Looking through the glass wall of the seventy-fourth floor, Richard could see an airplane in the distance flying toward the Hudson River. He was used to being up in the clouds among them. He plunged into his black leather executive chair to face the magnificent view of the city. With its sprawling skyscrapers, New York was a far cry from Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, where Richard grew up. He couldn’t say that he loved one more than he loved the other, but he missed home. He dreamed of taking Moabi once Victoria recovered. Now nostalgic, he pulled the paper Moabi had given him out of his briefcase.

In the middle of the page was a picture of a strong male lion with a hefty mane locking his deep black eyes on a charging black mamba. The snake was flashing green spiky fangs. Below the drawing, Moabi had written:

In the Rise against Evil, The king, a bold LION, fights the evil SNAKE. The snake wants to rule the jungle. Now they are in a fiery fight.

Although Richard was shocked by the image, an easy smile gradually formed at the corners of his mustached mouth. “That’s my boy. He knows about good and evil.” With the tip of his finger, he rolled a silver pen toward him to write some comments. But he decided to make a quick call to his son.

“Hi, baby,” Victoria answered the phone.

“Hi, hon, can I speak to Moabi if he’s up, please?”

“Hold on for him.”

Mo, your dad wants to talk to you,” Victoria called.

Still in pajamas, Moabi rushed to the phone. “Hi, Daddy!”

“Hey, Mo, what prompted you to write your story?” Richard asked, tapping the page with a pen.

It was quiet for about five seconds. “I hate evil with all my heart,” the boy said.

Although Richard was surprised at the words that came out of his boy’s mouth, he couldn’t disagree with him at all. He continued to write on the drawing:

Good job, Mo. I like the story very much. Keep writing. I think it will be a great story once it is finished. You are going to be an excellent writer. Keep it up.

Love you, Son.

A rapidly increasing roar prompted Richard to look up suddenly. All he could see was the shining belly of a jet as its engines rumbled and whistled. His hand froze. His heart began to race. The pen plummeted on Moabi’s story paper. “Me, too, son. I love you…goodbye,” Richard said with a trembling voice before dropping the phone. Before he knew it, the plane whooshed into the building, sending pieces of debris blasting into his office. Irrationally, he thought about tossing himself through the window. But that would not save me, he thought. He burst through the door, rammed past the wailing people crammed around the jammed elevator and joined those scrambling to the stairway where darkness escorted them to the mouth of death. The smell of gas intensified. Smoke surged, causing an intense outburst of coughing. Suffocating and trapped, many pleaded with God, noses and mouths covered by either hands or clothes. Somewhere close and in the distance, Richard could hear the rupture of pipes, the bursting of glass, and a growing cacophony of terror.

When the skyscraper could not withstand pressure anymore, it crumbled into a heap of burning iron. Like many of those beautiful souls, Richard never made it home to his wife and son.

  • Fiction

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