My eyes flew open and my chest jolted upward as I desperately sucked for air. My mind whirred as my vision swayed trying to adjust to the sudden darkness of the new environment. Where was I? Beads of sweat clung to my brow while I rolled onto my side, clutching large amounts of fabric into my clenched fists.
Calm down, Grace. Calm down.
I relaxed a bit because my breathing finally started to slow. This wasn't as painful as the first time 'round, but I didn't like these suffocating deaths. I certainly hoped it wasn't going to become a pattern. I shuddered at the thought before looking around.
I was in a room, but it didn't seem out of my own time period. The blinking red light of the coffee machine in the kitchen told me this. I pushed the warm covers off of me and allowed my bare feet to touch the cold, polished hardwood floor. It was familiarly modern. Does this mean that I am alive somewhere else at this very moment?
The rooms were still dark, but outlined by the streetlights glowing through the slightly ajarred windows. Glancing at the digital clock that sat on my nightstand, I saw that it was only 5:48 AM. Early. Feeling oddly calm, I made my way into the living room and kitchen. The T.V sat in the far corner of the room, facing the couch and a few plants. I was so tasteful.
Click. Loud, cheery music filled the air as the television bathed everything in it's eerie, flickering glow. I jumped at the sudden noise and whipped my head in it's direction, staring intently at the smiling figures on the screen.
"What?" I muttered, looking around for the remote control. The news began for the day.
"Good morning, America!" A man smiled at the camera. "The time now is 5:57 AM and the weather will be sunny with some cloudy parts throughout the day. The daily commute for today is..."
I glanced away from the screen and occupied myself with trying to find something with the date written on it. Maybe I bought a newspaper for today. My eyes settled on a glossy, untouched magazine sitting atop the coffee table. That's a good place to start. I made my way over to it and sat in front of it. Reluctance gripped my fingertips as I peeled the front cover back to see the contents within the magazine.
"September...11," I mouthed the date slowly, feeling ice fill my veins. "September 11, 2001." That was the date. I blinked rapidly as I began to paw through the magazine once again. No way. It couldn't be. I whirled around to see the clock hanging on the wall.
Tick. Tick. Tick. It taunted me as it finally struck 6 AM sharp. I only had roughly 2 hours before...I bolted for my closet that stood in the far corner of my room. I had to get ready, I had to find him immediately. I whipped my closet open and stared at the contents inside in disbelief. I only owned skirts and skirts and some stockings. Where were all the pants? I dug through every article of clothing only to find the fashionable, disabling kind of clothes that prevented one from moving. After much hopeless searching, I finally settled on a flower skirt that was loose and flowing. I'd cut it later when it proved necessary. After grabbing my wallet randomly off of my nightstand, I ran out of the door and hopefully to wherever fate brought me.
A hollow shriek filled the tunnels as the subway began to arrive. It felt right to be here, I realized. I needed to get on these randomly to see where it brings me-I paused, but which one? I rubbed my clammy hands together in hopes of perhaps warming myself up. I regretted not grabbing a jacket or something because the morning air was not the exact temperature I wanted.
The wind put my hair at disarray as the subway finally pulled in. I pushed at my skirt to prevent it from flying up and exposing me like it had Marilyn Monroe. I chortled to myself at the irrelevance of that sudden fact.
"Excuse you." Someone bumped into me as they shuffled passed me.
"Sorr-" I looked up to apologize but the person merely walked away faster and hunched. Knowing the pretenses, I should no longer be surprised at anything, but that man looked an awful lot like Ben. My heart jolted as I realized that it was Ben. "B-Ben!" I called out, but he turned around at me with a confused look before hurtling him forward into a full sprint.
I lurched foward, quickly pursuing him. Why was he running away from me? "Ben!" I yelled out to him, but he only glanced back again with a disgruntled face and continued to run. He rammed past people with briefcases causing them to yell profanities at us. "BEN!" I tried again, but he swerved into the idling train. Without a second thought, I also ran onto the train seconds before it closed shut.
Ding. And the train lurched forward. I glanced around the compartment, trying to find him. He was near the last cart, so I waded through the slight crowds towards the doors that lead to the next cart. The lights flickered as I wandered into the next, equally crowded compartment. I guess calling his name wasn't going to be very effective, considering he runs the opposite direction whenever I call out to himn. I glanced around, scanning every seat and passenger, making sure they weren't Ben.
A beeping noise occurred and the loudspeaker came on, "Next stop..." I told myself to pay attention, but I got distracted as I saw the dark figure of Ben sneaking over towards the doorways. He was getting off.
"Excuse me! 'Scuse me," I apologized as I pushed through crowds of people who stood around. I watched as Ben walked quickly off of the train as soon as the door opened and disappeared to the right. I staggered out of the train and the sliding doors shut behind me. Where'd he go? I looked around, frantically, spitting out my hair that was blown into a frenzy by the leaving subway. I followed the massive crowds that flooded through the underground way, hoping that maybe they'd lead me to somewhere. I patted my body and then felt sick. My wallet, where was it? I frantically rummaged through the shallow pockets of my shirt, but found nothing.
Where'd it go? I could've sworn, I put it in this very pocket. I patted it again, despite already knowing that it would not make a difference. I whipped my head around just to see Ben's head bob in and out; he pick-pocketed me.
After climbing numerous stairs, I arrived at a turnstile and no money. Everybody else monotonously presented transfers and pushed through to get to their destination. Troubled, I leapt over the turnstiles and made my way towards the stairs.
"Hey, you!" I glanced behind to see an angry police officer pointing furiously at me. Whipping my head around, I sprinted towards the stairs, running into several people on the way, knocking some briefcases out of their hands, and spilling some coffee; no biggie.
"Hey, watch it!" "Watch where you're going." Cries called around me as I finally made my way onto the already crowded streets. What time was it? I glanced anywhere and saw nothing. Maybe there are some electronic billboards, I pondered as I made my way through the crowd. Where were the towers? God, I wish I paid attention that time I went to New York City with my parents.
"Umff," I grunted as I collided with someone and I stumbled backwards in an attempt to regain my balance. I looked up to see the person and gasped. "You-"
Ben's eyes widened at me as he took a hesitant away from me. "How do you know me? What's it to you?"
I grasped onto his arm, slightly irked that he had just robbed me, but a tiny part of me was so glad to have found him. Despite my sudden reassurance by his presence, I blurted out, "Give me back my wallet."
"Do you have any proof I took it?" Ben ripped his arm from my grip and took off into the crowd again before I was even able to react.
God damn it, when was he ever this fast? He was never the type to run or exercise. I leapt after him, amazed at his ability to dodge and weave in and out through the crowds so effortlessly as I collided with person after person. I glanced up at the electric billboards scattered out amongst the dense crowds. It read 8:00 AM, exactly. I cringed, I had to find him as soon as possible. I paused in the crowds and suddenly felt heavy- burdened. I craned my head to look at the two majestic buildings that suddenly loomed overhead. It was huge. It blocked out the sun and casted long, eerie shadows across the block.
Of course, there was Ben, his dark, tall form disappearing through the glass doors. Some deity was out to get me, I swear it. Glancing at the clock once more, I made my way towards the large buildings as well- towards the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
A/n: Sorry for the long wait, haha, I'd be enthralled if I still have any kind of readers left. I was going to finish this chapter earlier, but then September 11,2011 rolled around and I felt that it was somewhat insensitive of me to make a fiction (that is probably poorly written) based off of that tragic event, so I waited a bit.
Here is part 1 of this particular section. Also, I also want to bring up that I do not wish to cause any form of discomfort, offense, or insults to the people who were truly involved in these disasters or catastrophes.
Thank you for those who read and I will continue on to the next chapter very soon.