Tonight is Friday night
Author: Deleios Cherchenuit
I've just finished playing my game, and I'm about to head to bed. Out of habit, I'm checking Facebook, before turning the PC off. On top of my feed, my sister shared a report from the information channel. I glance at it, and my heart misses a beat. The headline is "shootings in Paris".
The shootings from last January instantly come back in my mind. I turn on the news channel, hoping it's not Charlie Hebdo again. It is not.
It is far worse.
As I see what has happened, my heart wants to disbelieve but my brain knows it is true. Terrorists in Paris, once more. The horror of the situation is slowly sinking in as the journalist mentions the simultaneous shootings, the dozens of corpses lying on the ground, the people running for their lives. Explosions occurring near the Stade de France, where a game between Germany and France was being held. The Bataclan, a famous Paris concert hall, is going through a hostage taking. There was a concert that night, and it was sold out. One and a half thousand people were in there.
Facebook's safety check beeps on my phone. I didn't even know such thing existed, but I immediately check in. I instantly receive relieved messages from my friends, from here or the other side of the pond. One of my French friends asks me about a common friend. I tell him I didn't hear from her, but that anyway she's pregnant and that she's forbidden to leave her place. He doesn't look convinced, but I can't blame him for not thinking straight. My sister jokes about how it's a good thing that I'm the stay at home type. Even her "lol" seems forced. I log in on TarValon.Net and post on a few places to let people know I'm safe.
The president, who was at the stadium a few hours before, appears on TV to make an announcement. He announces the emergency state, and that the army is being mobilized. I guess we're at war. We've been since Charlie Hebdo and probably even before, but that perception of things was probably just one sided.
The night goes on, and so does the horror. At 1 am, the journalist reports that the police gave assault on the Bataclan. The terrorists are dead, but reportedly they left a slaughter behind them. I keep watching the news, I can't sleep. I don't want to, and I find strength in the support my friends are giving me. The further the night goes, the higher the toll gets -eighty, ninety, one hundred dead people, and thrice as many injured people. There is nothing new going on, save idle speculation. Several witnesses call the journalists, explaining how terrible -and meaningless- all that madness was. I can hardly hold my tears while I hear that man who doesn't know where his daughter is, or that woman thanking the policemen who finally tell them they're free to go and can leave the tiny garden where they had found shelter in.
I didn't sleep well that night.
Most of my weekend was spent making sure the people I know were safe, and vice-versa. The government released a note saying all people should stay home. I'm in a pretty safe area, ten miles away from the Bataclan, but I guess it won't hurt to have food delivered for once...
My parents called. They were supposed to visit on Sunday, but I can see my mom is scared at the idea, even though she's reluctant to admit it. I offer to postpone and after telling her that yes, I'll be okay and yes, I'll stay safe, she agreed.
I keep watching the news, I don't know how many hours I have spent in front of the TV. We eventually hear that Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks. Not that it's a big surprise for anyone.
I hear about people supportive to each other, about taxi drivers taking people for free, and about neighbors offering shelter for the people who had managed to flee and tending to the injured.
People are gathering place de la République to pay their respect to the victims, despite the emergency state and the risks it involves. Even after they fled due to a false alarm, they're still way braver than I am.
Maybe mankind isn't doomed, after all.
The whole world sympathizes with us. I see support from everywhere, and it does make me feel better, even though I feel a stab of guilt that other nations didn't get the same treatment, just because they are not in the first world.
The weekend went by quickly, all things considered. The toll is slowly getting updated to reach 129 people. 129 lives slain, in the name of absurdity. I don't understand and I never will. I guess it is better that way. The inquiry moves on, some of the kamikazes are being identified, some being French. I'm mortified, even though I knew it was a possibility.
President Hollande had announced France would retaliate, and he didn't wait long to prove it. One training camp and one commanding center destroyed, or so he claims at least. Even though I know it's not going to solve the long term problem and that it'll probably make Daesh strike us again even sooner, I'm kind of relieved some course of action is being taken.
It's Monday morning.
I have to go to work. I'm fairly sure I'm in a safe area, living in the suburbs, and my trip to work is safe, considering I'm not even crossing Paris. Still, I'm scared. It certainly is shameful to admit it, but I don't care. That ball won't leave my stomach, and I can't get the attacks out of my mind.
Still, I'm not considering NOT going. If I do, I'm insulting the memories of all those people who died to their madness, in France and around the world. If I do, they win.
You scare me, Daesh. But even though, I'm still going to live my sinner's life, and enjoy it.
Fluctuat nec mergitur :)
Afterword: Originally, this was not meant to be a Tar Valon Times article. I just wrote this because I felt it was something necessary for me to help process through the whole series of events. After showing it to a few of my TarValon.Net friends, I was encouraged to submit it to the TVT. I was unsure whether it was a good idea or not, but Maibella Sedai said to do it. So I had to listen to the Editor. ^^