It was raining, the sort of rain I have only ever seen in Aberdeen. The sky is grey, mirrored in the granite below. Really rain I could forgive; life needs rainy days; this was an insipid, creeping drizzle that just killed all enthusiasm for the day ahead. I am an avid reader and started hunting for a book to read, I am not picky, I have been known to read everything, from Dickens to Asimov to Ransome but this led to the problem - I had read everything in my flat. Or so I thought. Looking in a dusty box, I found a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring - a book that my parents had bought for my Brother, years ago. The next thing I noticed, it was dark, I was mourning the loss of Gandalf at Durin's Bridge and I had missed at supper.
"Go on, read it - it is really good"
Again, I found myself with nothing to read, my sister was forcing a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone into my hand. To say I was sceptical would be a gross understatement. Once again, suddenly it was dark, I had missed a supper and I was trying to work out the potions riddle. This book took me back to the first time I had read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" or "The BFG".
I was sitting at the office, the day had begun like any other Tuesday. After lunch, my colleague got a call from his girlfriend - apparently a plane had hit a building somewhere. While he was on the phone, the second plane hit. I fired up some browser windows and went to CNN.com, and bbc.co.uk to find out what the fuck was happening. For 10 minutes I got Radio 5 streamed to my browser, before it keeled over. I managed about three pages from CNN.com before it died. One by one, the news sites fell over first CNN, NBC and BBC; then Slashdot, Ananova and ITN. I had no other way of contacting the outside world, no radio, no TV and now no Internet. I logged into IRC and started hearing the rumours - part of a tower had collapsed, the whole tower had collapsed, both towers had collapsed, the Pentagon had been hit, Camp David had been hit, there were god knows how many other planes still in the sky - I was relying on forth or fifth generation websites to get the news, phoning everyone I knew to tell them. I read every rumour or scap of news I could find. I could not find enough. That Tuesday afternoon no one did any work, we were shocked by the act and frustrated by the lack of information. At 5.00 the office emptied, and I rushed home to catch the 24 hour coverage on 24 channels that had been denied me.
This was the result of a nodeshell challenge by Byzantine
For once I was early, I found I had ten minutes before my lecture started. I wandered off to the corner shop to pick up a Coke, some chocolate and a paper. Splashed across the front page was the news that 15 people had been shot at a school in the US. "That's terrible" I thought, remembering the grief the UK had felt after Dunblane. After the lecture I had a baked potato at the cafe and retired to the computer labs to catch up on what was happening in the world. Loading Slashdot I was confronted with the first few stories about the killings and the incredible outpourings of grief, hate and fear. Over the next two weeks read slashdot daily, as the two facets of the story developed - one the tales of bullying and hatred at Columbine (and countless other schools across the world) and the knee-jerk reaction from the Government. I remembered my own time at school and felt blessed that I had never had to endure the torture I was reading about. I remembered the kids who did endure that and felt guilty that I had never done anything to prevent it.