The gunshots ripped through the clear silence of the night and jerked me from my uneasy sleep. I had been half-awake when the twin explosions destroyed the silence and sanctity of her bedroom. They were not the staccato pop that you heard on TV but a ferocious boom, a roar from a man-made lion of steel and corrugated metal that exploded lives and tore apart the hours of the night.
Only moments ago I had been at the hockey arena miles from the scene. I was trying to buy tickets to see BU slaughtered. BU, who had to die, who must be given a violent and bloody death on the ice at the hands of the Huskies for their reproachful win of the Beanpot a few nights prior. This injustice could not stand! I must have tickets, they’ll be taught a permanent lesson, I’ll jump onto the ice and kill them myself if I have to!
And suddenly I was in a too-warm bed, the shots rousing me from this dream. It was not BU who had been mercilessly torn to shreds but the flesh of a living human only a block or two away. I couldn’t help but think this as a silence came over the street in the wake of the noise. Maybe it was just a car backfiring, I told myself. That must be it. There’s not a person lying on the cold sidewalk just down the street from where I lie. His blood was not seeping through the burnt hole in the coat and out onto the concrete. The blood did not run down the cracks until it met the dirty ice at the edge. The ice did not soak up the blood, changing from a corroded gray and white color to an eerie pink and red shade in the night. There was only a car at a stoplight, too old and beaten down for the driver to bother taking it in to fix the annoying backfire.
The first siren didn’t silence these thoughts as it approached from a far distance. The second, beginning only half a minute after the first had arrived, succeeded. I didn’t need the third to convince me.
My heartbeat could be heard distinctly and I tried not to wonder if the person in the street still had one.