Fist of the Ape
My 2009 National Novel Writing Month project, to be revised and completed as part of the Clarion 2011 "Write-a-Thon."
Fist of the Ape
In July, 1945, a US weapons expert and his code-talking sidekick are forced to pair up with a Russian spy to track down a Nazi atomic bomb.
Manhattan, July 28, 1945, 9:40am
People on the streets recalled hearing the airplane first; a big Army bomber from the sound of it, coming in from the East River. They might have looked up, but couldn't even see the tops of buildings in the drifting cloud deck. The plane was clearly over the city, they remembered, and far too low.
In the Empire State Building, the Saturday shift of the Catholic War Relief Board was beginning their work day. Perhaps they caught a rumble of approaching engines; there might have been time for a glance out the window.
Then the bomber emerged from the fog and struck head-on.
Twenty tons of airplane plowed through the limestone facade and exploded into the building; the B-25 came apart in a fireball, sending a hailstorm of wreckage tearing through offices. The workers, a typical wartime mix of old men, teenagers, and nuns, were killed at their desks, crushed or incinerated.
The left engine penetrated the elevator core, sheared cables, and plummeted to the basement.
One heavy chunk of wreckage passed entirely through the 79th floor, blowing an exit wound in the south wall and plunging across 33rd street to bury itself in the top floor of a warehouse.
When the Office of Strategic Service agents arrived, they had no time to listen to witnesses babbling excitedly to the cops, and they had only the briefest glance for the smoking hole in the side of the skyscraper. None of that was important. The debris across the street was all that that was of interest to them.