Downfall - 3000 vs 30,000

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Chapter 7

9:20am, Around The World Trade Center Plaza

The medic turns from Liberty Street into Greenwich then into Albany Street. She drives up & parks along the left-hand side, at the junction with Washington Street, adjacent to the South Tower. The place is cordoned off, 1st responders have arrived to the scene & members of the police are exercising crowd-control to the aghast onlookers. She gets out of her jeep & jams the door shut. Then she runs to the terrified, frantically-emotional crowd & squeezes her way through.

Reverting fully to work-mode, on her holiday, she shouts, 'Make Way! Make Way! Coming Through! EMT! Please Get Outta My Way, I'm Coming Through!' She nudges steadily to the edge of the secured area. Meanwhile, her phone in her back pocket picks up a call & vibrates. She is so fired up with adrenaline that she doesn't feel it. She gets to the police officer facing the crowd & holds up her work ID. He lets her through & she runs to the pavement across the other side, to the people sitting on the ground. She crouches & starts a 1st aid preliminary evaluation on the person right in front of her. Her phone rings again. This times, she notices it & quickly answers, 'BABY, I'M AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER. I CAN'T TALK NOW!' She hangs up & sticks the phone back in her rear-pocket. Over in her bedroom in Brooklyn Heights, her boyfriend flips & begins to worry aloud over the safety of his girlfriend & child. Feeling the instinctive need to protect her, he grabs his wallet & wears his trainers. He rushes to the entrance way & picks the house-key off the pinboard, on the right. He grabs a dried T-shirt from the top edge of the kitchen door on the left then exits the apartment. He runs down 3 flights of stairs & bolts out - wearing his shirt as he runs to the bus stop up ahead. He looks to the road & sees a taxi approaching. It's available! He shouts & waves his hands like crazy. The cab stops as he reaches to go shotgun. He screams, 'DON'T STOP! KEEP GOING!', swinging the door open. He jumps inside, 'World Trade Center!' The taxi accelerates on, as he reaches for the open door during motion, then slams it shut.

9:30am, Washington Street

The taxi drives slowly down towards the masses. 'God, please don't let my boy die.' He just sent a text to his wife, saying he'll be looking for their son at the South Tower. 'God, please don't let my boy die. Take me but don't let my little boy * sniff *' 'Yeah, yeah! Where's your God now?', the cab driver mocks the engineer. 'What kind of God lets this kind of thing happen, huh? They got planes in there! TWO, PLANES! You know how many people is dead in there? You know...' 'GOD-DAMMIT! DO I LOOK LIKE I GOT ALL THE ANSWERS? I'M ABOUT TO DIE & MY ONLY SON IS UP THERE & I DUNNO WHERE TO LOOK!' The cab driver looks appalled at the engineer through the rear-view – and shuts up. The old man streams tears down his face, gradually falling apart. 'God, please God! Pleease God...', they drive on until the cab stops. He's now whispering, 'Don't take my little boy, please God!' The driver hesitantly leans back & goes, 'This is as far as I can go.' He now turns to look at him & says, 'Listen, uh... Pops. Don't worry about the fare, it's on the house.' He pauses a second holding the steering-wheel, then looks to the crowds of people at the crime-scene, 'America is under attack – we gotta stick together!' The engineer looks at him. He whispers, 'God bless you, my boy!', and gets out of the cab. As he walks by the front door, the cab driver hollers, 'Hey pops!' The old man leans onto the window ledge & hunches down to see him. 'I'll pray for ya!' The engineer nods, then walks towards the crowd. Seconds later, he jogs. He observes the situation first, then stops to look at the sealed off area. He moves away from the front & heads behind most people. With unrelenting pain in his chest, he jogs to the pavement, directly contiguous to the South Tower. He sees an officer guarding the corner & a paramedic with people, further behind. He goes straight to the officer. Holds her on the shoulder, bends down, leaning on one knee. She asks him, 'Sir, is everything alright?' He leans back up, just about catches his breath. He's burnt out & his face is red with pain. 'HUH... HUH... I … huh, I got treated by that medic there. I was leaving but I just remembered I forgot my phone, keys & wallet all by them.' He looks from the medics back at the officer & says, 'I gotta speak to my wife, she doesn't know I'm alright. Please, I'll be right back!' She nods, holds up the police-tape & gestures him to pass through. She watches him as he jogs to the medics, then turns back to resume observing the crowd. The engineer pants painfully. The medic just finished putting band-aid on someone. She briefly looks up & sees an old man, sweating hard & is visibly tired out. She gets up & grabs him in his stride. 'Sir, you need to get some attention. You're in no position to run!' 'I need to get my wife, she just called! I need to know we'll get help, stay here! I'll be right out!', still running, he takes her hands off him. 'SIR! It's too dangerous for...' He looks back, interrupting, 'STAY RIGHT HERE! I'll bring her out in a minute!' Shaking her head, she stops & throws up her hands, upset. Confused, she watches him entering the building, then returns to her patients.

He's feeling his health now operating on reserves. He knows his heart is breaking apart, like a classic race-car driving top speed at the LeMans 24 hour race. He's knows he has a choice: He can decide to leave and just go home. But that wouldn't make him a father and he's not leaving his boy behind. Besides, he's going home anyway.

He climbs up the stairs to the 1st floor. Shaken people, frightened to the bone, swarm down. He has to be the only one going against the flow. And strangely, as he looks at their faces & they look at his, there doesn't seem to be a difference. They seem to appear the same – like they've seen death! So, the vibe of the fusion of his ascent with their descent seems to be at one. A chilling but uniform vibration. Death reeks in these corners and its essence is being perceived.

Outside, the medic is with a young girl who's got deep lacerations on her outer left thigh. It's just a flesh wound and no major arteries are cut but it still requires urgent attention, to prevent infection. She's been calming the child down, who's been brave & not felt as helpless as she could be tempted to. The medic has just cleaned the wound & looks for the tools to perform the stitching. She reaches around – nothing. 'Shit!', she looks at another medic who's with an elder man on a gourney. 'Hey! There was a set of needles here, where did they go?' The other woman looks behind her & points to an open ambulance, 'Someone from that team took it. Said they got an emergency!' The medic closes her eyes & exhales, sinking her head. 'Who doesn't?', she speaks lowly & looks back up, into the girl's hurt but hopeful eyes. It smacks her back to her senses , forcing her to think clearly again. Not knowing what to do, she consoles the little girl, mentally trying to figure out how to proceed. She pats the young brunette's hair back, 'It's OK, baby! Everything is gonna be fine, we're gonna... we're gonna find you some new, little tools to get you... hold up, THAT'S IT! She pauses. Then she grabs the girl by the head & kisses her on the cheek, 'Mwah! You're amazing!' Then she holds both the girl's hands & speaks softly with beaming eyes. 'Listen honey, I know your leg really hurts but it's not going to anymore. I'm gonna dash to my car & fetch a set I keep for myself. So I can save a gorgeous, little princess like you. Your dad is gonna take good care of you & watch nothing touches your leg. I'm gonna be right back! I promise! OK, sweetie?' The girl, with drying-up tear streams on her cheek, nods timidly at the lady. 'OK!', the medic smiles at her then throws a quick look at the dad & pats him on the knee, as she gets up. She hastes out of the perimeter and struggles through the crowd again. Eventually, she makes it through. Her car is parked in the distance and she makes a run for it. Suddenly, a hoard of overly anxious people coming from the World Trade Center Plaza, spills out onto the street. In no time, they catch up with & surround the medic, who then gets knocked down unconscious by a couple of large, panic-stricken men, and trampled over by a dozen other people, before they all pass her by. She sustains heavy injuries to her skull, collarbone, ribs, pelvic area & left ankle. She lies on the asphalt, 20 meters away from onlookers. None of them noticed a thing, everyone's still looking at the towers. She can't move, can't feel anything. A feeling overcomes her that's unknown. Sort of releases some tension from her injuries. Enables her to contract a bit, regain control. She opens her eyes. Blood is dripping down her eyebrows. She feels more pain than she can accurately assess now. She lifts her head, then feels the collar bone creeking within. She almost passes out again. Hanging her head low, she rests on her forearms. She's weak. Her blood pressure must be dropping. Her phone rings! The vibrations sends ripples through her spine. The already sore back is stretched to the threshold to take more pain. 'Not the best of times!', she thinks, 'Damn – even thinking hurts.' She sucks it in & reaches on to her rear & like a drunkard tries to grab her phone out. Got it. She exhales, then lifts her head up, as she rolls to her back. Excruciating pain! Her eyes tear up. Looking at the sky, she takes the call, rubbing on the necklace of her boyfriend.

'Ungh...unnngh! U-ungh...'

'BEBE! WHAT HAPPENED? WHERE ARE YOU?', while her boyfriend speaks on, she tries to reply, 'Gnn... gngh... mmmm'


She see birds flying by. She notices an eagle circling over her, gliding with the wind. She's getting weaker. Her tears flow down. The short reprieve enables some speech. She says faintly, 'Albany!', and then, 'Albany!'

Her eyes close & she drops the phone.

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