Thursday, 28 July 2011

Retelling the story

I slowly peeled back my eyelids and immediately wished I was still out for the count. The building opposite mine, a tower block, twenty stories, was leaning like Pisa. My head had hit something. Hard. There was a stickiness as I raised it. That song was still playing, something hip-hop, something infectious. As a soundtrack to a scene of grand destruction, it held its own. Delusional maybe, but a grandeur nonetheless. I checked my watch and noted twenty past one, the minute hand at an angle equal to that of the tower opposite. I hadn’t been unconscious long. It was quiet. Despite the car alarms honking like electronic geese, it was very quiet. A hush similar to snow’s, peculiar to a scene of massive violence. It could just be the ringing in the ears. The sirens hadn’t arrived. The dust was as yet unsettled. My mind, feeling gooey, tried to assure itself there would be an explanation for all of this. Though, it was still struggling with the building opposite and hadn’t yet taken in the fact that the skyline behind it was smoke and orange fire.

When I got to my feet, the first of the helicopters passed overhead. They didn’t stop. The walking wounded emerged from buildings, grey and bloodied. We stood around. Someone was saying terrorists, someone else, earthquake. Phones weren’t working. I passed a woman praying.

That first day… We all have a hundred stories about the first day. A year later, ten years later, a generation later, we’re still telling those stories. We slipped into their telling and made them fit our censored recollections. The one I told the most was the leaning building one. How I peeled back my eyelids, wished I hadn’t, and saw the tower leaning. In the telling I like to angle my hand to parallel the incline. Like this…


(Suggested by a story prompt from the site Flash Fiction Friday)

6 comments:

storytreasury said...

very good! Reminds me a bit of 9/11

Vinod Narayan said...

Very well said. Real virtuality Nice!

Sue H said...

Yes - it is 9/11, isn't it?

Some brutal images created here - fine word-smithing!

Simon Kearns said...

Thanks for the comments. Interesting to see 9/11 being cited. Of course, the scale and the mention of ten years call it to mind, but it wasn't there when I wrote it. Atrocities existed before 2001.

Mike said...

I got more post apocalypse than 9/11. It feels like this was global. not a localized event/ Nicely done Simon.

Helen said...

This reminded me totally of 9/11. Very good.

helen-scribbles.com