Recap: During an unexpected blackout in the neighborhood, Ricky and his mom hit the deck after hearing automatic gunfire down the street. Ricky saw casualties: firefighters injured and killed while battling the blaze at Mr. Skandowski’s. It seemed as if the entire Boston police force roared towards the scene, but the assailants were long gone.
An hour which felt like 12 hours after the shooting stopped, the lights came back on in Ricky and his mom’s neighborhood. They were still addled and rattled. Neither wanted anything to do with anything outside of their house. Maybe in the morning, they thought. Maybe…
The 11 o’clock news didn’t offer much that Ricky didn’t already know. The “Special Edition: Terrorist Attack on North Boston” gave the basics: Only one firefighter confirmed deceased at this time; four injured; one in critical condition; suspects at large; FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and BPD working together. WBNS-11 created a loop of those facts and occasionally sprinkled in commentary from retired law enforcement officers appearing on the affiliate’s national news partner’s special report.
After an hour of that, exhaustion finally took over from panic. Channel 11 had run a chyron graphic listing what-all would for sure be closed the following day, and Ricky’s school was on it.
“Let’s get some rest, mom,” Ricky said.
“Yeah. Yeah, we should,” said Lucy.
“Had about enough of that,” he said, clicking the TV set off.
Their rapport was typical of many single-mom, only-child families. They relied on each other so deeply, that a friendship had formed inside their mother-son bond. It was in addition to, not instead of, and they were both grateful for it. They conversed in either mode and transitioned seamlessly to the other. It was another level of love. It was a secret tool for survival.
Ricky and his mom didn’t say much else that night, the boy following the lead of his generally quiet only parent. They lay on the beds in their rooms. Awake for a little while, of course. But slowly those sacred sleep chemicals in their brains began to seep in and wash consciousness away.
Meanwhile, gleaming police cruisers and shiny, unmarked, federal Crown Victorias whose interiors smelled of new U.S. dollars raced hither and yon, working the highways and byways of the state of Massachusetts like angry lemmings. Roads were blocked and overtime was logged. All the agencies agreed: Money was no object; the terrorists must be apprehended.
Dawn broke over Pinckney Street. Mom and Ricky awoke a minute before nine and a minute after, respectively. They had slept in, which almost never happened on a non-summer weekday. Each lay in their bed, hardly believing the events of the previous night. They were alive, and they felt safe. Simultaneously, they thought of their moment before bed at the top of the stairs.
“G’night, Ricky. I love you.”
“Love you, too.” They hugged.
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