Breaking the silence


I was on my way back home when someone came out of a restaurant asking for help. He was a tall man with reddish-brown and tangled hair, sparse goatee who wore glasses which had black frames. Moreover, he was wearing a Panama hat so I thought he would be a writer or an artist but I didn't know how old he could be. I used to see the same people on the street every day, although this man was really a stranger who I had never seen before.

As soon as he saw me, he told me about the fact that three people had been shot in a Chinese restaurant when he was inside. Then, the murderer ran away without the weapon which was into the restaurant. His voice was low, but I was able to hear what he said, though only later I understood what really was. Unfortunately, this man had lost his mobile phone during the crime so he asked me about the possibility to use the mine.

Devastated by the fact that three neighbours had been murdered but convinced that this man couldn't have been involved in the triple crime, I phoned the police.

Two minutes later, I was in the restaurant to make my own investigation to discover what really happened, when I listened for the sound of footsteps. The doorway opened and the police came in. The light from the door blinded me. It was airless and hot into the restaurant so I was sweating.

A policeman, who had a dark, clear voice that stressed each word, asked me some questions. I hadn't idea how late at night it was, though I sensed that it was too late. Later, this man told me that I was suspected of this triple murder because my fingerprints were found on the murder weapon. I saw move his mouth but I shut out the tone of his voice which was unfriendly and ironical. Obviously, I didn't want to listen. After a few minutes he stopped although I stood for a long time without saying a word. Surprisingly, I was not afraid though I felt a pent-up rage.

Incredibly, I was immediately sent to prison but I was determined to prove my innocence. At the same time I was troubled by unpleasant stories about what was going to happen to me. I detested this helplessness but I steeled myself. Luckily, I had realized that the most effective way of keeping the fear at bay was to imagine about something that gave me a feeling of strength. So I closed my eyes and I thought about a petrol can and a match.

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