"Alex! Are you all right? Alex?" Rob dropped on all fours and peered into what was left of Alex's crawl space. "Speak to me! Alex!"
He heard nothing.
"Dammit!" Rob shouted "Alex, I know you can hear me. Don't worry, buddy, I'll get you outta there." How he was going to do that was unknown, but nothing was going to be accomplished by just standing around. Rob scrambled into the depression, trying to get a fresh grip. All he succeeded in doing was tearing the hell out of his hands, but he kept trying. Alex's life depended on it.
Ten feet off to one side there was another larger pile of debris. Underneath several tons of stuff, in his own little hidey-hole, lay Tom. His situation was similar to Alex's, only ten times worse. He was unable to dig, as one of his hands was stuck in the mangled remains of the toilet he'd been sitting on when the twister touched down. The only thing he'd been able to do was pull up his pants. Like wearing clean underwear in an accident, being rescued while maintaining some decency was priority.
"Fuck. This is not good. Not good at all." He looked up and wondered just how long until everything came crashing down on him. He could hear the sound of someone shouting, but it was too faint to know if it was real or just in his mind.
Tom tried to free his hand, but was unable to. The sharp edges of the porcelain were pressed against his wrist and every time he moved it, even an inch or two, he could imagine his skin being sliced and the blood flowing down his arm.
"Not like this!" Tom grunted, forcing the graphic images from his mind. "You have too much to live for. You're a Hardy and Hardys will not die!" Thoughts of what he'd be leaving behind were also pushed to one side and Tom started fighting for his freedom using what little tools he had.
Every time an update on the situation in Florida came on the screen, Matt tightened his grip on the arm rests. The situation seemed to be getting worse by the minute, and there being nothing he could do about it only made it worse.
"Chill." Cena said "We'll get there when we get there. We don't even know if they will let us in. We may have to stand by and watch."
"Oh, they'll let us in." Matt replied through his teeth. "That's a fuckin' given."
"Fine, but you still gotta chill." Cena leaned back and closed his eyes. "You're stressing me out and I don't like it."
Matt turned his head a few inches in anticipation of snapping back at John. He stopped when he saw that he was having some effect on his coworker. Cena seemed to be as much, if not more, tense than he was and he wasn't the one who might be facing burying two brothers in the next week.
"I know." He whispered, leaning back against the head rest. "I wish we could just get there already."
John nodded. He was about to reply when Matt's cell phone beeped.
"You might wanna check that." John said when Matt didn't respond right away.
"Huh? Check what?"
"Your phone made a noise. You got a message or a low battery or some shit like that." Obviously Matt hadn't heard it.
"You sure, man?"
"Positive... there it is again!" John pointed to Matt's right pocket, which seemed to be buzzing.
"Hello?" One look from Matt and John excused himself. "Yes, Stephanie..."
"Matt, are you sure about this? I mean, we did accommodate you with the whole GM thing." Stephanie was looking at a sheet of paper on her desk.
"Yes, I am." Matt replied "Especially now with everything that's happening in Florida. I need to be there, not being a voice box for Creative nor jobbing for Cody Rhodes."
"Okay. We'll send the official release as soon as legal types it up." Stephanie hung up the phone without another word. Matt leaned back in his chair, and exhaled. One less thing to worry about.
"Everything cool?" John returned several minutes later. "I figured you needed some privacy."
"Yeah. I sent something to Stephanie and she just called to let me know she got it." Matt explained, not going into real great detail. John would find out soon enough, as would the rest of the WWE universe.
AJ was not by any definition as evil as his current heel character, but knowing that Ken would be in no shape to put up a chase if he decided to split and go after Jeff on his own did cross his mind. But that thought, and several other devious ideas, were pushed to the back when he realized that it wasn't about individuals right now. It was about survival and, if anyone was going to make it out of the disaster area that was once the below ground portion of the iMPACT! Zone, unity was a priority.
He tried not to look too long in one particular spot, just in case he found a corpse, and even worse a corpse of someone he once knew. He needed something for Ken to use as a crutch, or better still something to brace his shattered ankle with.
"There's gotta be something usable in this mess." AJ was getting closer to the 'fuck it' point. "Five minutes, them I'm goin' back to find Ric. Ken'll have to fend for himself."
Just as he was about to give up, he saw a tangled mess of pipes, remnants of the arena's plumbing system. In the middle of it was a long piece, capped off with a shorter piece, making an almost perfect letter T.
"It's better than nothing." AJ sighed loudly. "Anderson, you better not be dead by the time I get back there..."
Alex was in a very tight space, even tighter than before. The concrete slap was pushing down on him, making full breaths impossible, but he was alive for the present. How much long, he didn't want to think about that.
"Rob!" He shouted "Can you hear me?"
For Rob, those words were music to his ears. "Yeah, I am." Silent words of a prayer crossed his lips. "Can you move at all?"
Alex squirmed. "A couple inches, that's all." He shouted "You gotta get me outta here. I can barely breathe."
"Don't worry. I'll figure something out." Prying the slab was now out of the question, but the clock was ticking.
"Chisel, chisel, chisel..." He said "Gotta find something. Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back."
"Where would I go?" Alex asked. Under normal circumstances, Rob's choice of words wouldn't mean much. Not right now.
"Chisel..." Rob continued to look around. "I wonder... yes!" He had found something that might work.
"Land, already!" Matt shouted "Dammit!"
The WWE jet had been locked in a holding pattern for the past twenty-five minutes. The airport being open, it seemed like everyone was trying to get in.
"They'll land us as soon as possible." John leaned over. "The air traffic controllers are doing the best they can. You've gotta understand what they're going through right now."
Matt exhaled. John's words were not helping.
"This is your captain speaking... we apologize for the delay, but I have been informed that we are next to land, so please prepare yourself for descent. Make sure your seat belts are fastened and all luggage is secured."
"Finally, some good news. Matt's expression changed. He seemed a little less stressed, but John sensed that until Jeff and Tom were returned to him safely, Matt would still be tense about the situation. He secured his belt and waited.
"Ow!" Tom gritted his teeth. He had tried to figure out exactly how bad his own situation was, but even that hadn't worked out. Turning on his cigarette lighter had worked, until he set a loose piece of his shirt on fire. He beat out the flames before becoming totally char-broiled, but it still wasn't too pleasant. "That was fun!"
He leaned back, in as comfortable a position as he could, and attempted to figure out another plan. He reached into his pocket. Maybe if he could free his Swiss Army Knife, he could use one of the many gadgets on it to get his other hand free. Having two hands seemed essential. What he didn't know was his other hand was actually out in the open and if he could actually move it, someone coming along at the right time might see it.
Tom started emptying his pocket. Money clip, keys, cell phone, but no knife.
"Shit! Where the hell is it?" Tom reached across his body and felt his other pockets. "Crap, I left it in the console of the rental car. The one time I don't take it with me... stupid stupid stupid... cell phone?"
Tom flipped it open. The incoming call was flashing. "Now who could be calling me... hello?"
"H-hello? Who is this?"
"Tom Hardy... are you sure you have the right number?"
"I dunno. I found a cell phone and I just been dialing the names I recognize in the memory."
Someone had found Jeff's cell.
"Oh... I'd still like to know who this is." Tom replied
"Y'know, Steve... Borden... Sting?"
"Oh, that Steve." Tom answered "How did you get my brother's cell phone?"
"Must've fallen. Where are you at?"
"If I knew that, I'd tell you. I was in one of the bathrooms and now I'm buried under a pile of crap with my hand stuck in the toilet." Tom answered
Accidentally, Steve laughed. "Sorry." He quickly apologized.
"Under most circumstances, that would be funny." Tom stated "Where are you?"
"I'm just outside what used to be catering. I've been trying to coordinate a rescue operation." Sting answered "Jeff has most of the roster in his memory, so..."
"Any luck... or should I be asking?"
"Not much. You're only the second person I've been able to reach... which bathrooms?"
"Dunno." Tom answered
"No problem. Were you in the locker room?"
"That makes it easy. There are only two other bathrooms on the lower level." Steve answered "We'll split up and find you."
"Split up? How many people you got?"
"Four. There's me, Jeremy Buck, Dinero, and Taz." Sting answered "Sit tight. I'll call you back as soon as we figure out where you are."
Tom relaxed. It seemed that rescue was nearby.
"Five minutes, then I am going to take Max to get some legit medical help." Kevin said "We can't stand here, waiting for you to find a bunny when we don't even know how much longer this building is gonna stand."
"Psh." Jeff snorted "Go, then. I don't need you."
"Five minutes, then we will." Kevin repeated "Where haven't you looked?"
"That way." Jeff pointed at the far side. He'd purposely avoided going near the two bodies. "But my locker was on this side."
"That don't mean nothing." Kevin shrugged "Stuff could've gone flying." He didn't add that Jeff's rabbit could be on the other side of the disaster zone, or even been swept away by the wind. That would only cause another argument. "You gonna be okay for five, Maxi?"
"I guess." Max said "It's not like I'm bleeding out or anything, but I'm at fifty percent right now."
"Take a seat somewhere. Four minutes, Jeff." Kevin announced
Jeff stuck his tongue out. Kevin shook his head, but still headed for the area Jeff was too grossed out to search.
"What does this thing look like?" He asked
"Bunny is not a thing!" Jeff turned, hands on hips, to glare at Kevin. "She's a Bunny!"
"Sorry, sorry.. what does this Bunny look like?" Kevin apologized.
Jeff described her.
"Oh." Kevin answered "White and pink, with a little ribbon around her neck, you say."
"Yeah." Jeff continued throwing debris around, not the most methodical way to find something and only have three-plus minutes to do it.
"Something like this?" Kevin held up a small object.
"This is no time for... Bunny?"
Jeff ran to Kevin, almost wiping out on the piles of rubbish several times.
"Bunny!" Jeff brushed the dust from her fur and hugged her tightly. "I'm so happy we found you. I thought you were gone forever..."
"Can we go now?" Kevin asked "I've done my good deed for the day."
"Okies." Jeff tucked the rabbit into his shirt. "Let's go!"
"Don't go too fast. We gotta stay together." Kevin was interrupted by his phone. Sting had made it as far as 'N'.
"Hey Stinger..." Kevin said "Yeah, we're okay, more or less. I got Jeff Hardy and Max Buck with me."
Kevin nodded while Sting spoke. "Okay, I'll tell them and we'll try to meet you there." He shut his phone off.
"Good news?" Max asked
"I'd say. As of now, both of your brothers are still alive. Sting's got Jeremy with him and he just talked to Tom. They're on their way to rescue him."
"What are we waiting for?" Jeff and Max shouted at the same time.
"Calm down." Kevin cautioned "We gotta take this slow and I'm not as young as you two."
Jeff and Max nodded, then ran off anyway.
"Kids." Kevin shook his head. "Wait up!"