Chapter 5 - Ciopova
Copyright © DenGlemtePrinsesse, 2020
Ciopova University Founded 2013. Under the platform to which the enormous statue of a man was standing, written the words.
I smiled, gazing at it.
In the South Eastern portion of the Pacific Ocean, where territorial disputes are common, hidden a reclaimed tropical country that is meant to shape the future.
A protectorate of the European crown, strategically situated in the Asian continent for none would suspect that in the middle of the emerging economies of the third world countries, a new world was brewing.
And while Ciopova is a smaller country by geography compared to Singapore, its wealth surpasses Oceana's and South America's GDP combined. This country is an experimental society that is economically and politically cultivated to be the future leader of the world.
No brand ambassadors nor famous or influential people were summoned for Ciopova didn't seek publicity. But the wealthiest individuals from around the globe were gathered to invest in the country — financial and physical representations.
My family runs a hotel accommodation back in Andorra and some other parts of Europe. It was a family business that was passed through generations. When my father asked to me to represent him in a major investment months ago, I was thrilled and immediately said yes. Ecstatic rather that I could finally be of use.
My mentor spent the last three months of my home-schooling about Ciopova. She was very particular at how I should never burn bridges here, for everything is all about connections. I was happy because finally, I get to contribute something for my family. It was later when I found out that my being a representative requires staying here, and be part of the test populace. Not that it would change anything if I found out sooner.
My father said I shouldn't complain because it was an opportunity to be one of the first to live in the country. He said I should be thankful about this for I get to be a part of a greater history the world will soon discover. Soon, because Ciopova isn't just ready yet. I wonder why that is.
While I stared at the statue in front of me I couldn't help but smile. It was indeed an opportunity I found here. And the people at home and here in school are just golden. I am forever grateful to my father for sending me here.
I looked back at Vivien, my first friend on the first day of school. I laughed silently as I remember how I almost misunderstood her kindness earlier.
After Mrs. Pears dismissed the class, the second professor immediately came in. It was Sir Mont. He was organizing his things on the table when I walked to him.
If at first I thought Mrs. Pears was frightening because of her serious looking face, Sir Mont on the other hand seemed strict to me.
When I told him I was a new student, he just extended his hand asking for my slip, not bothering to glance at me. When he's done signing it, he gestured me to go back to my seat.
Sir Mont started the class with an exam. The subject, World Literature.
Since they were already halfway done discussing the entire book, plus the fact that I had no idea what the story of Cupid and Psyche is all about — for the 'bonus part', as indicated on the paper — I failed the exam.
Sir Mont, as much as he appeared oblivious about my being clueless towards his subject, didn't seem unconcerned about it. Before leaving the class he walked to me and handed me a paper. Written on it, were a book title and the name of the author. I suppose it's a beginner's guide for his subject and probably less complicated than the book I have now. I thanked Sir Mont for the gesture.
After the World Literature class, everyone started standing up and talking louder than the normal volume. And then a longer bell rang. Relief was on every faces of my classmates so I assumed it was the signal for break.
That was when Vivien walked to me.
"Hi, I'm Vivien Hernandez, the Vice President of the―" I remembered her eyes rolling heavenwards as she paused.
"Do you want a tour?" She continued. Her face was as friendly as her voice. So I wasn't able to comprehend the annoyance in her tone. I was confused that despite the obviousness that she didn't like doing so, she still had to asked.
I smiled to myself as I recalled how my reaction earlier shot worry to Vivien. I couldn't give an answer to her right away, so she immediately explained that the annoyance has nothing to do with me but with her line that she has to utter every time a new student will come.
Vivien was still at the foot of the sophomore's building, still talking to another student.
We were heading out of the building when a guy approached us and politely asked me if he can have a minute with her.
Responding to that, I let myself wander in the heart of the university where the statue stands tall. Though I might be too far from them, but once Vivien started walking to the cafeteria, this will be her way.
Waiting, I distracted myself with the statue of a man, painted in white that's in front of me. It was facing the gate, like a welcoming committee, only that his face looks serious. I must have been too preoccupied and nervous earlier, that I didn't notice it when I first entered the university ground.
I stepped backward to get a better view of it.
His chin was held up, his chest was out and with both hand resting on a long baton that was touching the ground, clearly it was a statue of a man who depicts superiority.
I decided to walk around it but stop midway when I saw Dave with two other guys from a distance, walking towards the cafeteria, I assumed. Following them was Macforth, looking bored like the usual.
Automatically, I smiled. It was very different seeing them here than at home, I felt like I have brought my comfort zone to school.
I started walking back to Vivien, before Dave and Macforth could vanish entirely to my sight radius. I was gathering the appropriate words for asking her if I could go with my friends to the cafeteria instead, without offending her at the same time.
But halfway towards her, the surrounding suddenly became chaotic.
"Oh look!" Someone yelled.
On the other side of the pavement, was a group of four girls. All of them were looking up, their mouths were half open. Behind them were other students who, like them were looking up, standing immobile. It was like someone had pushed the pause button and everyone was frozen in placed.
Following their glances, that's when I understood what's happening.
Not so distant from us was a building going under construction, on top of it was a crane, and there's a man inside it, the crane operator I assumed. He was waving his hand down to us, trying to send a message.
The crane's carrying a metal basket that seemed to have something heavy in it, and it looks like something was going wrong. It was shaking uncontrollably, and it didn't take another second before it began towing the basket in a circular motion.
In the middle of the unfinished building, the construction workers were rushing to go up as the crane started making noise, even I, down here could hear.
The workers, as much as they wanted to help the operator, couldn't get any closer to the crane, it was an obvious danger to what they are putting themselves into, because it's tossing the metal basket faster now.
I looked back to my surrounding, checking if there has been a rescue operation on the ground or at the very least, someone that has a plan that could actually help the people up there.
My eyes landed to the place where Dave and Macforth stood, the farther side of the university that seemed to be late, getting the whole picture of what was happening up there.
The moment they understood the situation, they too had been frozen, looking up, like I was a few seconds ago.
It was when I heard a loud thud sound that made me looked up again.
And the next thing was unbelievable.
The cable wire that connects the metal basket to the crane broke, making it look like the crane has just thrown the basket, and all that circular motion earlier was a warm up to double the distance and the impact.
The basket is approaching fast.
And it is approaching my direction.
My eyes were locked on the object that will sure to inflict pain once it landed on me. I couldn't understand why the danger is coming to me.
The building, considering it's owned by the university, has obviously met the standard for safety precautions. First, it is covered with nets and is surrounded by platforms designed to catch falling debris. Second, I am not even close to the building. I wasn't even standing inside the hazard perimeter. So I cannot be certain why the danger is approaching me.
I felt like being tricked. Like, someone was playing jokes on me. Like, someone made sure I would be standing on the x mark, exactly when the crane would malfunction.
But on the second thought, I doubt that anyone could do this. No one could harm other people for fun. And if this, is made out of anger, I might just have been mistaken for someone else. I do not even know half the population of this school, so it couldn't be me.
Besides, if I didn't see Dave and Macforth walking towards the cafeteria and if I didn't decide to walk back to Vivien, I wouldn't be in this position. Therefore my decision or others' for certain, couldn't be a part of someone else's calculations, if someone was indeed, plotting for this.
This couldn't be someone else's plan. That would be so cruel.
So, is it Life? That has been responsible for this? Or faith that's being mean to me?
Abruptly, everything made sense.
I remember how I find it hard to sleep last night. I remember the tension I had on our way to school. The nervousness, the sweating, the anxiety, was that my instinct trying to tell me not to go? Was that intuition I had? That something bad was about to happen?
Regardless, it's too late now for the realization. My instinct must be disappointed at me for being so slow to pick up the hints.
I wanted to cry for the foolishness. I wanted to cry for help.
Dumbfounded, I stood in my position, frozen.
I couldn't take my eyes away from the danger that is coming.
I stood there, feeling tricked and hopeless.
I watched it coming.
Then it crashed.