Wings and Cargoes
Early morning of a sunshine day in September, the east coast shining like a picture post card. The airliners flying among the tall structures, tour buses with wings, giving those on board a view of New York they would remember in their dying day. Planes, passengers, baggage piercing the high buildings like arrows from an alien god. Fire and smoke, then melted metal, glass and stone collapsing in a welter of debris and sadness.
People walking the streets and freeways covered in ghostly powders, living remembrancers of the dead, whose souls had disintegrated in the bright late summer’s light. The man who developed the plan said he would use their technology to deal them a blow they would remember forever. From his distant bunker he saw the wings of commerce kill three thousand people.
Dark of night in early May, among the hills and dry terrain of Abbottabad, the landscape visible only to radar and night vision goggles. Three helicopters carrying ten men each, guns and radios. A sudden assault against the strange compound, its triangular wall like an antique fort. Confusion, shots and shouts echoing in the narrow halls. The final burst of gunfire, then his lifeless body inert among the rugs, the maps, the pornography.
When he heard the pulsing beat of helicopters coming from the west, growing louder in the moonless skies, what were his thoughts? He should not have been surprised, as those others were, by the hard purposes of human-powered flight. As he stood in his dark tower, did he recognize the wings of retribution slicing through the desert darkness? Had he anticipated the awful symmetry of his design?