He died on the asphalt, the man with the tie. He was gone before the ambulance arrived. We looked at the shirt that clung to his chest, damp with what ebbed from him, and it betrayed no subtle exhalation, no gasping hope. We saw but could not stand to see the crater in his skull, were sickened by what crawled out, the raw monster of memories and consciousness.

Or maybe we felt nothing. This congregate flew in like flies to the scent of blood. Pity; we wanted to think about the horror and the afterlife. But look at the blood, how it unravels bright and beautiful from the thousand hidden spools inside a body, the way it tangles through the streets, knots that trailed past the rusty grating into the dirty labyrinths that sang beneath every city.

The blood stained everything, everything except the dead man’s wristwatch. We couldn’t hear it ticking but somehow, it remained unscathed by the impact that brutally scathed the adorned. Around it seconds were becoming seconds, the din of horns rising upwards, sirens in the east, a voice just paces away. Up and up, until the noise mingles in with the pulse of the city.

Somewhere, a phone would ring. Not ours, we relieved.

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