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Everything was calm. My mind was filled with the sound old TV’s make when you turn them on. Far below me Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot swam sweetly in the cold vacuum of space. If you pointed you’re eyes at the upper hemisphere of this small wonder, you could see a giant hurricane the size of Texas eating the east coast of a preposterous little nation that used to call itself a shinning example for the rest of the planet.
People used to be concerned about the population bomb. Serious old white men in serious looking ties used to say important sounding things about places like India and China. These very serious old men would go on and on about the number of people in these countries, and how they were going to use up all the resources in the world. They would then go home and live a life that would use something like 32 times the amount of resources on a daily basis than any average Chinese or Indian citizen. This rampant resource usage effectively multiplied the impact of the American population. In the end the real problem turned out to be the developed world’s greed.
Currently the greatest proponent of this greed, the United States was being humbled by the natural result of a heavy rotation of burning carbon based fuels. Ophelia was beautiful in her destruction, long arms reaching out to gently scrape free the remnants of humanity from the east coast of this plucky nation. The eye itself was over 100 miles wide; the wind speed at the eye wall was estimated at over 400 miles per hour. It was estimated because nothing human beings were capable of building was strong enough to survive the journey through the wall to get a physical measurement. Looking at the massive storm seemed to draw me closer, and I began to fall, slowly at first, and then faster.
I was reentering the atmosphere. Something that shouldn’t be possible in a suit made out of skin and bone. I was going much too fast and the speed of my reentry was causing my arms and legs to start to warm up. Little molecules of oxygen, nitrogen, and recently a fair amount of Co2 began to bump into me. Their bumping caused friction and heat. Looking down I could see small bits of my arms and legs first begin to smoke, and then start to catch fire. The pain was getting worse. Looking back towards the storm caused me to fall faster. My eyes began to water, and then began to bleed from the speed of the decent. The pain started to spread up and towards my stomach as my hair, face, and chest burst into fire. And faster still I fell, directly into the pitiless black void of Ophelia.
I was a comet falling directly towards Central Park in New York City. I couldn’t close my eyes, my eye lids had long sense burned off. For some reason my eyes still worked, this was a visual feed that was impossible to turn off. The ground jumped up like a vicious dog going for my neck. Right before I plummeted into it at super sonic speeds two things happened. The first was that I began to see a pattern emerge, shadowy people with no names and no faces doing things I didn’t understand. These people were doing something, something wrong, something massive. The second thing that happened was that I finally began to scream.
Ripping itself out of me was a sound both pathetic, and horrific. The force of it drowning out the wind for a moment, before the effort of screaming was replaced with the effort of staying conscious.
The rebar had left a thick meaty hole in my arm that had quickly filled with blood, rain, and dirt. Rain was there for me in a second, her arms holding me up out of the rapidly growing puddle growing under the both of us. A puddle that looked like it was part rain water, and a lot blood.
“Q, hey buddy, look at me! Hey! Listen you got a big hole in your arm, and I know you don’t want to get up, but remember where we are. That fucking storm is coming and we have to get the fuck up out of here!”
No rest for the weary. She reached down under my good arm and drug me over to our bikes, which amazingly still looked like they could roll. Looking down at my arm revealed that the wound was not going to close on its own. Deep red arterial blood was flowing freely from the wound.
“Rain we have to stop the bleeding, I need your aviatrix helmet and the bottom half of your shirt” To her credit she didn’t even blink, in a moment I had half her shirt wrapped around my arm tightened down by the long leather straps of her aviatrix helmet. Good thing I used to watch ER, and to a lesser extent MacGyver. The bleeding did slow down, accompanied by a noticeable increase in the pain.
For those of you who have never stabbed a giant hunk of rebar through the upper part of their bicep let me give you a quick run down. The first thing you want to do is pass out, after that you want to vomit, followed by more passing out. However, and this is the key point to this particular scenario, if a giant flesh rending monstrosity of a storm is about to tear you to tatters you have to slightly revise your plans.
“Get up Q.” Rain tugged me forward and we were moving, once the bleeding was mostly stopped I found that it was much easier to concentrate on things like moving my feet.
“We are going to go get my brother and my friend and we are going to get the fuck out of here, you got that” She screamed into the darkened sky, the sound of the wind tearing the words out of her mouth almost before they could make it to my ears. I tripped on a piece of broken two by four and she was there to catch me. As she helped me up I was forced to grab her with my bad arm, another scream ripped itself out of me. Rain helped me up with both hands. Her red rimmed eyes were staring deep into mine, the wind and rain beating a constant death metal beat into our heads. Instead of the usual resolve I saw in her the shaky beginnings of a panic. For a moment I forgot that she was carrying me and I felt a strong desire to just hold her in my arms until she felt better.
With the wind whipping my wet clothing against me, and with a steady hail of the remnant filth of New York pelting me from all sides I reached deep inside and found some remaining bits of strength. Putting one foot down and pressing up with the other leg, I stood up on my own in front of her.
“Ok Rain lets go get them.”