A man in his late twenties stood by a door in front of a house, in the background there was a large rainforest that covered about one hundred acres of land. The baking heat made the man exhausted and thirsty for water. It was Tulio Montero, a man responsible for the preservation of many rare exotic birds in South America, which was located in Rio De Janeiro. His sweaty palms desperately searched for the keys to enter the house to escape the heat, when he found them, the door opened and the sensation of cool oxygen hit the young man's face.

"Linda...Fernando? Are you guys' home?" Tulio said as he set down a bag, that was heavy, on the floor.

He searched the house for his family, but did not seem to find a single soul inside the building.

Finally, he heard noises that were coming from a nearby room, he walked towards a glass door that revealed a clinic for birds, and there he found Linda.

"Linda, I'm back from the store, I brought what you want…" Tulio stopped midsentence

Her face was swelling with tears, something was wrong with Linda

He walked towards the red haired woman and kneeled before her

"What's wrong?"

Linda lifted her head to meet Tulio's, and then she stopped crying for a moment

"You know what day it is right?" She asked

Tulio immediately understood, he embraced her which made Linda feel better

"Oh Linda, how could I forget what today is?" Tulio answered

Tulio held her hand

"You've been crying for the past four days now, why are you so sad about it?" Tulio asked

Linda gave him a hard look

"What do you think? Three thousand innocent lives died that day and my favorite buildings are gone now." Linda retorted

"There must be a bigger reason" Tulio said

Linda's face began to soften again and stood up, Tulio stood up as well

"Come with me to the sanctuary" Linda simply said.

Tulio nodded and followed.

Linda and Tulio left the small clinic and arrived at a large door that lead into the large rainforest; from a distance the sanctuary's watchtower could be seen.

When Tulio found a wooden bench to sit on with Linda, she abruptly stopped him

"Not here…the watch tower" She said

Tulio was dumbfounded at Linda's sudden strength

"Why…why not?" He asked

"I don't want Fernando to hear us, he's always out here after school" Linda said softly

"But I closed the watchtower for the day…and" Tulio stopped and sighed softly


Both humans walked into a trail that lead to the watchtower, from a distance, numerous birds were singing exquisite songs that seemed to make Linda feel much better, Tulio made a small smile when he noticed this.

They approached the entrance into the watchtower; several locks were on the door and Tulio searched his pockets for the keys, unlocking them seemed to take five minutes. Tulio sighed as he finally opened the door to the watchtower, both humans entered. The building was round with stairs that followed a similar pattern that lead to the top. Once they reached the top they were in a room filled with equipment for the outdoors. There was a seat that was right next to a window that allowed bright sunlight to penetrate the room. Linda sat down on the chair and examined Tulio, who was closing some blinds to prevent too much sunlight to come through the room.

"Okay, Linda…what's wrong, besides the whole September 11 thing" Tulio asked

Linda sighed

I was sixteen…

(Saturday September 8th 2001)

It was early fall in Moose Lake Minnesota as a man in his early forties with a briefcase walked into a building that read "Blue Macaw Books"

The store was recently opened by Linda Gunderson as a gift from her father; Linda always wanted to own a bookstore when she was young, the store had recently become a success within Moose Lake as being one of the only bookstores in the city. The family's house was right upstairs so this was an advantage to the business.

The man entered the store and smiled at a teenage girl, who was sorting out books on a shelve

"Good afternoon, Linda, do you have The Clare Anthology for sale?" The man asked

"Yes I do, hold on" young Linda said as she went to the Non fiction section of the store.

The man saw a blue Macaw who was reading in its cage

"And how's Blu?" He asked

"He's doing great! He can't stop reading books that have Anatomy as a topic in them"

The man laughed

"He is such a smart little guy" Linda said as she handed the book to the man

"That will be $19 dollars" She said

The man exchanged the money and went towards the door

"As always, Linda, have a nice day" He said walking out

"You to" Linda finished

Then, Linda walked towards the shelf again to organize


Linda turned around

Then a flash made her blind for a split second.

A similar man with a Canon Eos D30 took a photo of her

"Don't sneak up on me and take random pictures!" Linda said

"Sorry Linda, I took a photo because you look remarkably beautiful today" He said

Linda lowered her head a little bit

"Thanks dad"

He smiled as a woman came downstairs

"Jack, I heard the good news!" The woman said

"What good news?" Linda asked

"Your Father's Novel is becoming such a success that a publisher from Los Angeles wants him to go and meet him!" she said

"Really!" Linda jumped in joy

"Yup, and if this turns out well, I could hit best seller by the end of the year" Jack said with Pride in his voice

"I am really proud of you, Jack" Linda's mother said, hugging him.

"I would not have gone this far without both of you, especially Linda; she inspired me to make my Novel.

"Oh dad…" Linda said softly

"It is the truth, the book is about a young girl's life long dream to own a store with a pet parrot named Blu" He explained

"Oh! That's right! Blu needs to be feed, how did I forget!" Linda ran to the Kitchen to get Blu's favorite supper.

The parents laughed a little

"Well, jack, you leave Monday Morning to Boston right?" The mother asked

"Yup, and it's a nice flight as well, Jessie" Jack responded

"What flight is it again?" She asked

"American Airlines Flight 175, it's at Terminal C, Gate 19 in Logan International Airport in Boston, its scheduled to board passengers at 7:40 and depart at 8:00, ill be in Los Angeles in 6 hours." Jack said

"That's great, sounds like you already know where to go" Jessie said

"Well, I hope this works out fine" Jack said as he watched Linda feed her favorite bird.

(September 10th 2001) (11:32 pm) (Moose Lake Carlton County Airport)

The family arrived at the airport to say goodbye to Jack, he only had one luggage so it was easy to get out of the car and check in.

"Jack, before you go, I want to say how proud I am for you" Jessie said

"Thank you honey" Jack said

He reached to kiss his wife in the cheek then he went towards Linda

"Linda, remember the photo I took several days ago?" Jack asked

"Yea, what about it?" Linda asked

Jack handed Linda a photo of herself organizing books, Linda examined the photo

"I have one for myself, so you will always be with me when I'm gone" Jack said as he brandished a copy of the photo.

Linda smiled and hugged her father

"I love you dad" Linda said softly

"I know and ill be back soon, don't worry" Jack finished

"Bye Jack" Jessie added

Jack waved goodbye as he entered the airport.

(September 11 2001) (7:32 Am) (Logan international airport)

It was just eight minutes before the Crew would start boarding passengers; Jack seemed impatient, despite there being only fifty six passengers today. To pass the time, he took out his white Sanyo SCP-5150 cell phone and called his family.

The phone rang at the Gunderson residence; Jessie was awake and setting up the table for breakfast while Linda was taking a shower.

"Hello?" Jessie asked

"It's me, Jack"

"Is everything alright?" Jessie asked

"Everything is fine, just wanted to say goodbye again before I take off to Los Angeles, is Linda there?" Jack said

"She is getting ready for school" Jessie answered

"Oh, okay, just tell her I said hello and ill talk to you when I am in Los Angeles" Jack explained

"Bye honey"

"Bye Jessie, take care"

Jack hung up the phone just as second class was called to board; he grabbed his briefcase and stood up

Just as he did a man in his early twenties seemed to bump into Jack as he headed toward the line

"Oh, I'm sorry, I did not see where I was going" Jack said politely

The man just stared at Jack; the young man seemed to be sweating. Another man tapped him on his shoulder, both men walked away back into the line

"Hamza, do not display fear, today is the day God accepts us into paradise" The man said to his friend

By the time all the passengers boarded, Jack set down his suitcase in the cubicle and sat next to the window, it was a clear, cloudless day.

The plane pushed back from the gate and taxied to the runway

It was 8:13 Am

The plane accelerated down the runway, Jack could see planes and buildings pass by very fast, eventually, the plane lifted off and left Logan International Airport.

Sometime later, the flight attendants started to serve the passengers food and drinks, one of the passengers stood up and headed toward the lavatory with his bag. This made one of the passengers sitting adjacent to Jack, very nervous.

(8:40 am)

The plane was now at a cruising altitude of 31,000 feet; the man in a black shirt came out of the lavatory with his bag and returned to his seat. The man next to Jack began to sweat uncontrollably; he pressed the flight attendant button, Jack became a little suspicious.

"Is everything okay sir?" Jack asked

The flight attendant arrived

"Can I get you anything, sir?" She asked.

Just as the seat belt button turned off, 2 men immediately got out of their seats and rushed toward the cock pit. The man in the white shirt next to Jack stood up from his seat and stabbed the Flight attendant; the blood hit Jack's face as he yelled in fear. The 2 men incapacitated the Pilot and first officer within minutes; suddenly the plane began to lose altitude, some people who were trying to help the flight attendant were thrown back by the mere velocity of the plane.

Soon, the plane regained its posture and the man quickly regained his position and brandished his knife. Another man seemed to be by his side, holding a bomb.

"Listen very carefully, we are returning to the airport immediately, we have taken over the plane, if you desist, we will kill you!" The young man in the white shirt shouted

One of the passengers said

"Is that a bomb!"

"Yes it is a bomb, so do not try anything, or we will use it" the man with the black shirt retorted

"What the hell do you want from us?" Jack asked

"We wish to return to the airport immediately" the man simply answered.

"We need everybody to move to the back of the plane" one of them said

People just stood there, frightened.


Everyone including Jack immediately moved back, leaving the dying woman and the highjackers in front of the plane.

After some tension, the back of the plane was filled with uncertainty

"Something is obviously wrong, I saw two of them charge towards the cockpit, the plane has been highjacked" Jack said calmly.

"But why? What do they want from us?" a woman asked

"They are terrorists, don't worry thought, they said they are going to take the airplane back to Logan International" A man wearing a suit retorted

"Why highjack a plane and then head back towards the same airport? It does not make any sense what so ever" Another man said

Jack was tense, he was sweating all over his body, he found a GTE airphone in several seats, and he dialed his family's number.

No response

He tried again

No response

Jack tried once more

Jessie dropped off Linda at school, just as she did, the phone rang.

"Hello? Who is this?" She asked

"Jessie! It's me, Jack…my plane has been highjacked, and I don't know who these people are but they took over the plane and killed several people" Jack said

"Is this a joke? Jack" Jessie asked

"No, Jessie! Listen…things here are really bad…" Jack did not finish, the plane suddenly made a sharp left.

"Jack!...jack can you hear me!" Jessie shouted.

Jack recovered and found the phone on the floor

"I'm alright, where is Linda? I need to talk to her" Jack asked

"I just dropped her off school" Jessie said

"I need you to go get her…because…I don't think we are returning to the airport" Jack said calmly

"What do you mean jack?" Jessie said

"These people have a bomb on board and already killed several people, they are going to do something horrible" Jack retorted

"Jack, don't say that…everything will be fine" Jessie said

"Please, Jessie, do me the favor and get Linda for me…ill stay on the phone for as long as I can" Jack finished

Jessie set down the phone by her lap, she started to cry

(8:59 am)

"If you are just joining us, you are looking at the north tower of the world trade center, which has been hit by a plane"

The anchor said on the television, Linda was in the cafeteria, a place she would always go before class started, her classmates were stunned and Linda seemed to show a similar reaction

"Oh my god…no..." Linda said softly as he witnessed the tower burn

"This was such a big shock for you, I bet" Tulio said quietly

"yes, I always wanted to go to the world trade center when I was a kid, my dad told me he was there several times and he promised he would take me" Linda said softly

"That must have hit you so hard…something you always wanted to go to but was wiped out by someone who did it because they hated your country" Tulio said

"Yea…" Linda added

(Song: The boy in the striped pajamas – soundtrack 11 strange new clothes) Play from 6:02 to 9:52

"Linda!" Jessie shouted to her daughter

"Mom! What's going on?" Linda asked her mother

Linda noticed tears falling from her mother's face

"What's wrong mom?"

"It's your father…he's in a highjacked plane, he asked for you" Jessie said

Linda did not know what to say

"No way…tell me you're joking mom…he's alright…he has to be"

Jessie simply handed the phone to her daughter

"Dad? Are you there?" Linda asked

Jack sat on his seat…staring blankly at the window, the plane was starting to pick up speed

"Dad?" The phone echoed

Jack immediately picked up the phone with a sigh of relief

"Linda! Thank god, listen honey…I…" Jack did not know what to say

"I'm on a plane that has been highjacked, I…don't think I am going home again, honey"

Linda retorted, all her friends looked at her

"Don't say that, Dad! You are coming home just fine" Linda shouted

"I thought it would be hard for you to understand…listen Linda…you still have the photo with you?" Jack asked

Linda took out from her pocket; the photo of herself…the one Jack took of her several days ago

"I want you to live out your life the best way you can, honey" Jack said softly

"Dad…please, don't do this to me…" Linda started to cry

"Promise me, please…promise me that you will do it" Jack said

"I…I promise" Linda said, crying

The plane began to accelerate rapidly, more then before; one of the flight attendants urged the passengers to buckle up. The plane began to descend very quickly.

The phone was silent…

"Dad!...Dad!..DAD! Are you there!" Linda shouted

"We are falling…really fast! Oh my god…" Jack said over the phone

"Dad!" Linda said one more time

"Listen Linda! I love you so much…I have loved you since the first time I held you're hand, I watched you take every step…every step made me happy…" Jack started to cry as he looked at his photo of Linda

"I…I love you too Dad…but please, don't hang up!" Linda retorted

"Linda…I will always be with you…remember…you know I am with you when you have that photo" Jack said

"Yes…dad…please…don't stop talking…" Linda cried even more

People began to scream inside the plane, it was deafening to the point jack could not hear the phone.

Jessie grabbed the phone

"Jack! What's going on!" Jessie shouted

Jack looked out his window, the inside of the plane was out of control, it was descending very rapidly over the Hudson River, and buildings could be seen.

Jack dropped the picture of Linda.

"Oh my god! Oh my god...they're…goin….to"

The line went dead.

Linda watched in horror as a second plane hit the south tower of the world trade center

"Oh my god…folks, you just saw a second plane hit the world trade center…whatever this is, it's deliberate." The anchorman said

"Were sorry, you call cannot be completed as dialed…"

"Jack! Jack! Are you there! Damn it, Jack! Answer me!" Jessie shouted into the phone, crying.

Linda collapsed on her knees, she could not take it in anymore, and she screamed in pain, her photo was drowned in heavy tears.

The T.V showed the horrific image of the now burning South Tower and the remnants of Flight 175.

"My god…and you never told me this?" Tulio said

"I should have earlier but…" Linda stopped midsentence as she pulled out an aged photo of herself, the picture was covered in outdated tear marks and suffered some damage.

"My, your father was right…you were beautiful and you still are" Tulio said softly

"Oh Tulio…I just wish he never got on the plane"

"He told you to live you're life, that's all that matters" Tulio said

"I don't feel like I have" Linda retorted

"Why of course you have, you are a wonderful and a gorgeous woman…whenever I am around you Linda, you seem to bring happiness to all of those around you" Tulio complimented

"Thank you, Tulio…you never forget how to make me smile" Linda said

"Come on, let's go see Blu and his friends" Tulio said

Linda smiled

"I love you, Tulio"

"I know"

As both of them left the watchtower, Linda took one last glimpse of her old picture

"It's been ten years dad…I haven't forgotten"

Both of them walked deeper into the sanctuary to greet the others.

This story was heavily influenced by 9/11, true story's by September 11 and my personal experience in third grade when this happened.

9/11 has been a tragic experience for many people, and I hope you guys enjoyed reading this

I hope I touched you in someway, this is the saddest story I have ever written.