In which a man loses everything but his life.
A week ago, Jim thought life was going well for him.
He finally had a job he actually enjoyed and he was able to support his family. Soon they’d have been able to move out of that pokey little flat on the seventh floor.
Somehow, in one week, all that was gone. Now it was just Jim again.
Now the company he worked for had been lost to the encryption ban, and the flat and his family had been lost to the fire.
Now he just wanders around the streets, perhaps in the hope that he might stumble upon something that could help him. But nothing can.
One night he passes the street where their block of flats used to be. He intends to keep going and ignore it as always, but this time he hesitates. He thinks about it for a moment. Then he turns onto that street and starts heading towards the place where his life used to be.
The lot stands – or rather doesn’t – in the middle of a street that looks normal. Green hedges, lights in windows, street lamps glowing dimly. How could such a tragedy have happened in a place like this?
It is night, so the people who would warn him away and stop him from getting close aren’t here. He still has to duck under police tape and climb over barriers to get to the rubble.
There isn’t much left. Perhaps that’s why they never showed it on the news reports. It’s a bit odd for a fire to leave so little of a building behind. It must have caused the tower to completely collapse. Perhaps most of it has already been cleared away.
Jim carefully steps onto the charred bricks and broken metal. He inspects the damage like the police would. It is a bit odd. How could a fire smash these bricks to pieces?
He notices something different amidst the wreckage. A shard of silver metal, but one with writing on. It could be a logo of a construction company, but it seems different. It’s curved in a manner that Jim could not imagine forming any part of a building. The writing is small and most of it has been broken off. Jim can’t figure out what much of it says, but he notices the word “missile”.
He wonders if he’s stumbled upon something he shouldn’t have, and if all the cordons and barriers weren’t really there for his safety, but to keep him from getting a good look at the ruins.
Jim puts the shard of metal in his pocket and carefully leaves the area, returning to his walk to nowhere.