The impact took the air out of his lungs and the sound from his ears. A fireball had erupted on the floor above, consuming plaster, wood, steel, and men with its deafening roar. The second concussion caused by the Hellfire missile drove Reis Slayton to the floor, breaking three ribs in the process, but saving him from the debris that ripped through the air. He glanced up in time to see a piece of wall the size of his body rip through the room’s furnishings out the glass wall, into the courtyard. That had been close. Too close. Maybe he was losing his touch.
The taste of burnt carpet, blood, and ash filled his mouth, and he choked for a moment before realizing that he could breathe once again. In a daze, he placed his hands under his chest and lifted himself off the floor. Plaster, concrete, and pieces of loose insulation lay around him, but no structural beams had fallen. He’d been lucky about that. A collapse would have killed him immediately.
Within moments, the flames were gone; diminished by the lack of oxygen in the room. They left behind a deep haze of smoke and ash, colored with the scent of blood and destruction. Dead men upstairs, and more on the other side of the wall, he thought. Too many dead men.
Yes, he’d been lucky. The result of the Hellfire was horrific. How he’d survived was a mystery, if not an outright miracle.
A Stone Ends Adventure
PT McHugh, April 1, 2014