After Lingering (Part 1)
Evester stood atop the bridge listening to the voice channel as the others secured their locations, turned on their recording devices, and checked the safety measures. Evester tightened his gloves and looked down from where he’d be free falling. It was a simple fall. Parachute, security lines, padding and magical support to force a stop if he messed up. It wouldn’t. A deep ease settled over him at the idea of failure. He scoffed at it. Fear? Never. There was a calm emptiness longing for the blood rush that was not yet spinning his mind.
“Ready?” Kim asked him.
“Aren’t I always?” Evester asked as he turned on his camera. “Are you guys?”
“Operation net is a go!” Phil answered.
The idea was for them to create a net through the use of individual ropes shot out from different parts of the city. They had to have pin point accuracy to overlay the ropes to stop his free fall from far away. They weren’t stupid enough to get him killed, however Evester had a feeling taht if they failed, his protections would not matter.
He rolled back his shoulders and smiled out to the city lights.
“Okay.” Onyx agreed. “Ready.”
“Please stay where you are.” A megaphone called out from somewhere down below. The Police had come? That was early.
Above, Evester spotted a helicopter off in the distance near the top of the dome, as if it were trying to take him by surprise. He waved to it. He then waved it off. The helicopter could not get close or else things would get dangerous.
The familiar thud of his heart made him stop waving. Shallow breath’s, hot cheeks, the lightheadedness arrived.
One by one the others signaled that they were ready and then Evester looked down. The world was bright in the color of the cops. The helicopter was yelling orders at him. Observers were staring up and pointing. Evester looked back out and then closed his eyes. “Disconnecting in three. two. one.”
He turned off his headset and let himself fall off the top of the bridge amidst the screams that resounded the moment that he stepped off. Evester snapped open his eyes and saw the world closing in fast. His breaths slowed again, and his mind cleared. He could see the exact expression. He could see people moving in slow motion to try to save him. He saw the first and second ropes shoot off, landing accurately. The third, the fourth.
It had not been easy to get to the top of the bridge, to plan the exact buildings they needed to be at to shoot off and make the perfect net. The world was shaking, as people clung to each other, their eyes looking down and not at him.
Kim missed her mark and the rope shot off in the wrong way, feet off. Lynx missed her cue. Evester hit the ropes, losing his breath a bit. With quick reaction, before he toppled off, he connected his harness to the ropes. He gasped as he felt himself bruise immediately. The ropes then faltered and he felt one break off. Going into the immediate second way, Evester disconnected himself and used the parachute to float to the ground with little momentum. The moment he stumbled down he looked up to where the sky bridge rocked back and forth. Alarm bells were ringing through the entire city.
One two. One two. Do you hear this?
And do you know what it means Evester?
That the Towers are falling?
That the End has begun.
“Kim! Come in!” Evester reconnected to the headset and yelled in looking at the motorcade of cops who were uncertain of what to do. Evester planted himself as the Tower rocked. He looked slowly searching for the building of where Kim had once been. Skyscrapers were collapsing down. Fire lit up the dome and smoke was beginning to billow in all directions. Alarms were followed by a cacophony of screams.
“We are trying Evester.” Uly answered. “I’m getting to her right now.”
“Lynx?” Evester asked.
“I’m going. I’m going.” Crass sounded distraught.
“What happened?” Rayda screamed.
“Earthquake.” Phil answered.
“What kind of earthquake can shake a tower?” Onyx asked.
“One that is just beginning.” Evester said pulling his phone out of his chest pocket with much difficulty. He was about to press the call button when his phone started wringing. “Adam is this really happening?”
Was this the Uncertain End?
“Get home. Now.” Adam ordered him.
“Where is my dad?”
“In his lab. I’ll make sure he is safe.”
“Do I need to get your husband?”
“He’s already on his way. Get back here.”
Evester hung up the phone and started running. The lights of the city flickered until everything went dark save the faded moonlight from outside and the fire red cascading over the dome. Evester could smell the smoke.
“All citizens. Please remain call.” The emergency broadcast began to sound through the chorus of terror. Like a broken radio, more words were missing than heard, followed by static and dead silence before it repeated again.
Get home. Get safe. Once the Catastrophe falls, the Uncertain End is here. Evester recited the protocols in his head.
And remember Evester. Evester slid under a vehicle as it crashed and over turned on the street, above him. He continued to fun. The world will shake first.
“Kim!” Evester shouted over the overcome again.
“I’m almost there.” Uly answered.
“Get her. Get Lynx. Get to my house. Tell your families right now, to get to my house.” He would save them. He would get them out.
The Towers will not have enough time to react to the shaking. If they can not activate their supports in time, and negate the shakes, then the Tower will crumble.
How much time will we have before the collapse?
Minutes. Hours at most. You will hear it Evester. You’ll know when you hear the sound of a Tower breaking. It will be the crisp sound of breaking metal . The sound of the universe telling us that we are not Gods.
And what happens when the Tower falls.
Evester remembered watching his father turn to him with a look that made Evester’s stomach drop.
The evacuation measures would need to happen within seconds. If they were not issued, then there would not be enough time. The people would need to be packed into the evacuation pods, but if they didn’t say it in moments then…
“I’m on my way to you Evester. Where are you?” Phil asked.
“North 8th and Central.” Evester said running down the streets towards the manor.
“I have the car. I’m coming Uly.” Rayda hissed.
“Are you injured?” Phil asked.
“I’m fine. Get Evester. I’ll get to Uly and Kim.”
“I’m fine.” Kim coughed over the intercom. Evester stopped running. His eyes got hot and his vision blurry. Wiping it away he remembered his task. The lights overhead flickered on again, but instead of the night atmosphere, it was blue. Exits for the CloudCity were glowing green, against the red of the flames. Voices ripped through the city. “I avoided damage but lost my connection for a moment. Evester. What is this?”
“This…” How could he answer them? Uly and Kim knew the vague idea of the End but his father had sworn him to secrecy.
“This is the Catastrophe. Isn’t it?” Uly asked. Evester did not answer.
“The Catastrophe?” Phil gasped. “That was supposed to be a mistake by the Project. It wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“What about Lynx? Onyx?” Kim asked.
“Wait. I’ll get to you.” Uly told her.
“On my way over.” Rayda said.
“Evester I see you!”
Evester looked to his left and then the right, finding Phil who was racing to him.
“I found Lynx.” Crass gasped.
“I’m almost there.” Onyx whispered.
“She’s alive. I got here in time. She will need healing.” Crass sounded distraught.
“Get to my house.” Evester ordered.
The world shook again, softer this time but without a doubt, just as dangerous as the one before. The rocking made Evester stop running. THe lights flickered again. He heard no sound of metal, just the echo of a creaking. The supports were placed. Evester wasn’t sure how he knew but he did.
“Get to my house now.” Evester nodded to Phil and began running again, to the car that Evester had left behind. When he got in, Phil started driving them to the manor. Evester sat back, forcing himself through every conversation he’d had with his father. What came next? What was after the Catastrophe? What if the supports went up and they were safe?
One man in the world knew, and Evester had to get to him.
Evester stood watching the news cycle that depicted the damage to the LowerLands. Whole cities caved in, thousands of people flocking to other cities where they could survive. LowerLand Upper Cities had collapsed. There were more than twenty Towers that had fallen, due to failed protocols. Others were knocked down from the following tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The death toll was rising into the billions.
Evester sat in the empty manor where candles were the only light. There was the sound of a machine running, somewhere deep in the house, and the flicker of the technology as the mechanics of the Tower tried to ensure that it was stable. Evester jumped when a hand was placed on his shoulder.
“Dad?” Evester looked up.
“Evester. Evester.” His father grabbed him. “Here. Come here.”
Evester was dragged down towards the lab, and then dragged into towards a safe where Maverin had placed stacks of files into a safe. Evester was thrown in front of a retina scanner and facial recognition software.
“Dad what is that?”
“Stand still Evester.”
Evester’s father had refused to evacuate, and no one could force an Igilistal to do anything. Without the constant pull of power from other households, Maverin maintained their house alone. Evester had head his mother screaming over the phone telling Maverin to get out and that the specialists could not guarantee that the Tower was safe. As long as they staid in the home, there were rescue crews that had to wait for them.
Maverin flipped through the data sheets before shutting the safe. In less than forty-eight hours, his father had completed something.
“What do you not want them knowing about the Catastrophe?” Evester asked him.
“This is just the beginning Evester, you know that. The governments will try to say that these are unprecedented times, unpredictable and unique. You know.” His father reminded him.
Evester thought of all the times his father had been ordered to stop his research, told he was wrong. “That’s the final data.”
“Its the dates and predictions from this point on.” Maverin told him. “Only you and I will have access. The Catastrophe is the end of times Evester. The end of times leading to The Uncertain End.”
Evester watched as his father shut the safe. The man had a crazed look in his eyes. Not one of happiness but fear. His father who was usually calm, had snapped. “Dad.”
“It’s beginning Evester and we are the only ones who can stop it.” Maverin gripped his shoulders. “No one can know about this. No one. Or else we have the risk of failing all the survivors.”
“But if the government can save them.”
“They’ve known this day would come for years and they saved no one. They will only save themselves Evester. Your mother will be able to change nothing unless we force the world to bend to us. Do you understand?”
“Do you understand Evester?”
“What does it mean to be an Igilistal?”
Evester paused. “To serve the people.”
“To serve all people. To save all people. No matter the cost.”
“No matter the cost.” Evester nodded.
“You once asked me why I took you from Europa and Endwin. Why we never visit your mother for more than a few weeks. Your mother is a part of the establishment Evester. You can not do things her way. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” He did not.
“Tell no one.”
The door to the lab unlocked and Adam walked in with soldiers who had come to force them from the manor. With them they held an arrest warrant from the World Government, signed by Estashia Igilistal.