The Incident

She fumbled for the light switch. It had to be here somewhere, she thought, as she stumbled along the wall in the darkness, feeling for it. This level of darkness was impossible, was there not a window anywhere? How about a bit of moonlight or a street lamp shining through a curtain? Seriously, how could it be this dark?

She felt the primeval panic rising in her throat. She tried to calm herself, to think logically. But every primitive instinct in her body was screaming that the darkness was evil, bad, to be feared. She had to get out of here.

She felt hot tears come unbidden to her eyes and start to spill down her cheeks. Mucous clogged up her throat and her breath came out in ragged gulps. Just as she was about to lose it completely, she mercifully found a doorknob. Turning it, she threw herself through the door and out onto the fair grounds.

All around her sirens blared and the sounds of shouting filled her ears. Stumbling away from the doorway she suddenly found herself struck by the glare of a spotlight. She froze like a deer, and for the same reason. Going from complete darkness to the blindingly bright spotlight, she was momentarily stunned and blinded.

“Ma’am! Ma’am!” a voice was demanding.

She looked up, blinking, shielding her eyes, trying to make sense of the words that were being said to her. The words were unclear, muffled, coming from a distance. As she struggled to focus, things began to sharpen, the words became decipherable, clearer, closer, and she was able to make out shapes around her. Police cars, an ambulance, cameras, were those reporters?

“Ma’am, I need you to focus!” the voice was more insistent now. She looked up into the face of a firefighter that stared back at her with a mixture of fear, amazement and concern, “I said, did you just come out of that building?”

She glanced back at the door she had exited through and nodded, numbly.

“My God! How is that possible?” He took her arm and guided her toward the ambulance, a uniformed officer holding the reports at bay. That didn’t keep them from hurling questions at her.

“Ma’am! Ma’am! What’s your name?”

“Who are you?”

“What were you doing in there?”

“Did you have anything to do with the attack?”

“What’s your association with the victims?”

Victims, what were they talking about?

The fire fighter handed her over to a paramedic. As she sat on a gurney near the ambulance, she glanced down long enough to notice she was covered in blood, she looked up in horror as the spotlight hit her again. A reporter, she realized this time. She tried to remember what had happened, but her memory started with her frantic search for the light switch. Any existence she had prior to that was gone, wiped from her memory.

“We’re going to need to question her,” a police detective was saying to the paramedic, “we don’t know if she’s the only survivor or the perpetrator.”

“After she receives medical treatment.” The handsome young paramedic replied, loading her into the back of the ambulance and closing the door.

“I’m sorry,” she finally managed to speak, “I don’t remember anything.”

As the ambulance pulled away from the crime scene, he smiled at her with red, glowing eyes, “It’s ok, all that is behind you. You’re one of us now.”

 

 

 

 

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