The smell of death,
Everywhere in the room.
I crawled under the covers in a fetal position and hugged my knees tight. It had been a while since I left the building, let alone my room. No, let alone my bed. The night of the accident came back again and again, and I was terrified to go out. Every time I would close my eyes, I would vision the same thing happen again and again. The worst part was that it took place right below this building.
And the stench of panic as people scrambled to run, while their feet were tangled by their loved ones. They would trip over the static bodies, their nails clawing at thin air to go free. I was one of them. Thankfully, I was alone. That was something to be grateful for. The survival, not as much.
It was a terror attack, they had said.
The religious tension between the opposing sides had built up to the point that this event became inevitable. But some say it was politics. Whichever it was, I do not know. To be honest, I did not care. Call it apathy, but all I knew was that it happened, people died, and that one day, it was going to happen again.
The tiny window from my room looked over the traumatic scene. It took place at night, a day just like today, actually. The coward must have needed the darkness to stop himself from comprehending the gravity of what he was going to do. Or he may have wanted to stay hidden, for an easier escape. Whichever, he was a coward, and he deserved to die; something he had forced upon the innocent lives of so many.
From my view, I could still see the unwashed stains of blood. No matter how hard they rubbed, some stains simply would not be washed away. It was a reminder; a reminder of the danger we are placed in. That is partly why I no longer leave my room. Or perhaps I was still feeling ill from the accident. Or scared? I still don’t know. All I know is that I am now a night watcher, watching over the solid space, over and over again. Just like a light house.
I gasped and held my breath as my vision returned. I was transferred to the scene of the accident. The smell of death once again filled my tiny, empty room. The gun shots were so close to my ears that after the first shot, I could not hear anything. I recalled the spike of adrenaline, the blood rushing to my head. A voice asked inside my head- fight or flight? I chose the latter, but my legs were rooted to the spot, unable to move. Perhaps it was a punishment for my cowardice. But no, it was the right thing to do. I knew fighting the man would not change anything. It was the ideologies that we had to fight with. The establishment. It was the hatred, the terror, the unending acts of murder that we had to go against. It was not a single man that needed to be punished.
I had successfully taken cover behind a nearby garbage truck. The smell of the rotten fish and food left overs, so vivid. Yet the smell of blood overpowered it, and I could feel bile come up my throat. My stomach clenched.
The days since them have not been filled with sorrow. I did not mourn, nor cry. The people were none I knew. I was safe. I lost no one. Yet, there was grief. Yet, I found myself unable to leave this room. I could not take my eyes off the crime scene. It was perhaps a sense of responsibility. As one of the few survivors, perhaps I felt obligated to watch over the night, make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
I lay on my back and watched a fly twirl across the ceiling. It was a hot summer night, and the fan constantly turned itself in circles. Again and again. It was the same, isn’t it? It never was going to stop. It was all going to come around in circles, and it would repeat itself over and over. What was I to do about it? I tried to come up with an answer. But no words formed in my head. A tear trickled down my cheek. A waste. What a waste.
I lifted my head, propped against a pillow. This way, I could look at the scene without craning my neck. This way, I could be the night watcher. A light house.
Perhaps like a light house does, maybe one day I would be able to shed some light. Enlightenment. To myself, to others? How would I know? But there was only darkness around me, where I was at. And I left myself be swallowed by the vacuum, the silence. I embraced the unknown, the state of mortality and listlessness. But the guilt kept me rooted to my post, forcing me to watch over the block off my street. Such irony. The smell of death once again filled the room as I gasped and my vision sharpened, my eyes darting around for any movement in the dark. It was an empty street. There was no one. Nevertheless, I sat there, staring into the darkness, feeling somehow responsible for everything that had happened, and everything that was to happen next.