In The Rubble

She ducked down again as the pillars fell. Her eyes streaming tears which washed away streaks of dust and dirt. Her long dark hair stuck to her cheeks and got in her mouth and eyes. She blinked rapidly, trying to see a path ahead through the smoke like debris.

Another bomb hit. The building next to where she now knelt behind her father’s desk. A fresh wave of sobs hit her as she fought to forget his face, frozen forever in shock as the ceiling collapsed on him.

She sat down now, behind the large Oak desk, hugging herself, biting her lip so as to not to cry out aloud. She knew they’d left before the bombs began to fall, but they thought she was already dead. She grimaced as her fingers accidentally touched the raw wound on her neck. Her throat hurt with the dry, dirty, air. She fought to breathe but it was harder and the smell of burning, cooked meat and the screams were more than she could bear.

Pushing herself up off the floor she rounded the desk and saw… Nothing but the next building in ruins below her. Her father’s office, set on the 9th floor, had no wall now. Beyond his shagpile carpet and antique books, strewn across the floor, was the city, laid out before her. Smoke and fire everywhere. Once a hubbub of nationalities and life it was now a fallen shell.

The screams had stopped and a few people called for help, but mainly it was strangely silent. The bombers had left, happy with their work.

She inched forward and looked down over the edge of what was left of the room. Carved out of the tall, majestic, building was just a sheer drop. She could see, she realised, a signature on a beam of wood. Perhaps a workman had carved his loved ones name in it before carefully hammering his nails in place.

Gradually she became aware the voices calling for help had drowned away in a rising drone of aircraft engine noise.

Looking up she saw the bombers returning and she knew there was no hope for them now.

She gazed around… Eyes dry now and face set with a grim countenance. She said goodbye to her father and steadily walked out and over the edge of the building onto air.

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