My writing process (and what happened because of it):
- Look at the keyboard in front of me.
- Check what thoughts are in my mind.
- Try to clear my head and get ready.
- Ignore the hollow feeling in my chest.
- Ignore the scornful twist of my lips.
- Feel an empty space open in my mind.
- Watch to see what’s happening inside.
- See the absence of me and get worried.
- Decide that some idea is going to come.
- Watch for the new idea’s birth pangs.
- Push aside the image of Bond (Brosnan).
- Wonder why I’m remembering a dream.
- Decide that this must be important, so …
- Notice that the last point was thirteen.
- Decide it’s unlucky to start from thirteen.
- Get so bored with writing about my mind.
- Decide to write a story so that I can escape … me.
The bullet enters my rib cage just to the left of my heart. I guess it missed killing me outright by an inch. As my lung begin to fill with blood I think of the ants outside my kitchen door. They had been tunnelling into the foundations of the house, removing sand and grit piece by piece. I had been outraged by this invasion of ‘my territory’ and had responded by filling their hole with poison powder. But that wouldn’t hold them.
In my bag is a newly bought tube of Liquid Ant Killer that says, in tiny letters, that ants will feed on it and pass it on to the entire colony. As my breathing becomes harder to do, I start to worry that it’ll never get used. Not by me anyhow. Waste of money. I wonder if I should give to someone in the crowd gathering around me. I wonder if …
I wonder if I’m insane to spend what could be my last minutes thinking about ants.
The urge to cough grabs at my throat. I try to hold it back. I’ve seen people coughing in movies after bullets hit them and I know that it always leads to blood pouring out of mouths and trickling down chins. I’d just put on a new shirt this morning – clean and crisp – straight from the packet. It’d be a shame to get blood on it. Then I laugh. There’s a tiny hole in the front of the shirt. A bullet-hole. A bloody bullet-hole!
I recklessly let the laugh turn to a cough. What the hell – in for a penny.
There’s a little girl standing in front of me when I stop. She can’t be more than five, or maybe six. She has such a tender expression on her face. Sweet and kind of serious. As she looks down at me I feel a lifting sensation – as if a fast moving elevator is starting upwards. I want, so strongly, to carry on going up. I feel as light as the hair snaking around this girl’s face. Strange – why is she glowing?
Her mouth opens and I know she’s going to tell me the most profound truth. I know it will answer every question. Simple, yet …
I feel the most incredible pain slam into my chest. I open eyes that I hadn’t known were closed to see two men crouching beside me. One of them has ripped my new shirt. I’m outraged. I feel something smooth against my chest. Two things. Paddles, a voice whispers inside my mind. Then male voice calls out – calm, serious – we have him.
I look around for the girl, but she’s not there. I scan the anxious faces watching me. Just a bunch of concerned citizens.
I want to tell them not to worry. I want to explain that it’s going to be okay – whatever happens.
But part of me knows that they’re not really bothered. Most of them will be itching to get home. Aching to tell someone what happened today. One even stops filming me to make a call. Yeah, hi – this guy just got shot!!
A quick pain in my chest and when I look down I see blood flowing through a tube into a bag. Not the best way to make donation. A sharper stab in my arm and I feel myself begin to float. Hopefully, I look again for the girl then realise my mistake. Probably morphine.
Sliding into a soft place in my mind. Couch potato. Quiet calm. Cotton-wool. Safe and …