Author's note: The following story, although mostly fiction, is based on an actual event.
On Monday, January 17, 1994, at 4:30 AM, Pacific Standard Time, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit 34 degrees 12.80' N, 118 degrees 32.22' W, 20 miles west-northwest of Los Angeles, 1 mile south-southwest of Northridge, beneath the San Fernando Valley. The type of faulting was a blind thrust. The fault involved, although unnamed at the time, was the Northridge Thrust (also known as the Pico Thrust). The depth was 18.4 kilometers.
I have done a good deal of research for this episode, including checking online resources and a taped copy of the ABC News program, day one, which aired the day of the quake. I hope everything is accurate. If it isn't, please let me know.
The Keene family, Lana Deschain, Mike Vincent, Rick Walker, Stacey Anderson, Romeo Roberts, Julius Jones, and Kristen Shallowayne are ficticious. The people in the day one segments are real, and their names are used without permission. I included them to add a sense of realism.
Finally, this story is dedicated to the people that lost their lives during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
Sunday, January 16, 1994, 7:47 PM
Kevin Keene, Lana Deschain, and Kevin's parents, Ned and Cheryl, were sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner. "So," Cheryl asked, "how long are you two planning on staying here?" "I dunno," Lana said, "but I needed to get away." She pressed her fingers to her temples. "I had a ton of appointments today. But I guess that's nothing new. I had to get out of there, so I left Zelda in charge and took off." She laughed. "Poor girl." The Keenes laughed. "And it's good to come back home every once-in-a-while." Kevin said. "Well, you guys can stay as long as you like." Ned said. "The others decided to come home, too." Kevin said, then smiled. "It's like a group vacation." They all laughed.
Monday, January 17, 1994, 4:30 AM
Kevin and Lana had fallen asleep on Kevin's bed while watching the episode of "The Transformers" entitled "The Ultimate Doom". Currently, Bumblebee was about to fall through a hole created by an earthquake. Suddenly, the room started shaking. Kevin and Lana woke up. "What's that?" Lana asked in a panic. Kevin looked at the TV screen. The power had gone out. Kevin groaned. "Oh, no, this isn't what I think it is, is it?" Lana looked at the screen, then shook her head. "No." "Then it must be an earthquake!" Kevin said. He stood up, pulling Lana to her feet. "C'mon. We gotta get to a doorway! It's the safest place!"
In Ned and Cheryl's bedroom, they were doing the exact same thing. "Kevin!" Ned called. "Kevin, can you hear us?!" Cheryl called.
Julius Jones woke up. "Duh, what's that?"
After a duration of fifteen seconds, the earthquake stopped. Kevin and Lana carefully walked out into the hallway. They met Ned and Cheryl. "Thank God you two are all right!" Cheryl said. She and Ned hugged Kevin and Lana. "This is my first earthquake." Lana said with a slight laugh. "We better check out the damage." Kevin said. "Careful, there may be aftershocks." Ned warned.
The house had sustained little structural damage, as it turned out. However, the place was a mess, and the power was out. Kevin, Lana, Ned, and Cheryl were picking up fallen objects off of the living room floor. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Lana went to answer it. She unlocked and opened the front door. Rick Walker was standing there with a worried look on his face. "Hey, are you guys all right?!" "Rick!" Lana nodded. "Yeah, we're fine. You?" Rick walked into the living room. "I'm fine, and so is everyone else." Mike Vincent, Stacey Anderson, Romeo Roberts, Julius Jones, and Kristen Shallowayne walked into the living room. Kristen gave Lana a hug. "Lana!" Lana hugged her. "I'm okay, Kristen." Kevin and Stacey also hugged each other. "Kevy, I was so scared!" Stacey said. "It's okay, Stace. It's over." Kevin assured her. The two of them kissed softly. Mike closed the door and locked it. "Man, that was scary!" Kevin grinned. "The tough guy's admitting he was scared, huh?" "Shut up, Keene." "It was nice of you all to think of us." Cheryl said. "Well, as long as you're all here, can you help us clean up?" "Okey-chokey-chicken!" Stacey said cheerfully.
"Who wants breakfast?" Cheryl asked. "I'll have some waffles." Kevin said with a grin. "Me, too." Lana added, grinning. "You're getting pancakes." Cheryl said. Dejected, Kevin and Lana sat at the kitchen table. Ned sat down as well. "Anyone else?" Cheryl asked. "I gotta get home and help my parents clean up." Mike said. "Like, me, too." Stacey said. "We gotta get to class." Rick said. After everyone said their good-byes, Mike, Stacey, Rick, Romeo, and Julius left. "Kristen, breakfast?" Cheryl asked. Kristen shook her head. "Nah, I gotta go to work." "You have almost a half-hour. Sit." Cheryl said. Kristen smiled and sat to Lana's right. Cheryl came by carrying a plate full of pancakes. She placed it on the table. "Everybody dig in." Cheryl sat down. Kevin took some pancakes and placed them on his plate. "Man, I dunno why we gotta have these lousy pancakes." "Yeah, waffles rule!" Lana said. "Will the two of you please shut up?!" "Yes, mom." Kevin said.
Rick was helping Mike clean up outside. "Thanks for helping me, man." Mike said. "No problem, man." Rick said. Suddenly, the ground started shaking. Mike and Rick fell to the ground. "An aftershock!" Rick yelled. He crawled over to Mike. Mike clutched his left leg in pain and gritted his teeth. The shaking eventually stopped. "Are you hurt?" Rick asked. "I...landed on my leg." Mike said. "I - I think I pulled a muscle." "Can you stand up?" Rick asked. Rick helped Mike get to his feet. Mike stood on his right leg only. "I'll drive you to the hospital." Rick said.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Mike walked into the waiting room. Rick stood up. "Feeling better, man?" Mike nodded. "Yeah." The two of them left the building.
Elsewhere in the building, DIR Mary Flores was talking on the phone with ABC News anchor Forrest Sawyer. "I presume you haven't been able to save everyone." Forrest said. "Um, no, we have had three deaths today." Mary said. "Are you beginning to see the - the people coming through there slack off? Is - is the flow at least beginning to die down a little bit?" "Um, not really. Um, it's been pretty steady all afternoon. It's, uh, 5:25 our time here in California, and we still have a lot of people walking into our department." "Well, you've got a tough job ahead of you through the night, Mary Flores." Forrest said. "Thank you for taking the time to talk with us - " "You're welcome - " " - as you do your job."
ABC News World Headquarters
Forrest Sawyer was sitting at a desk, anchoring the news program day one. "Uh, throughout the area, other hospitals are also facing those kinds of problems, but they are trying to handle it as well as they can. We'll bring you more information about that as the program goes on. When we come back, we're going to take a look at what was the real source of the trouble. It was an earthquake fault that had never been heard of...until today." The picture on television sets around the country changed to show a truck on an overpass. Ahead of it, the street had been destroyed.
Kevin and Lana were sitting on the couch, with Lana on Kevin's left. Kevin was hugging Lana. "This was the first earthquake I've ever been through." Lana said. "I was kinda scared." She smiled. "But you were with me." Kevin smiled back at her and kissed her on her right cheek. Ned walked over and sat to Kevin's right. "Hey, you two all right?" Kevin smiled and nodded. "We're okay,