He never saw the gun.
A sea of bodies separated him from the shooter. Dozens of outstretched hands clawed at him in desperation. Tattered flesh and broken nails dug into the slashed fabric of his uniform; their blood mixed with his own, turning its brilliant shade of blue into a dirty brown.
The resistance was failing.
His muscular form folded like paper as his body buckled under the weight of the explosion; a series of cracks moved up the right half of his torso. Spasms of pain infected every inch of him. He exhaled a sharp cry of pain. Grinding his teeth, he felt as though needles danced across the ribs of the right side of his chest and back. He screwed his eyes shut, forcing himself to take quick, shallow breaths, even as darkness threatened to take him.
Gathering in pools from atop his heavy brow, sweat leaked into the small corners of his eyes. His vision blurred; he caught only glimpses of the carnage before him: marble stone stained red, a sky blackened by the rising flames, concrete painted in bullet shells and shattered glass. But mostly, he saw death – women, men, and children all staring up at him with blank, glassy eyes. Their ashen faces twisted in horror. There was no peace in their passing, no mercy. Some faces, he recognized, others he didn’t.
He never saw the gun, but he heard its shot echo.