Author : William Tracy, Featured Writer

1165 Third Street is quiet, as it has been quiet for over a century.

Once, its two hundred floors housed accountants, engineers, executives and staffers. Its occupants ebbed and flowed with the fickle whims of the economy.

All that ended with the Great Collapse.

Gone are the desk phones and paperwork. Here are mildew and insects. Once-plush offices have become dank caves home to skittering vermin. The gleaming plate glass windows have given way to jagged holes whistling in the wind. In sunlit corners, mosses give birth to grass.

1165 Third Street groans. Its steel skeleton cries one last plea against the indignity of neglect, then is silent. For one heartbeat, two heartbeats, three, it drops from the sky.

On the second floor, a deer leaps from a gaping window and bounds to safety. On the forty-second floor, an owl awakens in time to know its own mortality. On the fifty-third floor, a lynx screams for its kittens. On the one hundred thirty-seventh floor, a hawk spreads its wings and lunges for the sky.

On the roof, a lone tree twists in the wind. A mouse scurries in its shadow, then squeals as the ground drops from beneath it.

1165 Third Street drives into the earth with a roar. All around, waves of blackbirds and crows rush aloft. Beneath them, deer and jackrabbits bound down the cracked and pitted streets. A black cloud rolls after them, raining shards of glass and metal.

The boom fades to a dull rumble, and the air is filled with the scolding and chattering of birds.

The rubble moans and settles. Here a chunk of plaster skips through a maze of metal. There an I-beam seesaws hesitatingly before sliding to its resting place.

The wind changes direction, and the clouds of dust part. The setting sun burns crimson through the haze, and the ruins cast long shadows on the murky air.

A deer steps deliberately, nose twitching, ears alert. A coyote snuffles through the twisted debris, then dashes after a rodent.

The old financial district is quiet, as it has been quiet for over a century.

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