The Calculating Stars | Page 6 of 235

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 22378 Views | Add a Review

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correspondent Phillip Williams from our affiliate WCBO of Philadelphia, who is at the scene.”

Why would they have gone to a Philadelphia affiliate, instead of someone at the scene in D.C.? Or Baltimore?

At first, I thought the static had gotten worse, and then I realized that it was the sound of a massive fire. It took me a moment longer to understand.

It had taken them this long to find a reporter who was still alive, and the closest one had been in Philadelphia.

“I am standing on the US-1, some seventy miles north of where the meteor struck. This is as close as we were able to get, even by plane, due to the tremendous heat. What lay under me as we flew was a scene of horrifying devastation. It is as if a hand had scooped away the capital and taken with it all of the men and women who resided there. As of yet, the condition of the president is unknown, but—” My heart clenched when his voice broke. I had listened to Williams report the Second World War without breaking stride. Later, when I saw where he had been standing, I was amazed that he was able to speak at all. “But of Washington itself, nothing remains.”

TWO

ANNOUNCER: This is the BBC World News for March 3, 1952. Here is the news and this is Robert Robinson. In the early hours of the morning a meteorite struck just outside the capital of the United States of America with a force greater than the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The resulting firestorm has swept out from Washington, D.C. for hundreds of miles.

I kept running the numbers in my head after the radio finally, finally reported the news. It was easier than thinking about the big picture. About the fact that we lived in D.C. That we knew people there. That my parents were—

From D.C., it would take a little over twenty-four minutes for the airblast to hit. I tapped the dashboard clock. “It should hit soon.”

“Yeah.” My husband covered his face with his hands and leaned forward against the steering wheel. “Were your parents…?”

“Home. Yes.” I could not stop shaking. The only breaths I could draw were too fast and too shallow. I clenched my jaw and held my breath for a moment, with my eyes squeezed shut.

The seat shifted as Nathaniel wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. He bowed his head over me so that I was sealed in a little cocoon of tweed and wool. His par ents had been older than mine and had passed away some years ago, so he knew what I needed, and just held me.

“I just thought … I mean, Grandma is a hundred and three. I thought Daddy was going to go forever.”

He made a sharp inhalation, as if he’d been stabbed.

“What?”

Nathaniel sighed and pulled me closer. “There were tidal wave warnings.”

“Oh God.” Grandma lived in Charleston. She wasn’t in a beach house, but still, the entire city was low-lying and right on the coast. And then there were my aunts and

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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