FreeFall

Kim Blachard is 29 years old. Her boyfriend has just proposed and they are going to have the biggest wedding they can imagine. It's September 11th 2001 and Kim is at work, like any other day on the 105th floor of the World Trade Centre.

Today Kim will fight for her life and the lives of those around her but when she and two others become trapped in a small office whilst trying to escape and the oxygen starts to run out, Kim will face the biggest decision of her life....

Note: The characters in this story are completely fictional and do not represent any persons living or dead.

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1. Prologue

The slow monotonous hum was growing louder by the second. Not only was it beginning to distract her, she could see others around her starting to lift their heads from behind their computer screens, some even leaving their desks to investigate the source.


Kim Blachard sat where she had been all morning, typing up data sheets and customer records onto her painfully slow computer. A cup of coffee; two sugars and no milk, exactly how she liked it was the only thing keeping her remotely sane. Infact if it weren't for coffee, Kim thought she might of boiled over into a rage and thrown her computer out of the window.


There would be no chance of it's survival at this height. Sometimes Kim would have to supervise visitors on the roof of the building as they came to look out over the unique view of Manhattan and even standing there with them would make her feel physically sick. It was safe to say that working on the one hundred and fifth floor of the World Trade Centre was not her dream job. Of course she would never complain, Tom had urged her to take the position months ago so they could save up more money for what Kim always said was, "...going to be the best wedding in the whole of New York, period!".


Tom was Kim's fourth boyfriend and her first fiancé, even at 29 she still felt too young to be getting married. He had proposed while holidaying in Venice as she was tucking into a great big bowl of pasta, with the meatballs in it that she loved. Everyone had stared at her that night which would usually be too uncomfortable for her to deal with, yet they all smiled and applauded when she said yes, some were even crying with her and dabbing at their faces with napkins.


The ring was the most beautiful thing Kim had ever seen, but she supposed every woman thought that about their own engagement ring. She was turning it around and around on her finger when someone in the group sourcing out the humming noise let out a barely audible gasp and maybe an "Oh my god!".


The explosion seemed gigantic, the floor beneath them all shook violently, desks and computers falling over, pencils and staplers strewn about the large office. Everyone in the room was literally shaken to the floor and others, who had been looking out of the window were terrified, each of them clinging to one another as they tumbled to the ground.


Kim didn't understand what was going on, the humming had definitely gotten louder and louder and bigger even, that had stopped now after the booming thud of the explosion faded. She was also on the floor but how she got there was a mystery to her. The shock swept through her like a bullet, then came the adrenaline bringing her senses back to her almost immediately.


Without even thinking she scrambled about under her desk for her mobile phone, emptying the contents, throwing anything aside that wasn't something to call her fiancé with. Her hands began to tremble, the shock coursing through her still no doubt, her colleagues were calling out to one another from across the room and she heard something about a plane or a bomb. She would call Tom right now and tell him it's all okay. Scrambling hands found the phone she had been looking for. Once her fingers began to work the way she wanted them too, Kim scrolled through her contacts until she got to T. It's fine, your fine, I'm ok, it's going to be completely fine stop panicking you stupid woman!


There was smoke rising up past the windows, thick and pitch black. Kim made her way over, the phone to her ear. The phone beeped and just as she managed, "Tom....Tom baby it's me are you.......", a woman's voice cut her off. "Your call could not be connected, please try again later". 


Kim let the phone slide from her fingers and hit the carpet beside her feet. Through the smoke she could see something moving in the distance, a bird maybe? Then the bird got bigger and louder and the humming was back. Only when the bird exploded into a great fireball right into the side of the adjacent building did Kim panic.

The little gap in the smoke slowly closed like a thick black curtain over the rest of the windows until the office was pitch black. I'm going to die here today aren't I? she asked herself, tears streaming down her cheeks.

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