I seem to hear the crack of the bullet before I feel it. And then I’m pushed back, slammed like I’ve been hit by a fist or a train—not a piece of metal smaller than my pinky toe.
It takes another heartbeat for the pain to hit, searing and screaming its way through me, my whole body on red alert, my blood racing to see what’s wrong, what’s wrong. Only to slip and drain out of me.
I can’t remember where I am or how I got here. Can’t remember the enemy who has shot me, even. Can’t fathom who could hate me so much. All I know now is that I am dying and alone—that there is a hole torn through me and that the poets are right.
My heart pounds harder than I can remember ever having heard it, as if it knows the blood running to leave my system isn’t enough and wants to help—stupid heart! I want to tell it to slow down, but my whole mind is in a panic.
And that’s when the fear hits me. I’m not afraid to die—so much of my life has been spent on the run, it’s a relief to finally stop—but in that split second, I seem to see all the things that I’ll never do, never have a chance to do, and that scares me. All the time I’ve wasted, all the opportunities that I skipped out on, thinking someday…
All my somedays are lost now, and my foolishness in wasting them is what scares me now.
Maybe I’ll have to answer for it.
Someone screams, and I know I’ve been found. A woman hovers over me, uncertain, saying words I can’t understand in soothing tones. I want to shake her, scream at her. Tell her I’m already gone, not to waste her life. Tell her to go. LIVE. Tell her there’s no time not to.