In the madness taking form, I look at those cowering and laugh to myself as the realization sets in. In the time before the shit hit the fan, they were a bunch of local atheist and liberally minded zealots who would have rejoiced if every Christian church in the country had burned down. Tonight they will get their wish as they grovel to a deity they do not believe in. The lions, the monsters, death itself is just outside the doors. The voices of men yelling in Arabic herald the arrival of Molotov cocktails against the church's exterior and panic sets in amongst those inside.

The flames begin to engulf the double doors that are the main entrance to the church and smoke begins to fill the air. Two women begin to scream and in response a barrage of bullets pierce the double doors. More voices from outside yelling in Arabic. Gunshots began shattering the stained glass windows on all sides of the building. A wave of five of our people rush the west side doors to flee the burning structure. The group of five who had escaped Phoenix. They didn't make it twenty feet outside before being taken down by gunfire. A second group of six tries the east exit with the same results. The monsters outside are enjoying this. Seven of us are left. The fire rages and the smoke inside the church made the air unbreathable.

The remainder of us make our way to the back of the church where there is one last exit. We open the door expecting gunfire but instead we find the two men who guarded this exit on the ground, their bodies bloodied from bullets. Gun fire can be heard from the front of the church, even through the noise of the inferno. I peer around the corner and see an exchange of shots between two men. It has to be two rival racial factions. Now is the time to make our escape while the attackers are distracted. "Split up! Don't follow anyone. It's our only chance to make it out alive." I tell the others. "RUN!!"

We scatter as fast as we can to the wooded area behind the church. Our exit is noticed and bullets fly in our direction. Peripherally, I see three of our group taken down. The full moon and cloudless night betray our positions. I dodge between trees trying to stay out of the direct line of fire. Another of us falls. I loose track of the remaining two. The cool, winter night air numbs my mind. I will run until the sounds and light from the fire is no more. I will run until the sound of gun shots is a safe distance away. I wondered if the others had survived.

I don't know how far I have run. I am out of breath and feeling light headed. I squat down for a moment to rest. The adrenaline is wearing off and I feel pain in my rib cage. I touch the area and the pain intensified. There is blood on my hand. I stand and lift my shirt to find a flesh wound. A bullet grazed my chest, leaving not an entrance or exit wound, but rather a straight line of partially cauterized flesh. I check the rest of my body and thankfully find nothing. I need to find shelter and tend to my wound. Although the temperature is not freezing yet it's cool enough to suffer from exposure.

I walk a while and I hear the sound of a branch crack under the weight of something. A human foot or an animal, something is nearby. I duck down to see the silhouette of a person in the distance. I freeze in place not knowing if it is friend or foe. I wait and I watch as a person walks ever closer. "Fuck" I whisper to myself as I slowly maneuver around a tree beside me to keep out of view. It's a man. I believe a Middle Eastern looking man and definitely not part of our group. He carries a rifle, and is now about thirty feet from me. He stops for a moment and drinks from what appears to be a flask, then continues down the path. I wait a while and decide to walk in the opposite direction from where the man headed. I took a few steps and two gun shots ring out. A bullet passes through my right arm and this time I feel the pain. I run as fast as I could not knowing the exact position of my assailant or even if it is the same man. More bullets fly past me. Fortunately for me this is not a fully automatic rifle. Several bullets strike trees near me. I loose my footing while running downhill and tumble about fifteen feet. The adrenaline has kicked in and my mind is in survival mode. I think I cracked a rib in the fall. I stagger forward seeing a river in the distance. Several more shots ring out as I continue running towards the river in the hopes of swimming to the other side to loose my pursuer. I am almost there, when I realize that the river will be lower than the ground I am running on. I reach the edge and see a twenty foot drop and a river flowing more rapidly than I would have anticipated. I leap into the cold water, it takes my breath away. I swim towards the opposite side. My pursuer now having reached the river's edge continuously fires in my direction. I swim under water briefly to avoid the bullets. Thankfully it is dark and the current is swiftly pulling me away. Whoever this is he is a poor shot. The cold is quickly draining my energy. I try to swim to the other bank but the current is too swift and I am making no headway. My mind is beginning to shut down and my body is numb. I feel I am losing consciousness.

About me

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