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"And This Shall Pass" (Part 3) In the Shadows
Part 3 - In the Shadows
An hour had passed. The pitter-patter of rain finally dissipated. The storm had been quick and furious. It was so severe that Ada found the nearest standing structure – a cantina -- secured it, and waited for it to pass. All the while, he had listened to it pound the scarred roof.
He had stripped off the cumbersome gas mask and helmet. They were of no use, anyway. He kept his rifle close, but he had loosened his steel grip on it. Instead, he held it like a walking stick, and dragged its butt on the wooden floor.
The violent storm calmed him. It made him complacent. Then again, he had the feeling that all his cautions were unsubstantiated.
He approached the half-open door and spied on the cruel world. Ada grinned. The streets were void of the living and the sun was breaking through the dark gray clouds. He could see the piercing blue skies, as well.
He pushed the door wide open to get a better look. The lingering flames had met their demise. The smoke was washed away. All was clear.
Something else was clear, as well. He glanced at the road in front of the cantina, and then down it. There, less than a block away was the Grand Library, looming over what remained of the town.
Ada must have seen its images countless times in pictures and scaled models. He had read about it, and learned a great deal in his education. He knew everything about it; yet, as he gazed at it, he realized he hadn’t learned anything about it all.
Its mere size loomed over the landscape. The white marble columns and ziggurat-style steps were unmistakable. Its domed roof, numerous towers (at least those standing) and spires colored the town in shadows.
The sight did more than leave in him awe. Ada felt safe, composed. As a child, he remembered the many stories about the library. He heard that its mere presence can put anyone – even a battle-hardened warrior – at peace.
Peace, he thought. The word swam through his head. How long ago was that? His ruminating soon subsided. The streets were quiet. The living had vacated this place.
Ada began the final leg of his journey. It was time. He slung his rifle on his back and exited the safety of the cantina. There was no need to hurry.
he black, gloved finger was placed on the trigger. The pressure mounted on it. And, Ada was in the cross-hair of the scope.
From the depths of darkness of a gutted home, a rifle’s barrel emerged. It was trained on an unsuspecting Ada. The well-concealed warrior watched the enemy stroll down the road toward what remained of the library. The black, gloved finger was placed on the trigger. The pressure mounted on it. And, Ada was in the cross-hair of the scope. Yet, this person – bedecked in a pilot’s uniform and black visor helmet – couldn’t do it. The finger was removed.
The mission was not to just kill the enemy; it was to get what was inside that library.
Maybe he can show me the way, the would-be assassin thought. The warrior sank back into the darkness, with all the intention of keeping Ada alive, until it’s the right time to strike.
Finding the Photo That Doesn't Give Away the Ending
Finding a photo (through Wikipedia Commons) of a domed building in the middle of a war-zone wasn't hard. London's Saint Paul's Cathedral was bombed during the German Blitzkrieg of World War II. There were plenty of photos to choose from.
The second photo wasn't. I wanted a picture that closely matched what was happening in the story. Also, there was a section where I mentioned gloved hand on the trigger. At first I found a compelling image. However, the person's hand wasn't gloved and it could be looked at as misleading (at least after part 4 has been posted). In that case, without giving much details, I settled on the photo, despite the fact that the gun was an airsoft pellet gun. I was tempted to create my own illustration. There's a chance I may do that later. As for now, this will do.
Also, the third image -- and the one I decided to put at the top is not an ordinary shadow. This came from Hiroshima and is "shadow" of person who was vaporized by the atomic blast. The wall is scorched except for the area where the person and the item were at against the wall.
© 2014 Dean Traylor