Thinking back now, it was a ridiculous thing to do. But I ran.
In a blur there were trees, parked cars and scooters, the air rushing about me. Why was I running? What was I afraid of? Had I seen a ghost or had the guy simply not been dead? But a dreadful fear overwhelmed me. I ran from the people who had killed him. Ran from the murderers who lay in the shadows. I was being watched, I could feel it. Either I’d been witness to a crime or I’d entered the ghostly other world where the dead could walk amongst us. Faces in the darkness observed my every move. I ran like an idiot. Ran until I could run no more.
Finally I stopped. A parked car next to me. My hand touched the smooth surface of its rear door as I attempted to support myself. I breathed heavily, rapidly. How far had I run and for how long? I turned to see the 7-11 in the far distance. I’d left all my stuff inside – there I was, empty-handed, no cigarettes, no dried mango. Even my half finished beer had been left behind.
It was a black SUV and as I stood there, I noticed the quiet shadow of someone in the driver’s seat. For some reason (or for obvious reasons) this scared the shit out of me and I jumped back, away from the car.
Still feeling that I was being followed, I began walking, slowly, naturally … feigning nonchalance, I zig-zagged along the road; lit another cigarette – only two left now; but I’d find another 7-11, start again. There were plenty of them around and there was no way I was going back to the first one.
The tarmac under me sparkled in the street-light. I looked up at the pitch-black sky. No stars, there’s pollution in this area. My area. The place I call home. But where the hell was I? Nothing looked familiar.
Behind me a car alarm sounded. Head down, I continued walking. The air was thick with heat. My t-shirt damp.