Updated: Sep 6, 2018
As practice for writing my book, I have decided to write a story. Some of you have already read this, but I hope you enjoy it!
I leaned back in my chair, relaxing. My suit crinkled with my hands behind my head. Jamie sat in a swivel chair in front of my desk. He usually worked on The Shard in the engineering compound, but today, we were having a very late lunch together.
“Same old chicken salad sandwich I see?” Jamie’s eyebrow quirked with his smile.
I just laughed and took another bite, then after swallowing, replied, “Some things never change Jamie.”
“Research is going well,” Jamie pulled a water bottle from his backpack, “Morale is high with the pay raises we all got,” Jamie tipped his water bottle to me, “Thanks for that.”
I just shook my head, “You deserved it, the least I could do was lobby for more funds. Any new developments I can report to Anderson?”
Jamie took a swig from his bottle, “Well we just recently fou-” The door burst open, slamming into the wall, and Jamie choked on his water, coughing it out.
Frowning, I sat forward as a young man rushed into my office, frantic, “Peter! There’s a fire!” I stood worriedly and the man continued, “It started in the engineering compound, no one knows how. But we must evacuate, the fire is rapidly spreading.”
Moving around my desk I snagged my hat from its rack, and followed the man outside the door. Behind me, Jamie’s white-blonde hair fell into his face, and he had an odd expression in his grey eyes, a flicker of fear possibly. Yet his stubble scrunched with his lips, drawn tight in anger. He had been working with The Shard for over a year, a fire could destroy everything.
I sped down the hall past offices, all of which were beginning to erupt into motion. I stopped, realizing my duties as supervisor, “Everyone!” the hubbub quieted only slightly, “We’ve trained for this! Remember what to do!” I paused, that had done little to ease the fear, so I then added, “The fire is in the engineering compound, still only three levels below us, don’t panic.” I began to help usher people to the stairs, watching the even flow and stopping anyone from rushing madly.
The movement became even, and I calmed. There would be no casualties today.
Then I stopped. Where was Jamie? Seeing over the crowd with my six-foot frame wasn’t hard, but Jamie couldn’t be found. I knew Jamie, what he would do. But I didn’t want to think that was what had happened. Oh, please God, let Jamie be okay.
Clenching my fist, I weaved through the flow of workers, scanning for his blonde hair just in case. Sighing, I stepped out of the mass, and in front of the staircase, leading down. I rubbed my forehead. Why?
I stood, eyes closed. Would he really? He wouldn’t risk his life. He would find his way to the top and be safe. Right?
Who am I kidding, this is Jamie we’re talking about, of course he’d do the foolish thing.
I rushed down the stairs, occasionally taking two at a time, slipping and thudding my way down.
After two flights, it grew hotter, and my mouth began to grow dryer from the wisps of smoke in the stairway. I had to find Jamie and get out. I could do this. I nearly fell down the last flight, but caught myself in front of swinging double doors marked “CAUTION”.
I barreled through them, and was caught full force with a blast of heat. “Aaah!” I grunted, turning my face away. If I couldn’t see, how could I save Jamie? Stepping back into the stairway through the doors, I was cooled immediately. I leaned against the railing, steeling myself.
I breathed hard, still winded from my flight down the stairs. Flight. Stairs. I laughed distractedly, then snapped back into reality. Deep in me, I knew I had to go, I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. But I dreaded it.
The doors burst open, sending out a wave of heat, and Jamie charged into the stairwell, hair singed and coughing, but alive. I gasped out, “You’re alive!” and embraced him in a hug. He was holding a metal box, and it dug into my stomach. Hissing, I pulled away, “What is that?”
Jamie shook his head, “No time. It’s gonna collapse!” I nodded, and as I turned an explosion ripped into the room behind us. It knocked us off our feet, and sent us tumbling down the stairs, instead of up, where we needed to go.
I gasped, barely touching the stairs as the blast carried me down the whole way to the landing in a disorganized mess of limbs. My heart sped up as the ground flew to meet me. Then, nothing.
I gained consciousness in total blackness, ears ringing. I didn’t move, and couldn’t. I lay, with Jamie next to me, but I knew I had to leave. I had to get up and save myself.
Groaning to life, I pushed myself into a sitting position. When the ringing quieted, it grew deathly quiet. I pushed to my feet, and leaned against a wall. As I stood, I realized something was on my shoulder. Flinching, I realized it was just a cold metal cord.
I fumbled for it in the dark, but when I tugged it, a little click sounded, and a bare lightbulb above me flickered to life. Barely illuminating where I was, the lightbulb was dim. I gasped as I realized what had happened.
I was standing in the stairway landing, surrounded by cement walls. The stairway leading up, was blocked by a mountain of rubble. Now the only way to go, was down. I glanced around for Jamie, and found him in a corner, unconscious.
Bending towards him, I squinted to make out if he was okay. He had a small gash on his temple, but seemed to be in decent shape. “Are you okay?” I whispered, I don’t know why, but the silence in the blocked off stairway didn’t want to be broken.
After I tried speaking louder to Jamie, I gave up and went to sit on the stairway. I blinked, then rubbed at my face. The past minutes had gone much differently than anything I imagined.
Remembering something, I frowned, and walked to where Jamie lay. He had been holding a black metal box, that appeared to have been lost in the explosion. The way he clutched it gave the impression of it being heavy, or maybe too valuable to let go of.
As I approached Jamie’s position, his eyes slid open, “Peter? What happened?”
I sighed, “We were outside of the engineering compound, when the fire caused an explosion. We were both blown down the stairs,” I gestured to the rubble on the upward leading stairs, “We can’t get back up.”
Jamie’s eyes widened in shock, then his face changed to panic as he checked all around him, “Where is it?”
“What? The black box?”
Jamie stood, “Yes!”
“Probably lost in the rubble,” a hint of suspicion filtered into my voice as he turned to the rubble, “What was that anyway?”
He answered quickly, “Oh, just some… important data.”
“Worth risking your life over?”
Jamie just sank back into his corner, sighing. I checked his face, suspicious, he glanced to the rubble. I didn’t want to think then, but I knew Jamie had done something. Stolen something. It broke my heart that my best friend may have stolen something.
But maybe he really was just saving data from the fire. He had been truthful, all this time.
I crouched next to him, then spread my long legs as I sat. Glancing at the darkness that consumed the downward flight of stairs, a shiver ran down my spine. There wasn’t anything down there that wasn’t there this morning, but for some unexplainable reason, any thoughts of finding our way out through that stairway weren’t appealing.
I tried to think of someway back to the surface, as the building we were in was mostly underground, with only the top level above surface. There were always elevator shafts, though I doubted I could climb those.
My mind was bustling with useless activity. I tried to bend my thoughts to something productive, but they disobeyed. I gave a prayer up to God, asking for wisdom, at least that was helpful.
I squirmed to find a comfortable position, but the hard cement offered me none. Sighing, I settled in for a sleepless night, my heart still thumping in my chest. Next to me Jamie had already nodded off, his concussion had been much more severe than mine.
Trapped hundreds of feet below ground, with the only way to go, down. Today had not gone how I hoped.
I will have the next part up in two days, don't fret! But until then, write some reviews!