Realistic Fiction This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Asmall plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. They're closing downManhattan and people are not allowed to leave.

Is this some cruel,twisted joke? They definitely crossed the line this time.

There was morethan one plane. And they were not small planes; they were 747s or 767s. Someoneis saying they were hijacked. There's a bomb outside the State Department. Thetowers have collapsed. Seven planes are still unaccounted for. America is atwar.

It was third period when I heard the news. Mr. Bauer had justfinished showing us how to use the equipment in the weight room and the seniorshad turned on the radio. I tuned out the music and the mellow voice of theannouncer until his eerie tone crept into my mind. A plane has hit the WorldTrade Center.

I did not realize the severity of what had happened andwalked into my next class telling people that planes had hit the World TradeCenter in an almost joking manner.

It wasn't until fifth-period Economicsthat the complete and devastating truth came to me. And then that joking attitudemelted away. As Mr. Duddy said the moment we walked in, "This is not alaughing matter. The Twin Towers have collapsed. A plane has also crashed intothe Pentagon." At that moment if you'd told me the sky was falling, I wouldhave believed you. And then we all sat there listening to the terror that pouredout of a staticky radio.

I spent every Sunday for 16 years staring at themajestic beauty of the Twin Towers. Right behind the pulpit of my church are hugewindows which framed an awesome view of those two towering bodies. I rememberwhen I was in elementary school and the towers were bombed. The following Sunday,they still stood proud and tall. Windows were broken, but the towers were there.The Sunday after the 11th, I sat for the service and the windows wereempty.

I spend a lot of time at one of the largest online forums. There,techies (a nice name for geeks) from across the globe converge and discuss thingsfrom how to overclock their computers to whether or not to take multivitaminsupplements. With millions of members and even more "spectators," it isa huge online community. One of the pillars of that community was HawkeyeNJ.Every week he would scan the Sunday circulars and write up which buys were hotdeals.

Whenever you needed help, he was more than willing to lend ahand. In a world where even the closest of acquaintances are strangers, theenthusiasm with which HawkeyeNJ lent his aid was moving. After September 11,people kept posting on the forums, finding out if everyone was okay. HawkeyeNJnever posted again.

It's hard to describe what it felt like not to hearfrom him again. Here was a guy who we only knew by a screen name, yet it feltlike we had lost a brother. None of us knew him in person, and in a way that madeit harder. Somewhere out there a life had been lost and all we had to cling towas a nickname, a false identity, a fleeting memory. Not knowing him also givesme some hope that he didn't die. That he, like a lot of people you meet in anonline community, merely left. That somewhere out there, HawkeyeNJ is kickingback on some beach and watching the sun sink down behind the orange waves. Yes,that is what I'll believe.

September 11 and the days that followed werethe sick actualization of all I have seen and read. A terrorist group hijacks anairplane by hacking the autopilot and then aiming it at the World Trade Center.The plane is moments from impact only to be saved when Langley and Frohike1restore control at the last minute. F-16s are scrambled by Admiral Hardcastle2when terrorists use planes as flying bombs. First airports are targeted, and thenWashington itself in a final attack. Osama bin Laden plans an attack on thePresident's daughter. The place: the Golden Gate Bridge during a marathon. Theweapon: a suitcase nuke. The bomb is seconds from impact, only to be defused inthe nick of time by Kirk McGavery3. A Japanese airliner targets the Capitol.There is no warning. The President and almost all the Senate and House membersare killed. Jack Ryan4 becomes President and America rises from the ashes.

Except it didn't work out like that in real life, did it? That's onething I like about a book - if you don't like what you're reading, all you haveto do is close it. Can't exactly close the covers of life, now can I?


1 characters from the "X-Files"
2 characterfrom Storming Heaven by Dale Brown
3 character from DavidHagberg's
spy series
4 from Tom Clancy's Debt ofHonor

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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