The blood had gushed out when the bullet first pierced him. Now, after he put pressure on the wound, it had slowed down, but still continued to gurgle as it dribbled onto the pavement.
His thoughts were a cluttered mess of the events that had led up to this. Images of the breakfast of croissants he had shared with his wife mingled with the faces he greeted as he entered the police station this morning; his wife's warm smile flittered across his vision, followed closely by the stern yet friendly eyes of his colleague on patrol. This was supposed to be his last day of eight years in the field; he had only recently qualified for a promotion to detective. He could see the diploma scroll, although now a disturbing bullet hole had materialized in its centre, the edges still glowing.
The building across from him drifted hazily in and out of view. It was the building of a famous French publication, one that was notorious for their bluntly offensive magazines. He had always found their constant degradation of Islam and depictions of Prophet Muhammad tasteless. But they did not deserve what had just befallen them mere minutes ago. Two masked gunmen had stormed the building and opened fire on the helpless journalists inside. He had raced to the scene on his bicycle, his pistol at the ready, and had managed to get a few shots off at their getaway car before the scorching bullet from one of their AK-47s had torn its way into his groin.
His head was beginning to grow faint - the loss of blood was taking its toll on him. The images were slowing down, fading out. His thoughts had somehow become more coherent than before, even as he felt the strength in his body draining along with his blood.
He thought to himself, forgive me, Morgane. I could not stop these evil crooks from committing the most heinous of crimes, and now they've stopped me from seeing you, from feeling the kind touch of your love one more time. I was looking forward so much to moving in together, to building a family in our new house. Now you'll have to go ahead without me.
His thoughts turned to Allah. Forgive me. I have failed to perform my duty. These murderers have desecrated your image and the respect that is due to you, even as they desecrated the souls and bodies of the poor people in that building. The world will blame you and your faithful followers, thinking that you ask for war and bloodshed when you have only ever asked for peace and compassion for our fellow human beings. And I could not stop them from destroying not just the lives of the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, but the lives of many more innocent Muslims who will be persecuted and prejudiced against because of the heartless actions of a few madmen.
He heard footsteps. The getaway car had stopped, and one of the gunmen was approaching him. He lifted a hand in an attempt at pacification. A rough voice barked out to him.
"Voulez tu nous tuer?" (Do you want to kill us?)
Maybe they had some humanity left. It was worth an appeal to it.
"Non, c'est bon, chef." (No, it's OK, mate.)
The terrorist responded with a bullet through his head. The terrorist then ran back to the car as his head slumped against the cold, hard concrete.
Blood seeped out from the new hole, then joined the larger pool ahead as it trickled down hastily off the pavement. A small sewer grate lay up ahead. The blood slowly inched towards it, then fell into the darkness that lay within.