69 pages • 2 hours readWendy Mills
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Alia and Travis join the thousands of others attempting to escape down the stairwells, passing individuals succumbing to physical and emotional exhaustion who are being helped by others. No one is positive about the nature of the disaster, although there are mentions of a small plane having hit the tower. One woman succumbs to hysteria and demands that everyone cease attempts at cell phone use, since she fears that they are being used to detonate bombs. Alia once again channels her alter ego, Lia, who prays in the mosque when she is in need of strength. Alia tries to converse with Travis, who tells her that he used to play the saxophone in a local band known as the “Do-Gooders.” He mentions that he has dropped out of college, and that he had wanted to study music so that he could teach it to children, as his grandfather had taught him. Alia tells him of her dream to write comic books, dismissing the idea as a serious possibility. Travis tells her, “[…] you’re too scared to go after something you really want” (214).
The pair stop to help a 22-year-old with a heart condition who can no longer walk, despite her insistence that they leave her behind.