It's here! I hope you enjoy the second part of The Shard!
1 year earlier,
I watched the blazing meteorite streak across the evening sky. It seemed to be drawing closer to our position every second. I stood with Jamie on my parents’ front porch, overlooking a recently harvested corn field. My eyes widened, and I tightened my grip on the wooden post next to me.
Jamie’s shoulders slumped in a relaxed position, though his face was tracking the comet. He leaned against another wooden post, hands in his pockets.
“What is… that?” I breathed.
Jamie shook his head, and we silently watched the unfolding scene, unable to take our eyes off the meteorite.
As it drew nearer to earth, I began to realize it would come perilously close to the cottage. My parents were running errands, and I hoped they wouldn’t come home to a smoldering crater.
I frowned, “Hey Jamie, maybe we should…”
He interrupted, eyes glued to the comet, “No, no. I want to see what this is.”
I unclamped my hand from the post, wondering when Jamie’s stubbornness would get him into trouble, but stayed on the porch. A second later, I moved to the edge of the porch, and said, “Jamie, I’m serious, that thing is getting closer to us by the second.”
He turned to me, “It’s fine, see how far out it is?” He gestured to it, “It’ll hit somewhere in the field.” I turned to it, evaluating distances. Nope.
I grabbed his wrist, my face serious, “No, it’s coming at an angle, it may even hit the front porch. We have to go.” Jamie pulled his wrist away, and glanced back to the comet, now speeding towards us. “Now!” I yelled.
Jamie nodded and we both rushed down the stairs, racing across the front lawn and out into the field littered in corn stalk stubs. God, help us.
Checking the meteorite above, it seemed to fly past us, straight towards our cottage. I whipped back around, and pushed myself into a sprint, but a great crash tore into the air. I dove to the dirt and wrenched my hands over my head.
I lay still, heart banging in my chest, as a whirlwind of dust blew all around me. I flinched as I heard something thud deeply into the dirt beside me.
Breathing stiffly, I waited as it grew still, the world moving quietly on, as if nothing had ever happened.
Struggling to my feet, I noticed a foot-long wood splinter protruding from the cracked dirt. I stared at it a second… That was close.
I noticed Jamie sitting next to me, face turned back to the cottage. I spun slowly around, staring into a dust cloud covering everything. I stepped forward, then began jogging farther into the cloud.
I didn’t hear Jamie following, but I continued. I stepped off of dirt, onto soft grass, but still, I could barely see four feet in front of me. My steps faltered, and I slowed my pace, watching for anything. Hearing a crunch beneath me, I lifted my foot off of a twisted picture frame.
I bent down to retrieve it, recognizing my parents’ wedding picture. I swallowed as the picture fluttered slowly in the breeze. Stuffing it in my pocket, I continued.
My heart sped up as I clambered over broken boards, and twisted furniture. With the dust lessened, I could make out a giant hole in the ground. A crater, right where the cottage used to be.
I blinked. It just destroyed the whole cottage. I peered over the edge of the crater, spotting a large porous rock sitting plainly at the bottom.
Creeping to the edge, I got on my side and slid to the base of the crater, dug into the ground. There lay a rock. A space rock. It was cracked straight down the middle, and a faint glow cast odd patterns on the floating dust above it.
With my heart pounding, I leaned closer.
“What’d you find?” Jamie hollered from above. I nearly leapt out of my skin. I whipped to face him, heart nearly stopped, and a scowl on my face, “Really?”
‘Sighing shortly, I turned back to the rock, and leaned into the crack. The rock was hollow, easily split from the impact. I leaned further.
Nestled in the hollow inside of the rock, was a glowing, brilliant shard of metal.
I blinked my weary eyes open, confused. I must have fallen asleep sometime in the night, for, the last I remembered was sitting with no intentions to sleep, fretting over our way out
I heard a clanking by the rubble pile, and I blinked away the blurriness in my eyes before recognizing Jamie, digging through the cement chunks. What is he-? Oh.
“Searching for the box?” I called sleepily.
Jamie jumped, spinning around, “Um... yes.” Jamie dusted his hands off on his jean jacket, then stood there, awkwardly.
With no natural sunlight in the stairway, I had no idea to what time it was, or how long I slept, so I asked Jamie, “What time would you say it is?”
Jamie blinked, looking to me, “Hmmm? Time? I have no idea, left my phone in your office.”
I nodded, “Me too.”
After a second, Jamie hesitantly resumed pawing through the rubble. I saw his efforts, though he strained to stay quiet, as if he hoped I wouldn’t notice him.
“Jamie,” I started. He froze but didn’t turn around, and I continued, “Could I help?”
He stood again, turning to face me, “Yeah...” His hand rubbed the back of his neck, “Now that you’re awake, we could… find our way out?” He looked up questioningly, and I frowned. That’s not what I had asked, and he knew it.
“We can find your black box first if you want,” I said, testing him.
He winced, “Aah… I didn’t, really, need it. Let’s just get on our way.”
“Good,” I smiled and rose to my feet. Hobbling with a limp I didn’t know I had, I made my way to the stairway leading downwards, faintly smelling smoke. I set myself, and took the first step down.
Jamie paused, stuffing his hands in his pockets, and glancing back at the rubble.
I smirked, “Hesitant?” and limped farther down. Seconds later, I heard Jamie shuffle after me. When I reached the bottom, I could only just see my hand in front of my face, and I sighed. This would be hard.
How are we going to get out of here in pitch blackness? And how would we do it even if we had light? Jamie tripped over a chunk of fallen ceiling behind me and staggered to where I stood.
“I’m guessing we have to find the elevators?” he wondered.
I nodded. But I then realized he couldn’t see me nod, and I voiced it, “Yeah, though… we’ll have to figure out how to get up the shaft when we get there.”
The day before, we were on the surface level when the fire started. We had both been at the engineering compound, the third level, when we were blasted to the stairway landing between levels three and four. That’s where we had slept.
The fourth floor was our storage complex, and had multiple freight elevators somewhere near the stairs, and I reminded Jamie of the fact.
For minutes, we tripped over debris and storage shelves. Occasionally we came across a portion of collapsed ceiling, or still smoldering piles of rubble. We had both gained many bruises, and Jamie scraped his arm after he fell, so we took it slow.
After a period of silence, I said, partly to myself, “A box is an odd way to store data…”
Jamie stiffened, “It had a harddrive in it.”
I paused, his explanation seemed believable enough. Frowning in the dark, I again wondered if it really was just data. Jamie is my best friend…
The next step I took was on empty air, and I yelled out as I stumbled down the chasm. I heard Jamie gasp from behind me, and felt his hand grasp out at my suit coat. But he couldn’t get a hold of it, and I fell.
Feeling the air whip past me as I fell, the fear silenced my internal scream. Yet, I knew God had me, so I shut my eyes and tried to quell my panic.
Without any warning, my whole body slammed into solid steel, and I blacked out instantly. My final thought was, This better not become a trend.
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The third part may take a bit longer to come out, but hang in there!