…continued from Wedding Part One
Skip to the reception. L had to admit, the setup was beautiful; two large white canopies sprawling on a grassy field. The chairs and tables inside them were draped in purple and orange linen, the same material criss-crossed the ceiling in gently tumbling fashion. After sitting in the canopy and listening to the band there for a while, L was bored. He decided to scout his surroundings just to get a feel of the place. The field was actually a small one, it was square shaped and about 500ft was left of each side of the canopy, the grass wasn’t so green. The ground was uneven, in some parts L felt like he was skipping rather than walking. Presently, the couple was outside the tent, in a haze of friends all congratulating and teasing and generally making a hell of noise – the bride couldn’t stop smiling. L joined them for a bit, hailed the bride who was his friend, then trotted to check out the smaller tents which were for the culinary staff. A few paces between him and the tents and suddenly he heard a loud blast. It sounded like a ‘knockout’ – small things exploded during Christmas or New Year but without the sparks of fireworks – only louder.
Another blast. Gunshots?
L turned around to see the expected: chaotic screaming; guests with their mouths open wide, running in painful slow motion; the bride straining for the tent, shawl flung in the air several feet behind her. He expected to feel adrenaline shoot into his legs; he felt his pupils had dilated already, sharpening his alertness. But to his surprise, the guests were talking and carrying on cheerfully, buoying the couple into the tent. Had his mind been teleported into an alternate universe? That his body remained in one place while he heard sounds from another?
This time, L looked and saw for sure that it was really a gunshot. He saw the gun hoisted on the man’s shoulder, he saw it shudder and let out smoke through its barrel at the same time he heard a loud bang. L’s eyes followed as the man lowered his gun. L noticed the characteristic stiffness of the man’s shirt, that shade of blue-black that was familiar. He noticed the badges on the shirt, the large pockets on the trousers and the black boots below. A guard of some kind, not a mob of rascals come to rob and scatter the party. But why should a guard be shooting in the open at an event like this? What is ’okay’ here? L headed back into the main canopy; maybe it made him feel safer. He sat at the table with the other guests he had come with. He suspected they weren’t real bullets but still he wasn’t sure how to feel about all this.
“It’s not dangerous” a man on his left said, giddy with confidence, almost cheery even, whether to calm L in particular or everyone at the table “they’re not real bullets, they’re not dangerous. It’s to tell people around that security is here”. “Okay” L thought as his unsettledness wore off.
This story actually happened