Ethan Jernigan, 11th Floor, New York University Law School
I woke up when Professor Sommer stopped teaching. He was staring out the window, and his face was pale and drawn.
"Boys," he said. "The painters left some ladders?" Several of us murmured agreement. He had already rushed past us and out the door. Behind me, I heard Robert Bonnay curse. "The girls. The Triangle Shirtwaist's on fire!"
We ran. The painters had left ladders. We snatched them up and ran to the windows that overlooked the Asch Building's roof. They weren't even halfway down before the dozens of people on the roof swarmed towards them.
I was frightened. Every one looked insane. Their eyes were red and swollen, their skin blotched red. Some of the women were almost naked-- their clothes had been burned from their bodies.
We stood back and got out of their way. Once most of them had passed, we climbed down onto the roof and started helping across the ones that couldn't manage unassisted.
"The stairs-- is there anyone inside still?"
"Impassable. This is everyone."
The last ones were going across when I saw him, a young man standing on the edge of the roof. It was too much. "No, you fool--" I lunged towards him.
"My girls, my pretty ones... they are going down through the air." His eyes were blank and wild. Suddenly, he jumped as if struck and dashed away from me back down the stairs.
Someone behind me screamed. Robert. He was sobbing uncontrollably, shaking, rolled up on his side on the hot roof. "Those men-- they just--"
A hollow voice spoke, "Three men tried to bridge the gap. They got a few girls across before they fell." Sommer had aged. He looked older than he had, much older.
We all looked older, climbing back across those ladders. We left them there-- just in case the man had been wrong.
I looked back. The crazy man was climbing the stairs, and he had someone with him. He carried an unconscious girl gently in his arms.
Her hair smoldered softly.