Together with a lot of other people, I was stacked in a pile at an infirmary to wait for an operation I needed badly. The need was holding me there; I wasn’t sure I could move.
A large woman got up stealthily, pulled out what appeared to be a penknife, and stabbed a man in the neck. There was no sound, but I was certain that he was dead.
The woman came toward me on her way out, so I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. My conscience, however, wasn’t happy, and, afraid as I was of her, I tripped or stopped her and woke everyone up with a modern hue and cry.
She did not seem fazed. Without words, I understood that those people on her side were going to challenge those on mine. This puts the odds with me, I thought, because most people will choose right over such an obvious wrong. Yet nearly everyone in the infirmary gravitated to the murderess. The only person I remember clearly on my side was a co-worker from IT. I felt set up for failure and a growing sense of terror.
My co-worker stepped forward. He proved to be proficient at some martial art, although his blows somehow never connected. I wondered why the masses didn’t get rid of us offhand, or if they meant to drag out the agony one by one. I could see that my co-worker was only exhausting himself and that we were being toyed with.
Then I saw that some of the men were dressed as cowboys and were quietly trading guns. I thought, “Why don’t they just shoot us then?” I wondered, too, if the cowboys were secretly on the side of justice after all.
The suspense continued.