Tears trickled down Death’s cheeks as she lifted the woman from the ruins with one long, slender hand. The building had crushed her body, but the woman’s soul remained intact through the gentle ministrations of the guiding spirit.
“What about my baby?” the woman asked. Her eyes fixed upon the infant clutched within lifeless arms. Though its weak cries filled the small concrete niche formed by the collapsed rubble, no one heard them. His voice was drowned out by sirens and wails from the surrounding devastation.
The smile of the hooded figure filled the dismal scene with a blinding light. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Billy will be coming with you.” She reached down for the child and placed him in his mother’s arms. He gurgled with pleasure, and the three of them left the wreckage behind for the bright and shining unknown.
*Last Saturday, September 11th, I was sitting in a hotel room in Columbus watching footage of the World Trade Center disaster. We had to turn it off because my son was afraid of nightmares. The next morning, I woke up from a dream with this image burning in my brain. This story was inspired by the events of nine years ago and dedicated to the victims and heroes of that day.
***Even though the photo I picked was very old, I thought the completely ruined building fit the theme of the story.