Rat Race

Adaobi Osakwe
2 min readOct 9, 2023

I must have been running for a long time, but it felt like I had just come to. It was as if I had taken my first breath after being under for a long time. Someone to my right fell, but I didn’t spare him a passing look. I didn’t know what I was running to or what I was running from; I just had to get away, had to get to…

Someone in front of me fell to their knees, their torso, the head having been shot clean off. I heard, rather than felt, the singing of a bullet as it blew through my arm. At the same time, I saw the torso finally go down. It seemed like people were running back towards me from wherever my legs were taking me. Why couldn’t I stop? I felt like I hadn’t drawn another breath after the one that had delivered me to this nightmare.

I couldn’t make out faces, but there were people everywhere and something in the air. It smelled like desperation. I’m not sure how to describe the smell, but you know how even if you’ve never tasted a cockroach before, you would know that you bit into one if it were sandwiched between your burger.

Going down felt like an out-of-the-world experience. It was as if I were in a different body, just watching. The bullet had gone straight through my heart. A broken heart? How do you fix a broken heart? Nobody else seemed to see me fall, or they didn’t care. They all had to get to wherever it was that we were all trying to reach. In those final moments, I thought about string theory, and how we are all connected by strings. I tasted blood, my blood… salty, metallic, but I didn’t feel any pain. In my observer body, I saw another one go through me, a shot through the head this time, and then… nothing.