By Cynthia T, 710

I stood on the observation tower of the Empire State Building taking in the breathtaking view. There were around 50 others on the deck along with me. It was a sunny day and the sun beat down on me. I looked down. Wow. I was on a 102-story building.  I had lived in the city for so many years and I have never seen it from this perspective.

I wonder if anyone has ever fallen off this building… that would be unimaginable. What would the journey be like going down? What would happen after? I guess I had a fear of falling to my death. Death was something that you couldn’t cheat in life. It happened to everyone. That’s not what I was afraid of though. It was the thought of a sudden death that scared me.

I turned back around to grab my phone from my bag to take pictures. As I retrieved my phone, I felt a slight nudge. There was no one less than a foot away near me though.  That was strange. Maybe it was the wind, I thought.

I stayed on the observation deck for about 3 hours until I decided that I had seen enough. I headed onto the elevator and went down the glass elevator. 102nd floor. 101st floor. 100th floor. 99th floor. 98th… Suddenly the elevator jerked and stopped. There was commotion around me. I stayed calm. I was going to go to my friend, Christa’s house, but I guess plans were now canceled. After waiting for 5 minutes, I texted her and said I would probably be running late or not going. “I saw on the news!!!”she texted back. The news?  “Has anyone notified the dispatchers yet?” I asked. No one replied. There was something going on that I didn’t know of.

I searched on the Internet for news. I scrolled down and didn’t see anything. I scrolled for an entire page until I saw an article released only 2 minutes ago. The article title was “Elevator Malfunction.” The situation right now was not that bad though. I wonder why an entire article needed to be written. “An elevator in the Empire State Building has stopped on the 98th floor. Investigation showed that there is only a thin cord holding it up. It could snap at any moment.”

So this is how it was all going to go down. A cord that was going to snap. That was pathetic. “We’re climbing down!” I heard someone in the elevator shout. Climbing down? From the 98th floor? I watched as someone slammed open the emergency supplies in a very small spot. It contained a hammer and 10 ropes, and luckily there were only 7 people in the elevator. A hook was attached to the top of each rope. “We’ll be using these hook and attaching them to the top of the elevator so we can hang off of it!” the lady shouted. The woman who had said that we were climbing down gathered us up. “I’m Adrianna. I work in this building and I assure you, we’re all going to be okay. We will each be climbing down the rope to the  96th floor, just two floors down. There is a crew of workers there. The cord of this elevator will snap in ten minutes so we need to get out NOW.” I took a deep breath in. I didn’t want to fall to my death. But I also didn’t want to just stand here.

Adrianna broke the glass with the emergency hammer. We were all exposed to the humid air from the outside. I attached the hook onto the top of the elevator. I looked down. We were 98 floors high. I wasn’t afraid of heights. Never have been. What really frightened me? What would happen if I made a single mistake? What if I slipped off from a drop of water? Or what if a bird flies by and knocks me down? Or maybe there would be a gust of wind? If I wasn’t careful, I would be plunging down to my death on the busy streets of Manhattan.

I looked at the other six people on the elevator. Two of them had already started attaching the rope onto the top of the elevator and began climbing down. I watched as they landed successfully in the balcony of the 96th floor. It seemed simple enough. Another pair went down slowly and climbed in successfully. It was only two floors.

I watched as Adrianna climbed down the rope. Everyone made the climb look so easy. Hook the rope onto the elevator. Feet on the wall. Climb down. Release the rope.

I watched as Adrianna got into the building. I scanned the floor. There were news reporters?  I saw one of my favorite news reporters, Ting Li. With her was Abigail Trilliams. Then there… Christa Juan? My best friend? I knew she had been an intern at the news channel for a while, but I didn’t think she would be here after texting me about it.

I was ready to climb down. Five had already made it out successfully out of the seven. Great. The elevator cord was going to snap in three minutes. I was going to try and make this as quick as possible. I began with a jump. As I jumped off, I heard a voice in slow motion. “THE HOOK ISN’T ATTA-…” The voice faded away.

I dropped and everything around me seemed motionless. Death had devoured me. I plummeted down to the busy streets of Manhattan. But as I fell, I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel numb. I was lifeless. I hit the ground. I faded away.

BANG. I felt my head hit something. My eyes fluttered open. Where was I? In heaven? I looked around. There was my drawer. My desk. My floor. I was in my room. That… was all just a dream.

I realized that I should live in the moment that I was in, right now. There was no telling what would be next, or what could happen. Just to live.