The lights dimmed and flashed, signaling the audience to ready themselves. I looked down at the newspaper in my lap, his smiling face looked up at me. My heart raced as sweat beaded on my forehead, either from excitement or the rising heat in the room. The dull roar of the audience quieted, becoming still, and for a moment all that existed was the darkness and the scents of cigars and perfumes with a hint of sweat. From the front row, I would have the best view in the room.
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman,” Dr. Hallinger began, his voice booming over the speaker system as the lights flared to life, blinding the audience, “I’ve come to speak to you today-”
He stopped short with a puzzled look on his face. His head tilted slightly and turned toward the back stage as though he were listening for something. That’s when I heard the faint echo of noise. It vibrated the seat in which I sat.
“What the hell-”
A fireball ripped through the backstage just as I saw headlights. Hallinger was thrown into the audience from the blast as the van sped off the stage landing only a few feet from me. I’ll never forget the sounds of the people who screamed as it descended. Their voices cut short as the sickening cracking of the seats with them still sitting broke the van’s fall. I was showered with pieces of wood and metal that had followed the van into the room.
I rose from my seat, my head spinning and heart racing for a different reason as I scrambled to get away. I turned to run but was deafened by a concussive blast and I was suddenly weightless. The air went out of my lungs as burning explosions of pain rocked my body.
I landed on more seats, my pain was suddenly gone, and I forgot why I was there. I could see flickering light as smoke billowed against the ceiling. The way it swirled in the light looked as though it were dancing. I saw shapes and faces in the smoke as the darkness came in. It greeted me with its infinite embrace, consuming me, washing the concerns and fears off, and I left with it, into eternity.