Approximately .25 kilometers into the event zone, at a place in Greenwich Park where seven walking paths converge, some of the dispossessed had heard the helicopter and looked up expecting help, only to see the craft’s dissolution. For the briefest of moments they had remained transfixed, unable to grasp what they had just seen. And then the cries of those around them jolted their attention back to the nearer pathos.
Greenwich park had been a favorite destination for the local population where they might enjoy the open greenery away from the noise and congestion of the city. Children, parents, grandparents, dog owners, lovers, and lovers of nature would stroll through the manicured woods and commune with a slower god than the one worshiped in the urban realm. And this particular day, being the summer solstice, the park had attracted much larger crowds to celebrate near the meridian at noon.
Of these, many were writhing in agony, especially those elderly folk who were now absent their hip and knee replacements, many of whom had fallen hard. Those less affected, were comforting them as best they could, being near shock themselves as their minds recoiled.
Dogs sans collars or leashes ran wildly, driven into a frenzy by the screams of their owners. Some, of a more aggressive nature, tore into others of their kind, and one attacked his master who had previously treated him poorly. A few ran off into the woods, but most remained by the sides of those they loved, whimpering pitiably.
Babies in buggies had fallen to the ground, though none were seriously injured. One infant being carried in a backpack, however, had hit a rock and was no longer moving, his parents stunned, grieving, and holding his limp body tight against their naked ones.
Please note that this report does not include the most graphic descriptions of the injuries, nor linger on the horrendously painful emotions suffered by the victims. Only the minimum details necessary to convey the magnitude and depth of the tragedy are documented, so that we might better prepare.
A hill stands between Seven Points and the Royal Observatory grounds, which includes the Meridian Building, so the people at that intersection in the park could not see that buildings and clothed people still existed there. In the opposite direction, to the north, the Queen’s House complex should have been visible in the distance, but it was gone leaving only a patch of raw earth. This offered a real possibility to the gathering that the entire world had been cast into this condition.
Those who had come to the park alone and were at least relatively uninjured were the first to work past the initial shock and began to ask one another what had happened. Of course, no one had an answer, though some began to speculate that it might have been anything from a judgment of God to an attack by aliens or perhaps the resurgence of magic in the world. But again, reasoning was difficult after such an experience especially being surrounded by the sounds and sights of continuing suffering.
One man, physically fit and in his prime, set off toward Observatory Hill, having considered that the helicopter had existed after they themselves had been struck, so perhaps help might be found in that direction. Another slightly less fit man followed him, striving to keep up. An able-bodied and young athletic woman began to jog in the other direction toward where the Queen’s house had been, in the hope of finding assistance toward the city. But by and large, most of the people huddled together, staying close to their loved ones, and believing that their best chance of rescue was to remain where they were.
Please note that the entire park scenario just presented is taken from a single account from the only known survivor who claims these as his experiences. There is no reason to doubt his story, though being uncorroborated the details likely diverge in the specifics. Still and all, this and the accounts to follow provide our best insight into the personal experiences beyond the more logistic overviews already well-covered in several substantial studies and volumes.
The healthy man soon arrived at the top of the hill, closely followed by his less-toned companion. There, they saw that half the Prime Meridian Building and all other edifices to the west were missing. Those who had been on the second floors of the vanished buildings had fallen some twenty feet from their offices into the cavities where the basements had been, and almost all lay writhing with one severe injury or another, begging for help.
The view back toward the west was blocked by the trees on the hill, but ahead, the buildings, and more important, the observation deck remained intact. Slowly working their way, barefoot, from the raw dirt and then up along the cobblestones and stairs, they both strode with purpose and dread toward the view point.
As they reached the line of small telescopes that had been placed there for the amusement of visitors to the park, they stopped in their tracks. Looking west across an expanse of forest and green, patches of exposed earth were littered with thousands of tiny dots, moving ant-like, where London used to stand.
The athletic man dropped to his knees like a marionette. His companion shuddered uncontrollably and wept openly.
The Event is my Science Fiction Thriller series, beginning with Man Made, available on Amazon at: