“Look out!” a man shouts in front of Arjun, the stranger tries to pull him away but it was too late. The earth wildly shakes. The boy’s legs turn to jelly causing him to topple over. His uneasy hands change direction, catching the ground in the nick of time, saving his head from the impact. Despite missing his chance to hold upon the man’s sturdy hands, the stranger attempts to help him stand up, but in sudden realisation he leaves Arjun, and starts running away. Turning his head occasionally, looking past Arjun towards the towering building behind him. The man’s mouth is open, fear flashing through his eyes. A crowd of people, terrified, run in every direction. Screams are heard through the sudden thunder that erupts. But not the thunder that comes from rain, the thunder that comes from the earth beneath them. Across from Arjun, young children are clinging to their mother’s legs, struggling to fall in pace. As Arjun tries to pull himself back up with his slight hands, his older brother Nabin, darts toward him, calling his name, “Come on Arjun!” gently gripping Arjun’s hand. He swifts through the scattered pieces of rubbish littering the air as well as the ground, running for safety, while Arjun scampers behind hand-in-hand.
The foundation of a monstrous building a couple metres away from the boys had already given way, people were yelling to move but Arjun had stumbled again, in urge Nabin heaved Arjun up in his arms and started dashing as fast as he could, away from the precarious structure. It all happened in slow motion. The building was sloping in the boys’ direction; it ripped through nearby power lines as it fell, generating electric sparks in its path. Nabin persisted to keep going, taking long leaps. He held Arjun tightly, protecting him as much as he could as if he was human armour. But gravity wasn’t on their side and the building was faster. It collapsed straight upon Nabin’s head, forcing him to fall over but he still shielded his little brother. There they both lay below masses of rubble.
The concrete was crushing them under its weight. Nabin could feel blood oozing quickly from the back of his skull where the vertex of a heavy piece of concrete had smacked him, the pain was excruciating. Finding it hard to concentrate, Nabin’s head felt lighter and his body became numb as he began to lose consciousness.
From the outside, the wreckage was devastating to witness, a colossal pile of broken concrete and metal had plummeted to the ground like a fallen house of cards. Dust sprouted from the pulverised blocks and surrounded the wreck. The dust was the colour of lead, climbing towards the atmosphere making it murky and difficult to see through. The sound of the building crashing was a deafening boom when the lumps of substantial concrete thumped simultaneously to the floor.
The imploring cries and shouts of Arjun are muffled by the rubble. His moist red face is covered in accumulating dust that sticks to the sweat and tears on his cheeks and forehead. Every time he calls out, dust and debris would drop into his throat causing him to choke; it was a dry, chalky taste. A massive length of concrete balances inches above his body. Arjun tries to wriggle out of the heavy wreckage with all his might, but is incapable due to his short stature. His breaths become shorter and strenuous as Arjun boils under the heat. In hopelessness, he turns his head towards Nabin, who lay motionless beside him. Nabin’s unbreakable smile of assuredness had vanished, in trade of a blank, departed expression. Blinking back the tears, it was when he looked towards the Indian Cricket Team Jersey Nabin was wearing, that he remembered. He had a cricket ball in his pocket.
Carefully sliding the ball out of his worn out pocket, he kisses the leather case with prayers. Through a narrow gap of light, Arjun throws the ball with all his force towards the sky. This was his last chance to save his only brother from the fangs of death. The ball flew through the rubble reaching high and landed out of the boy’s sight. He heard a shout from somewhere outside, it sounded like a male. Many footsteps pound towards his hidden position, but Arjun can’t see them. He holds Nabin’s immobile arm in brace. “Is anyone down there?” a person calls. Not exactly knowing if they were talking to him, Arjun squeaks a quavering “Yes,”
“That’s him, I told you!” the other man shouts.
The lonely ray of light that Arjun constantly stared towards in waiting slowly began to grow wider and wider, the sunlight flooded in and kissed his skin for the first time of what felt like forever. His eyes gaze towards his three saviours whose joyful smiles beam in comfort.