It is dark, and it is quiet. Night-time has come, and here I am, walking home, tired, dejected, alone. Down this bush path I walk, in a bid to avoid the madness of the streets. It is my only hope of survival, this bush path.
If only I can make it home unnoticed.
I look up. A half-moon; no stars. The moon is silent as it casts its half-eye on me. Only the crickets deem it fit to keep me company down this uneven road. The plants and bushes for which I have no name brush against me; a thorn scratches me on the cheek, but I am too weak to flinch. Instead I raise a feeble hand and feel something wet. I look at it, and my blood is a dark smear on my fingers. I rub my hand on my trouser to clean it.
I can still hear the far-off songs and cries of jubilation; I have been hearing them ever since I left the vicinity of the stadium. I look at my thumb. The smudge of ink is all but gone now.
I am tired. It has been a very long and disappointing day, one I will love to forget, although I don’t see that happening. Not for a very long time. The election earlier in the day had been a very messy business, and now I fear I have engraved myself negatively in the minds of the opposition supporters, particularly in the mind of their leader, Jerry. I said things, did things…things that I am ashamed to think of, even now, as I walk down this path. And for what? An amount of money that won’t last a month?
Now I have sold my vote to a man who in retrospect wasn’t worth the trouble. Listening to his speech at the stadium in the afternoon had made me cringe in disgust, both at his words because they had come out like balloons and they had floated up into the sky, and at myself for working for him. For being his arrow, his dog.
For being his thief, for being his champion.
I’d had to hide out somewhere close to the stadium, from where I could monitor things, and I had not been surprised when the other guy had won. If only-
The thunder startles me, and then it starts to rain. Running is futile. My only worry is my phone, but I don’t-
I never hear the gunshot. All I feel is a low, hard punch on the left side of my stomach, and the world stands out in perfect clarity for a moment.
The rain on my skin, coursing a wet trail down my back.
The moon, rippling in the growing puddles on the ground.
My leg gives way, and I fall down on one knee, as my arm comes out to support me. Curiously, I don’t feel any pain. All I feel is something warm and wet slowly running down my leg, and I know it is not the rain.
I can smell the earth.
My other leg eventually gives way, and I am now on both knees. I grunt, trying to force my body upright. Almost there…
The world is clear.
The world is wet.
The world is dark, and the darkness is bright.
I feel another punch, this time to the right side of my chest, and I sag backwards, my knees still tucked beneath me.
Is the moon smiling down on me, or is it frowning?
I want to know.
I think I am crying, but it must be the rain…