Chapter Twenty-Eight

Glessian - Lander 431


He felt his left eye sizzle and pop; then his right. He felt no pain then, just a liquid running down the corners of his eyes, wetting his temple, then pooling in his ears. The liquid felt warm and thick. The smell let him know how much pain he should feel, a stench of burned hair and pork rinds wafting all around his face.

Yet the pain caused no greater fear. The darkness that he had been tossed into for the rest of his living days filled his body with all the fear it could handle. The knowledge that he was blind forever, and that he was still alive to receive further torture made his body tremble uncontrollably, though he could not move of his own volition.

His eyes couldn’t even afford him the luxury of crying.

He was alone. He could hear them no more, the cracking and popping electricity out of earshot.

Some time passed before he felt hands all over him, working the straps that held him down, feeling for his face and reaching for his feet and hands. Mike heard voices too; sounds of sorrow and mourning, words of calm and compassion - the lilt of human voices, the comfort of human words, and the warmth of human kindness.

He felt himself lifted off the hard surface and helped to the ground, a dozen pair of hands lowering him softly to the ground. A voice rose above the others in the obscurity in clarity and whispered in his ear.

“You are safe. You are with us. We will help you,” The voice said.

"Please, what is happening? Who are you? What happened to my eyes?” He asked, tough he knew.

“We are theirs, and they have taken from you what they do not have. They have taken it from all of us,” the voice said.

“What?” He asked, though once again he knew.

“Our sight - We are all blind - As they are,” The voice said, and the voice began to cry softly.

And Michael Livingston cried as well. But no tears came.



The Pentagon

The Pentagon had been, at one time, the largest office building in the world. Spread over nearly twenty-nine acres, its pentagonal shape had been chosen by President Roosevelt in 1941, simply because he felt that “something like that had never been done before. Groundbreaking for the building began on September 11th, 1941, exactly sixty years before the terrorist attacks that changed the nation and caused President Hayward to enter a life of service in politics.

The building was gone. Partial walls remained, and even part of the small chapel built to memorialize the attacks stood- though at a severe angle -but what truly remained behind was a pile of smoking rubble plagued with frozen bodies.

By this site the President and his small group stopped and rested.  Thomas Hayward stood between the fire and the men and woman who had accompanied him to this point. He spoke, surprisingly, with unwavering conviction in a voice just louder than the sound from the crackling branches.

“It has been nearly a week since our world was turned inside-out and our day-to-day lives became dislodged and uncertain. I want to each of you for staying by my side. I do not know exactly what has happened. I do not know how far and wide the devastation has reached. Our greatest success is simply to stay alive. There is no rebuilding what has been destroyed, no recovering of our past. We do not have a magic wand that will make everything better again nor is there some simple step we can take to bridge the distance we have to travel. Not for those of us who have survived,” Thomas said, “We will never see the fruits of whatever efforts we undertake to make this our world again, but we have no choice but to persevere; to survive. We must take one step and then the next - and do that over again until we die. But first and foremost we must survive today and then tomorrow.”

He looked each individual in the group straight in the eyes as he spoke, and rather than look away to break the eye-contact, they felt compelled to maintain it.

“I do not know if it gets any better west of here,” he continued, “but our best chance lies in Colorado, at Cheyenne Mountain. If anything survived this Armageddon, that facility did.”

Frank Strum stood as the President finished speaking. His dark eyes flashed with pride.

“Mr. President, we will follow you to the gates of hell... Considering where we are, they can only lead out.” He said with a smile.

The men and woman of the group nodded somberly, realizing that the road before them was likely one they would never see the end of.

Alan stood as well but instead of speaking he beseeched them all to be quiet with his index finger to his lips.

“What is that noise?” He whispered, cocking his head toward one of the smoke plumes nearby. “Do you hear it?”

They nodded in assent as each stood up and turned toward the dancing smoke. Alan took a few steps in that direction but froze when he saw debris shifting just below the plume. The small stone-slide gathered speed, and larger boulders and bricks, as a dark rectangle seemed to grow from the ground.  The smoke shifted direction and partially obscured a figure rising from the darkness. The figure stepped through the smoke and peered at them, searching. He stopped when he spotted Hayward’s face.

“Mr. President?” The figure asked, his hands held tightly to his sides, the white cap sunk sharply down to his ears.

“Yes?” Thomas replied, the surreal moment throwing him.

Another man stepped out from behind the young Navy lieutenant and walked toward the President, his eyes and smile shifting toward Director Clarkson as he walked by. The man was of imposing size and his insignia marked him as a Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy. 

He saluted the President smartly, and spoke, his high-pitched voice incongruous with his bearing, "Mr. President, we don't have much time. There is a call for you."

The President's mouth, open in amazement, shut before he spoke, "Lead the way"

Director Clarkson smiled to himself, unsure if the President had been surprised by the sudden appearance of Alfonso Valenzuela, the fact he had a call waiting, or the giant man's voice.

Chapter 29

funny bunny says:
2007-09-08, 06:45
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Me says:
2007-10-27, 13:33
Este e o novo método de comentar...
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2008-01-21, 04:36
This rocks...
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