"Clouds of choking smoke filled the tube carriage ... I thought I was about to die, or was dead. There was silence for 10 secs. Then a terrible screaming."
One year after the London tube and bus bombings, Londoners continue to deal with the emotional wreckage through a network of blogs. An AP article features Rachel North, an advertising strategist, through whose site we learn how, as she sat just six feet from suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, she was reading a magazine article about her own 2002 rape. She suffered only minor physical injuries, but knew from her first attack how understanding the experiences of others helped.
Dozens of survivors meet Friday, the one-year anniversary. North's hoping to move on, telling AP, "I can't be the blogging bomb girl forever."
Holly Finch has a survivor site, too. Monday, as July 7 approached, the woman who'd traveled the Piccadilly line wrote, "I am back there again. I was hoping that 'forewarned was forearmed.' I knew this week was going to be tough, but I was willing to use this knowledge to help me control the pain and fear. It doesn't seem to be working. My heart is facing, my hands are shaking and I am on the verge of tears. I am back where I was last September."
The Guardian newspaper has put together an online guide to the anniversary, recording interviews with those touched by the terror attacks. John Falding, a retired journalist tells how he was on the phone with his partner, Anat Rosenberg, when a bomb exploded in Tavistock Square:
"She phoned later to say the bus is being diverted down Tavistock Square. She said 'whatever is going on, it will certainly make something for your next newsletter,' and as soon as she said 'newsletter,' I just heard screaming in the background and her phone went dead and that was when it happened."
There's another sort of survivor site - one that marks the Chain Off the began Saturday in Mundys Corner, Pa., to bring attention to dogs left on a string. The idea was for 14 contestants to chain themselves to doghouses, trying to outlast each other over two weeks to compete for a new car and bring attention to the plight of ignored animals.
Already the contest is down to nine people. A Dogs Deserve Better page is following the fun. Some diary excerpts:
Aija Gillman: "Visiting half-hour was a bit difficult. I already miss my friends terribly."
Jacqueline Waldroup: "I just want my pillow... I believe some people have lost their minds. The guy two houses down is bound and determined to "walk a path" into the grass around his house."
They're made to wear leashes, and not allowed books, radios, cigarettes. The first drop-out lasted only four hours. A second lasted one day, and unchained herself as thunderclouds approached.
Brandon Richardson, the South Philly construction worker we featured last week in a post about the Chain Off, pulled a fade. He never showed.