Running. Hard. Breathing heavy. Feet pounding. Sweat dripping. Muscles straining. The hard surface jarring his joints as he hurtles onwards. Round another corner. No time to look back. Need to stop. Hide. Somewhere.
Blood. Blood on the streets. Blood on his clothes. Death. He survives. He runs. Escape. In the future he will have to live with this. Not now. Now is enduring.
How many of them were there? No idea. Flashing images. Bodies lying. Screams. Pain. A face exploding in front of him. Blood. Matter. Bone. Showering him. Run. Maggie? Separated. Should he go back to look for her?
Quieter. Distant sirens. Whimpering. Screaming. Slow. Adrenaline slows, body aches. Now stop. Peer around this corner. Masked man. Armed. Hide. Deep, slow breaths. Quiet. Footsteps approach. Press against the cold wall. Please God. There is no God. Please God. Footsteps retreat. There is no God. Thank you God.
Look again. Empty. Go back? Maggie? He has to. Slowly. Walking, creeping. Bystanders emerge. People on the ground. Bystanders become participants. Become heroes. Humanity will prevail in the end. Now agony prevails. Hatred. Despair. Death.
Along the streets. Here is where he left her. Bodies. Pain. Blood. Nowhere. Maggie. Energy gone. Collapse. Knees hit the hard ground. Adrenaline gone. Shock. Tears. Pain. Does it all end here, like this?
Shouts. Hands on him. Lifting him. Gun. Friend or foe? Cold metal against his skin. Aggression. Shoved. Face hits hard ground. Maggie. Last thought. Do you hear the gunshot that kills you? Do you feel the bullet that kills you?
Not like this. Coward. Get up. Do something. Fight back. Die fighting. Fight for your humanity. Fight for your future. Fight for Maggie. Struggle. The struggle. The struggle for his future. Get up goddamn you.
The voice. He hears her. She is there. He feels her. He sees her. She lifts him. She exists, she survives. The cold metal retreats. Maggie. Embrace. Relief. Tears. Aftermath. Distant gunshots. More pain. More blood. More death. Will it ever end? Can it ever end? Make it stop.
Tell yourself. There is hope. There is love. There is hope. Hold on to her. Hold on to that. Where there is pain and death, there will be life. There will be peace.
There will be hope.