This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt follows a brief discussion of wife-carrying contests and is to write about a situation in which one might need to carry one’s wife. I only carry my wife in my imagination since I don’t have one. That is not the story I wrote.
This is heavily edited from its original form, which was about twice as long. Sadly, I had to cut a joke from the end about my protagonist hoping his children were all right. Yes, it was a dark joke. In its final form, his children never existed, which may be darker.
It hit in the wee hours while Ricardo and Selema were asleep. The rumble thrust them into consciousness. The ceiling sent Selema reeling into unconsciousness.
Living in the Bay Area, Ricardo knew the dangers of aftershocks. The fallen beam would lead to further collapse.
Ricardo cleared the debris off Selema. He hoisted her, thankful for her time at the gym, wishing he made time for the gym. He struggled with the locks as the first aftershock shook. He heard a crash in the bedroom. The earth steadied, and Ricardo opened the door.
From outside, the sagging roof was visible.