Anthem: An Awakening
The sun slowly turned the Earth into a boiling pot, as he walked through the rocky aisles, past cars and people screaming “Barrato! Barrato! Cheap! Cheap!” Tables filled with tools, DVD’s, toys, and forgotten antiques were being bought, sold, and traded to anyone making the best deal. Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he came upon flashing lights coming from a police car, and a crowd of officers putting a slightly older male in handcuffs. A young boy ran up and started throwing weak punches at the arresting officers. One policeman swung around towards the child. The boy fell backwards, and as he began to cry, the audience told each other what they saw. “Did you see that? That man pushed that kid!” repeated the crowd. The man left the crowd and walked up to the child. The officer was about to speak, but he flashed a badge indicating who he was and then helped the boy up. And as he saw the child run back to the women assumed to be his mother, the man thought, All humanity is lost among these people.
The boy was so small, so frail; his mind wandered back. He could taste the stench of decay, smell the scent of blood, and feel the light sprinkle of the past. The body laid right in front of him, as the crowd slowly dispersed, not seeing the carcass of a child stretched out in the rocky dirt drenched aisle. He let his mind take over and was the past seeped in. The rocky hallways of the market slowly turned into cement, clear summer skies turned into smog filled blindfolds, and the heat died down as a light rain fell onto the child’s body. Shoppers became bystanders, journalists, and police figures. The sirens echoed in along with the sporadic chatter of the scene. The victim, who lay as a display, was as frail as the small boy who was pushed away by the policeman. The pale tanned corpse laid mangled, arms crossed above his head. His legs were spread apart, and face gazed at the brick walls surrounding him. “Excuse me, Sir? You’re going to have to move behind…” The man flashed his badge at the city policeman and spoke, “It’s alright. Detective Griever, I’m assigned to this case.” Griever stared at the body, the walked up and watched the coroners turn the boy over, revealing two bullet wounds in his chest area. Died slow. Died instantly. It doesn’t matter. It never matters. He’s dead, they’re dead, and that is all that matters now.
It was all left in the past as a gurgled voice blurted out from a walkie talkie on the belt of a policeman. “Suspect has been sighted. Suspect is armed and dangerous and has taken a hostage. This is Officer Adams requesting back-up…” Griever followed all the officers to the hostage scene, weeding through the cattle-like crowds and loud music. He ran down a heavily trafficked aisle, pushing his way through the hordes of partially stopped people, finally creating space towards the end. A tall metal wall appeared in the distance. Against the wall was an average balding male, holding a gun to a child’s head. The same boy! The same child that was at the other scene. The detective thought to himself as he watched what lay in front of him. He would have reached for his gun, but there was no gun. He was not allowed to carry one, pending a psyche evaluation.
It had taken months to find the murderer of the dead boy, who, at the time, was given the name Johnny by the press. The parents were never found, and the only ones to identify the lonely body, were some students at the local elementary school. Three bullets to the chest, all for being a witness. The past was taking over again, forcing Griever to leave again. He remembered how he was out of breath trying to chase the suspect. They ran a few blocks in the city streets, stopping traffic, and crossing over into the city park. The suspect stood tall in front of a playground swing, children were running all round. He grabbed a girl trying to escape, who was no older than high school. He had a needle filled with a lethal dose of heroin to her throat. Griever’s gun was already raised and aimed. There was a clear shot, but other policeman appeared, protesting against it for fear of hurting the girl. Hostage negotiation team was in place, his partner called it in, and a barrier was set up. In the middle of this circus stood the detective, with his gun still raised, and the suspect with the needle still at the teenager’s throat and no one was backing down. Griever ignored all noise behind him, and there was still a clean space. He wasted no time as he fired one bullet from his gun. The bullet grazed the young girl’s face, leaving only a flesh wound, and then hitting the suspect’s eye. A desk job is all that is left of his career.
Griever shook off the past and began to watch what was happening now. He saw the cornered suspect with the child and a gun drawn. Police and civilians were scattered around and various shops were blasting their music to gain sales. It was already a mess, and it looked like it would never get cleaned up. He imagined the boy laying on the ground with a hint of lead in his body, and the suspect pulling the trigger on himself. That was his predicted outcome. The child showed no emotion. There were no tears, no smile or frown; his face was completely blank. The mother stood in front with the entire circle of uniformed policeman, crying and screaming. She pleaded with the man, but her speech was completely jumbled like an angry infant’s cry.
A barrage of men with guns aimed their weapons at the one gunman and child. There were no openings without hurting the adolescent, and there was not a place to set a sniper. The scene was raw, and the outcome frightened almost everyone. The suspect was sweating and shaking all at once. He said nothing as he stared at the crowd in front of him. His vision began to blur and his head began to ache from the heat. All the noise around him became distorted as he raised his weapon towards the officers. He then fired three shots from his pistol, all hitting one policeman in his bullet proof vest. Griever watched as a young officer, gun already raised and aimed, fired a response to the gunman, the bullet missing the kid and the man altogether. The child wriggled loose and ran towards his hysteric mother, and before the man could fire a bullet towards the boy, the firing squad of officers unleashed an army of bullets into the suspect’s body. The corpse lay in the dirt, bloodied and nearly unrecognizable. All the officers gave each other praise for a “job well done.” There were no arrests that day, save for the simple incident. Griever looked at the world once more, looked at the body, and as an officer was about to tell him to move, he walked off leaving his badge. All humanity is lost among the world.