The Sounds of the City

By Viral Shanker

The sounds of the City surrounded me as I ran.

Distant sirens, a cacophony of horns, cursing, and barking, the City’s soundtrack. But I paid it no mind. I had seven blocks to cross in about five minutes if I wanted to make it for the exam on time. I was already doing bad enough in the class, and now if I arrived late at the-

A squealing of tires.

A blaring horn.

A single scream.

I stopped to look, the people around me stopped to look, for a moment the entire City stopped, held its breath. I had just been about to cross the road, so I was looking right at it when it happened. A cab driver had tried to run a red light, and a couple had been crossing the street. They had both been pretty young, I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised to find they went to college. They had been laughing when it happened, no idea what was about to happen.

It was the girl who had screamed. She just stood there for a moment, not moving an inch. Her white jacket and jeans were stained red, her face…her face cannot be put into words.

And suddenly that endless moment, the moment even the City had held its breath ended in an explosive exhalation. People started screaming. Yelling. Crying.

The girl moved to the where the guy lay. She held his limp hand in her hands. He did not move. The taxi driver got out of his and held his hands on the back of his head.

And I just stood there, transfixed by the scene. It just seemed unreal, the blood, the hysteria, the loss of a life in such a meaningless way.

I blinked several times and shook my head. I looked at my phone. The exam had started a minute ago.

I walked as the City resumed its song.

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