Rain and Blood
"Fuck!", He says aloud.
He stumbles to his feet. Not looking behind, he trudges down the street.
A crowd of people walks by him, going down and up the street. Some are yelling into their cell phones, all are weeping like children. Perception seems surreal. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair", his ears are ringing.
"Something's wrong", he thinks. "Aftershock", he mumbles, "it's the aftershock".
Something is still wrong. He knows what happened. The minute he heard the blast behind him he knew. But he can't put it together. Something is holding the thought process back. He's shaking. He's shaking all over.
Sensing the Adrenaline surge, he picks up the pace.
Right, into the promenade.
Left, past the coffee shops. On the corner of his eye - a monument of some sort surrounded with police barricades. "It was here too, but when was it? What was it?".
No time to put it together.
Now right again, into the century-old part of the promenade.
La-Piatto, a small coffee shop, emerges on his right. An almost invisible smile appears on his face. His feet were just looking for a familiar safe haven. Entering, everyone are leaving in a haste. He's here to stay, he is still hungry for a breakfast. Thinking of breakfast brings small pieces of it back together. "On the bus, what was it on the bus?...", he is trying to put the pieces together as hard as he can. No such luck. He pushes it away, once again.
He sits back, and orders the Business Special. A chunky antricote steak, with a nice salad on the side. Not the kind of thing one would usually order in this kind of place, but he is hungry.
Waiting for the meat, "Medium rare, please", he pulls a dull looking Nokia 3210 from his pocket, and SMSes a close friend. "The Network's down, how surprising", he thinks when the message fails to be sent.
He looks around, he is the only one there. He reaches for his bag, and pulls a small laptop out of it. Maybe this will help him put his thoughts together. Very soon a logo saying 'Microsoft Windows XP Professional' appears on the screen. He launches the editor, but he can't think of a damn thing to type. He gives this up too, and just puts some music on the headphones.
A waitress approaches carrying a steamy plate. He notices her for the first time since entering. "Cute, very cute. As if I stand a chance".
He starts digging in, he's very hungry. Two policewomen -- "policewomen my ass, they're barely 19, probably doing police work as part of their mandatory service" --, run past the window with guns pulled out. 'Run, run!', someone is rushing them, 'It was a suicide bomber, and his accomplices are said to be still on the run!'.
He sits back in his chair. "Suicide bomber", he repeats mechanically.
He looks down to the plate. Pieces of Meat are spread across it, dwelling in thick red gravy. The plate is still steaming. "It's like a bad Sopranoss' episode", he thinks when watching the 'plate scene' Annie Lennox comes up on the headphones.
"Don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning...".
Head down the toilet he throws his guts up.
Staring at himself in the mirror above the sink, he thinks of the bus again. "breakfast, you had to had breakfast...Idiot". He reminds himself of how he was on the bus, and argued with himself whether or not he should be eating downtown. He knew it would happen, he told himself it would happen, it has happened. But he is stubborn. Two major terrorist attacks took place in that same street just in the past month. "You're so stubborn", he challenges the figure in the mirror. He suddenly realizes the sheer magnitude of the human stupidity that led to all 'That', and gets sick again only to return head down to the toilet.
Later that day, he returns home from work.
It's almost midnight, and everything is quiet. He walks down the calm streets of his neighbourhood. A great part of it is still under construction, and he walks past many huge buildings skeletons and construction sites.
It begins to rain. He looks up to the sky in contempt, and suddenly he feels something warm on his face. He touches his face. His hand is covered with blood. His nose is bleeding. "Christ, the irony", never in his life did he experienced a nose bleed. An uncontrolable, wild laugh bursts from his lungs.
It's raining harder. It's pouring. Rain and blood mix together.
I look up to one of the unfinished buildings, I have a vision of myself in the far future, tucking my son with a gun in my hand, and a tired look on my face. It's late but soon it will be my turn to take my place at the sand-bags post, outside the building. They will be coming tonight. They come every night. And as every night, we'll be waiting for them with loving arms of trigger-happy fingers and cold steel.
As I enter the door to my own building, I think how funny it is. All that future kid of mine can be sure of in this place is rain and blood.