Keith R Parris - United States Air Force Pilot Wings

Praying for Antonio - Excerpt

As the words escaped his mouth, the TXDOT cameras picked up a flash that completely engulfed the area that had been occupied by the wrecked propane tanker. A fireball of rolling flames leapt toward the sky and expanded outward with unbelievable velocity. In a heartbeat, everything on the ground became vapor, the picture was lost and, for a moment, every heartbeat seemed to stop.

"That can't be!" the Mayor exclaimed. "God help us, that can't be!"

The floor of the Command Center trembled. The lights flashed off, then on. Every breath was held. Every voice was hushed.

"Where's that call to Homeland Security?" the Mayor called out. "I don't think I have to worry about panicking our city."

The Chief turned away from the pictures that had been restored to the big screen and once again flashed the spectacle of destruction across the room. He searched frantically and found his cell phone. In near desperation, he fumbled with its flip-open case before pushing a single digit. Its double ring took an eternity. Finally, a loving voice answered.

"Hello, Darling."

"Listen to me," the Chief interrupted. "Don't ask questions. Just trust me and do what I say and do it now. Do you understand? I want you to drive over to Shelby's and take her and the grandkids to the house at Canyon Lake. Don't ask questions. Don't pack anything. Just do it now. I love you. Go now!"

The Chief turned to face the screen again and unconsciously flipped the case of his cell phone closed. He had done what he had to do, what any man would have done.


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