i saw a child when i ran, dirty and burnt, cowering in the doorway of a shop front. his eyes wide and bright like supernovae of purity. amongst the chaos the child was at peace, his head to one side as he watched the panic with interest.

it struck me that of all the people i'd rather be now, i'd rather be a child, unbeknowing of what pain can be, of what loss can feel like, not knowing the dread of losing a loved one, my second half.

the child had his hand outstretched, feeling for the rain.

if i stopped to save the child i'd be next, the stampede continued forwards and to fight it would be my end. i tell myself this every night as i try to sleep, as i wake from my nightmares, and as i think about that night. the eyes of the child burnt into the back of my skull, my punishment for surival.

the rain was red that night, there was no cloud in the sky.


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