Friday, June 28, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The old man sat staring at the baby ducks, and it was like the rest of the world didn't exist. The man was locked in. His mouth hung open a little, but his eyes were his most arresting feature. He was looking at the ducklings like they were the face of God. There was some wonderment in the ducklings that I could not see, but I was intrigued. I lit a cigarette and watched the man watching the tiny fluffs of down that were following a big, tired-looking mama duck. 

Man staring at ducks. Me staring at man. (Just making sure you're with me.)

I wasn't smart enough to realize that there would also be someone staring at me. The man was interesting. The man fascinated by the man was...what? Also interesting? A danger? A threat? An invitation? People are free to make up their own minds, and my watcher did. He pulled a long rifle from a canvas bag, laid down on his stomach, and took careful aim. 

The sound of the shot scared the ducklings, and the ducklings terror threw the old man into a momentary panic. I was already falling. The bullet had already entered my chest and exited through a big hole in my back. I was well on my way to being dead. 

My watcher sighed. He smiled a small smile. And then he caught a sniper round through the back of his skull. We died so close to each other it was like we were brothers. And brothers watch brothers. As I died, I should have wondered who was watching the shooter of the shooter. But I had a lot on my mind. It takes concentration to die.

They say your whole life flashes before you. That's not true. Me, I died wondering what the fuck had happened. Same thing will probably happen to you. 

You'll be dead before you know what hit you.

4 comments:

  1. Oh wow. I don't think I've every read something so immediately from the POV of the victim. You took me someplace Ivet never been and now it will always be with me; part of me.

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    1. I loved this. I was right there. So visceral, so good. I was a duckling.

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  2. We've been on edge all day. The plan has been in place for years. We've drilled and practiced. Every family member has a role suited to age/capability.

    The first alert from the County was Level 2 SET. That was our cue to get ready to bug out. We'd all ferried our loads to the cars. Emergency packs pre-packed with what each of us would need for at least a few days
    Important documents, irreplaceable momentoes. Food, water, medicines. Pets leashed, kennels ready.

    Now it was wait and see time. The kids made a game of it, but the situation was deadly serious. The smell of smoke permeated everything growing stronger as the minutes passed, the sky growing redder as it took on the hues of the approaching flames.

    Then, the blaring tones of a new alert from our phones. Level 3 GO NOW triggers a wave of frantic activity as humans and animals rush to the waiting vehicles through the choking smoke.

    We drive off heading to our parent's ranch, 200 miles north and we'll out of the current danger zone wondering if there will be anything to return to after the fire is extinguished.

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