Screams and Gunshots In The Night

Total Croatia News

An early summer night falls over Zagreb. A mild wind blows from the mountain, cooling the city. The streets are empty like a Western movie set. Nobody is driving onthe roads, nobody is walking in the parks. I need to reach home. It isn’t far away, but this emptiness brings discomfort. Street lighting is illuminating the path, but I prefer to stay in the shadows. You never know, somebody might still be outside, like me. And I wouldn’t trust those people. To be out!? On a night like this!? Insanity!

So I keep walking. Slowly. Better to be safe than sorry. I come to a crossroad. Nobody there, great! Just as I step off the sidewalk, screams! Some far away, but some just around the corner. I start running until I get to the first bushes. My heart is pounding. Did anyone see me? I’m looking around, nobody there… Good, I’m safe. The screams were short. Too short. I should ignore them and keep on going. The sooner I’m home, the better. There is a countdown as well, I can’t waste too much time…

I get out of the bushes, look around one more time and start walking. Suddenly, I hear another set of footsteps. I look behind me, there is nobody there. But I know I’m not paraonid. Doctors confirmed it… unless they were also a part of the… No! There’s no time for this! There is definitely someone here, I can hear the footsteps approaching! I pick up the pace, almost start running, and I almost run into a man running behind the corner. He is short, and bald, and sweaty. He almost fell trying to dodge me. The look in his eyes – pure horror.

”I’m sorry! So sorry! Please! I just want to get home, please don’t tell anyone I’m here. I support them. I really do. I just had to pick up some medicine for my little girl. She is very sick. Please!” He begged.

I felt sorry for this man, who could be my father, begging me like that. I just nodded and whispered ”Go.” 

He started to slowly walk away and smiled, when the silence of the night was ripped apart with the sound of screams. Screams, loud and mild, near and far! Screams of thousand souls! The man fell on his knees and started praying, and I started running. The screams were dying out, when suddenly – gunshots! I started sprinting like crazy. More gunshots! I could see a weird flicker out of the corner of my eye. I looked behind me, only to see a flair illuminating the praying man. I looked away and ran again. More gunshots. A detonation. I just kept running. I don’t remember for how long for, but when my lungs were ready to burst, I rolled into a dark ditch, to take a short break.

I don’t remember when the screams and explosions stopped, but when I dragged myself out of the ditch, the night was silent again. And there, not that far away I could finally see my house. In the distance, but I could make it. Like a scared vole, I looked around me. Nobody there, great. I start moving from shadow to shadow again. I come to a park, and I can see the shadows of group of men on the other side. Strange, flickering shadows. I soon realised that they have torches. No problem, I should be able to hide behind the trees. I slowly advance. Then I hear a sound nearby. There’s a lady, walking her dog! I just can’t believe my eyes. And she’s walking directly towards the torch mob. Is she crazy!? Insane?! Doesn’t she know the rules? She’s not a supporter? Should I warn her? If I yell… What if they spot me? I’m so afraid. I can’t help her. It’s not my fault she’s walking her dog tonight. It’s every man for himself. I start moving away, almost reaching the end of the park, when it all errupts again.

Screams, louder than ever! A devastating sound! I can see the torches moving. I have to move. Now! I start running. I can see my house and I just focus on that. Explosions behind me, more screams, more flairs, it feels like Armaggedon. I just keep running. Just a hundred more meters! I can make it! I don’t want to think about the lady and her dog, but my eyes fill with tears. Doesn’t matter. This close, I could find my place in pitch dark.

I run up to my door. My trembling hands barely holding my keys, I unlock the door, slam it behind me and lock all three locks. I take a deep breath. A miracle. It’s a miracle nobody saw me. I start laughing and crying. It takes me a couple of minutes to regain my composure. I go into my living room. Turn on the TV.The World Cup. It’s the ninetieth minute. Croatia – Argentina 2:0. I sit on the couch. Rakitić scores the third one! I jump screaming, joining the million screams from afar! While the gunshots celebrating this brilliant performance were still echoing the streets that were now slowly filling, my phone rings.

”What a screamer! Were you supporting the team? Did you see this miracle!?” – a friend asked.

”Wouldn’t miss it dead.” – I lied, very much alive.


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