From Lucas to Jackson

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“Lucas it is time for school,” my mother yells.


I drag myself out of bed, grab a box of cheerios, and turn on the TV. I turn on NBC morning news to see the weather, and check if my baseball game will get canceled. The news report that shows is in Iraq talking about some shooting. 150 people dead. I am just some 15 year old from Point Lookout, NY why would I care about a terrorist shooting in the Middle East? I change the TV to the weather I cannot help but feel disappointed as I eat my cheerios, we were scheduled to play the best team on Long Island today. I grab my rain jacket and walk to the bus. On the bus I see all my friends and teammates.


“Hey Lucas did you hear about the shooting in Iraq?” my friend Mason asks.


“Yeah man, it was all over the news, I wanted to see if the Knicks won but that dumb shooting got in the way! Why do the reporters think Americans care about all that?” I respond.


“I do not know man, terrorism could happen in our town or school man, you should care more,” said Mason.
“I mean it’s rarely anywhere but the Middle East. I just think they should focus more on weather, sports, and Donald Trump,” I say as I begin to drift asleep.


All the time spent on a History paper last night is catching up on me.


*************
I wake up in an office building. I look out the window and see nothing but blue skies. Not knowing what’s happening, I check the pocket of my large blue suit jacket and my oversized pants and find a wallet with a driver license reading Jackson P. Harold born July 4th,1956. What a cool birthday I think As I read on I notice that this Jackson guy is also from Long Island. The picture shows an older man probably late forties. He lives on Long Island just outside of the city. In his wallet there is a business card saying that he works for a company called Euro Brokers. There is a computer in front of me and I go online and try to figure out exactly where I am. While I am waiting for the internet to load, a bright orange fireball the size of a house explodes in my peripheral vision.  I walk to the window to investigate.  As I creep closer, I realize that I am in a skyscraper and after I see the hole in the equally tall skyscraper my heart drops as I realize the date is September 11, 2001 and I am in the South tower of the World Trade Center.


The person controlling me walks to a room with tons of people in cubicles freaking out. I check the time, and see it's now 8:55 and I start telling everyone to get out since I know there is little time to waste. I must be in a dream, there is no way I could be living in this day as an old man named Jackson Harold. All of a sudden a woman starts screaming. I try not to think much about it because all I want to do is go down and exit the building, but Harold’s body refuses, by dragging me towards the woman who looks close to fainting. I look up and see that a clock has struck 9:00 am. I begin to panic, but my legs keep forcing me towards the crying woman. I bring the woman to my office and help her calm down. Surprisingly my body felt calm, but my brain is twisting and turning as I feel that this is a wild dream that hopefully ends soon. I walk back into the hallway and BOOM! The loudest noise I have ever heard. I don't know what floor I am on, but the noise came from below which means I am way up and must get down before the impending collapse. This building collapsed first so I better gather everyone and go downstairs. I begin to run down a staircase close to the bathroom and breathe in the smoke. With little air I continue my descent and then to my surprise I see a pack of around 15 people heading up the stairs.


“What are you doing, go down?” I say confused.


“We are going to the roof to try to be rescued by a helicopter, Jackson,” a man in a suit responds.
Alright, they know me so maybe they will follow me down the stairs.


“Please come down with me,” I tell them, “There is no helicopter coming.”


“We just called and there is one on the way,” a woman responds.


“Please,” I scream, “come down the building is gonna collapse and we do not have much time the helicopter will not be able to land.”


“No, the smoke on the stairs is too strong. It will be impossible to breathe and plus we are above the plane’s point of impact it is unlikely of getting down anyway,” responds the man in the suit.


At this point I realize all 15 people in that group, my friends and coworkers, are all going to die today. I pause and begin to shiver over the thought of all these deaths. Alright, I think, it is time to survive. I try to push the thought of people dying out of my head, but I cannot. With all this in mind I begin to run down the smoky staircase towards the impact zone of the plane. I can feel the heat burning through the doors as I reach floor 83 where I now know is an impact floor. I continue to quickly move down the stairs. When I get to floor 67 I come across a man who is sitting on the stairs.


“Come on let’s get to ground,” I say.


“ Why even bother man. My best friend is on floor 101 and I doubt he will make it out,” he says while crying.
“Your best friend would want you to survive,” I respond, “ Let’s go!” I yell.


“Alright fine,” he says.


As we begin our way down I learn about this young man named Jerome Lee. He tells me about best friend Oliver and his younger brother Courtney. We continue to trudge down the stairs the stairs picking up speed as we go. The thought of death hits me hard again as five firefighters walk up the stairs past us around floor seventeen. Also at that moment I realize how brave firefighters are. I could not imagine turning around and going up to help. Again I shiver and have to gather myself before continuing with Jerome who is now doing a full sprint. He is definitely an athlete as he is barely tired. As we reach the bottom, Jerome hugs me and thanks me for saving his life, “I could not have built up the courage without you joining me on the journey to escape.” 
We take a minute to gather our breath but I know the day is not done and we have to run away to be safe. As Jerome and I begin to jog away from the South tower I hear it begin to fall and everyone on the street starts sprinting. I bet it is the fastest everyone on that street will ever run.


*************


I wake up as the bus pulls into Long Beach High School. I gather myself as I walk off the bus and to the cafeteria to meet my friends.


“ Lucas!” my friend Pablo yells from the room, “did you see the Knicks game last night buddy?”


“ Nah man I stopped at halftime to work on my history essay. What happened?” I say.


I run over to the table and Pablo pulls out his phone and shows me a clip of the Knicks game. The game had only two seconds left and the Knicks made a three pointer to win by one.
“ Who scored that?” I ask.


“ Courtney Lee!” Pablo responds.


As I am walking to my first period History class to turn in that paper I realize that maybe Courtney Lee was Jerome’s brother from my dream. What a coincidence, I think as I step into class.
Perfect, as I walk in I notice a substitute teacher sitting at the desk, I get to nap first period. The bell rings and the substitute says, “Hello class I am Mr. Jackson Harold and I am your sub for the day.”


I nearly faint after I hear that name. This is Jackson Harold. He survived; he is real. My brain is spinning in all directions as I walk up to his desk to turn in my essay. On Mr. Harold’s laptop the screen saver is of him and a young male. I recognize him instantly as Jerome. They both survived the tragedy. Next came the school announcement where the principal asked for a moment of silence for those lost in Iraq and that was the most silent I have ever been in my life knowing that terrorism, tragedy, and death can all happen anytime, anyplace. Mr. Harold was still during the moment of silence and just stared right at the flag and blessed himself right after. I now know to enjoy life because you never know what is going to happen the next day and that every little attack in any part in the world matters.






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