- Paul Rios
Last Week’s Memoir #19
Art by Paul Rios
Editor’s Note: The Last Week’s Memoir series is a collaborative story written by Jake Corbin, Bryce McEfee and Paul Rios. View previous LWM Serial No.1 entries to read the story from the beginning.
Andy thought about it. He had heard the name before, The Multitude. Just last month, an emergency newscast ran about an incident perpetrated by this street cult, The Multitude, a bunch of bottom-feeders that roamed around some of the less policed sectors of the city. Andy didn’t pay attention to the news anymore, but he remembered this news report. It was unusual. A KFTC-TV reporter appeared on the screen, broadcasting live from an explosion that occurred in one of the industrial sectors.
“Brock Bordeaux reporting live from North Umbridge, where our sources tell us that an explosion at a mattress factory has resulted in multiple fatalities. Emergency and police crews are on the scene, and the police say the explosion may be an act of terrorism.”
It was a bold move for a bunch of street thugs to attack a corporate factory for giggles. The news footage showed some of the some of the factory workers being dragged from the facility by emergency responder units. At one point, the camera zoomed in on a heavy-set woman with a nasty gash across her forehead and blood dribbling down from her mouth. The responder unit held up her lifeless body, as if posing her, and the camera zoomed back out to the reporter. He grabbed a bloodied bystander for an impromptu interview.
“Sir, do you work here? Tell us about the explosion.”
The man seemed fidgety. The fire behind the reporter seemed to be growing, engulfing another nearby building. A streak of blood was smeared across his cheek like war paint.
“I did, I saw the whole thing. A truck plowed straight into the factory, and the next thing, boom,” he said without blinking. His wispy goatee twitched when he talked.
“Did you work at the mattress factory? Are you injured, sir?”
The man paused for a moment and ran his fingers across his cheek. He looked at his red-tipped fingers and then looked at the sweaty reporter. Neither man said a thing, but the reporter looked uncomfortable as he locked eyes with the bloodied man. The awkward moment of silence continued. Andy knew it was not normal. An on-air reporter was never supposed to allow such a long silence.
“Oh no, you are mistaken, brother,” the man said, breaking the silence, “This is not my blood.”
The man looked into the camera, gave a huge smile, and the factory erupted again in an impressive explosion. The camera went reeling, and the last image it captured was the reporter diving for the ground. At that moment, the KFTC shut down the newsfeed and returned to the regularly scheduled programming.