Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Dreamers

I was standing bent down in a stationary store when it began. It was fall and tumbling, colourful leaves outside made me think back to an idyllic childhood of long ago. Turning the aisle in front of me was a beautiful boy who looked like my brother of six back home. A man called out in the manner of the famous "troll in the dungeon" cry from Harry Potter, but there was nothing humorous to his voice. As the siren began wailing the deep voice echoed through the room "Start hurting the children!" and I lined up behind the six-year-old. There was a feeling in the air of violence and destruction, and although our instructions were hardly evident, we all knew it was north against south. As he and I ran down the blocked, concrete stairs I caught a glimpse of a woman standing on the sidewalk below. She looked terrified and was shaking in the rain as if she knew was was going on and could not stop it. I understood in my own mind that she was one of those lucky ones who would shortly be picked up by a black and un-identified Mercedes to watch the ensuing spectacle of horrible, implemented anarchy from afar. The main exit out of the complex was closed by blood thirst and dead bodies, reminding me of images from the Sierra Leonean civil war of the 1990's. I still didn't know the boy's name, but a kind voice inside me yelled out the responsibility I now had for him. As we crossed the parking lot, two reporters passed us, wearing colourful clothing, calm smiles and accompanied by quiet bird chatter in spring. In their hands was a red recording device and as we passed them I could overhear their documentation of the boy's footwear: "In spite of popular opinion about the extinction of Allstar Converse shoes in Canada, I just passed a first-grader wearing a green pair." As I though about the bizarre statement, I could see the odd pair turning a corner that seemed closed to the rest of us, before they were gone. The boy and I were standing beneath a concrete ceiling, few metres from an open, clear exit when I heard a hysteric voice behind us and turned to face a gun. "North side, right?" said the panicked man with an absurd smile, while pointing the gun steadily at me. As it began moving towards the boy, I grabbed hold of it and waited for what I knew would come. There was only silence. Mere seconds later I could see half of my index finger's longitudinal side blown off and as I felt nothing but fear, a woman behind me released three fatal shots into the man's head.

When I woke up, rain was pouring down on my metal roof and my heart was beating at an uncomfortably high speed. Through the wet sheets of the night, black men were moving at a quick pace and I felt like collecting markers in a stationary store once again.

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