In Honor of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Posted: 11th September 2011 by affehaus in I made, words

I was in college when the attacks occurred, and in that semester, had taken a creative writing course. The instructor assigned us to write something based about or inspired by the tragedy.
During that period, it seemed that you couldn’t go any where without hearing someone saying how no one could have done that to a plane that they were on; that they couldn’t understand how the people on the planes that reached their targets could have let that happen. That offended me. Still does. Every single person on those planes died a hero in my opinion, and until you’re in the position of another person, or at least know the circumstances, you can’t call into question their character.
Any way… i wrote this as a response to ‘those’ people.


Schrödinger’s Kat

This is all my fault now… the lives, the loss…
…I have, through my own inaction, condemned my fellow passengers, and the futures of countless others that will be affected by this tragedy. It was within my control. I had the ability to prevent the turnover. But I failed.
I failed.
The only satisfaction allowed me is that at least I don’t have to suffer the burden much longer. Cold Comfort.

The plane had been in the air for about a half-hour before the commotion started. It was up in first class, behind the curtain. No one here in coach knew what was going on, only that there was some yelling up there, sounded like a scuffle. Then a dark complected man in khakis and a tee shirt parted the separating curtain.
I took my seatbelt off.
I knew what was happening. I’ve trained against this sort of incident for the past seventeen years. I am uniquely qualified. The moves…attacks, counter attacks… the motivations… were second nature to me. I knew that I could… that I would prevent this. There was no question.
I watched him draw his weapon. I could have broken his arm twice before the knife cleared its sheath. He advanced to the first row of seats. I could have killed the man three ways at his second step. For this, I was prepared.
For what happened next, not in a thousand life times could I know what to do. Even if I did know… I’m not sure I could do it.
The man reached calmly down to his right, and as he walked, pulled the child from her seat. Just reached over and plucked her. The girl’s mother went into hysterics (of course. Who can blame her?). Then, babe in arms, he backed up to the curtain. The knife was at her throat. From where I sat, I could see it dimple the skin.

“If all of you do as is asked, no one will be hurt. If any one disobeys…causes trouble… she dies first.”

I knew he was lying. There wasn’t any part of me that thought we‘d get out of this alive without subduing the hijackers. But I kept looking at that little girl… the… knife at her throat. She was screaming now. She was out of her mind. I couldn’t…I convinced myself that a better chance would come. I’d know when to move…something better.
I couldn’t kill her… even to save the lot of us. One life for many, right?
The girl’s mother was wailing like a banshee. She kept calling the girl’s name: Katrina. That made it worse. I didn’t want to know her name.
There were three men with knives now that were herding people toward the back of the plane. I could see some people in uniform. The plane’s crew. Two of the hijackers were handling passengers while the third lagged behind them with Katie (that’s what her mom was moaning now).
My turn came to line up, and I followed without incident. I was biding my time. Something better…better circumstances.
We were corralled into the cargo area. They kept the girl with them and said that if everyone stayed as we were and kept quiet, we all would live. Then they closed the door. I don’t even think it’s locked.

I know we are going to die. All of us. I suspect that even now, the little girl is dead already… and yet…I can not act.
I can’t go through the door, because she might be alive… I can’t be the one that kills her.
I can’t…

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