I Wasn’t Really Shot in the Backpack

That’s the way it goes, he says, and he pops him. Just like that. Straight out of a movie or something. My jaw dropped. My knees shook. My eyes were already open as wide as they could be. I sat curled up in that little alcove for three hours, waiting until I thought it was safe enough to move.

I crept out slowly, afraid for my life. Of course they’d left three hours ago. They never knew I witnessed the job. And there he was. Spread out in the middle of the alley. He was probably all stiff and stuff, but I wasn’t about to stick around and find out. I took off running, like the scared little kid I was.

That’s how it all ended. It started when I was walking home and a bullet ripped through my backpack. It almost tore the thing off my shoulders. I spun around and hit the ground as fast as I could. I crawled to a car and looked both ways. There was a guy running for his life up the cross street one way, and I couldn’t see anyone the other way. They must have ducked in somewhere, hoping to cut the other guy off by going through the alley. Of course they fired a shot first to keep up the chase.

Sitting up, I shifted my backpack to the ground to examine the damage. The bullet went clean through, slicing its way in on one side, and ripping a whole out the other. One of my books had a gash through the spine and half the pages torn and ripped. A few inches the other direction and that would have been my spine.

And then I started running. I don’t know why I did, I just took off. Part of me didn’t want to stay leaning against that parked car waiting for whoever fired the bullet to come out of the alley and see me hiding here. They may be chasing someone else, but they wouldn’t want any witnesses. Rather than run up the street towards home, I went the other way, going up a block and then over, roughly following the fleeing man. They almost killed me, and I wanted to find out what it was all about.

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