"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned..."
Brandy looked out the bedroom window of her small apartment for the eighteenth time at the flames steadily consuming the warehouse two blocks away, trying to quell the knot that kept forming in her stomach. "Where the hell is the fire company?" she said out loud. The fact that she couldn't hear a single siren yet was puzzling, and more than a little worrying.
She'd woken up a little less than a half hour ago to the sounds of an almost deafening crash, followed by what sounded like some kind of explosion that had rattled the windows. Looking out, she had seen the location of the explosion, but it took a few minutes of looking at pieces of debris, illuminated by the light of the fire, to realize that a plane had crashed into the building.
The plane crash seemed to have knocked out all the power. There were no lights as far as she could see. Maybe that's why it was taking the fire company so long to get to there. And the battery in her cell phone seemed to have gone dead, so she couldn't even call anyone find out what was going on.
Abandoning the window to go fumble through the dark to the kitchen to find a pack of matches, she couldn't help thinking about 9-11 back in 2001. It was hard to imagine a warehouse being the target of a terrorist attack, but, she thought, maybe they just missed their target. "Ow," she muttered as she stubbed her toe on something, but managed to find the matches and get a candle lit a few minutes later.
The night was quiet. Almost too quiet, thought Evan Harper as he walked down the street. It was a little past eleven, and as far as he could see, Evan was the only thing around for the streetlights to cast a shadow on. He walked with a small bounce in his step, and his feet marched to the beat of the song playing in his head, Maynard Ferguson's rendition of Birdland. Evan was a professional jazz musician with a traditional big band by the name of Harper's Horns. The moniker had come about nearly five years ago when the band started organizing, and all three lead players-- sax, trumpet, and trombone-- had the last name Harper. While the other two had moved on, Evan had remained as the lead sax player. He was currently on his way home from a gig playing at an grand opening party for a new business, where the band had played some great tunes....including Birdland, Gordon Goodwin's Hit the Ground Running, and Earle Hagen's classic standard, Harlem Nocturne, all of which featured alto sax solos that Evan aced. He walked now with his alto case in hand, whistling the theme to Birdland, on this cool, quiet night.
At 24 years old, Evan stood at an even six feet tall, and weighed about 140 pounds. He was lean, with short, dark brown hair and eyes of the same color that were framed by wire-rimmed glasses. He wore blue jeans, black sneakers, a white dress shirt underneath a black, zip-up sports jacket. He had just reached the front door of his apartment building when he heard a noise overhead that could only be described as foreboding. He looked up and, to his surprise, saw a 747 that was far too close to the ground. With a dropped jaw, his eyes traced the path of the plane as it careened and then crashed into a warehouse the next block over. "What the hell.....?" he mumbled as he reached into his pocket for his phone with the intention of calling the fire department. To his surprise, the battery was dead. His brow furrowed and he looked back over at the plane and the flames that were starting to build up around it. He decided to run up to his apartment and try the land line. He set his sax to the side of the door once he was inside his sixth-story apartment and picked up the phone, but was greeted only by silence. A knot began to form in his stomach as he tried flipping on a light and realized that the power was out. People were starting to gather on the sidewalks, looking down at the growing fire. Evan simply looked out his window, mind running 100 miles a minute, trying to make sense of the tragedy he had just witnessed and wondering why the fire department hadn't arrived.
Brandy moved the candle to her bedroom and wasted the next 25 minutes mostly staring out the window, watching people gather on the sidewalks, milling about as if no one knew what to do. Everyone looked about as confused as she felt as to why there were no emergency crews. In fact, there wasn't a vehicle moving anywhere. She'd been so enthralled by the plane crash that it hadn't really registered until now.
And almost the same time that realization hit, she noticed something else. The fire had jumped to another building. If no emergency crews were coming, what was to stop it from spreading to her apartment building? "Shit..."
Her hands shook, but the thought prompted her into action. She pulled her backpack out of the closet and dumped the contents onto the bed, then started trying to figure out what she should take if she had to abandon the apartment.
But where was she supposed to go? She'd only moved here a week earlier to start a new job as a secretary at a local firm and hadn't really made any friends yet.