[RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA @ DUSK]
It has been at least a few hours since an American fighter jet was seen streaking at very low altitudes, about tree top level, through the ruined scenes of Raleigh, North Carolina, witnessed by Vince and Christina. As dusk begins to take heed in the skies, Christina continues to struggle over the massive debris in the streets, weaving through burned out automobiles, and keeps fading back and back as Vince easily overcomes obstacles. Unable to keep up and exhaustion overtaking her physical being, she yells out to Vince who stops in mid-climb on a truck and stands on the severely damaged bed. He turns around and sees that Christina is leaning up against the frame of a car and breathing heavy. He yells back out to her, “you okay?” and so exhausted she shakes her head side to side indicating that she is not well. Frustrated to have to stop again, Vince takes his time getting down off the bed of the truck and navigates his way back to her location. With dusk quickly approaching the air is getting thinner and beginning to get cooler, but neither one is prepared to spend the night underneath the stars.
“What happened to the jet?” Christina asked Vince when he gets within normal voice range. Vince kneels down, feels for a fever and checks her injury on her leg before answering, “I can only assume that the pilot has relayed the information back to D.C. about the president of the United States, and they will send a rescue party.” He makes a seat next to her and leans his back up against another car frame right across from her. “Do you think we will ever be found? Will we ever make it out of here alive? Get back to our families and loved ones again?” Christina quickly stated to Vince. He looks at her, glances down at his hands and responds, “We have to maintain a positive attitude and have the faith that we will be just fine. I would like to say we might get rescued along with the president, but for all we know they might not be thinking about us.” Vince takes a big gulp of saliva and then looks up into the sky at the early evening sky with a full moon getting brighter each minute. In the middle of his stare at the full moon, Vince begins to hear a chopping sound to his right and struggling to make out what it is.
He whispers to Christina, but when he looks over to her he sees that she has fallen asleep from mere exhaustion. Vince tries to wake her up as the chopping noise gets closer and closer, but appears to be unsuccessful in doing so. He slowly stands up and as the noise gets closer, bouncing off the ruined landscape, Vince finally makes out what the noise is and looks in that direction. Coming from behind a tall concrete rubble structure, two large helicopters appear, with their floodlights on for searching the ground below them, and as they fly overhead, Vince screams as loud as he can waving his arms in all directions to draw attention. The helicopters, flying at tree top level, continue over his head towards the last known location of the U.S. president and vice president. Immediately Vince starts to scream at Christina to wake up, as he shakes her aggressively, but slowly starts to come around. As the choppers continue to fly away from them, Vince lowers his voice and gets Christina’s attention and tells her what has just happened. Hearing the news about helicopters flying overhead wakes her up enough to gain the strength to get to her feet. Once on her feet Christina begins to navigate through the very rough terrain they had did once already, but knowing that help has arrived she ignores the pain and fights through it.
Within seconds they lose sight of the helicopters and can barely hear them off in the distance, but they use the hope to keep tracking their way in the same direction. Eagerness increases with every other step as they can hear the blades of the chopper getting louder and louder. Voices could be heard along with tearing metal and radio traffic from around the corner of their present location. Both get close enough to round the corner of a concrete post and spot the two large helicopters about two blocks down from where the president’s motorcade is located. They smile at each other and get closer to the group of soldiers prying into the president’s vehicle, but that would quickly become a huge mistake. One of the men spot them and yells at them through his gas masks, which was very hard to hear, but Vince assumed by the reaction of the men pointing their automatic rifles at them that they are to stop immediately. With Christina leaning her weight onto Vince, he struggles to hold her up as he stands there wanting to drop her. One of the soldier’s slowly approach them with their rifle pointed directly at them. Christina and Vince stare at the soldier approaching them and they attempt to slow down their breathing as their heartbeat increases with the fear of the unknown.
When the soldier gets within a few feet of them, Vince notices a black inscription on the chest of the soldier’s olive drab chemical suit. As he leans forward to get a better look at the inscription, his heart quickly drops from the surprise to see the U.N. on American soil picking up the president of the United States. His surprise quickly turns to anger and for the moment of not thinking he rushes the soldier in the response to protect his leader, but to only receive a butt stroke to the side of the head, and he stumbles down to the ground. For the time being Vince forgot where he was and forgot about Christina, who was able to maintain her own weight and rush over to aid to his injury. She looks up at the soldier into the tinted glass of the gas mask, with tears in her eyes, and makes a request to save them as well. Christina goes on to explain that they are part of the campaign team of the United States president, and that they can help them with anything they need. During her explanation, two other U.N. soldiers walk up with their rifles at the ready standing slight behind the lead soldier, on both sides. A few seconds later the other two walk up to her, on either side of her, and pick her up by her underarms and aid her to the waiting helicopters. One more soldier comes up to help the lead soldier pick up Vince, who resists a little bit, but quickly goes quietly with them to the second helicopter.
As Christina is being lead to the first helicopter, she looks down to the second helicopter and sees the American flag draped over the bodies of the president and vice president while being loaded into the rear of the helicopter. Once she climbs on the first chopper, she begins to let the tears flow as the reality of the situation has begun to hit her like a brick wall falling down. Vince is guided to the second helicopter and sees the president being loaded on the same chopper that he is approaching, and the emotions strike his hard in the chest. Emotions hit him so hard that he had to be almost forced on to the helicopter as the first one started to lifts off. Just before he was able to grab a seat, the second chopper lifts off the ground seconds later and quickly thousands of feet in the air leaving the city. Both Vince and Christina sit in silence, into their own minds, as they take it all in of what has happened, what is happening and what is about to happen in the near future. As the helicopters streak quickly through the skies, over nothing but ruined landscape as far as the eyes can see, Vince sees two fighter jets accompanying them on either side with Canadian markings. Life has just become very real!
END OF PART V
Next Publication – Part VI – April 29, 2017