The Day Nobody Died
After searching through dozens of digital stories, it was this particular title that caught my attention and a stream of questions that kept it. Was this a near-death experience? Who experienced it? Where did it happen? What were the circumstances? Before I even hit play, I was already emotionally invested in this story.
In seconds my questions were answered…”things didn’t go as planned…I was out of position and had to act fast…a blinding flash and a loud bang…” At this point the narrator does something very interesting in that he switches from this technical description to a physical one: “…it felt like electricity was running through my body…everything seemed to fade into the distance…” One moment I was watching the situation from above and the next I was feeling it from within. Meanwhile, images of gun shots, a lightning bolt, and the photograph of the proud officer and narrator, Michael Thompson, fade in and out of sight for a compelling visual portrayal of the story.
Then, the descriptive details become even more poignant and the viewer is drawn deeper into the experience, as though it were happening at this very moment. “…something about my blood mixing with filth disturbed me…” he said, and “…the nauseating smell of burnt gun powder and the tearing sensation throughout…” made me shudder as I listened. The visual accompaniment to the narrative was that of a recognition ceremony honoring the officer. Remarkably, even though I knew from this footage he would survive this experience, the horror of the descriptive details coupled with my imagination kept me locked in the situation fearing the worst.
His partner is then heard making a frantic call to the station screaming “…cop down, cop down!” The commotion mixed with the eerie composure of the narrator’s voice was unsettling and jarring. I felt torn and restless and perhaps exactly as he had wanted. What happens next is similar to a montage sequence in a Tarantino film: flickering flashes of his life, a dry news report recounting the incident, and the narrator’s unwavering voice pulling him through his last moments of life.
The narrator pulls through in the end and images of angels, serene clouds, and shining light restore the peace once again. The collaboration of visual imagery and symbolism, live footage, and a slightly detached vocal narrative all held together by a slightly agitated rock song circling around the words “nobody died” create an unforgettable portrait of one man’s encounter with a near-death experience.
This digital story is available at http://storiesforchange.net/node/1755