The sky is growing dark as I hurry across the car park, the items in the bags knocking against my legs. My left hand brushes against my pocket, a habit now, to make sure that I still have my phone.
The car that I was walking towards isn’t mine. I thought it was but the plate tells me otherwise. I detour, squeezing between the spaces of the parking, focusing more on not hitting a car.
It starts to rain when I reach my car. Light rain as I dump my bags in the boot. Again, my hand reaches for my phone, waiting for the call.
Maybe I left it on silent?
The rain gets heavier as I pull out of the store car park and drive home. A journey that should be less than 5 minutes will take twice as long in this rain. And when I see the traffic on the road, I realise that it will take much longer.
As the vehicles crawl forward, I tap my fingers on the wheel, another habit of mine. I take the opportunity to turn left, taking a route home through the side streets.
I can barely see out the window and I consider parking on the side and waiting for the rain to stop.
I’m probably not far from my home.
I drive on through the industrial estate.
I hear gunfire.
I panic and slam the breaks.
The car hits something.
I should get out of the car. I should see what I’ve hit.
But I don’t.
I think I can hear the sound of another shot firing. But I can’t tell over the sound of the rain. Fear and panic stops me from moving and I sit there, trying to register what is happening.
I don’t know how long I stay in the car. A minute? 10? Half an hour? Or was it just 10 seconds?
But when I do, the rain has stopped.
My car took more damage than the man I had hit. The front of the car was dented inwards. I take in a deep breath. I have to deal with the insurance now.
I turn the body of the man onto his back and brush the shoulder length dark hair away from his face. He’s alive.
I shake my head, not realising until I had done the action. This was something out of a bad movie.
The man groans and moves, motioning to get up.
“Don’t. No, don’t do that.” I push him back down, which despite his physique, is easier than it would seem. He’s barely conscious and as I pull my hands away, I notice something.
He must’ve been hit by a bullet.
Deep breaths. One. Two. Three.
I try not to panic again. I wasn’t sure if an ambulance could arrive in time. Do I have time to drive him to the hospital? But my car is damaged. That idea is out of the window.
I dial for an ambulance anyway.
There’s a mask lying close by and as I end the call, I pick it up.
“Leave it.” I almost jump. He tries to get up again and this time I help him.
“I’ve called an ambulance.” I say as he takes the mask from me. “It’ll be here soon. Just. Take it easy.” The words sound stupid to me and I chide myself.
He pushes me away but doesn’t say anything. He takes a step away from me. And another.
“You shouldn’t walk.”
Again, he says nothing. And his pace is fast, despite that he’s clutching at his side.
He breaks into a run. Faster than I expect.
Faster than a wounded man should run.
I want to run after him. But I can barely run metres without losing my breath. And my boots aren’t suitable for running.
I make another phone call.