Sometimes, the decisions we make affect how we perceive other people. Or how other people perceive us. Or their decision was so drastic it makes others wonder just what was going through her mind to take such a measure. Such a length to go to make either a difference or no difference. That man, I didn't even know his name. I didn't know his name and he took his life. He must've been so brave, like welcoming death with open arms instead of fighting, resisting, like most do. Some people are fighters. Some people just give up. Although I knew there was little hope for everyone above the plane in the first tower, maybe he knew that too, but even I didn't expect him to do something like that. Maybe he knew that there was no hope for anyone, and if he took his own life, his death would've been voluntary. Everyone who chose to remain and take a fruitless chance of a rescue would meaninglessly wait until they slowly pass on to the next world. Then they decide, as they slowly lose the energy to fight their inevitable fate, that ending it quickly was always the better option. That the worthwhile decision was to end it early.
But either way, I didn't expect him to take his life in that way, even though I know it was the only way to do it without suffering. He went quickly, that's all he wanted, I think. Something... Something like no distress to help him end his life...
I came to my senses, laid on the ground, looking blankly into the ceiling. The light suspended above me was broke, buzzing and flashing, still live with electricity. Every decibel ringing and pulsating through my eardrums. The slightly irritating yet equally therapeutic buzzing emitting from the said broken light was in an unequal rhythm, not unlike ones heartbeat. I can feel mine, flooding my body with its gentle and barely noticeable rhythm. I can also feel my back ache like an aeroplane had used me for a landing strip.
I heard that voice. For some reason, it sounded so distant, but I saw someone just to my right hand side. The voice was male, I knew that. But I couldn't recognise the voice. It's like when you're answering telephone call on a home phone without caller I.D. and you can't place the voice, so you have to politely ask who is speaking. Then you have it placed. It was just like that. I wanted to politely ask who was speaking to me, but that wasn't the question floating around my mind.
What on earth happened? I can't remember...
I suddenly recognised the person next to me. It was Jay, he was feeling my forehead and looking into my eyes. Or at least, that's what he was telling me to do.
"Flora, can you hear me?"
That voice was Jay's, as I saw his lips move, but his voice sounded so... Quiet. I wasn't sure why. But I nodded anyway, slowly, as my back, connected to my neck, ached like hell.
"What... What happened?" I asked, trying to sit up, but my back was painful enough. I was also laid down again by Jay.
"You passed out," He told me "hit a computer on your way down. One hell of a crash."
Wow, I didn't realise.
"What about everyone in the elevator?" I sat up again, ignoring the pain in my back. Besides, if I was going to be like this for a while, I'm going to have to get used to it.
"Quit worrying about that. They're climbing out as we speak." Jay told me, noticing I wasn't enjoying staying in one place for a while.
"How long was I out?"
"A few minutes, max."
Glad that I was down under for mere minutes, I stopped asking questions. Besides, I still had a job to do. And Jay did. Honestly, I'm shocked yet equally thankful that Jay hadn't questioned my determination as to whether I should leave or not. I would be slightly irritated if he told me to go now.
"Flora!" Emma's voice called from the doorway. She was stood, dusty and (for some reason?) exhausted, teary-eyed and worried, scared and shaken, but nonetheless alright. The 20-year-old began rushing over to me, protective mode imminent. "Are you alright?" She asked me.
"Yeah - I'm - Fine." I choke. She had pulled me into a protective embrace, so tight I could barely breathe. I pulled myself off her enough to speak clearly "Could I breathe again please? I'd like to keep my ribs, thanks."
"Oh, I'm sorry." She loosened her grip on me. Thankful for this but slightly disappointed she didn't retaliate with some witty response as she normally would, I was able to breathe again at least. At least she knew my sense of humour hadn't gone. Not exactly the time for jokes, mind. But it was worth it. A chance to lighten the mood shouldn't be ignored.
"It's fine, Emma. I'm just glad you're okay." I tell her.
"Me?" She asked "Why did you come up anyway?"
"I had to help." I tell her, walking past her but inwardly cursing at the pain she had caused by holding me as tightly as she had done "What floor are we on again, Jay?"
"We have to keep going," I tell him "we have to." I finished speaking as I reached the hallway. The other businessmen were in the hallway by the elevator, helping the foreign technician out of the elevator. I was glad they were all safe.
"Why?" Emma asked "You can't possibly be thinking of going up?"
"Yes, I've got to get to Mum and Dad." I tell her, turning around to face her, away from the stairs.
"You've got to be joking, you'll never get up there without suffocating!" Emma insisted.
"You have little faith in me. Just like this morning." I tell her truthfully.
I can see she has pain in her eyes, but I wasn't regretting this one. Truth hurts. And I was being truthful to her. I knew I was being rude and somewhat inconsiderate when I said it, but I didn't care. It was true. She, and my parents, didn't believe me when I tried to save them from danger. That morning. They turned their backs on me when I was telling them something important. It wasn't fair on me. And it wasn't fair to leave my parents up in the tower. And no matter how bad Emma thinks this is, it's my choice whether or not I go up or down. And I wasn't going to change my mind and go down. I wasn't going to jump when she barked. Not that she told me to do anything often, if she did at all, but this time, I wasn't going to listen to her if she wouldn't listen to me. She'd better understand that.
"I hoped you would trust me on my word. I've never done anything like this before," I insisted, feeling the presence of the tears already in my eyes. "You didn't even let me explain anything."
"No one else believed you. It was crazy what you were saying," she replied. "I know that Jay didn't believe you either."
"He apologized," I tell her.
Well, he hasn't yet.
"But I didn't give a damn what other people thought. It was that you didn't believe me." I felt a lone tear leave its tracks on my face, making its cool appearance across every pore of my skin that it crossed "It was that you and Dad and Mum didn't believe me. I trusted you to trust me. And you didn't."
I hated arguing. Really, I did. I had been in a few with my parents. Mother had skirmishes more often than father, and although it rarely happened, they left their mark like someone had branded me with something hot, leaving its mark on me. The subjects were typically petty things, like why I didn't do my homework earlier than the day before it's due or why I couldn't be bothered to tidy my room. It was always these, and sometimes, the worse arguments were where my mother became the most hypocritical person in history. When she would teach my sister and me to eat our meals at the table, but then she would sit elsewhere to eat. There was a time where my father and sister followed suit, but I always used 'table manners' by actually sitting at the table. I always took a book in with me, just because I had no-one to talk to and therefore nothing to do. Until one day I confronted her about it, the argument escalated. Not far, but she was in denial that she was in the wrong. After that, we always ate at the dinner table. She never even said anything later. No apology or anything. But I didn't care.
"So if you don't mind, I'm making my own choice." I told her, starting up the stairs.
"Wait," The foreign man said to me, making me stop climbing the stairs to face him.I didn't have time for this, but he helped get my sister out by listening to me, so I should return the favour. So I returned to the level he was on, descending three stairs to do so. "Do you intend on helping others," he asked me with his accent pure and rich, which is a strange thing to think. It was just so fluent, although it would be normal to him.
"Yes, sir," I told him. "My parents and anyone else I happen to come across."
"You may not get far, miss. You might not be able to go higher than the explosion."
It was a plane, but you probably won't know that.
I saw the truth in the foreign man's statement. I could hear its explosion when I was down on the ground floor, arguing with the security guard. It could've easily taken out the stairwell. I may not get all that far. But...
"I have to try." I tell him, determined.
"You're risking your life to save strangers?" Emma asked.
"Not just strangers, Emma. Innocent people."
"We haven't got time for this, we need to go." Jay tells them, joining me by the staircase.
"Flora, don't go!" Emma begged.
I am already half a floor up, my back killing me, but I shout "Mum and Dad are still up there, Emma!"
Yes they are, and they're probably trapped up there too.
Hope everyone had a good holiday and new year. I go back to school today but I will try my hardest to update weekly like I have done.
Thanks to the guest reviewer who helped with grammar in the last chapter. I wasn't aware of so many errors. But thanks again :)
Thanks for reading.