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Goats and Gunshots

Page 4

Slamming the door behind me I lean on the sink, shaking. I turn the tap on and almost drink from it before I remember a voice, somewhere, sometime, but one I trust, "Never drink the tap water!" I grab the plastic bottle of water on the ledge next to the sink and drink deeply. The bottle makes cracking and sucking sounds as I gulp. I only stop when I need to breathe. I decide I should leave some water in the bottle. Who knows how long I'll have to stay in these two rooms.

I slide down the closed door onto the mosaic floor tiles, resting my flushed face on their cool surface. The bathroom is mercifully shaded, much dimmer and cooler than the bedroom. I can almost taste the relief I feel from the heat and glare. I try to remember how long it is since I've eaten, but I can't. I don't know. It could have been last night or a week ago. It doesn't seem to matter anyway. The thought of food makes me feel like vomiting. I’m sleepy. So very sleepy.

I'm in a cool, dark space. It's a room but I don't think it's in a house. It's a long room and I can see light, maybe coming from a door at one end of it, far away from me. I can just make out a row of shelves on my left; one on my right; and one all the way down the middle of the room. There are packages, and shapes of all different sizes lined up in rows on the shelves. But it's too dark and I can't see what they are. I can smell something like toast; something sweet like sugar; coffee; but most of all, overwhelming the other smells, something sickly, fatty, rich, like meat or...blood.

Then I'm outside running. I'm chasing a man in a long, dirty, grey, ragged overcoat. His hair and is matted and knotty and it flies out behind him as he runs, like the tail of a horse. Somehow I know I must follow him. He pauses to urge me on. We keep running. We pass through narrow cobbled laneways between rows of high brick walls with low small windows through which I can see an occasional low flickering light. I don’t see one other person though, just the man with his coat and hair flying, driven by the cold wind that whirls around us both.

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