…RIPPING SHARDS OF the cabinet away I grabbed both of the shotguns. Cradling them I reached along the bottom, picking up two boxes of shells. I hoped they’d be enough and stuffed them into my pockets.
As more dark smoke curled past the windows, I exited the office, scooping up the rope, slinging it over my head and then, suddenly it began to rain. The fire alarm clanged monotonous, and now the delayed sprinklers kicked in, the cool water a relief at first.
Soaking, I bolted for the stairwell, the red emergency lights blinding as I scurried down step after step, bounding as rapidly as possible, knees jarring, a shotgun in each hand, clearing levels with determination, sweating, fixating on the blue doors that Mike had locked.
Panting I dropped the ropes and guns, pounding on the doors. “Mike!” Thud, thud, thud! “Mike!” I screamed louder still. Only the din of the fire alarm replied.
Grabbing a shotgun, I checked the barrel, a snug red shell told me it was ready for action. Standing a few feet back, I pointed the barrel at the lock, index finger squeezing…suddenly the door opened. Mike froze, eyes flitting downwards, a split second before I would have pulled right back. Dropping the barrel, I went inside.
“I don’t know why you’re still up here Mike, but I have a way out..” I said urgently.
Still a bit shocked he struggled to reply. “I’m not going anywhere, and my name isn’t Mike..”
“What?! Then who are you?” I walked to the water cooler and gulped down cup after cup as he followed me.
“I’m John Cairns. I’m not a janitor. I lost my business two weeks ago. Millions…I have no future.”
The name sounded familiar. “Whatever your reason, if you stay up here you’ll die. The fire is getting worse, but I have a way out.”
He shook his head, vacant eyes. “I have no future. I’m ruined.”
I grabbed him practically shaking him. “Look. You’re not the first, you won’t be the last. Would you rather lose your life or have a second chance?” He struggled to maintain eye contact, but revealed a sadness I knew myself. “I’ll tell you the plan on the way down. I’m not leaving you. If you stay, I stay.” He blinked, eventually nodding.
I slung the rope on me again and grabbed the guns, leading the way down, trying to keep a fast pace and relate to John what I envisioned, struggling over the noise while water sprayed over us.
We needed to get as close to the fire as possible.
After twenty flights, the familiar smoke filled stairwells greeted us. “Let’s go up one!”
Racing into a massive office space, I looked at the windows, trying to discern which side the smoke was coming from unable to see any. I went back into the stairwell across to the offices on the other side. Heavy smoke was drowning out daylight, pouring upwards, a flickering flame occassionally appearing.
I ran back, grabbing John in the stairwell, dragging him with me into the other office. I went up to the windows placing my hands on them, wondering if..
Crouched on the floor, I grabbed one end of a rope coil searching for something to fix it to that could hold the weight of two people.
- Cloud Breaker I
- Cloud Breaker II
- Cloud Breaker III
- Cloud Breaker IV
- Cloud Breaker V
- Cloud Breaker VI