I was at a Writers Conference and had decided to spend the evening in a coffee shop getting some writing done. My walk to the coffee shop involved crossing a bridge wherein the exit from the bridge to the shopping center, which also housed a Kroger grocery store, was kind of obscure.
It was dusk—around the last light of the day and clearly summer based on how I dressed: a flowy dress or skirt and sandals I think. I figured the pedestrian bridge seemed to be pretty active and with the passing traffic I’d be okay returning to my residence in the dark.
Shortly after seating myself in a booth in the coffee shop, I noticed a young African American woman come in. She presented as very masculine–basketball jersey; low or cornrowed hair, sagging denim, and basketball shoes. She was short and round. She discreetly stole a large knife, which I saw though no one else seemed to and quickly left. It wasn’t a butter knife, and it wasn’t clear how or from where she got it.
Some writer friends eventually came and joined me. At some point I decided I was offended by the service I had been receiving and apparently felt as though I was being treated as though I were a teen and was consequently at fault for my mistreatment. My friends were surprised, as was I, when I’d had enough and yelled, in the face of a caustic server, a black male, that I was a “37 year old grown-assed woman” and would be treated as such. I still don’t know what the offense(s) might’ve been. But after the outburst we left.
As we approached the bridge we saw the same young woman–the knife thief–again. She suddenly began to sprint across the bridge, the knife now held in a defensive way, and then without warning she jumped off the bridge. SHe never seemed to notice us, but was clearly panicky.
We saw her pedaling in the water—it didn’t seem too deep as there were rocks along the shoreline that we thought she was going to hit going all those 10 feet or so down. That’s when we realized there were stairs beneath the bridge leading to the water.
A young man in red and white stripes rushed from the bottom steps to her—to harm or help we couldn’t tell. Then a group of young women and men seemed to just appear–it all happened so fast–and they proceeded to viciously beat and stomp both the young woman and the boy in the stripes. We walked fast, trying to avoid seeing the melee or being seen seeing the melee.
But not fast enough—we couldn’t find that obscure entrance from the bridge to the street—and the group came bounding up the stairs. They passed us, but we still didn’t know how to get off the bridge, and in my head I debated how to ask them how to get off the bridge without them thinking I noticed them and their haste really. I looked down over the bridge and neither of the two victims were moving, other than what the current in the water caused.
I woke up.