Swimming with Sharks
in the Urban Ocean
by Jack Cloudt
Two cracks echoed out of the grand mansion as two simultaneous flashes of white glanced out of the tall second floor windows. Inside of the master bedroom, Samuel knelt beside the large bed that his dead parents slept in, fresh bullet wounds leaking blood from their heads. Beside him, Marcus lowered the gun. Quiet sobs came from Samuel. Marcus pulled the skinny upper class teen to his feet by his shoulder. Marcus had no pity in his stare. Samuel knew why. It was Samuel who came to Marcus that day. It was Samuel who begged and bribed Marcus to let him into his lower class gang. Samuel who agreed to let his gang through the gates of the rich private neighborhood. The only thing Marcus didn't tell Samuel was what they were going to start here. Still, it was Samuel who made this choice, and it was too late to back out now.
Silent, Marcus led Samuel down the marble hall to his sister's room. Marcus began searching the bed for Samuel's sister, but Samuel stopped him with a soft hand. He knew where she was. He slid open the closet door and moved the pink dresses aside. He knew she'd be in here. This was where she always went when she was scared, usually during storms or when mommy and daddy were fighting. Samuel would sit by her, hold her, and kiss her forehead to let her know that everything was alright. Tonight, though, everything wasn't alright. She sat there in her baby blue pajamas with her thumb in her mouth, her big brown eyes confused and asking her big brother for confirmation that he would protect her. Marcus gave his gun to Samuel, who sat next to her, not fully able to admit the true nature of what he was doing. He held her like he had many times before, but this time, it was the barrel of a gun that kissed her for him. The bang masked his scream as his six-year old sister's warm blood painted his cold, pale face. Samuel shuttered as he felt her body go limp in his arms. Deep breaths attacked his lungs as he stared ahead of him, blinking the blood out of his eyes. She was dead. She would never hide in her brother's arms again during thunder storms. She would never hear the yelling of their father as he worried more about stocks than his own daughter. She would never feel fear again. Not like Samuel.
Sirens screamed murder from the street beyond the glass windows. Gun shots shouted outside of the mansion. It had begun.
Marcus ran out of the room to join the battle outside. Samuel's legs shook like buildings during an earthquake as he stood up, heaving his sister off of the ground. Slowly he laid her down in her bed and tucked her into her princess covers. Her lush pillow was painted scarlet as her head rested on it, as her tiny, cream colored hands folded over her tummy. Samuel admired her beauty for the last time. Her long black eyelashes fluttered closed as he swiped his palm over her eyelids gently. She was safe now, Samuel thought. She could fly through cotton candy clouds or swim through endless space forever now.
Samuel joined Marcus as they darted downstairs as a firefight waged in the front garden. From a window, Samuel could see the shootout between the gang and the police. As fleeing pedestrians and the young teenage members of the gang fell, Samuel knew it was his decisions that caused this chaos and started this violent social rebellion. All just so he could be in control of his own life instead of his wealthy parents. He had betrayed his family, his future, all for a taste of adrenaline instead of an organized, planned out life, stamped with the Begetter Seal of Approval. Then again, was anybody in control of anybody right now in this apocalypse?
He had forgotten his gun in his sister's room. When he exited the house with Marcus, a pistol was tossed into Samuel's hands and he was shoved to the front lines. Before he could drop the gun, a policeman fired a lucky shot. As Samuel fell to the dewy grass, the fire that he had struck the match for faded from his eyes.