Friday, December 30, 2011

Chapter 34: Harbor Wave the Bringer of Death

Owned and Written by Greg L. Miller 2011 

Clear Version to better Navigate Chapters can be found at:

Chapter 34: Harbor Wave the Bringer of Death

Juliet gasps as she attempts to climb one more flight of stairs. People branch in all directions. Panic and mayhem have taken over. Pedestrians and office workers both become more aggressive the closer to the roof they get. It’s becoming apparent most fear imminent death. The initial blast of the tsunami has died down, the building shakes as new waves pound the structure, but they sound to be less ferocious as the first. Her muscles in her upper thighs burn, she wants to be strong but she has to pause. Deep down she fears something in her might snap if the day doesn’t end.

I have to get to the roof. Mat is dead, everyone is dead! Everyone up here are acting like animals, it’s like the survival of the fittest is directing people’s behaviors. 

Her eyes take on a frantic glean, her hands won’t stop shaking. The vibration feels contagious like a virus. Chuang walks behind her, Harry in front. She is scared. Emergency generators illuminate entrance sign after sign. Harry appears to be a locomotive that keeps going. She pauses, her muscles scream in relief. Harry seems to have eyes on the back of his head. The war veteran stops and twirls, his voice sounds kind but urgent. She can’t see his eyes; her mind won’t shut up its message of doom. A few people from above linger on the stairs and tell others what’s happening.

Harries voice is distant; “We can’t stop. You can rest when this is over. We need to get to the roof!”

Where is my dad? He wouldn’t be on the roof; I can’t go to the roof. Everyone is dead or dying. Please dad, be safe, I’m sorry I didn’t get in sooner. Will the ocean stop?

Harry takes a few steps towards Juliet, “I can’t have you lose it now. You are a trooper. Pull it together Juliet. Chuang needs you; your dad needs you to be strong.”

Their all dead and we are going to die next.

Juliet slams her fist into the hard wall. Tears flow free. Harry stutters, “Shit, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.” A few strangers rudely brush past them.

Juliet bails, she had enough. She doesn’t want to move any further, she only wants to find her dad. Not caring what anyone thinks she hits the wall a second time and drops to her knees.

Harry uncertainly repeats, “We really need to get to higher ground, I’m sorry if I said something bad.” Chuang is near her side, she feels his small soft hand engulf her tiny hand which stings from being slammed into the wall. She can’t see his eyes either.

Juliet hiccups as the tears ebb, “I’m sorry, it isn’t you. So much has happened.” 

Did I break my hand? I’m so stupid.

After a moment of more crying she adds, “You guys need to go on without me. I need to find my dad.” Harry startles. Chuang doesn’t say anything. Juliet doesn’t think he can. 

 “I don’t want to be a bother and I need to do this. My dad is somewhere in here. I’m sorry. You guys were wonderful but please safe yourselves.”

Harry simply answers, “No. I swore a long time ago to help those in need. I never had a family, but please let me help. Let’s find your dad.”

Tears from appreciation freely come and go. Juliet is grateful and doesn’t put up a resistance. Chuang tightens his grip in a loving fashion. She takes comfort from his presence. Harry continues to act like a big brother, she tries coming to terms on the tsunami but can’t. She doesn’t feel any place is safe.

Harry gruffly reminiscences, “When I was stationed in Korea I found myself data collecting. We used enemy Intelligence to locate targets. Do you think we could find a work roster or something?”

Juliet has an idea, “Wouldn’t those things be at the nurses’ station or where people clock in?”

 “It’s worth a try. You want to try this floor first? Do you know where in the hospital your dad works? It’s a big place.”

Juliet nods yes and mutters, “No. He’s a janitor. They have him clean whatever needs cleaning.”

Together they leave they leave the stairway and its darkness.  They are on the sixth floor.

Half a dozen civilians dressed sharply stand near the right wall. Saying it’s a wall is an over statement, large sections are missing. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle is half completed. Through the missing jigsaw pieces are sharp and broken rusty looking metal rods. A man points dressed in black with a ear mike makes wild gestures.

The man frantically explains to those around him, “No! The wave train isn’t done; those buildings don’t have a chance. Look how the terrain slopes down, this wasn’t the case earlier today. The earthquake made the terrain lower then sea level which allowed the ocean to flood in the city.” 

A male RN startles, “Look, more visitors.”

Juliet feels athwart. She uneasily asks, “Sorry to bother you. I’m looking for my dad.”

The man who looks like an engineer with the funny looking ear phone nods, he looks over to the RN and mutters, “More people are going to show eventually and we don’t even have water.” 

Looking closer Juliet sees many of the people are stragglers like her. 

The male RN shrugs, “From the look of it we are safer here then most of DC. Look at that!” His voice takes in despair as the small crowd watches more of DC slowly sinks into the ocean. 

However it doesn’t look like the ocean is covering everything. It’s the waves which is doing most of the damage.

A heavy set brunette who looks gothic sarcastically interrupts, “Why would I want to look at my home being destroyed?” She however doesn’t move from her bird’s eye perch. No one moves. Juliet can’t help but move forward. She wants to see what’s happening outside. Chuang follows; there are enough gaps in the wall for all to see.

The male RN with a white tag named Eddie asks, “I don’t suppose anyone knows what’s happening? We are all clueless outside of Louie.”

Louie is the man who was talking when they first entered. He continues his deliberation, “You see, the earthquake started a chain reaction on the fault zone. The sea floor is descending, it’s called sub ducting.”

The gothic chic counters, “Why must you keep on talking, we have eyes!” A very frail old man looking like he should belong in a wheel chair huffs and puffs. He smells of Ben gay and disinfectant, Juliet has the misfortune of standing near him. 

The old man screeches, “In my day woman like you weren’t permitted to show so much disrespect. Please shut up and dress in something outside black will you? Some of us want to hear what’s going on. Please continue.”

The obese gothic chick stomps, “Fine, have it your way I hate all of you anyway.” She storms off a few feet. Juliet glances at Harry who rolls his eyes. No one asks them who they are.

Louie sighs, “Like I was saying. Sub duction zones are meeting and rupturing, its called a submarine landslide. In other words, two tectonic plates are colliding and one goes down while the other plate goes up.”

Harry doesn’t take long to join the conversation, “This is impossible, earthquakes aren’t suppose to happen in DC. Why today?”

Louie replies, “That isn’t entirely true. In recent years we have found cracks along countless miles of the continental shelf. 

The Virginia-North Carolina coast has been at risk since its conception. Remember the earthquake in October that shook and rattled the Washington DC?”

The small crowd murmurs in discomfort. Juliet feels fear, the man talks plainly and it’s hard to not understand. Looking out the gap in the wall she gasps. She isn’t expecting to see what she sees. A new wall of a wave hits DC, many buildings are crumble and are swept away. A few smaller houses lift up into the wave.

Juliet attempts a joke to lessen the gloom, “It’s like the houses are in rodeo. They remind me of a cowboy riding a bull.” No one comments.

Harry asks Louie, “If you don’t mind me asking, we are new to the group, what do you do? You seem knowledgeable.”
The man replies I’m a scientist the studies this type of thing.”

Louis barrage of information continues, “Look at how the land slopes downwards to the east. I think DC lost a good ten to twelve feet. This is why the ocean came in.

Juliet sees structures from the Trinity College to the East. The wave takes down another building which looks like a dorm. Only three remain, she doesn’t know how many stood originally. The cap of the wave looks white and misty.

She musters, “I need to find my dad. His name is Benson and he’s a janitor. Has anyone seen him?Everyone says no. The gothic chick comes back to the group, she is eating potato chips and has a few candy bars tucked in her pockets. She doesn’t offer anyone her treats.

“I need to find my dad. Nice meeting you people. Good luck.” She thinks it’s rude no one wishes her good luck back.

The engineer replies, “It’s not safe to go outside. The big wave has yet to come. It’s not safe for four to six hours. Be careful.” 

A few people say bye. Juliet doesn’t want to bother them, she decides it’s best to look a floor below. A couple people say bye. 

Harry and Chuang follow her down to the next level.

It doesn’t take long to get to the fifth floor. The doors are sealed shut.

Harry bitterly mutters, “Down another one. I don’t think I want to go pass the third floor though.”

The fourth floor is open. There must be hundreds of people in the hallway. A white and brown corridor stifles the cries of the lost and scared. The eastern wall holds intact, the injured do not mingle at the windows as they did a floor above. The injured are those who came from the first and second floor. 

Juliet gasps, “Oh my God, why aren’t they going to the roof?” 

Harry takes in the situation, “They are to sick and injured to continue up the stairs.” Juliet sees what he’s saying. She feels a little stupid for not noticing earlier. The exhaustion from the day is taking its toll. She is dazed but not confused. 

“Excuse me, have you seen my dad?” Juliet is losing hope; she doesn’t expect anyone to answer. She’s beginning to think her dad is another victim of the tragic day. A large group of people look back at her, many have haunted expressions. Juliet asks again, “Has anyone seen my dad, he’s a janitor…” Chuang points to the people closest to them. 

Harry announces, “There is a marine chopper taking woman and children inland. We need to get as many of you to the roof as possible.”

Chuang moves a few step forward and picks up some bandages. With large puppy eyes he looks back at Juliet and Harry for support.

Juliet whines, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I need to find my dad.” Her heart feels torn. She’s tired but innately feels drawn to help those in need. Looking closer she’s startled to see the people near her full of burns.

Harry tells Chuang, “How about we continue to move on. We need to remain focused on the objective.” Chuang understands while lip reading. He shrugs no and points back at the group. There are a dozen, they appear to come from a burn unit. A man dressed like upper management speaks for the group. A blue suit adorns his frame like a pitchers glove. He shuffles forward while apologizing to a person wrapped in bandages. 

Juliet feels relief course through her. She tells her self not to give up on her dad. “He’s …."

The man interrupts, “I was visiting my wife who had the misfortune of being a burn victim. When the tsunami threat came we started our journey to the roof but got stalled on this floor. The floor caved in and we lost half our people. Regretfully the people in charge were the ones who first perished.”

Juliet mumbles, “Where is your wife?”

The man looks off into the distance and doesn’t respond. Another injured male replies, “She didn’t make it.” The dozen injured people stare at nothing. It’s as if they lost their fight to live. 

Harry tells Chuang and the group, “How about those of you who can follow Chuang head to the roof? It’s not that far, only a few more floors.” Eleven of the injured follow Chuang up the stairs. Only is left. It appears they only needed someone to direct them.

Harry tells Juliet, “Let’s wait for Chuang to come back down. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.” Harry walks up to the burned patient and shifts his tone, “Sir, how can I help you? If you take my shoulder I can get you to the roof. Juliet, will you stay on this floor and wait for us?”

Juliet isn’t one to fib. “Please hurry. I’m tired. I will wait right here.” Harry shoulders the patient and heads upwards. Within moments Juliet is left alone. She heads towards the nurses’ station which is illuminated by soft lights. Every third to fourth light flickers. The floors and walls shake as a new wave hits building. 

The nursing station is in ruin. She can’t locate the papers or anything of use. She decides to try a few more halls. A sign points to an infant ward. Barking can be heard in the distance. Something pulls at Juliet’s awareness.

I know that bark. It sounds like Pixel.

Juliet rushes a few more hallways. A windowless large room emerges. Many beds have quiet toddlers and babies sleeping peacefully. Juliet doesn’t have time to stop. If she isn’t mistaken Pixel is up ahead. Pixels tone changes, it becomes more menacing.

Why aren’t there any adults with these children? How can the children sleep through this?”

Near the end of the row of beds is Pixel. A woman nurse cowers in the nurses’ station. She waves a brook stick at the raging K-9.

Juliet yells, “Pixel! Down girl, how did you get down here?” Pixel barks at the woman, her hair is messy. She favors her right shoulder but seems to be bristling with energy.

The nurse howls “Get this filthy beast away from me. Let me finish me job damn you!” She fends off Pixel with a broken broom. Pixel however does not lunge at the nurse but hovers near a bed. A baby cries softly. The movement is out of place. 

The rest of the beds have no movement. Pixel barks without pause. She backs up a few feet while shuffling over dropped plastic cups. A large tray lies flipped over near the last bed.

The nurse continues, “I had to choice. Save me from this dog.” She swings again but quickly retreats as Pixel barks anew.
Juliet feels something is off but shrugs it off, “Woman, we need to get these babies to the roof. A military helicopter is helping people get to safe ground.”

The woman doesn’t seem to hear her. The nurse repeats, “I need to finish my job. The end of the world is occurring and Jesus will come back. I need to make the children ready for his return.”

Juliet enters Pixels personal space. The dog whines and paws the ground. She glares back at the nurse who tries moving forward. The woman has a plastic cup in her hands. Pixel barks furiously. The nurse retreats a few steps.

Juliet pats Pixel on the head, “Pixel, where is Larry? Why are you terrorizing the nurse?” Pixel won’t back down. 

The nurse interjects, “Can you please help me. I need you to give this to the baby.” She extends a tiny blue plastic cup. She continues, “We need to do the will of Jesus. Please help me take care of the children.”

Juliet looks closely at the baby to her left. Her mind and heart feels something is askew. She asks the nurse, “What do you mean? I don’t understand.” Juliet notes the infants are having their blankets life up and down. She doesn’t hear anything from them. She reaches out to the nearest. The body is still warm but the body mass lies still. 

What’s happening? Why aren’t they making noise or moving.

The nurse righteously explains, “No one is coming to rescue us. I am taking care of the children. Jesus is coming. Something needed to be done.”

The body under the blanket is rock hard. The infant stares at the ceiling without expression. All the children are still. One lone child softly cries. The blanket moves up and down.

Juliet ghastly whispers, “What did you do?”

The nurse replies, “I did what had to be done. Will you join us?” She takes a step forward while lifting her blue cup to Juliet. Her eyes plead with Juliet to help with her cause.

Juliet responds, “You’re a sick twisted monster. How dare you do this?” Juliet reaches for the infant.

The female nurse shrieks, “No, you don’t understand. I need to prepare the baby for Jesus. Their parents are dead and no one is coming for us.”

Something snaps in Juliet, she screams, “You have no right. You don’t know who Jesus is; this isn’t what Jesus would want! I’m taking the baby.” Juliet forgets about her dad. She looks in horror; there must be thirty to forty beds with infants. She shakes without control.

The nurse loses her composure and rushes towards them with her blue plastic cup of death. 

Without thinking Juliet insanely screams, “Pixel, KILL!”

Pixel launches at the nurse but doesn’t go for her throat. The K-9 doesn’t want to take a person’s life. Instead the police canine bites the woman’s right wrist which holds the plastic cup. The nurse screams in pain and rage but drops the cup. Just as fast the K-9 let’s go and backs up. 

The nurse shrieks, “You don’t know what you’re doing. I will have justice. Jesus will smite you!”

Juliet retorts, “You’re crazy. Let’s get out of here Pixel.” Juliet retreats the way she came. She shakes as she passes the infants that don’t move. Pixel barks but obediently follows. The nurse howls in rage but doesn’t follow.

Within minutes she is back at the stairway. Juliet looks down at the infant who has no name. She sighs and decides to head towards the roof. Juliet shuts the emergency door to the floor and is relieved when hears a click. Half way up she runs into Harry and Chuang who are heading down. 

On the stairs Harry asks, “Where did the baby come from? I thought I asked you to wait where we left you.” His tone is kind.
Juliet is full of exasperation, “I found this infant. Can we bring him or her up stairs? There was a crazy nurse who poisoned all the babies except for this one!” Pixel bounces while licking Harry on the face, Harry and Chuang are happy to see the canine. 

Harry pats Pixel, “Wow, slow down. What happened? I think I saw Larry on the roof, he will be happy to be reunited with Pixel.” Juliet tells them of her ordeal as they head up. She hands Chuang the infant, he happily takes it. She doesn’t know if it’s a male or female.

As a trio it doesn’t take long to get to the roof. The sunlight makes Juliet squint. A firm warm breeze greats their entrance. Many people overcrowd the roof making maneuvering difficult. Chuang steps to the right side but keeps in eye sight of Juliet. 

His large puppy eyes look off into the distance. Juliet wonders where he came from and if he lost his family.

Nearby are a few staff workers, they no longer attempt to help the injured. One has a mop bucket with plastic identification cards. Ghastly awareness shifts into Juliet’s awareness as she watches one of the staff workers deposit a handful of plastic cards into the pale. 

Juliet flings herself forwards while roughly brushing past people waiting for the next helicopter. There are a few hundred people mingling on the roof. Harry is nearby with Pixel in the rear. It doesn’t take her long to interrupt the staff workers conservation.

“What are those plastic cards in the bucket for?” She already knows the answer. She isn’t stupid.

One of the two hospital workers answers, “We are collecting identification cards of the dead for they can have their loved ones notified when this is all over.” Juliet doesn’t care about proper etiquette.

“No, is my dad in there?” She doesn’t give them the opportunity to answer. Juliet roughly tears the bucket out of the man’s hands and drops to her knees.

Harry explains, the workers don’t take offense, “Sorry, her dad works here and we traveled through hell and beyond to get here. We will be done in a minute.”

Identification cards fly freely. If it was Christmas Santa would be proud. But it’s not. Juliet freaks as she quickly finds her dads plastic ID. 

“NO! Oh my God, I found his card! Where did you get this? You must be wrong!” Juliet wails, many turn their heads to watch out of curiosity. Juliet drops all the cards but her dads. She puts the ID around her neck but doesn’t stand up. Harry reaches for her shoulder and gives it a squeeze.

One of the hospital workers respond, “I don’t know. I have been collecting cards all day. Sorry. All of the people are dead. Again I’m sorry for your loss.” The workers scoop the discarded cards. Two helicopters arrive. The crowd gets energetic but no one rushes the choppers. Many remember the shots fired earlier. The rescuers pick up a good twenty people and take off within moments. There are still over 80. 

Harry helps Juliet to her feet but doesn’t stop her from crying. The head back to Chuang who looks at Juliet with much grief. Juliet blubbers about her recent loss and how it’s not fair. Chuang puts his arms around her. After awhile Harry sees Larry in the distance.

Not knowing what else to do Harry gestures Juliet and Chuang to follow him. Pixel whines and Larry appears to be trying to not be noticed.

Harry mutters, “This is peculiar.” After a few steps he shouts, “Larry! Officer Larry!” Pixel whines and doesn’t want to move forward.

Larry glances in their direction but does an abrupt turn and moves away. Harry urges everyone forward. Pixel whines harder. Juliet is in a daze as she picks up the dogs leash. It takes a few pulls to move the K-9 forward.

Harry tells Juliet, “Hold on, I don’t understand why he’s moving away.” Harry darts forward leaving Juliet with a disgruntled and Pixel. Chuang is confused but doesn’t leave Juliet’s side. She feels nothing but pain for recent loss.

Looking at Pixel with a bit of confusion Juliet asks, “What’s wrong girl? Why don’t you want to see Larry?” The nurse incident is fresh on her mind.

Pixel isn’t going to act weird like this unless there is a reason.

Pixel makes brief eye contact and looks away while whining. Juliet drops the leash and pats the dog on the head. Looking back she sees Harry has reached Larry. They are having a heated exchange of words, Larry appears to be gesturing wildly. 

The officer must still be drunk.

Harry shrugs and says something that makes Larry shake. The officer puts his back to them and moves deeper into the crowd. 

Juliet shakes as she feels the officers gaze reach her and Pixel. Nothing but hate radiates from his eyes and gestures. Harry spins around in disgust. Pixel stops whining when Larry leaves eyesight. Within moments Harry is back. 

Disgustedly the homeless vet remarks, “The officer has issues and doesn’t want his dog back.”

Juliet can’t handle the faulty logic, “Why? I don’t understand.” She reaches for Pixel who happily licks her hand.

“I don’t know. I think he said Pixel killed Becky by getting under her feet but he wasn’t making much sense. I think he said she fell down the stairs coming up the roof.”

Juliet continues to sob while holding her dads identification card close to her heart, “This sucks! Now Becky is dead? Why is everyone dying? Pixel doesn’t seem to be the type of dog that would do that!”

Chuang embraces Juliet who sobs hard into his chest. He hands the infant to Harry. Pixel remains where she is. Harry is confused and has no answers. He looks perplexed over Larry’s words. After a few moments the crowd on the roof shifts. 

In the distance someone yells, “Hey, the waves have stopped! The water is receding!” A large mass of people move towards the sides of the hospital building. People have lost their patience; two or three are pushed off the building as others behind them push forward.  Many want to see the water go down and not all have the fortitude to stop the masses. Pixel barks a few times which gives the group ample space. 

Juliet asks Harry, “I still don’t understand why Larry is acting like this, is it the booze?”

Harry replies, “I don’t know. I think he’s hiding something. We have more important things to look after. Let’s get you and Chuang to safety. Maybe we can get you guys on the next chopper?”

Juliet doesn’t know what to do. She thinks it’s a good idea to off load the baby. Her heart hurts and she doesn’t care what happens. She feels depression sink in. When she thought her dad was safe she had something to hope for. 

The small black American blurts, “I don’t know what to do. My family is dead!” New tears run freely.

Half the crowd on the roof rushes back into the hospital. A new urgency sweeps the masses as many hope to feel solid ground once more. Juliet watches as the ocean recedes fast.

Still sobbing Juliet asks, “Should we leave the hospital? Is it ending?” Pixel whines. 

Harry stalls, “Do you remember what the scientist said downstairs. He said another wave which is the big one might soon come. We should stay on the roof.

More people leave the roof. Larry goes while flicking them off. Juliet spurts, “What is his problem?”

Harry says, “If we stay on the roof we have a better chance on getting off on a helicopter. Half the people are going downstairs.” Two thirds of the people have left the roof. They have no idea how long it will take until the next chopper comes. 

Juliet doesn’t care. She sighs. More of the Atlantic Ocean recedes. She sees the top of a bus stop. Within moments a phone booth appears. Many cars and trucks are upside down, a couple of houses are sideways. A car explodes as its gas tank ruptures on some unseen assailant. A bumper flies upwards and gently drifts downwards in a graceful arc. Many fires can be seen in the distance. Dozens of buildings stand. Hundreds are broken but still remain intact. The tsunami left much in place.
Ten minutes later bears witness to hundreds if not thousands of people pour to the streets as the ocean recedes to less than a few feet. A roar of human defiance and preservation vibrates the stillness. Juliet stops crying as the feeling takes hold.

“Harry, I think you’re wrong. Look, the ocean is going away. Let’s go downstairs and leave!” Juliet wants nothing more than to feel the ground and leave this cursed building. Pixel barks but doesn’t move. Harry looks perplexed. Chuang is busy with the infant and doesn’t care.

Harry stalls, “Let’s give it thirty minutes. If a chopper comes back I want you on it.” Juliet nods. Within moments she remembers her loss. Her gaze becomes flat. Pixel paces near the entrance but doesn’t leave their side. There are only twenty to thirty people on the roof.

Down below people drift down the road. Many lost interest in being in the hospital. Juliet has no idea how many people are still inside. She doubts many from the scientists group would leave. A dozen or so come back to the roof. More people from surrounding buildings take to the streets. In the distance a group of firemen can be seen scouring the remains of vehicles. 

Juliet shakes as gun shots can be heard. They aren’t a few. She knows people are not celebrating. From their view they can’t see where it’s originating but it sounds like its coming from the National Mall. The Washington Monument still stands but its top is missing. Half the city is submerged. It’s as if half the city sunk into the ocean. Way in the distance past what she assumes would be the Potomac River is solid ground.

Pointing Juliet declares, “Isn’t that where the choppers rescuing people are going? Look, its solid ground! The tsunami didn’t reach the other side of the river!”

Harry nods affirmatively, “Yes, your right.”

Chuang points towards the entrance. Juliet follows his gesture and gasps. 

“Isn’t that the people from Congress and the Smithsonian?” The group they traveled with leaves the hospital. They appear distant but she can clearly see who they are. There are many people with them; their numbers have swelled since they parted. Juliet feels a tug at the back of her mind. An impulse she doesn’t understand sends a need to be with them. Fred stalls; his son appears to shout something at them and storms ahead.

Half the group remains behind with Fred. The congress people are left in the middle. There seems to be an argument and chaos. 

Fred’s son points towards another hospital building, Fred and his group break off and head towards the Children’s hospital. Or what used to be it. Fred’s son stops and screams something back. No echo can be heard. Within moments the group is back together and doesn’t move. They seem to be shouting at each other or something. Pixels ears twitch, Juliet has no doubt the canine can hear them. Pixel whines and barks. Many on the street look up. Fred waves in their direction. Half the people on the street look up as the two helicopters roar towards the roof of the hospital. A few people run back into the hospital but Fred and his group remain in the middle of the street.

Harry touches Juliet’s elbow, “The choppers are coming. Let’s get you and Chuang on them.” 

“Sure.” Juliet doesn’t care what happens, her depression becomes more solid. She turns around and puts her back to the people on the street. They weren’t her problem.

She watches as the marine and news helicopter come closer. Soon she sees in detail the people on board.  The choppers don’t slow but continue to fly past the hospital.

Harry curses, “What the hell are they doing?” He waves his only arm and shouts, “Down here, where are you going? Come back!”

Within moments the iron birds become distant specks. Chuang gasps and Pixel barks. Juliet twirls around. A new sound can be heard. The ocean water in the harbor swells into one gigantic wave.

Harry loses his composure, “Holy shit, it’s a harbor wave!”

The people who left the buildings don’t know what’s coming. This wave is different than the rest. It’s bigger.

Harry screams, “Get to the center of the roof, NOW!”

Juliet doesn’t move. She is ready to die. The wave is easily a hundred feet higher than the rest. It rushes forward. Not many buildings are left standing to redirect its path. The wave becomes beautiful; it reminds her of the television show she once watched as a child. Something to do with Hawaii. 

Within moments Washington DC is recovered in ocean. Many on the streets get swallowed as if they never existed. 

“It’s not fair! Those people already survived! Why?” Juliet screams as loudly as she can to Fred while pointing in the distance. 

“Get back inside!” Fred waves back and begins to head back to the hospital. His son doesn’t look happy; the group shuffles for a moment but follows the red neck. 

Juliet cries, “They have no idea what’s coming.” Harry doesn’t know what to do.

There are no waves following this wave. Juliet remembers all the movies in which a wave destroys everything. At this moment she remembers her entire life. The wave doesn’t clear some of the buildings; however it does reach a few more levels then the last. All buildings under five floors don’t have a chance. Instantly they are gone. Half the buildings what stood the previous waves are now gone. 

The giant wave is a few blocks away. It doesn’t appear the people on the streets will survive. They finally realize something is wrong. The sound is deafening as it sends BOOM after BOOM. Building after building vanishes. Only a few remain.

Juliet cries out, “No. God please safe those people!”

The earth shutters. A rift appears a block away. 

Harry plumes, “Wow, is that an earthquake?” The earth shifts, half of DC sinks while meeting the incoming harbor wave.

Strangely the hospital building doesn’t budge. Nor do the buildings to the east. Fred and his people run back in the hospital. The remaining wave hits the building. Juliet sees the top of the wave speed pass. It easily clears the third floor but not higher.

Juliet sighs in relief. Harry laughs and Pixel happily barks. Juliet knees buckle, the emotional strain of the day is too great. She laughs and cries as she shuts her eyes. She hears the engines of the choppers as they sweep back to the roof. Harry doesn’t urge Juliet up, he’s too dumb founded. 

Twenty to thirty people sward the choppers, within moment the birds zip off. Juliet doesn’t care. She’s riding her emotions which have become a torrent of sensations. Her mind doesn’t know what to focus on. Her world is full of gloom.

A few minutes later she opens her eyes. No new waves come after the last. The ocean again quickly recedes. Deep down she knows another wave isn’t coming. She doesn’t know how she knows, she just knows.


Back comes the choppers, one dips to the roof. There aren’t many people left. Black depression engulfs Juliet as she’s directed towards the iron bird. They even have room for Harry and Chuang. The hospital is half submerged, much of the structure and is on fire. The surrounding buildings are no more.

While getting on board Juliet draws in her breath as she hears one military soldier say to another, “Chief, we can’t go back. Radiation is being reported in the green zone, the region has been compromised. I think I’m hearing the nuclear power plants had a meltdown!”

Harry remarks, “This day just gets better and better. Now what do we do?”

One of the soldiers commands new directions, “Lieutenant, let’s get these civilians to a more secure building. I think the buildings in section 5C are decently standing. We need to go back to base soon and restock.”

Looking out the window brings a new wave of cold shivers down the new Paladins spine. Fanciful illusions of dragons sweeping down no longer linger in her awareness. Fire looms around the hospital as the giant structure groans under its recent assault. The District of Columbia leans towards the sea, a few dozen structures are upright. The ocean hungrily overlaps with the horizon in the yonder.

Someone with little interest sighs to Juliet’s left, it’s the scientist from earlier, “The harbor wave was DC’s bringer of death.”
Juliet absently replies while touching her dads identification card, “Yes, it most definitely is the bringer of death. When I was younger I was told death meant change. Harry, do you think things will ever get better?”

Harry is drawn into their conservation, “I don’t know. I do know one thing for sure. You always have to remember one thing Juliet.”

“What’s that Harry?” Juliet begins to nod off, she is full of exhausted. 

Just as a big brother would say, “Always think for yourself for your number 1. You have been a trooper today, I’m sorry for your lost.”

Pixel barks, Juliet is glad the canine got on board. The heat from the beast warms her up.


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