Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Unforgettable

It was 9/11. Three years had passed since that catastrophic day. But the fear and patriotism still remained in the hearts of the people.

The morning newspapers did nothing to advertise the theft of a baker’s van the last night. Nor did the tabloids. Decorated with grotesque pictures about the carnage which had taken place in this city 3 years ago, they made sure that people would never get over it. Not with the media present.

This newspaper made its way to Clark’s home. Dressed in pinstriped trousers and a dark shirt, he collected the paper from his doorstep and sat down on the mahogany table to enjoy his coffee, his first of the day. The clock chimed nine and letting out a groan, he picked up the keys and slipped through the door, the heavy traveler bag weighing him down. He pulled open the door of the freshly painted van, and sat down heavily. With butterflies in his stomach, he switched on the vehicle; the growl of the engine echoed in his ears as he ventured onto the street, determined. He was a man on a mission.

The same newspaper littered the desk of Larry Howells. Not having time even to skim through the headlines, he just through the paper away like trash. He did not need the newspapers to tell him about it. He had been a part of it. And he had lived, unlike many of his fellowmen. He craved for revenge, and he had vowed to get it. He pulled on his beige jacket and shoved the shiny nine-millimeter into his belt. Lighting his first cigarette of the day, he moved off towards the center of the city, where the crowd had gathered. And where the city needed him.

Catching sight of the tall man in the crowd, he pushed through and moved up silently next to him; his lips moving inanimately, he put his hand around the taller man’s shoulder and waited for the right moment. The tall man nodded, inconspicuously, and noticeable only under extreme scrutiny. Moving away in opposite directions, both the men took out matches and at the precise time, lit a single match. 10 different men responded at that point and rose, spreading through the throng, all of their jackets concealing bulges.

Clark lit a cigarette and puffed on it, taking several breaths at once. The scene at Central Park was unbelievable. At least a thousand people had gathered at once, to honor their countrymen, to pray for their nation. This was a day the United States of America would never forget. Nor would the world. Not after today. He would make sure of that.

People parted as the van drove through. Vigilant police officers stood watching in the distance, their eyes scanning the crowd for trouble, their hands wavering just over their sidearms. The van caught their sight. Their eyes moved at once towards it. They reached for their walkie-talkies and weapons as the danger prolonged.

Clark kept the horn compressed as the van inched forward. People looked around at each other, shocked. The sight of the frantic police officers made him smirk with happiness. As he moved towards the center of the crowd, the situation changed. Hysterical screams pierced the crowd and the crowd turned away as one, scared about the unknown vehicle among them. Scared for their lives.

That seemed to be the cue for the inactive policemen waiting for orders. They charged through the horde, firearms raised, trying to control the state of affairs, but all of their efforts going in vain. It also seemed a cue for the group of ten. Racing towards the van from all directions, they rounded up the van and had it surrounded in less than a minute. And then opened the door.