The boy was knifed in the alleyway behind the video store. I’d gone out to smoke a cigarette while there were no customers and saw a dark shadow fleeing into the orange blush of the streetlights on Main. It was not until I moved around the dumpster to stub out my smoke that I saw the bleeding boy. He lay in the shadows, too-thin arms and legs at weird angles as oily blood pooled beneath him.
“Hey!” I said, kneeling gingerly beside him. “Are you okay?” I knew he wasn’t, but needed to say something, the silence of the alley having become oppressive. His eyes flickered open and he blinked, once, twice. He stared at me for an eternity, eyes cat-like in the neon glow from the Chinese restaurant across the way. The eyelids lowered slightly then widened, the eyes beneath glazing over, losing focus. Losing life.
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