It had been 12 hours since parliament had ordered a complete evacuation of the city. Amy stands at a window of the 50th floor of 108 St Georges Terrace, peering out into the night. The city of Perth, once described by American astronauts as a city of lights, is living up to the tag right to the end. Even now, it’s darkest hours, the city is ablaze with light. The Great Eastern Highway weaves it’s way from the river up to the edge of the coastal plain like a thick golden vein before climbing the Darling escarpment, bleeding Perth of its people. The queues of car lights are occasionally broken up by the flashing lights of authority, trying to establish some sense of routine among the fleeing. Little do they know how little knowledge the government had of their city’s predicament.
Amy’s eyes drift to the windows of the adjacent office towers of St Georges Terrace. Some are alight with the waving torches of looters, others are alight with fire. One particular tower catches her eye, it is a black crevice on the skyline, every window is dark, all but one. Neatly placed just within this window are three empty chairs. Just as she begins to wonder what makes this window special, her thoughts are interrupted by a republican agent tapping her on the shoulder.
“We’re ready,” he says softly.
Amy turns to face the team of agents who have just cleared the back wall of filing cabinets. They've revealed a door to a service elevator. It's dusty and grimy, It does not look like it has been used for years.
“Are you sure it’s still working?” she asks, skeptical.
“Yes, as far as we know, we’ve tested all the circuits and it’s prompting us for an access key,” states the agent closest to the door, ushering her towards the lift controls.
“Ok, I doubt this will work but let’s give it a go,’ Amy shrugs. Stepping forward, she places her right hand on a square dark sheet of glass above the controls. Nothing happens. Amy feels almost embarrassed that they placed so much hope in her. She had never been inside this building before, let alone have security clearance to it’s most obscure floors. To her surprise though, the sheet of glass begins to glow white and a blue flash coupled with a harmonious ding kicks the old elevator doors to life.
The team of agents flood into the elevator with her. It is a short ride, just one story up. Stepping out into the extravagant private gallery of the long abandoned penthouse, Amy is drawn to the floor to ceiling windows that give an uninterrupted view of the dark hole that is Perth Water to the south west.
“Are you ok Ms Whitehall?” One of the Agents asks.
“Fine, do you need me any further?” she asks half-heartedly.
“No, the scan should be complete any minute now.” he assures her but Amy is only interested in the view. The Narrows Bridge is still alight, making a pleasant white arch across the water. She used to race her cousin Sam across it, many years ago, before you needed a passport to cross. The river itself brings back many memories, casual summer days walking the banks by the university with friends. Those days are long gone now, she despairs, before returning to reality.
“So?” Amy enquires.
“It’s not here,” he informs her.
“Well,” says Amy with a deep sigh, “If this is the end, at least we’ll have a good view.”