Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Gun Shot

The Gunshot
By Michael Cannata  

The crowd around him reacted with shock and bewilderment followed closely by screams and shouting. Did you hear that? What was that? They had obviously been frightened by some kind of sound, but he hadn’t heard it.

As people dropped to the ground, he did the same. Not really sure why, he fell on his face on the sidewalk. He lay flat and still as pandemonium swirled around him. Minutes ago, everyone had been sitting in the sidewalk café enjoying a lunch, or perhaps a drink, while soaking up the afternoon sun. In an instant, all that changed. Now he lay on the ground confused and tried to get an idea of what was happening.

He'd taken a late lunch and was enjoying the last chapters of his book. He heard the gunning of a car engine and the squeal of tires as he lay on the ground. Perhaps a car had hit a pedestrian?  But why then would all the café customers be dropping to the ground or running for cover? It was when he tried to look around and see what the source of all the commotion was that he first noticed he was unable to move.

Shortly after he fell to the ground, people began to rush to his side. They were all shouting and seemed as confused as he was. He tried asking the guy who had knelt beside him, speaking into his ear, what had happened, but he found it impossible to speak. He was aware of a ringing in his ears. He felt a warm sensation running down his neck. His first thought was he must have spilled coffee on himself when he dived on the floor.

The funny thing was that he didn’t recall diving at all. And while he didn’t seem to be hurt and felt no pain, the people that gathered around him seemed to think he was in serious danger. He heard someone asking him questions but couldn't respond. He slowly felt himself drifting into something akin to a dream as his mind tried to reconnect to his body. It was then that an old saying from his days serving in Vietnam suddenly came back to him. 

“You never hear the sound of the shot that kills you.” 

And for a few final moments it all became clear.

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