All I could hear was noise. Glassy, powdery explosions in my ear. Sounded like bones and china and windows breaking. All this debris sprinkled down onto me, getting suck in my hair. I caved into myself, covering my head with my free arm, feeling all the grit rub against my exposed skin. I started scuttling, quickly moving towards the nearest sofa, all the while the pop of gunshots echoed in my head.
“Shanice!” I yelled over the noise, poking my head above the sofa. The ginger girl in the doorway was replaced by a mannequin. Crude paint had been splashed against its face. The three white men with guns marched into the room, kicking the mannequin to one side. Shanice was by their feet, unconscious.
“Shanice!” I said again, hoping that she wasn’t dead. The men started walking towards me instead. I shot at them like my life depended on it, shooting without even aiming, really, just to kill them, to make them stop. I got one right in the forehead, because the bicycle helmet he’d chosen for armour had been too small and left most of his pale face exposed. I got the other one in the ankle. He yelled and dropped to his feet, dropping the gun on the ground.
I scrambled over the sofa just as the third one, who’d been taunting Shanice, got a chance to respond. I was next to his fallen friends in no time, grabbing the spare gun, and shooting him in the chest. He got me though, right in my shooting arm. I used my left to kill the guy with the shattered ankle, but I couldn’t tell you where I’d hit him, because all I could see was the gaping hole on the side of Shanice’s neck.
“Shan,” I said.
She blinked once, slowly. I heard her breaths whistling out of her clenched teeth. It was like she had been sent into a trance, where the only thing she could see was the dimming of her own life, and the only thing she could hear was the slow ticking of her heart, counting down her last moments.
“Shan,” I said. The whistling stopped. I swear I saw the light go out of her. People say it all the time, but I actually saw it, the whites of her eyes turned grey, and then the irises just got darker like someone had dimmed them with a switch. I was frozen. Outside, I heard some noise. Our guys. They were celebrating, calling my name, calling Shanice. Looks like the raid worked out in the end, but I didn’t feel like I won anything. In reality, I’d lost it all.