New Fiction by George Gad Economou: “A Shot of Normalcy”

Young Couple Kissing by Catlovers, 2007

Young Couple Kissing
by Catlovers, 2007

Common sense was telling me no, don’t go, but, I couldn’t resist the temptation. A damn Halloween party in the middle of a ferocious civil war sounded like an extremely bad idea, yet, some escape from the horrors was more than just needed. Warfare was raging on the streets, bodies were lying anywhere, yet, at the University campus it was peaceful; at least, for the time being.

Hence why they decided to throw the party; we didn’t even know if it, indeed, was Halloween, or if it was too early, or late. It was winter, it was snowing, and it was all that mattered. Besides, we didn’t really care about dressing up, we just needed a moment of normalcy, a way out of Hell.

Dressed like Jesus, I went. The alcohol was running plentifully- how it was acquired I never learned, although wild rumors were being thrown around- and we all drank, while remaining inside the small room, falsely believing in strength and safety in numbers. At first, the music was low, barely audible; we were terrified of being heard by the soldiers that sometimes patrolled the streets of the campus. However, as we all became more and more intoxicated- and blissfully oblivious to the gunshots that were disturbing the otherwise silent night- we turned the music higher. AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” was blasting loudly inside the room, and we all danced like everything had gotten back to normal.

I was dancing with a girl, a philosophy major, whose name I didn’t ask. When you know any day can be your last, you stop caring about etiquette and norms become nonsensical. Thus, the nameless woman and I kissed passionately on the dance floor, as our bodies moved rhythmically to the music, which was getting louder and louder. Equally louder became the gunshots and screams of anguish and despair, but none of us paid any attention to it.

Eventually, the girl and I walked outside, for some fresh air. We were both cheerfully dizzy, happily ignorant of the devastation all around us. The party’s goal was accomplished; for a few hours, we were living like normal citizens, there was no civil war, no unreasonable deaths, no meaningless suffering. We lit a joint- the girl and I- to take the edge off, to relax even further. Our minds were engulfed in a delightful mist, we were atop Cloud Number Nine, as we continued to kiss and share the strong blunt. Laughing, we wished upon a falling star for the end of the war, as soon as possible; yet, as I stared at the falling star, I noticed, horrified, its rapid approach. The hissing sound reached my ears and purely out of instinct I grabbed my companion’s hand and dragged her, violently and ignoring her cries, away.

Moments later, the missile found its target; the former cafeteria of the campus had turned into a pile of debris and a cold grave for dozens of nameless, unfortunate souls.

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