Dust, ash, glass – whatever it was, my mouth was thick with it.
Since the blast, I hadn’t been able to see anything. We could’ve been buried under a mountain of brick and the only thing I knew for sure was that Jude’s breath was still warm against my throat. I wasn’t sure I was injured exactly; everything felt numb but nothing hurt. Somehow, we were cocooned in the cavity underneath the sheet of metal that had wedged into the wall. Sense told me we should be dead; maybe we were.
I lost track of time. The one thing I focused on was Jude’s laboured breathing, every puff of air seeming weaker than the last. I kept my eyes glued closed and listened to the creaking of stone around my ears.
Finally, a sharp light bit into my eyes. I blinked and shielded my face.
‘Danielle? Judith? Is that you?’
My first attempt at speech came out in a whisper. The second time, I managed, ‘Here.’
‘Both of you?’ It was a man; local, young.
‘You have to get Jude first.’
‘Let us work that out, love, okay? We’re moving these bricks so just stay as still as you can. My name’s Tony, I’m a fireman. Can you tell me if you’re injured at all?’
I choked down a mouthful of grime. ‘Jude –’
‘Tell me about you first,’ he interrupted. ‘Can you move?’
‘Yes,’ I lied.
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