Dread (part iv)

“I’m trying to get out of here, but I don’t know how.”

It was chaos. He’d seen people with upraised hands being pepper sprayed, cars burning, rubber bullets striking fleeing protesters.

“I’m trying, mom,” he said. “I’m trying to come home. I love you.”

Hanging up, he peeked out from between the cars that sheltered him. Groups were fleeing down First Street unimpeded. Walls of police blockaded every other road out of the plaza. He started running.

Shouts. Smashing glass. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a lone police officer crumple after being struck by a brick.

He slowed.

No more fear, he thought. No more hate.

He turned and ran to the injured man’s side. Confused, grateful eyes looked up at him. The man took his hand and rose. “Thank you,” the officer rasped.

Then he was plummeting. The ground slammed into his back, and two helmeted officers stood over him menacingly. He opened his mouth to speak, but then his eyes were burning. With a scream, he turned away from the pepper spray and tried to crawl, but clubs striking his back sent him back to the ground.

Wet asphalt.

Cold handcuffs.

Deep, deep pain.

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Photo by Tom Woodward

Story by Gregory M. Fox
part i
part ii
part iii

part v
Hope: an Epilogue