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Old September 9th, 2014, 7:21 am
MerlinBlack2  Male.gif MerlinBlack2 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 28th November 2005
Location: Atlanta GA, USA
Age: 51
Posts: 7
Re: Emergency Society (working title)

Chapter Two

Eve’s bare soles slapped the wet pavement as she hurtled past shoppers with bags in hand, momentarily oblivious to the sudden downpour, transfixed on the scene just a couple of miles away in midair. As she mounted the sidewalk, Eve noticed the patrons of the hotel lounge with their faces pressed to the glass corner window, curiosity and shock expressed in each one.

Eve rounded the corner, flew past the bell stand and through the hotel doors. She was now soaked to the bone, and her dress was more restrictive than ever. She barely noticed the sudden change in temperature, from the warm, summer rain to the cold, dry lobby, until she skidded to a stop on the marble floor of the elevator bay and slapped a wet hand on the “Up” button. In the few seconds she waited for the carriage to arrive, admonishing it with a few “Come On! Come On!”’s, she noticed her teeth chattering and her legs seemed to suddenly feel unstable, as if she was wearing a weighted suit. Whether it was due to the cold, the rain, or the shock of what she had just witnessed, she did not know, and right now there wasn’t any time to care. There was only the need to push on.

The elevator finally arrived, and she pushed past a couple who were exiting, brushing up against the woman and wetting her blouse.

“Hey!” the woman exclaimed as she turned back just in time to see this wet mop of a girl, dressed for a wedding reception and barefoot, slamming at the buttons on the inside wall muttering to no one “Let’s Go! Let’s Go!”

The din of the crowd in the lobby suddenly muted as the elevator doors slid shut. As she stood transfixed on the floor display above, tapping her nails of her right hand against the wall unconsciously, her ears registered a new noise.

“If you like Pina Coladas, and gettin’ caught in the rain…”

“Come on! Come on! Hurry up!” she exclaimed at the digits which seemed to be changing at a snail’s pace.

14…..15…..16

“If you like making love at midnight…”

19…..20…..21

“Then let’s plan out escape.”

The elevator dinged at the 25th floor, and she darted out before the doors could fully open, to the left and down the corridor.

Eve reached the door of her room, and she felt the blood suddenly drain out of her face. She had left her purse at the coatcheck in the restaurant.

“****!”

For a split second, she considered going back down to the lobby and getting another key, but that thought quickly vanished. With the commotion outside, the fact that she had no ID other than her press pass that lay on the other side of this door, and the fact that she probably looked like a drowned rat, she immediately abandoned the logical approach as futile. It would waste valuable time.

Eve backed up against the door opposite hers in the corridor, bent down and tore open the seam on her dress. Then she charged headlong at the door. She extended her right leg, making contact with the door with the sole of her foot just to the side of the door handle.
Sharp pain stabbed at her heel, and her hip felt a pinch. The door did not open, but she could see that it gave a little. Eve reset, bit her lip and kicked again.

The door swung open and clattered against the wall inside.

She ran into the room without thinking to close the door. Eve reached back and unzipped the sleeveless dress almost halfway, extracted her arms and shimmied it off of herself as she made her way to the bathroom. The dress plopped unceremoniously onto the tile floor with a thud. She went to unlatch her bra from behind. As she did so, her iPhone dropped from the front, landed in the sink, and clattered apart.

“****!” she exclaimed, as she tossed the drenched bra into the tub. Eve quickly grabbed a towel and mopped herself off from head to toe, grabbed the iPhone and reassembled it, then placed it on the counter.

She tore back into the room, grabbed her jogging bra, running top and yoga pants from that morning’s walk off the back of the chair, and quickly dressed. She squeezed into her Nike’s with difficulty given her feet were still a bit damp, then flung open her suitcase. She took out the Chelsea Football Club cap that Charlotte had given her, strung her wet ponytail through the back hole, and tucked it down on her head. Then, she threw her camera bag over her shoulder and turned to leave.

She had been trained how to work in this type of situation during her career at CNC, but had never had to call upon that training at this level before. Her mentors, Arthur being chief among them, had all explained how the brain and body worked as a result of suddenly chaotic events. When calm, the brain worked mainly from its cerebral cortex, which is the part of the brain that manages thoughtful decision making and planning. But in times of crisis, the natural response of the brain is to cut off access to the cerebral cortex, and the limbic brain, which controls the baser brain functions such as fight or flight response, takes over until the brain is convinced that the crisis has subsided. In their job, they had to practice controlling the limbic takeover and find ways for their reactions in these situations to be rote. Otherwise, a non-exercised brain would lead you to make misjudgments and mistakes, which the cerebral cortex would most likely assess and react to differently.

Halfway down the corridor, something tweeked in her mind and she stopped dead.

“Phone!” she whispered to herself, and rolled her eyes. “****!”

Eve turned on her heel, grabbed her iPhone off the bathroom counter, shoved it down into the side pocket of her camera bag and turned to leave again. This time, she noticed the door, still wide open and the top hinge a bit loose from its frame. She had to tug on the latch a little to get the door to lock shut, but it thankfully did so.

Once in the lobby, she dashed out the front door of the hotel and turned back to the skyline through what was now just a light drizzle. Smoke still bellowed from the building, but instead of dense black, it was mostly a whitish-grey now. Two black police helicopters now hovered on either side of the steeple-like adornment on the roof. One of the helicopters looked like it was suspending a rope down.

Eve fumbled in her camera bag, took out her blue tooth and affixed it to her left ear. She pressed the button. Nothing. Then, she remembered dropping her phone. She pulled her phone from the side pocket and turned it on. While it warmed up and reestablished a connection with the blue tooth, she glanced down 17th Street to the right. All the cars, busses and shuttles were at a dead stop in the middle of the road, and many of their passengers were out of them, standing in the street, or in some cases on top of their vehicles, gawking at the scene across the highway. She wasn’t going to get anywhere that direction. So, she turned to look down onto 16th Street, and it was wide open.

There were three taxicabs lined up in front of the hotel. However, their operators were missing. Eve turned back to the right, and saw three men in caps with bundles hanging from chains around their necks.

Eve pursed her lips, put her rounded thumb and forefingers in her mouth and whistled loudly at them, like her grandfather had taught her to call the beagles when he had taken her rabbit hunting as a teenager.

Two of the three turned toward her. Eve already had the back door of the passenger’s side open ready to climb in, but they just stared at her, mouth agape like most everyone she had encountered in the past ten minutes.

“Jesus,” she whispered to herself, and she began rummaging through her bag. She unzipped the inside pocket and extracted her emergency cash. Amongst the various Pound and Euro notes was a $50 bill, which she extracted and waved at them.

The shorter of the two was suddenly motivated, and he started toward the cab at a brisk pace, and uttered, “Yes, Ma’am!”

Eve threw in her bag, climbed into the back seat and slammed the door shut. The cabbie wasn’t three seconds behind her.

“Where to ma’am?” the cabbie said without turning, as he started to crank the cab, and shut off the radio.

“No, turn that back on, please,” Eve commanded a bit too forcefully. “And turn it to 750. I want to hear what they are reporting. And not too loud…have to make a call.”
The cabbie glanced at Eve through the rear view mirror, then turned the radio back on and pressed a button.

“And where are we off to again?”

“Where do you think,” Eve responded. “Down there,” and she absentmindedly gestured toward the smoking building.

The cabbie slowly turned to face her, and Eve’s eyes met his.

“Beg pardon, Miss, but are you crazy?”

“Yes, actually,” Eve quipped. “Look, I’m a photojournalist with CNC. I need to get as close as possible. Can you get there fast?”

The cabbie looked right, down an unnavigable 17th Street.

“Don’t think so, ma’am,” he answered with a bit of a wry chuckle. “17th’s all blocked up…”

“Then turn around and head down 16th. It looked deserted.”

“But ma’am,” the cabbie retorted, a bit deprecatingly, “16th’s one way against us.”

“Are you worried about getting pulled over?” Eve responded, and shoved the $50 bill through the break in the plastic partition separating the front and back seats.

The cabbie hesitated for a fraction of a second, staring into Eve’s unwavering gaze, then grasped the $50.

“No, ma’am. Better buckle up!”

Eve had barely enough time to do so when the cab jumped forward, perpendicular to 17th, over the concrete median, and turned left at high acceleration toward State Street. The cab lifted up a bit as it jolted left, then quickly again left onto 16th.

Eve reached up to her left ear again and tapped the button on the blue tooth. This time, it registered a connection.

“Call Arthur,” Eve spoke into the window as she surveyed the scene again. Both helicopters now had lines out.

She heard the line engage, but there was no ring. It went straight to voicemail.

Aggravated, Eve tapped the button again and reached for her phone. She typed a quick text to Arthur to call her. Then, she reached into her camera bag and grabbed her camera. She flipped it on, rolled down her window, and began video recording. As they rounded onto the connector access road that led to 14th, then to 10th, she had a clear line of sight
.
The radio in the background was reporting something about a police chase down Peachtree. Evidently, the car they were chasing had jumped the curb at North Avenue and had plowed into the plate glass frontage of the BOA building. Then, about five minutes later, the explosion had occurred at about the 30th floor, just over halfway up.

As Eve continued to film, she guessed the car chase and crash were the meaning of Arthur’s text. She could now make out a man in a harness dangling from one of the ropes suspended from the helicopter on the left, and being lowered down to a person waving from a broken window almost at the summit of the building.

The scene reminded her of a scene from her childhood. Her mind replayed in an instant sitting on her grandmother’s rug in front of the TV, watching a man trapped at the top of a construction crane, flames from the building shell below him beginning to lick at the base of the small enclosure holding him. Then, from out of the screen swooped a firefighter, harnessed and suspended from a helicopter, who grabbed the crane operator just moments before he would be engulfed in fire.

The cab had now reached 14th, but they could see a blockade and detour away from the scene at 10th just ahead.

“Turn left on 14th!” Eve instructed. The cab lurched, crossed over the highway bridge, but came to a stop quickly between Spring and West Peachtree Streets. Traffic was at a standstill here too.

“Thanks,” Eve said to the cabbie as she slung her camera around her neck and across her left shoulder, stuffed her phone into the camera bag, and darted up 14th Street for the five minute sprint to North Avenue.

She didn’t dare trying to get there going down Peachtree; there would be too many pedestrians, stopped cars and the like. So, she turned early down Crescent.

It had stopped raining altogether now, and the air was temporarily light. She ran down the tree-lined back street between Peachtree and West Peachtree, past a dry cleaners and shoe repair shop on the street level of a high rise, then past the newly trendy restaurants (South City Kitchen, Tin Lizzy’s, Lure), and dead ended at the 11th Street side of the stoic, white marble five story Federal Reserve Bank. The camera was banging against her, starting to cause her ribs some pain.

Eve cut left across 11th and through the Fed front lawn, but stopped halfway to 10th, where Peachtree had been barricaded. Sirens blared in her ears as she emerged into the clearing. This was as close as she would get. A throng of onlookers pressed against each other at least five deep against the sawhorses that lined the intersection. She glanced south and saw that she wouldn’t get a clear view unless she was in the middle of the street, and several uniformed men and women were keeping people out of the road so that emergency vehicles could make their way to the scene some eight blocks away.

Eve whipped around, instinctively looking for high ground. Back from where she had just come, she noticed that 11th climbed to a steep mound to the side of the Fed building, cresting halfway between Peachtree and West Peachtree.

Eve sprinted back through the wet turf and up the steep hill, looking left the whole way to see if an unobstructed view of the scene would appear. As she passed the Fed’s main building, the side delivery lot, which was open but subterranean, presented a complete, unobstructed view of the top half of the smoking building.

Eve turned to see if any of the squat buildings across 11th from the lot were open or the roofs were accessible. Just directly across 11th was a two story, yellow-brown stucco building with a sign out front, “Positive Impact.” The entire second floor was a plate glass window. Four young men, the only people in view, stared and gawked at the scene over the lot and Midtown train station from the front door of the building, two of them nervously smoking cigarettes.

Eve crossed 11th and called to them.

“Hey, is the building open?” pointing up to the second floor.

One of the young men turned his gaze to her, a bit stunned, and muttered, “Ummm, yeah. Why?”

But Eve was already past them, flinging the glass doors open and sprinting up the stairs just inside. As she lighted, she turned and had a miraculous view of the whole horrific scene playing out on the tallest building in the Southeastern United States.

She flung down her bag, unzipped it, and grabbed a portable tri-pod. She quickly extended it to its full length, attached her camera to it, and noticed it had been running the entire time since she turned it on in the cab.

She positioned the tri-pod, then focused so that she caught the full expanse of the building in her viewer, catching 11th Street and the Fed lot as well in the foreground.
She pulled out her phone. Still no call or text from Arthur.

“You text me about this, and then you disappear,” she muttered under her breath. “Where are you?”

After a moment of thought, she clicked her blue tooth again.

“Call Jerry.”

Jerry Simons was the photojournalist bureau chief in Atlanta that she had begun working under before she was assigned to London.

It rang a couple of times, and then…

“Eve?” Jerry answered, sounding distracted and a bit out of breath. “Sorry…can’t talk right now…”

“Jerry, I know,” Eve interjected. “I’m here…in Atlanta. I’m filming it now.”

She heard Jerry stop walking, “What do you mean? You are where in Atlanta?”

“I’m on 11th, across from the Fed building. I have an unobstructed view and I am filming…”

“How the Devil?” Jerry mused. “We can’t get anybody up there from here.”

“I figured as much. I was in Atlantic Station and was only able to get to 11th. They have Peachtree blocked at 10th.”

“We need video,” Jerry cut across her. “Do you have wifi?”

Eve glanced down at her bag. Her laptop was in it. “Hold on a sec.” She pulled her laptop out, which was only sleeping, and looked for a wifi signal. She frantically clicked each one, but they were very weak, and all required security keys.

She turned around, and noticed that two of the young men had followed her up and were staring between her and the smoking building. Behind them against the far wall was a line of computer cubicles, like a testing room.

“Hey!” she snapped at them, “Do those have internet?”

“Ummm, yeah,” the sandy haired one on the left muttered.

“Yeah, Jerry,” Eve said into the air, “I think I might.”

“Names Dean, not Jerry,” the sandy haired one said.

Eve, ignoring him, dashed over to the closest terminal with her laptop, unplugged the Ethernet cable from the back of the old desktop CPU, and plugged it into the side of her laptop, which she placed on the floor. Then, she connected her camera to one end of a long cord, and plugged the other end into a free slot on her laptop. She then sat down, opened up the internet, and quickly typed in the CNC reporter portal web address.

“Jerry,” she said. “I’m in the portal. Do you see me?”

“Almost to my computer. Give me a second.”

She waited while he breathed into the phone and typed.

“No, I don’t see you…. WAIT. There you are! Oh my, nice feed!”

Eve popped up and back to her camera to make sure it was focused and catching everything. She knew Jerry had already pocketed his phone and was off to the control room to let them know about her feed.

She smiled, pleased with herself. This was her first solo feed, and she had made it happen. But the smile quickly faded from her face. Now that she had done what she had been trained to do, what she got paid to do, what she always thought she wanted to do, she suddenly stopped being a photojournalist, and became a human being, and began to cry.

A few seconds later, someone touched her shoulder. The sandy haired Dean held out a tissue to her. She took it and covered her eyes.

End Chapter Two

Please provide your feedback here. I would really appreciate your thoughts
http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=132424



Last edited by MerlinBlack2; September 9th, 2014 at 7:22 am. Reason: limk
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