Isobelle Carmody Award
for Creative Writing
I approach the bright blue lights which reach tall into the dark night
sky, a place where the Twin Towers used to proudly stand. The city
lights flicker in the reflection of the rippled water of the pool in front
of me. I stare at the names on the cool grey surface encircling the
water, not allowing my eyes to wander to the familiar names which
would ruin my composure. A cool breeze chills me to my core, the
American flag flapping in the wind, my long hair flowing behind me.
I feel my heart flutter as the sight in front of me takes me back to the
day I’d vowed to forget.
‘Glowing embers and debris rained over New York City. As my heart pounded
I saw the specs of people down below starting to gather. People stood at the tall,
endless windows on the eighty-eighth floor of the South Tower to stare in awe at
the once symmetrical skyscraper in front of us. I continually spun around
frantically, attempting to make sense of the events that had just occurred in front
of me. My colleagues were running from their perfectly aligned desks at their
office to either stare out over the city or to run out the exit, or join the mass of
workers trying to run down the stairs or tediously long escalators. I quickly joined
the mass at the start of the stairs, however, as the flatscreen televisions on our
floor switched on, I quickly returned with a crowd of people to observe.
‘The North Tower has been hit by American Airlines Flight 11. Evacuation of
the North Tower has commenced. South Tower has been reported safe and
evacuation is not necessary. Please remain calm until further information
There was a short buzz as all the television screens turned on to a common
news station and I inhaled deeply, attempting to calm myself now that the threat
to the South Tower was gone. I ran back to the window and stared as the flames
engulfed the tower, my stomach churning inside.
I run my fingers along the smooth, chilled surface, finally reading
the engraved names of all those I’d worked with and lost. The names
appear to be infinite as the lump in my throat becomes more
prominent with each person. The sensation of immense guilt flows
through my mind. How was if fair that I had escaped and all these
people hadn’t? I’d been so sure I wouldn’t live through it all. If only
everyone had known it was not safe to be staring through the
windows at the other tower and that we should have all been
evacuating as well.
I woke up underneath a pile of metal and plaster. A piece of paper was alight
two centimetres from my face, forcing me to jerk backwards in fright. Spluttering,
I lifted part of a desk off of my torso and slowly stood, barely able to see through