69 pages • 2 hours readWendy Mills
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Alia relates the horror of being surrounded by fires, and the realization that they are close to the bottom of the staircase. She is comforted by the fact that there are now other people attempting to escape the Tower with them; she looks behind her at Travis and “[…] his face is focused, grim” (332). Suddenly, she hears the same rushing sound as that made by a thousand trains – the same sound made prior to the collapse of the first building. She and Travis run and hear a sound like a “[…] gigantic metal ball bouncing down the stairwell above us” (333), as the building shakes and concrete falls from the walls. Travis tries to open a stairwell door, and the pair are pushed to a corner of the landing as the building falls. Travis uses his body to shield her; Alia says “I love you, Mama” (333) and hears Travis praying.