First Pages: GENESIS

that Olivia had just given me and urged that we make our way out of the room and try to get out of the building alive.

Thoughts kept cycling through my head, “Where are we going to go?…Can we get out of this place alive?…If we get out, what then? Is there going to even be a place to go if we do manage to make it out alive?” Though grim, my thoughts kept my mind focused on the task at hand and not as much on the world around me.

There were people starting to get out of their rooms and were running panicked throughout the halls. I urged the family to stay close to me to ensure that none of them was trampled. Amid the screams and confusion, we found ourselves near the restaurant of the hotel. Luggage carts with abandoned baggage lined the halls past the lobby, so I thought that I would grab a backpack from one of the carts to carry supplies. I told the family to wait in the hall against the wall while I ran across the lobby to grab it. Henry gave me a look to let me know he understood and I turned around and was on my way.

As I began crossing the lobby, I was only able to make it as far as the front desk when another tremor shook the building ferociously. Suddenly the white marble tiles beneath me began to crack, first straight down the center, then another pattern around most of the circumference. I quickly ran across what remained of the room and leaped into the hall where the baggage carts were. Within seconds of my feet leaving the ground, the floor of the lobby began to crumble and dropped into a large hole. After a moment the dust settled and it appeared that the tremor had opened up a possible means of escape…a tunnel that ran under the hotel.

I grabbed the backpack and stood up. Henry and his family were still waiting for me on the other side of the pit before us. The tunnel looked as though it was around 20-30ft deep, but appeared to be clear enough to make it through and…aside from the collapsed section we had bore witness to, a fairly safe option. I shouted to the family that we should try to make our way to the kitchen in the restaurant even though my path there was obscured by the collapse of the lobby floor. TURN PAGE >>