I woke up in a civil hospital. Needles and machines all around me. The last I remember was this huge blast that knocked our chopper and then it just went black. They told me that my chopper was destroyed and another chopper was dispatched to the Zone-A to pick up the last of us. I asked them “The last of us?” and their face made me realize how much mishap must have occurred while I was out of commission. Now, I don’t remember much but I could tell that it must be horrifying just by looking at the wreckage around me. Some had lost their leg, some hands, and a bunch of people were burnt very bad. Like a third degree burn. I wondered maybe these were the people closest to the blast radius.
I tried to connect the dots that played like a trailer in my mind. The more I tried to remember, the more exhausted I felt. All I remember was people starting riots and fighting for valuables when they came, children crying on the street and the pain of it all happening at once! Oh, the screams! The pieces were still hazy, like a dream. But then it hit me. It was so fast that I almost fell out of my bed. The wave of memories came crashing and along with my whole world. I looked around and I couldn’t find Walter. He meant the whole world tome and the thought of losing him… No he had to be alive. So, I got down from my bed, half crouching, half limping and looked around for him, trying to find him through the immense crowd of people. But the face I was looking for just wasn’t there. My head hurt like it had been rammed into my body. I could feel the blood rushing in my head. But what I felt more than was a sense of helplessness. I had to see my son. After countless hours of running around and searching. I saw a door with a red light on top of it a few meters away from where I stood. How could I have missed this before? I walked past this hallway so many times and I didn’t see it. I must be getting old. I started walking towards it. To me red was always the color of either emergency or danger and finding Walter was my first priority and it definitely passed for an emergency.
While I was walking towards that door I saw something terrible yet hauntingly beautiful. So many people had taken shelter and there was no discrimination, no racism and certainly no violence. Some were sitting, some were having coffee and some were talking to each other. How can they be so peaceful in a crisis like this? I guess they had had enough of the violence and disaster. I guess, they were trying to make peace with each other. For the first time in days, I felt at peace looking at them. Was it days or months? I couldn’t say. It was still kind of hazy. Finally, I reached the red light and now I can saw what it read-“Enquiry“. Thank Jesus! I thought.
After waiting for half an hour a scrawny looking young male came to my assistance. I asked him “Is there any way to look up a person. Actually I’m looking for my son. His name is Walter Statham”. The guy gave me a look which in my opinion must be “For real?”. Then I told him that it was his stage name and how he came to it. The guy didn’t pay much attention to my blabbering while he shuffled through the pages in his clipboard. “No Sir. I am sorry to say that there’s no one registered by that name in here”.
My day started fine-tuning into a nightmare. I strained my brain more into thinking the last moments before I lost my consciousness. What came from it was dreadful. The blast, Walter standing with the bomb in his hand. He looked at me and mouthed “I Love You, Dad”. Then he ran towards the crater. I couldn’t stop him. My legs won’t move. My hands were shaking. All the carnage around me left me frozen.
After some few seconds the white light hit everywhere. Destroying trees, houses and some other things that came right out of the book Contact by Carl Sagan. The blast knocked our chopper off and I don’t recollect what happened after that. My son! My son! I dropped down on the floor. That felt like the only thing I could do. I failed him and now he’s gone. I was his father. I should have been the one holding the bomb not him. He was way too young. Too young to leave this earth. His courageous sacrifice saved us, it saved us all. He wasn’t just a hero, he was a Martyr.