The chapter below is from the sci-fi, triller book Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann
September 11, 2001
Bermuda is struggling to get back on its feet in the days after hurricane Erin.
The L.F. Wade International Airport is still closed, but rumors are that it will open soon.
I have been in contact with my brother and Lillian, reassuring them both that I am fine.
Lillian and Dexter are in New York and planning to return to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow on September 12.
We are planning to spend some quality time together then. Lillian told me she wants to go to an art gallery in Miami, using an invitation to a vernissage on Saturday 15.
A Norwegian artist, Eva Newermann, is having an exhibition of paintings from the Universe. Her paintings of Stars, Galaxies and Planets are right up their alley. Maybe Lillian will buy some of her paintings and hang them on the walls at some of their Big Bang restaurants.
James is coming, too. He is still painting whenever he has some spare time. Lillian bought two paintings from him, and one from me. They are now hanging in their restaurant in Palm Beach.
Lillian also said she has a big surprise for James and me and we have to keep the days of September 16 to 23 open. She wouldn’t tell me more.
What is she up to?
Finally, the airport opens, at eight in the morning on September 11, and we take off for Miami.
The plane is packed with Americans looking forward to getting home and away from the nightmare of Erin.
Little did we know that we would enter another, even bigger, nightmare soon….
We should be landing in Miami around 10:30 in the morning.
One hour into the flight, I’m serving a passenger who has a laptop next to him.
“Look at this!” he says, turning the laptop towards me.
I can’t believe my eyes. A plane has hit one of the Twin Towers in New York! I can see black smoke, flames and people running screaming through the streets. While I’m watching another plane hits the other Tower! I gasp and drop everything I’m holding. It takes all my willpower to walk, not run, to the cockpit.
When I open the door, the captain raises his arm. He is talking into the mike. The copilot, who looks very pale, is flying the plane.
From the cabin I can hear some people screaming.
The purser appears in the doorway.
“Listen, Ewa, something terrible has happened in New York. You have to go back in the cabin and calm down the passengers. I’ll talk to the captain and we will make an announcement of what is happening.”
Suddenly, it hits me.
Oh, my God, Lillian and Dexter! They are in New York. They have their office in one of the Towers. I have to call and see if they are OK, but first I have to take care of the passengers.
Everybody is upset and some are crying. They probably have friends or relatives in New York, too.
I can hear the purser over the speaker.
“This is your purser. Please sit down. I have a very important message for you. Please try to stay calm, and I will tell you what we know so far.”
By now the cabin has gone very quiet and everybody is listening intensely.
“The captain has informed me that two planes have hit the Twin Towers in New York. At this early time we do not want to speculate.
“The captain’s order is to land as soon as possible. We will land in Miami in about one hour. So the crew will now clear the cabin for landing.
“Please stay calm and let the crew do their job. After landing I’m sure we will know more about what has happened in New York. Also, please don’t use your cell phones or laptops.”
I was already in the lavatory trying to use my cell phone.
It is the most stressful hour I’ve ever spent in the air. Everybody is asking questions I cant answer. Their eyes are large with fear and grief, pleadingly asking me to help them.
We all agree it has to do with terrorism. What else could it be?
Flying would never be the same.
When we get off the plane, the airport looks like a war zone. Everybody is running around looking scared. Some are watching the big TV screens, showing the Twin Tower scenario. Many people are crying, even men. I am still trying to call Lillian, but I cant get through.
I call my brother and leave a message for him to call me back.
Driving north on I-95, I notice there are unusually few cars on the freeway.
I have the radio on, listening to the reporter from New York. Nearly one and a half hours after the impact, the Twin Towers are burning furiously. He can see people jumping out of the windows to their deaths. In the streets there are people running covered with blood and soot.
The reporter says that a third plane has hit the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia.
Suddenly my cell phone rings. It’s James. I turn down the radio.
“James! I’m on my way home. Have you heard anything from Lillian or Dexter?”
“No, all the lines are down. This is just terrible, it’s a madhouse here at work, so I’m going home. Irene is very upset too. Why don’t you stop at our place, so we can talk?”
“OK, see you soon.”
James now lives in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, not California. He married very young, only 20 years old, his high school sweetheart, Irene. They have a beautiful house on the beach. He works part time and studies astronomy at the University. Irene is in medical research. They are expecting their first baby in two months. I’m going to be an aunt!
James and I arrive at the same time. We hug and I start to cry.
“I’m so worried about Lillian and Dexter.” Now I’m crying uncontrollably.
Should I tell him that I have killed Sunny?
I feel so upset and exhausted I can’t think straight.
Should I tell him? What if he thinks I am crazy?
My head feels as if it’s going to explode.
Your sins will find you out. Your sins will always find you out.
The words are spinning in my head. Is this some kind of punishment for being bad?
No! No! I’m not bad! It’s those ugly, brown-eyed people who are bad. Sunny was evil, and he got what he deserved.
I’d better not tell James anything. He has a pregnant wife and a nice home. Why should I burden him with my problems?
I try drying my eyes with a handkerchief.
“How can we find out anything about Lillian and Dexter?” I look up at James and there are tears in his eyes, too.
He looks down at me. “I will try calling somebody and see if we can get it confirmed that they were at their office in the Tower.”
We start walking towards the house.
Inside we find Irene, looking pale and watching TV. Next to her, on the sofa, is some pink yarn. She is knitting a small jacket.
Oh, it’s going to be a girl!
“I’m so sorry to hear about Lillian and Dexter,” she says, “but we really don’t know anything yet. The only information we get is from the TV. They just said that a fourth plane has crashed into a field.”
We all sit down and just watch in horror, not really believing what we are seeing on the screen.
Later, much later, we learn that Lillian and Dexter are among the nearly 3,000 casualties. There are 6,000 injured. Not to mention all the people who will forever be affected by this terrible event.