Chaos reigned in the city. Ten million people, going fast in every direction, like an anthill scattered by a careless boot. Smoke filled the air. Screams of terror every few moments. All the meticulously practiced protocols for emergencies had been ignored in seconds. It was every man, woman and child for themselves.
From above, the occasional explosion as the tall buildings met with impact from the blasts, shaking their foundations and collapsing in pieces. Cars had been abandoned everywhere, making it impossible even for those who still had a vehicle to drive further than a few feet. Most people were running, dodging, leaping to avoid the flaming craters in the pavement and the bodies of those who had fallen.
Visibility was limited, but the faces of every person as they came into focus, was wide-eyed fear. It was too early for mourning to have set in. This was survival mode. There was no place to hide. The few who had had presence of mind enough to grab important personal items or food and water were clutching their provisions and moving away from the city center. Still, many people were milling about in the streets, looking for loved ones, senseless in their shock.
Maria had watched the first blast tear her apartment building in half. On one side of the nursery, she sat in a chair. On the other, the crib which held the tiny body of her infant son. She watched as half her life, half her heart, was peeled away from her in an instant. A flash, a sickening movement under her feet, and then it was gone. And she was there with an open view of the city, watching other buildings torn apart, until she realized she had to move - and move quickly.