at night. After that we couldn’t move the tent. On the third day I began to forget it all and sometime after that the buildings fell down. The old man said the rats had finally been allowed to eat what they wanted, but I didn’t understand, because I didn’t know what the buildings were made of.

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