Shooting rampage as nightmare
|(462 words, Nov 9, 2017)
We walk through the big-box store, my sister and I, pointing and talking. In the aisle lies a large blanket, with women and daughters sitting on the blanket talking, noshing and sipping. My sister sits toward the middle of the blanket, I sit at the far end. A black car, a Jaguar, purrs downs the big aisle and stops at the head of the aisle. A fly-away-haired man jumps out of the front seat, an automatic rifle in hand, and runs around the car. He raises the gun and shoots woman after woman on the blanket, deliberately.
At my far end of the blanket, I slip away backward, low to the ground, as if I had wheels beneath my body. I hide behind a pallet of big boxes around the corner. I am not alone. Anyone not shot looks to find a safe space. We all squeeze and contort ourselves to hide from the madman. I whisper loudly for my sister, but hear nothing. I suspect she was among the first women shot.
The scene moves to a store room. Draped bodies cover the tables, faces hidden. I look for my sister, but a nameless person admonishes me not to pick up the draped sheets to see the faces. I do not relent. I look for my sister’s toes. When we were children, I teased my sister about her second toe, which was slightly longer than her big toe. I see a pale foot, I see a pale toe, longer than the big toe. The pinky-beige nail polish that she favors is starting to peel. I tear up, but I cannot stay here. The madman is stalking.
I am outside in an school yard, with stairways and multiple levels around me. I am frantic. I hide pointlessly in an open-sided stairwell looking over the yard, some people hide in rooms, others try to become invisible so the madman will not see them. I hear gun shots, but I cannot see the madman. People drop around me or squeeze into spots not meant for human beings as this madman without a mask makes his way through the school yard.
I jolt awake.
My heart is racing. I play the images vividly in my mind before they dissolve. I am safe in my house, my sister is safe in her house. I try to return to sleep, but fear grips me. We are human shooting galleries for madmen who pick off people indiscriminately and gleefully. For just a moment, I understand the fear that the dead feel before their lives are shot out, the fear that the living feel as they try to save their own lives and those of others. Madman mayhem. It must stop.