“Things don’t always appear as they seem, never take anything for granted”
[FREDERICK, MARYLAND @ ZERO HOUR]
The re-election campaign hits an all-time high as we approach the last month of this intense season. Incumbent republican president is attempting to keep his seat at the White House against his fierce competitor from across the aisle, a democratic senator. As the American people countdown to election day, with the rest of the world watching to see how the markets will play on the polls, others are searching for a break in politics by watching the upcoming meteor shower. Little did anyone know or anticipate the events that would take place just a week before election day. During the excitement of the meteor shower other unidentified objects were seen entering the atmosphere amongst the falling stars. In an instant everything changed as the two teenage couples standing on the overlook are blown from their feet and through the air. As there is an eerie silence that settles over the overlook, Marcus realizes that he is blind and that pain is just overwhelming his body.
Marcus just knows and is for certain that his eye sight is permanently altered and has suffered some major injuries. He has no clue where Jennifer and Luther are, but he knows where Brooke is as she continues to crawl over him causing immense pain to his lower extremities. Which felt like an infinity, Brooke finally crosses his legs and cries out to Luther, who she can see just feet in front of him. “You found Luther?” Marcus mumbles in an agonizing voice. Brooke responds, “Yes! He’s over here lying face down. Luther?!” After finally reaching him, Brooke flips over Luther who lets out a very loud scream from the movement. This startles Brooke who flinches and countless times kept asking him was he feeling okay and where is he hurt. Luther was able to calm himself down and explain to her, “My left leg is completely broken, my left arm is also completely broken and I think my back is broken as well.” News like this is not anything Brooke was expecting and immediately started to break down in uncontrollable tears. It was at this time Marcus was able gain enough strength in his voice to yet to Jennifer. Listening for a few seconds with no response, but repeated.
On the fourth time calling out her name, Jennifer yelled out to Marcus and shuffled over to him, where she saw Brooke and Luther. She quickly grasps Marcus’s right hand and wiped away her tears while she tries to find out if everyone is okay. “I’m blind. I can’t see a damn thing. I’m not able to see your face, but I can still feel it. I haven’t forgotten what you look like.” Marcus said. This just made her break down with more tears and sympathy for her boyfriend who will never see the world the same again. Jennifer throws the same question at Brooke and Luther who hesitates to answer. Brooke finally replied and said, “I think I’m paralyzed from the waist down, and Luther has a broken arm, broken leg and possibly a broken back.” Turning around the best way she can and looks at Jennifer to ask her of her injuries. Knowing she was in best shape out of everyone, she hesitated before responding. “I just woke up from a concussion, I think, and right now as I can see only bumps and bruises.”
Marcus chuckles, Brooke scuffs and Luther sucks his teeth with all of them showing disgust and jealousy. “I’m sorry guys that I am in the best of shape, but right now I’m worried about you three.” Jennifer replied. Marcus turns his head towards Jennifer and asks her, “What the hell happened? I remember seeing a bright light and the next thing I know darkness is my reality.” Shaking her head as she looks around the darkness, smoke and the landscape debris that surrounds them, Jennifer replies, “I don’t know what happened. I don’t recognize anything anymore. Where do I go for help?” Luther responds, “Well since you are the only one with working legs, you may have to go find help from somewhere. We all need medical attention like yesterday.” Shaking her head up and down, Jennifer agrees and begins to stand up with a slight pain shooting up her left leg. Grimaces in pain as she puts weight on her leg, but quickly collapses accidently falling on Marcus. He lets out a loud scream and starts crying from the immense pain that just went through his body. She quickly rolls off of him and starts to cough before checking on Marcus.
A few minutes later, Jennifer starts to stand up again and with being on a slight incline this makes her put weight on that injured leg again. Jennifer was able to keep herself from falling as she climbs back up the hill to their original spot. “Where you going?” Brooke shouts. Jennifer glances back and replies, “Climbing back to our original point to see if I can see what happened. Maybe I will be able to know how to call for help.” Each step and crawl just gave Jennifer intense pain that felt like it was getting worse and worse with each movement. Determination kept her going and she was able to finally climb to the previous point, but this time the tree that was there has been blown away leaving a stump. Jennifer plops her head down on the ground while trying to catch her breath when she suddenly hears an explosion over the ridge. Pulling herself up over the top to see the town was a hard struggle, but finally did it. Jennifer stared down at the town beneath the ridge and saw her entire world just completely in flames. Flames were so high and running so rampant that she could feel some of the heat being miles away. Pulling herself to look over the ridge into the valley, small fire pockets could be seen several feet from them, but not immediate danger.
Forcing herself to look up as she started to pay attention of ashes beginning to fall around her, and sees the mushroom cloud still formed miles up into the atmosphere. Understanding what she is looking at, Jennifer knows that her and her friends are in immediate danger and must find a way to get out of there. She starts to slide on her stomach back towards Marcus causing herself abdomen cuts and bruises over rocks. Marcus hears her back down to them and wondered what is happening. Fear surrounds her face and glances back up to the sky at the mushroom cloud. In her low tone she explains, “I think I know where to find help, but I need to get you three out of here.” “How the hell you going to do that? Even though you can walk, you’re still fucked up!” Luther responds slightly angrily. Marcus turns his head towards her and knows that something is wrong. His ears have heightened their senses and he can hear her quivering in her voice and words. “Okay Jen. I suppose we better find a plan out of here, but your challenge is that I’m blind, Brooke is possibly paralyzed and Luther whole left side is fucked. There you go. I suppose you have to figure it out.” Marcus let out a small chuckle at the end, which was followed by another chuckle by Jennifer.
[RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA @ ZERO HOUR]
As the silent wind blows through the city, a staffer on the president’s campaign trail is suddenly awaken to find himself under massive amounts of rumble. He starts coughing immediately as he starts removing things off the top of him to free himself. After removing one heavy slab of concrete that was leaning just inches from his head, moonlight shines on his face. Looking up at the moon is a surprise as he last remembers being in an underground parking garage. The moonlight displays that he is covered in ash from head to toe, and every movement ruffles the ash off of him. Trying to get his coughing under control, he was able to move enough debris to stand up, but he did very slowly. As he looks around all he can see is small standalone fires, cars and trucks flipped every which way and heavy smoke. The staffer quickly remembers and frantically searches for any signs of the president, other staffers and anyone that could still be alive. Climbing over rumble and moving debris left and right, he spots one of the secret service agents on the ground. He rushes over to him and checks for a pulse and feels nothing. Looks around and sees the feet of the campaign manager. Rushing over to her he was able to get pulse, but it was very shallow. Feeling lucky he stands up to continue looking around and running with his head cut off, but spots the president’s vehicle several feet away.
Tripping and stumbling over debris, dead bodies and loose car parts, he falls right into the mangled vehicle. Frantically feels for ways to open the door to free the president, but finds it very difficult to do so. He quickly finds a rebar and uses that to pry open the rear door. When he finally gets the door open, a body falls out of the car at his feet. The shock on his face seemed permanent when he noticed it was the president of the United States. Bending over to get a better view in the car, he could see the vice president as well lying motionless with his eyes open, and bleeding from the face. This sight was just simply overwhelming and barely comprehensible to the five senses. He stumbles back and falls over another dead secret service agent. When he stands back up and starts to closely pay attention to his environment, a mushroom cloud could be seen in the western sky and the city landscape completely gone. The sight of what he is seeing is just too hard to understand and way too much swallow, which brings instant tears and severe sorrow. Noise behind him made him quickly remember about the other staffer still alive. Jumping and hoping over rubble and debris in his way, he reaches her and tends to her laceration over her left ear. When she asks him what happened and is the president okay, he gives a huge gulp of saliva and just stares in her eyes; wondering how to respond and how to generate the news.
END OF PART I
Next Publication (Part II) – March 4, 2017