The cameraman’s watch said it lasted less than a minute. His legs were shaky, like sticks. He was standing, though, amazingly. In fact, he never came off of his feet, even when the ground quaked, unlike the reporter, who now lay on his side. He could barely see him in the darkness. The city lights around them were gone.
“Are you OK?”
“I can’t move. I-I think I’m paralyzed. Oh God, I’m paralyzed! I can’t move!”
The sound guy appeared from nowhere. “Should we take him to a hospital?”
“No, don’t touch him! Call an ambulance!”
The sound guy reached for his cell phone and dialed frantically as the reporter continued to whimper on the ground.
A burst of firelight suddenly reached out like a whip against everyone’s eyes. The cameraman got his first good look at the aftermath of the catastrophe. Chunks of asphalt littered the ground. Deep cracks ran like veins in the roads. One led up to the stage, which had been split in half and was now in the shape of a V. Neither the president nor the Secret Service was in sight. All of this, however, was merely the backdrop of what he saw. The source of the firelight, in place of the National Christmas Tree, was a burning crucifix. Everyone’s eyes were drawn to it like an accident on the freeway. Nobody said anything. That is, until the man nailed to the cross began screaming.