Saturday, 27 December 2008 - 12:48 pm

Time to go

It was the big hotel.  The one with the shiny glass sides and the huge penthouses.  The blast two days ago put out its eyes.  Today, its guts blew out and the rest of it fell down, toppling sideways and taking out two or three more buildings in the process.

I saw it go.  It was a block away, but so loud that it seemed to be on top of us.  There was so much grace in the way its back broke and bent, swaying its great length down to the ground.  Structures peeled out of its path like petals.  It seemed like something from a dream, or a movie.  A movie with really good bass; I could feel the impact through my shoes.

Then, of course, the great rolls of dust swept on us, all over again.  We ducked and huddled, but there was more than just dust in the air.  We were close enough to catch some of the debris that had been thrown up.

We were lucky not to lose anyone to the concrete hail.  There wasn’t time or anywhere to hide, and it was over so quickly.  It took me  almost a whole minute to realise that I’d been hit.  I don’t even know what struck me. 

I think my arm might be broken.  It hurts so much.  The bruises were awful to look at; they didn’t seem like a part of me.  It’s strapped up now, pinned to my chest.  I don’t want to think about it.  There are others so much worse off – one guy we picked up yesterday lost most of his face to a  fire, and we’re sure that another lady will lose her leg when we get her to the hospital.  There aren’t any more painkillers for anyone.  I can’t complain, really.


Can’t type much with one hand.  We just paused to regroup; the others are tending to the injured.  It feels strange to be classed as one of them.

The fires are worse.  Broken wires are sparking and setting things off.  The firefighters think it was gas piping in the hotel.  The blocks northeast of us are a wall of flames; that’s where the bookstore was.  Helicopter fuel, maybe.

More explosions.  Time to go.  We have to get out of here.