Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Today, September 11th, is Patriot Day in America.  A day to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks eleven years ago.  In addition to the victims, there were heroes.  People who risked life and limb to save as many people as they could.

Burned House courtesy of
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For today's prompt, think of a tragedy.  Write a flashy piece describing what you were doing there before tragedy struck, or how you came to be at the scene trying to save lives...or maybe you were the one who caused it, intentionally or not.



    Hiram Fletcher had a seemingly impossible task. Even as the dust settled on the city of his birth after the unspeakable horror of two airplanes explosively hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Bureau of Information had assigned him to get an accounting of the victims.

    Oh, there were people getting the names of the fallen and the First Responder who bravely went in to the buildings as other hurriedly rushed out. An easier task than befell Hiram.

    He couldn't figure out why the information he sought would have any bearing or historic significance on the tragedy. Fletcher needed to find out what political affiliation these people held.

    When he hit the streets he saw the devastation. And the depression and the utter disbelief that something so illogical could befall New York City and reverberate throughout America. But he had an assignment and his duty to his superiors drove him onward.

    "Excuse me, Sir?" Hiram approached a gentleman clutching a photograph of a woman with two children. "Have you lost someone?" he absent-mindedly asked.

    "Are you with the government?" the man started holding out his portrait. "My wife? Have you seen my wife?"

    His tears fell. His words coming in thick sobs.
    His friend and partner. His wife; the mother of his two children. Nowhere to be found.

    "No sir, no I haven't seen her. Could you tell me something?" Hiram said almost afraid to ask. "What was you wife's party affiliation?"

    The man looked at Hiram incredulously.

    "Wha... my wife's par... YOU SON OF A BITCH! FUCK YOU!"

    The man stormed off glancing back at Hiram briefly before continuing.

    Hiram felt the piercing thrust of the man's painful daggers gouge out a piece of his heart. He went in search of another survivor.

    A woman stood motionless. A blank stare filled her eyes. Looking for the towers of that impressive landmark.

    "They're not there" she mumbled. "The towers... they're... gone!" she turned to Hiram. The pain that resided upon her face made Hiram move on to find another person.

    He found a firefighter, dust encrusted and composing himself for another foray into the mire.

    "Can I help you sir?" the First Responder asked.

    "I'm... um, with the Bureau of Information. Can I... um, ask you..." Hiram started as the young man rose to stand.

    "Look, I'd love to answer your questions, but right now I have to get back there. My brother is missing. I have a lot of "brothers" missing here."

    "Just one question? Your brother was he affiliated with any political party?" Hiram blurted.

    The Responder exhaled deeply. "Buddy, let me give you some information for free. Don't go around asking that question of too many people. People have died here. Friends, and brothers and wives; husbands. Fine people all! Does it matter if they were Republican or Democrat or whatever? Leave it be!"

    And he walked away.

    Hiram proceeded to perform his job finding much truth in the firefighter's words. He walked all afternoon meeting the same resistance. Fletcher's report would be a surprise to his supervisor.

    There were no Republicans killed in the tragedy. No democrats fell silent. The number of Conservatives and Liberals were equal. Zero.
    His breakdown was very brief and spoke volumes.
    The people who died were Americans.

    Attached to the report, Hiram Fletcher included his resignation. What did it matter?

    1. Very nice, Walt. Americans, indeed. Too many Americans, especially in election years get wrapped up in labels. Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow eliminate the party system we've fallen into and work for the common good?

    2. So nice! Well, not nice... anyway good work Walt! You chose a great theme for this prompt. Sorry for everyone who has lost a person in this tragity of an "accident"

  2. Sitting in the back of the police cruiser, I stare at the commotion in front of the townhouse. I still can't believe I ran in there. I never really thought myself the hero type, but I couldn't ignore the screaming. Even now, it already haunts me.
    Walking from my car, I heard the girl, Hayden, screaming, "Stop! Please! I won't do it again! I promise!" followed closely by the Smack! It's really amazing how clearly that sound carries.

    As I got closer to my door, there were more smacks, less pleas. Her dad was really worked up tonight.

    I've lived next to Hayden and her parents for a couple years and while this isn't a regular occurrence, it does happen much too frequently. I'm not sure how old she is exactly, but I'd guess eleven or twelve. She's a friendly kid, but she's got a smart-mouth. Never to me, but the walls are little more than paper thin. Her old man, Martin, I think, has always liked to drink, but since he lost his job, he's been hitting it a bit harder. Her mom works, but I've noticed that a few times after the knock-down drag-outs, she's not left the house for a few days. I'm surprised they're still together.

    Anyway, as I approached my door, I could hear things getting rougher. I could hear sobbing and somebody being slammed against the wall. More pleading, but dad wasn't having any of that tonight.

    Something in me snapped.

    Instead of putting my key into my lock, I ran the last three steps and put my shoulder into their door, busting it in. A "What the Hell was that?" preceded Martin coming half way out of what must have been Hayden's room. He looked at me balefully and started forward.

    Hayden peeked out, saw me, and cried, "No, daddy! Mr. Anders get out of here. He'll hurt you." Martin turned and shoved his daughter as hard as he could back into her room screaming, "Shut up and stay in there! This is all your fault! I'll be back for you in a minute!"

    I might have bolted then, but her broken face followed by her crashing into some piece of furniture in her room, bolstered me. In his rage, Martin stormed up and swung a mighty roundhouse punch at my head. I dodged the blow easily and shoved him hard, trying to pin over the couch where I could try to get a hold on him from behind.

    Unfortunately, being drunk also caused him to be off balance and with my shove, he went right over the low-backed couch. There was a solid thunk as his forehead slammed into their coffee table and he remained sprawled half off the couch.

    "Daddy!" Hayden screamed, rushing from her doorway to her motionless father. This was followed by "Oh, my God!" from behind me. I turned to see Hayden's mom frozen in the entryway, looking from her husband to me, fear in her eyes.

    "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt him, it was..." I began.

    She didn't appear to hear a thing I was saying. Her eyes flicked from Martin and Hayden to me, then to the phone on the counter. "I'm calling the police," she said, as calmly as she could manage.

    I turned back to Hayden and started to move around the couch, asking "Are you okay?"

    She screamed, "Stay back! Don't you come near me! You killed my daddy!"

    Shocked that I was somehow the bad guy, I stared a moment longer at Hayden, trying to reposition her father on the couch, and listened to her mother begin to report the murder of her husband to the police. I walked out the door and sat on the stoop.
    I'm not sure whether her old man is dead or not. I think I caught a glimpse of them wheeling him out on a stretcher and he wasn't under a white sheet. I guess that means he's still alive. I saw Hayden walk out and get in the back of the ambulance. That's the important thing here. I think he might have really hurt her tonight. It sounded worse than ever.

    That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

  3. "Please! I didn't mean to!" he said over the greiving body in her room. He was begging for mercy of his friend. He had killed her. That is what he thought...

    It all started 12 hours ago, with a text. He was walking to school that day, when he wanted to talk to her.
    Her: Yo...
    Him: Whats wrong?
    Her: Nothing out of the usual. Ppl making fun of my braces.
    Him: Well, they are sorta funny...

    And that was all that was said between them. He tried texting her every day before and after school, but never replied to him. He would try and try to get her to talk, tried to so something to forgive him, but nothing ever worked out.

    One day, he stopped by her house, because he was super worried. Ding dong! When the door creaked open, he found her mom standing by the door.

    "Connor, what a lovely surpise!"
    "Hi, Mrs. Smith, I stopped by to see Emily. Is she here?"
    "Yes, she is in her room. Is everything alright?"
    "Um, swell. I just need to talk to her for one minute.

    He threw his bag on the ground and darted up the stairs. He had an idea of what was going on. zever since six weeks ago, people were calling her names, because of her braces. He didn't help at all with the text.

    When he reached her room, he banged on the door as hard as he could. "Emily! Let me in! It's Connor!" He waited five seconds, and tried to open the door. It was rigged to a rope, so when the door opened, the rope around her neck would tighten and kill her. But a voice stopped him, the angelic voice he knew since he was 5.

    "Don't bother. It's rigged." she said.


    "I will find a way! I need you. Don't do it!" he pleaded. "I need you! he shouted at the top of his lungs.

    He opened the door a crack and saw the rope on the knob. Connor unsheathed the tiny knife he was given by Emily. "You will use it someday." he clearly remembered he saying. Today was the day. He filed away at the string until it gave away. He quickly grabbed it and made sure he could control it.

    He edged closer and closer to her,making sure that she could breathe properly in the process. As he stepped closer, he said calming words to her. "Please, what made you do such a thing?"he asked.

    "Being bullied makes you do things, Connor." she replied. He just didn't understand. While he was pondering, Emily stole the rope from his grasp and let go. Next thing he knew, he found her limp on her bed.

    "Connor, I need you to do something."
    "Just said the words."
    "I need you to get me to a hospital." she said with a smile on her face.
    "Connor let the whole world face around them as he kissed her. He didn't need to know she was dead, or going to die. All he needed was that last kiss.

    When he lifted her up, she felt unusually light. He lay her down in the death position and started to cry. He had never cried in the way that you cry over a dead vody before, because she was the closest thing to a sister he had. And she was dead because of him.

    "I am sorry, Emily. So so sorry." he muttered through sobs, tears streaking his miserable face.