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title: at the top or at the end of the world
author: fiona shaw
word count: 372 words
works remixed: Pip Adams - The Anzac Centenary Bridge, Cheryl Bernstein - This is about earthquakes, Lynn Jenner - She used to ask me, what is it like up there?
for the mix and mash challenge: literature remix 2011.

The world shook for seven days and nights. The whole world, shaking and shaking. Trees and eggs and houses and churches all fell down. The world must be ending, I told my Mummy. But I wasn’t scared.

We travelled after that. For another seven days and nights. Up and up and up we went. That was where they told us to go. Everyone we met on the road and everyone we had known before the quakes. Go up and up, they said. Get away from this place. In every town they said it, so in every town we headed upward. We had to hurry.

Over the land, there was dust. Liquid brown rivers, and dust. There were bridges over the rivers, and they were empty, the bridges. Over the bridges, before they rusted or fell down (or they were washed away, but that came later), the animals roamed wild across the land.

There was a bird on the mountain. The last one in the world it seemed. We drove up and past it, until our car ran out of gas. It watched us. ‘Is it real?’ we asked each other. I suppose all the rest had flown away.

She used to ask me what it was like up there. After the mountain, after we came down. Long after the world shook, and the birds returned again (or were they different birds, and were our birds still gone?). In the city, I told her, we were like ants and we would get squashed (almost squashed) but up on the mountain, I said, we were safe.

I used to write stories about the shaking. I wrote about how the city must be all deserted now, and how the animals from the zoo would escape and set out across the land. I called this book ‘Earthquakes and the Zoo’, and I still have it. On A4 paper, in green crayon.

“Everything falls down,” it says, “and then we run away to the mountain and the safe place. Mummy comes with us but not Daddy, and Tommy the cat has to stay behind as well. But they will be okay. Mummy says so. Mummy says so.”

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