Downfall - 3000 vs 30,000

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Chapter 8

The Brazilian & cab driver just turned into Albany. They stop because that same flock of people are running straight towards them. The burly boyfriend gets out, pushes aside whoever gets in his way and runs flat out. He calls her number again but can't hear anything yet. He looks over to the left & recognizes her green Bronco. He runs faster. Suddenly he sees someone lying on the ground & starts to hear her ringtone. He drops his phone & cries. He sees the wounds & bruises all over her body & immediately carries her up & jogs back to the Bronco. She's still conscious, she's still blinking but needs help fast. He gets into the ride with her & shuts the door. All windows are wound up, slightly cracked open at the top. In the backseat, he holds her in his arms.

'It's OK, bebe. I'm gonna get you to a hospital now. You gonna be alright.' She has a seizure & grips his shirt tightly, by the chest. She coughs out blood. A blood stain expands below her navel. Her boyfriend cries louder but tries to keep on consoling her, still holding her tightly. Like, nothing is gonna happen to you now! It stops. She looks up & catches his eye. She seems calm. He's totally agitated. She reaches for his neck and caresses the back of it, gently stroking her blood-stained thumb across his chin. He calms a bit. She tries to smile but only manages a smirk. They don't break eye-contact. Their connection is deeper than space.

'Y-Yuh-You know that time we talked about God?' He nods. She gasps a couple of times, not wanting to let the blood to stop her speech. 'It's not that I don't believe in him but that I've been too scared. He's invisible & there's so much evil in the world.' She coughs out blood onto his kidney area. She shuts her eyes & takes a deep breath. She looks back into his eyes, 'I needed to hold on to who I can trust. That's why I love you! I'm... I'm sorry baby, I didn't have to come here... but I wanted to help. Don't be mad at me, please!' He whispers, shaking his head, 'I'm not mad at you, bebe. I'm not mad... I'm proud!'

She smirks, with tears flowing down. 'I've realized, now I see what you see. I see God in YOU... I see him in us. I see his signs now... like you!' She grabs onto his right arm now. 'Promise me you'll be brave & keep on noticing his signs. They will be me!' He squeezes his eyes shut, breaking new streams of tears down his cheeks & looks away for a second. Then he looks back at her & nods. They look at each other for a minute. Engaging in the most in-depth conversation, words could never express. She smiles! He smiles back. 'Kiss me, baby!', she whispers. He goes down & gives a nice, long smooch on the lips. He breaks away gently, then slowly lifts his head to look into her eyes. But she sleeps away serenely. This time, she sleeps for good. In the arms of her lover, in his protective care. He whimpers out aloud, then SCREAMS uncontrollably. He brings her up to him, to still feel that outer-worldly love, but innately knows, his baby is gone. He strokes her hair and rocks back & forth. He cries like a baby, for nature wants this so.

9:55am, 20th floor, South Tower, World Trade Center

He stops to gasp for air. His cell vibrates in his pocket. He ignores it, even though he knows – it could be important. He falls down to his knees, thinks about quitting. He listens to the pandemonium in the staircase. All these people, mostly younger than him – they're running for their lives & aren't stopping. No idea how long they've been running, but they aren't taking a break. What kind of fight did they go through? Did they perhaps see death clearer? His phone stops vibrating. He gets back on his feet. The place is hazy. Is it smoky or is he just seeing double? Can't seem to figure out. 'Probably both.', he thinks. On his way out of the 20th floor, his cell vibrates again. He grabs it & takes his wife's call. 'Pumpkin, I'm in the World Trade Center, * COUGH * COUGH *... (aaah). Pumpkin, I haven't found him yet, but I'm almost there – I'll get him...'

'DAD, GET THE HECK OUTTA THERE!', his son screams on the other end. It jolts the engineer back to some attention, 'Whuh, what? You're home... ?' He freaks out, 'ARE YOU FOR REAL? YOU SAID YOU'LL BE GOIN' ON TO THE SOUTH TOWER AND YOU SEND ME HERE? PEOPLE ARE DYING HERE, THERE ARE DEAD PEOPLE HERE!!!'

'DAD, I SAID I'LL BE HOME IN ABOUT AN HOUR! IT DOESN'T MATTER NOW, GET THE HECK OUTTA THERE, NOW!!' His mother puts her palm over his mouth & almost yells herself, 'PUMPKIN, get down here! You have to get out at once!' The engineer, now at the stairway, realizes his mistake. He flashes back to the early morning, when was at the entrance of the vocational academy & all the kids swarmed in around him, during his call. He had trouble making out what his son was saying, he couldn't hear anything, but spurts of words, in the noisy ambience.

'Er... uh, wha? I can't hear you son, the kids here can't stop screaming!'

'I said OK! I'm coming home... OK, pops?'

'OK son! I got OK. The rest... HEY, YOU MIND TONING IT DOWN? I GOT AN IMPORTANT CALL HERE!'

'You take it easy – I'm going home, it'll be about an hour!'

He screams, 'AAAAAAAAHHH!!!' Forgetting he's on phone, he shouts, 'I UNDERSTOOD I'M GOIN' HOME, IT'LL BE 'BOUT AN HOUR! I misheard you! I messed up. MY GOD, I MESSED UP!' He holds his head in despair, crying as he remembers,

'Have you been reading that occultic garbage again? That stuff will get you KILLED!'

'He who dines with the devil, should seek a long spoon. If you dance with the devil, he doesn't change: He changes YOU!'

'The devil visits who inquires about him!'

'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!' He staggers back into the foyer, tightly stroking his fingers erratically through his hair. 'PUMPKIN! (DAD!) PUMPKIN!! (DA-AAD!) PUMPKIN, ANSWER ME!', sounds through his phone, but he ignores them. His thoughts re-align in perfect order & it all makes sense now. He's a brilliant mind. He sees what others can't & identifies connections between disparities. And he thrives on it but the execs at the factory constantly used to jeer & harass his delicate, mental framework. He used to suffer helplessly, like a seal thrown around the water surface by Orcas. Being more cunning than their dull mentalities, he conspired his brilliance to sharpen the assaultive charge element of his psychology. And what better way to find out, than from the devil?

He read books identifying occult symbolism. He studied the fundamentals of psychological warfare, He tested people's threshold to losing their temper & contemplated how to exploit those weaknesses. The better he became, the more disturbing his dreams would get. The more he'd fall into himself & the more excruciating it would become to break out of the force. Over time, he would get less averse to taking dangerous risks and the more sarcastic he would get, the more he would gradually disconnect from his loved ones. He's become a darkness, so severe, he has been defeated by it. He looks out the windows, at the buildings populating the area.

'PUMPKIN! PUMPKIN, WHAT'S HAPPENING?'

He lifts his cell back to his ear. He rubs his nose, ' * SNIFF * SNIFF * (HUU-UUUH)... nothing, sweetheart – I just had an epiphany.' He pauses for a second. 'I just wanna say, I lov...' The next split second interrupts his speech and the ceiling above breaks down on to the floor & flattens everyone & everything in its space and the decimated upper floors' debris crashes down in lightning speed with immeasurable weight and bangs onto the Earth, killing everyone & everything around, to a large extent.

In the Bronco, the Brazilian still hugs his girlfriend. He's still squeezing her tightly. He is whispering intense prayers in Brazilian-Portuguese, pressing his eyes closed. He opens them and looks out the window. A faint light just outside appears & grows larger & becomes extra-ordinarily bright. An apparition develops right before him. He's not scared. He's been crying so hard, he's too drained for that. His girlfriend materializes. He looks at her dejectedly. She smiles, her face glows & she looks truly at peace. She approaches in her aura & reaches out her hand to him. He doesn't let her body go. She touches his head & caresses his face. She looks deeply into his eyes, then smiles even more. A tear drops from his eye. She touches his forehead, holds his chest by his heart. She strokes his neck & looks at him one more time. Her apparition vanishes. A thundering roar of crashing sounds afar, and from the corner of his eye, he can see large, dark billows of smoke raving across the street, swallowing everything in its path, his way. Motionless, he closes his eyes as his tears rush & feels the violent tumbling of the smoke storm enveloping the vehicle. 'I know you're gonna be fine.', he whispers. 'Everything is gonna be fine!'


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