Seek the mysterious woman and answers

You make it somehow -- part-running and part-lifted by the roaring rush of dust-filled air as the store caves in behind you -- and you are tumbling -- a rag-doll all pain -- down wooden stairs -- and crack both elbows on concrete floor.

Tasting blood on your lips, coughing, feeling like you could drown in the dust that chases you down, wherever you now are, you crawl in darkness, because in crawling maybe you can get away from the dust.

Debris stops you: broken everything that might have been ceiling. You ball up on the concrete floor, cover your head under your arms, coughing until that stops.

No clue as to how much time has passed. And quiet. Air tasting of dust, however you can breathe. So dark here, though, under the store: feels like you've fallen down a hole -- Just the same as buried alive!

No point in crying -- There's comfort in being underground, and not just another radioactive corpse up there, dusted bit by bit by fallout.

Then you notice something: dismiss it at first for a trick your tired mind's gone and played. But -- It IS there! -- almost in front of your cracked face. A crack of yellow light, straight, tall as a shut door -- and a light still on behind it!

Remembering that woman -- She's in there!

Crawling, reaching, your hand finds the door. Smooth cool metal. Tracing the crack, the light shows your finger-tip -- shows the light is real. Although your hands burn like they'll never work properly again, you bang bang bang the door -- "Hey in there! -- Hello!"

Stopping -- but hearing only your coughing.

"Hey! -- Hello!"

Hands braile the debris blocking the door. Timbers. Stabbing little nails sticking out of slablike somethings that perhaps you couldn't even budge.

"I know you're in there! The door's blocked! Maybe half the ceiling's blocking it! You're gonna need my help getting outta there! --  We're gonna need each other!"

Coughing -- because your ribs feel like someone's sitting on them -- you're finished being reasonable -- "Say something --Idiot!"

The End

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