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Breath

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Breath, in, out, simple concepts but to my surprise can be hard to do.

Let me set the scene, it was a cold, summer night. The dark sky overcast the small town. Autumn and I were wearing aeropostal sweatpants and school t-shirts, no shoes. We volleyed the ball between us.

I heard the screams from down the street, the hair raising type of scream. It had one purpose, help. Breath, in, out. The thought of a shooting down the street was easy, it had happened many times, but now? We grabbed the ball and went inside.

The next day was when the real part happened. Never did I think I’d be there when stuff went down. I was from this town, it was my town. I was just visiting for the summer, but really, I owned it. Everyone knew me and I hung out with the ‘in crowd’.

We walked, the screams pierced the air again. We looked into the Meadow’s Apartment building. We ran across the street and peaked through the daycare fence into the clearing. The gunman stood in the clearing, a girl, 16 years of age was the one with the gun pointed at her. She screamed. The gunman turned for a second, eyes meeting ours, the gun turned for a second at us. He clicked the gun, and we split. We ran to the other side of the building.

Breath in, breath out. I could hear the sound of sirens in the distance, the lights were a streak as they pulled into the Meadow’s lot. Our feet didn’t seem to communicate with our minds. My feet hit the warm pavements. Air didn’t seem to be needed, adrenaline took over mind spinning in a millions directions. We reached the highway. The plan was to walk on the sidewalk along the highway. We were in plain sight, what could go wrong? Plain sight, we were safe, well, that’s what we thought.

About half way to our destination, Walmart, a man crossed over in the 6 lane part. He was walking the other way, until he saw us. He was about 24 and we were 13. We picked up our speed, we were still a mile from Walmart. The man started to speed up. His stride matching ours. We swallowed hard, minds swimming, hearts pounding. We sneak a peak over our shoulders. We start to jog. He starts to jog. I saw Gimpy at the corner. We walk past him and the man starts to talk to Gimpy. We look at each other, we run. Breath in, out, think. I had to think, a fog was over my mind. As he saw us run and ran. We cut through the parking lot on a hotel and so does he. We fight our way across the packed street, weaving between cars.

Now, it’s almost a blur what happened next, it was a split second that almost changed my life forever. My foot slid in a hole, causing my to fall with an overwhelming amount of power. The power I had in my sprint was the same one I hit the ground with. He closed in mere inches from grabbing my arm. Autumn grabbed my and pulled me up and we ran. My sprained ankle got to the parking lot of Walmart. As we came to a worker the man stopped, turned around, and ran off.

I still dream of what could have happened if he grabbed me. I still fear walking outside, even if just to my mailbox. Everywhere, expect were I should fear most, in plain sight. Never are you safe in plain sight. Hundreds of people saw us and nobody helped us. Breath in, breath out, sometimes it the only thing you can do. Breath.



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