Battling

worn and rusted military helicopter in black and white
Sitting in my office, I can hear the whup-whup-whup of several military helicopters that are flying low. The water inside the bottle on my desk is rippling from the vibration. 

My heart skips a beat and my eyes search the sky frantically. 

Is it time?

Somehow, I know that it is. 

I walk quickly across the clinic to the large windows in the break room and see the helicopters are huge. They circle lower once, then twice, then land in the large parking lot we share with several other businesses. Soldiers pour out. My staff is shouting now. I realize that I cannot leave the building without being seen. 

The window! 

I run back to my office, yelling for people to follow me. No one does. Fear immobilizes them. My window looks out onto the street at the back of the building. I lock the door to my office and grab the desk chair, swinging it hard. I close my eyes to the flying glass. Once the shards settle, I grab my laptop, my purse, and scramble out of the window. 

A pants leg catches on a point of glass sticking up from the window sill. I pull it free and more than fabric rips. Blood runs down to my ankle but I don’t have time to survey the damage.

Gunfire sounds at the front of the building, foreign voices yelling things that I don’t understand. 

They will know I left when they see the window. 

I don’t know where to go that is safe. My kids are down the street. Do I get them or should I head across the street to the police department? They have guns there.

I am running harder now, barefoot because the high heels were slowing me down. Barefoot wasn’t a good idea either, I realize, stumbling as my foot hits another painful pebble.

Damn it!

Getting my kids might put them in more danger. 

I veer to the right for the police department and start across the road. I can see several of their uniformed faces in the station windows staring, mouths agape.

The guns and screams behind me are louder, even as I am running away. I hear more breaking glass as I cross the street. Bullets strike a woman in a car to my left. It skitters onto the sidewalk and slams into a lamp post. 

Then I realize they are actually shooting at me.

Explosions and plumes of smoke rise up in the distance from several far off places. It sounds like the Fourth of July but without the fireworks.

What do you want with me?!!?!??!

Bits of asphalt hit me from behind and I realize that I am not going to make it. Searing pain at my back, then my legs stop working. My face crashes into the curb at my left cheek and lights flash painfully bright then go dim and then finally all is black. 

My last thought is for my kids. Please let them be safe…

My mind snaps back. 

This could be my life. My death.

Millions of people are living it right now all over the world. I look up again at the sky and see the familiar markings. US military. 

It is not time. 

Not yet.

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