I didn’t know there was a camera there. If I had, it probably wouldn’t
have made a difference. I would have still dropped to my knees in the
swirling dust and gouged bloody scrapes on my tear-stained cheeks. I
would have still screamed silently, the sound choked back by the
fragments of my former life clogging the air.
The shutter clicked. The worst moment of my life was translated into
millions of colored pixels that were underneath news headlines all
over the world the next day. The captions were even worse. Putting
that moment into a collection of trivial words felt like an insult:
“Afton Blake, 16, kneels at the site of the Morehead meteor strike.” I
have no idea how they found out my name – that silent scream was the
last time I opened my mouth for a week.
Until that day, I had imagined I would become famous another reason.
The headlines were supposed to read: “Afton Blake nominated for
Academy Award in both lead and supporting actress categories.” “Afton
Blake buys million-dollar home in Hollywood Hills.” “Starlet Blake
steals hearts and wallets at charity ball supporting Global Women’s
Rights.” Nowhere on my IMDB page was there supposed to be a reference
to the tragic destruction of my hometown.
But there I was, looking over the edge of a crater that could have
been the set of a blockbuster science fiction movie, but was horribly
real. The National Guard trucks appeared right after that.