SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 21
Dust to Dust
I turned to Esmeralda and I saw Lucas shielding her from the falling earth. The shaking stopped but the dust kept roiling. The lantern glow turned red and the bright orb of each lantern flickered and grew dim.
“We’re going to suffocate” screamed one of the workers. I heard sobbing. Everyone was coughing.
“It’s the dust” shouted Rita, “Cover your mouth and nose with your prayer cloths!”
Rita held her cell phone above her head and turned on its piercing blue light. In the hellish dim she looked like the Statue of Liberty. “Quickly. Use your cell phones and make sure each other is OK. Line up in your workgroups. I’m going to call roll and then we’re getting out of here all together!”
The camera man turned his video lights back on and swept the room like a searchlight dispersing in murky fog. That was helpful, but I realized he was filming.
I saw Esmeralda push herself from Lucas’ embrace, “Help the others, Lucas. I’m OK.”
Pastor Maximón yelled at the camera man, “Keep the light on the people so they can muster!”
Rita knew the workgroups by heart, “Marcos’ group: Miguel”, (Here), “Rico”, (Here), “Diana” (Here)…
The Video Director hollered to his camera man, “Over here, Bobby. I can’t open the stairway door.” The video light revealed the Director with his T-shirt pulled up over his nose and mouth, facing the metal door. The door bulged inward in the fanciful shape of a forehead with horns. There were several screams.
I shuffled with Lucas and Esmeralda to Professor Maximón’s side. Lucas said, “Boulders have shifted into the stairwell from the earthquake.”
Professor Maximón lowered the prayer cloth from his mouth and I heard him say grimly, “That was no earthquake.”
“How do we get out of here, sir?”
“I can’t see!” shouted a worker. Then another. And another. I rubbed my eyes with my dirty hands. I was going blind with everyone else. “It must be the dust!” said Esmeralda. I watched Esmeralda fade from my vision.
It was like dying.
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