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The Cycle of Tragedy

It was a quiet day at the office, type something here, play some solitaire there. Nothing Dave couldn’t handle. But, just because today was quiet, didn’t mean it wasn’t special. In the second drawer to his left, right next to a picture of his five-year old daughter, Hailey; inside of a small, black box was an engagement ring. Today, Dave was going to finally get the guts to propose to his 12-year girlfriend, who has been waiting for him to pop the question. It was going to be the perfect day.

Dave met Julia in high school, they were classmates and would skip hours of class so they could talk, hiding in various parts of the building. It was love, they both knew it. They swallowed each other souls through their eyes every time they met. Dave knew, he just knew she was his soul mate. He did everything he could to make her happy, and everything he could to stay with her. She was his life; she was all he cared about. And as long as she had a smile on her face, then he had one to match it.

Dave worked for an insurance company in New York. Most would consider the job boring, but he didn’t mind, as long as it kept a roof over Julia’s head. He made a decent pay, somewhere around fifty-thousand a year. Julia was always pushing him to donate some money to charity, but Dave always had the same answer: “If you give the poor everything, then what is going to motivate them to get off their lazy asses, get a job, and stop being poor?” He was the kind of guy who believed that if you weren’t making money, then you weren’t helping society and you were lazy.

It’s interesting really, his morals were so different than Julia’s, she always believed that they could help the poor, that they could do good things with the money they made, but Dave would refuse. “Poverty is a disease,” He would say, “and the cure to that disease is a decent day of hard work. I had to work to where I am now, and these lazy slum dwellers can too.” I guess you could say that was his version of a motivational speech.

But today even the filth of the poor, begging for change in the streets below his office, which stood on some double digit floor, wouldn’t ruin his day. The weather was beautiful, a gentle September breeze groped the leaves of the trees in a near-by park, and the sky was a crystal clear blue, perfect flying weather.

Dave had a meeting at nine, so he locked his computer and grabbed his needed papers. A sigh of excitement escaped his chest. He found his seat at the meeting table and let his body relax. He glanced out the window, which looked over the beautiful skyline of New York. Cars drove and honked below, taxis picked and dropped people off at the duplicate building next door, birds flew and flapped their wings, yes, and today was perfect.

“Alright,” Said his supervisor as he walked into the room, “I have looked over your work for the past few months, and I am very impressed with your accomplishments. In October, I would like you to be the new Supervising Manager for the Outreach department, you will of course get a raise in salary as well, and likely work less hours. What do you say?” A small, suppressed smile appeared on Dave’s face, “Of course sir, I wou-”

Dave’s words were cut short when a loud, booming sound blasted in his ears. The windows of the room shattered, glass shot through the room. The building shook and Dave fell down, hitting his head on a table. His vision blurred, and he was knocked out cold.

Screaming... Shouting… The sound of chaos. The sounds of bookshelves being knocked over, and screams being dealt, mixed the sounds of a man shouting orders. Dave opened his eyes slowly. The first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is his Supervisor, slumped against the wall with a large piece of glass sticking out of his neck. There was blood all over the room, shattered glass littered the floor. Dave got up, blood running down his arm and through his fingers.

“What’s… What is going on?” He asked himself, he looked out of what was the window, and saw the twin office building he worked in was spilling smoke out only a few floors above him. The blue skies turned to grey from the smoke, and the air tasted of cooked meat. He let his eyes glaze over the tower, and he saw debris fall from where the smoke plumed out. No, not debris, people, people were jumping from the building! Dave fell to his knees, glass cutting into his legs, sudden realization showered over him- something happened, a bomb, or a gas explosion, and people were dying all around him.

“Hey! Come on, you need to go! Get out of the building!” A man shouted at him from the entrance of the room, “What happened?” Dave asked, still in shock. “A plane crashed into this building and the North Tower too! You need to get out of here before you get hurt!” Dave stumbled out of the room and the man, who he now identified as a security guard, helped him get to the stairs, “This is as far as I can take you! There are more people that need help!”

Dave turned, and ran down the stairs; the stairway was empty for about a floor or two before masses of panicking people crowded the way. Dave cared none for who was in front of him, he pushed and shoved his way through the crowds, moving as fast as he could down every flight of stairs. Before long he stood at the base of the building, out of breath. Fire crews and police blew their sirens loud in the New York air, screaming pedestrians ran from the buildings.

The air smelled of death and panic.

Bodies of those who jumped from the buildings were carried away, blood and bodily fluids stained the ground. A medic ran up to Dave, and began to move him to an ambulance, “Hey, hey! What are you doing, I need to go see my gir- s***! The ring, stop, stop, I need to go back inside!” The medic pushed Dave toward the van. “Sorry sir! It’s too dangerous, this building could collapse any second.” Dave struggled to get away, but his right arm became useless, he couldn’t move it at all.

Dave watched the towers collapse on television in a crowded hospital. Tears ran down his face, the 20 thousand dollar engagement ring lost forever in the debris of his job. It soon hit Dave, that with his injury, and the amount of people who will be looking for jobs, he was going to be poor. He, Dave, was going to be poor, it seemed impossible.

As soon as he could Dave called home to let Julia know that he was okay. The phone rang against his ear four times, and the answering machine picked up. “Hey, Sweetheart, It’s Dave. I’m okay, I’m in the hospital. But the doctors said I can leave in a few weeks. It’s pretty crowded here, people are saying it was terrorists, that two planes were hijacked and used to crash into the towers. I heard that two other planes were hijacked, but I only know that one hit the pentagon, I don’t know about this fourth one. But, yeah, sweetheart call me when you can, okay? I love you.” Dave hung up the phone.

That day Dave didn’t get a call back, or any day for that matter. But, a week later Julia’s mother showed up at the hospital. She was old, and tired. Sorrow scarred her wrinkled face, and tears threatened at the base of her sad, brown eyes.

“David, how have you been?” Dave looked at her obvious forlorn expression, “I have been fine, is everything okay?” Julia’s mother sat down on the hospital bed near Dave’s feet, she gazed out the window, and looked at the New York skyline that, only a week ago was occupied by two massive towers. She heaved a sigh, “She’s dead David.” Dave just looked at her, a ball of unnamed emotions began to swell up in his chest, “W-what happened? You’re lying! Don’t play games with me woman!”

“She was with Hailey; she wanted to surprise you at your work for lunch. She left early and brought Hailey along because she had to get the taxes done anyways; she was in the area the first plane hit. David… Hailey is dead too. I’m sorry David.” Julia’s mother then grasped Dave’s hand, got up, and left. “No! No! No, stop! You’re lying! No! No. No…” Dave sobbed, and he sobbed harder than he ever sobbed in his life.

September 11th, 2001, Hailey and Julia Osborne were incinerated when a hijacked Boeing 747 crashed into the South Tower. As for David Osborne, he married another woman a year later, and had a daughter with her, whom he named Hayley. But a month after Hayley was born; David locked himself in a motel room. He surrounded himself with photos of Julia and Hailey Osborn, and set the room on fire. On September 11th, 2003, David Osborne died of Smoke inhalation




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