“It was a cool spring morning in the village and the sun was rising heartily over the hills. The sniper was setting up his gun. He screwed the parts into each other and looked at the gleaming babe. He kissed the gun. The sun winked at him.
On the other side of the village it was the day of the fête. The day when the villagers got together each year and admired each others endeavours. Large vegetables, plump chickens and show gardens. Everyone could smell Jasmine and everyone could see the sun shining down heartily from above.
Mrs. Williams was pushing her pram rustically along the meandering paths into the centre of the fête. It was a twin pram, but she only had one baby! She used the other part of the pram to put her groceries in sometimes, or whatever it was that she needed to carry. It was practical. Once, Mr. Renfield, an old gentleman who was losing his sight, had patted a sack of potatoes in the pram and said 'They grow up so quickly, don't they?' to Mrs. Williams. She hadn't had the heart to tell him that he thought a sack of potatoes were a baby!
Little Willie Williams was crying in his pram. He needed some milk from his mummy, but she was too concerned looking at all of the market produce to notice his lovely shrieking and whining. He took in large gulps of air between each yell but was too young to appreciate the sweet scent of jasmine and roasting chickens. He just wanted his mummy's milk.
Mr. Fox the grocer had noticed Willie William's whining. He had really excellent hearing and a good ear for a tune. For a second, he thought that wee Willie William's whining sounded like a section from Mozart's Overture from Don Giovanni. He chuckled in his head at the thought that a baby might accidentally replicate the work of a genius, then stopped himself as he thought 'But Mozart was a child prodigy, wasn't he?' Rather than think too hard about this, he went back to chopping up the pork in front of him. A pig's head grinned up at him from his refrigerated counter. The pig's head was oddly attractive, even though a grim muslin of death was draped across it. With an almost silent thud, a bullet smacked into the forehead of the dead pig. No human noticed.
It was a good year for vegetables.
A few people commented that they had never seen leeks as big as the ones on Mr. Lewis' table. Some were nearly two feet long and as green as emeralds. Mr. Lewis used a special fertiliser for the leeks. No one knew, but the secret ingredient was chicken beaks. This meant, he often thought, that he might be tricking vegetarians into eating food that was raised on meat. He had once thought about running in a local election. His slogan would have been 'Raised on meat.' Even though he was a vegetable farmer, he made sure that he ate meat with every meal. He had a strange belief that the meat would make him more potent sexually, and he often imagined his sperm to be made from the ripped tendons and muscles of the animals that he had devoured. He thought sometimes that he would break into a church and change 'The meek shall inherit the earth' to 'The meat shall inherit the earth' in all of the bibles. No one in town knew about these weird quirks of his character.
Mr. Renfield was tottering through the fête, not recognising anyone until they spoke to him. His eyesight had become very bad in the past two years. There was a tiny noise and Mr. Renfield was shot through the head by the sniper on the other side of the village. He fell to the ground. Blood came out of him and he was dead. No one noticed from the fête and children and parents skipped around him like he wasn't there.
Two children, Martin Blossom and Emmy Large were holding slingshots and aiming at targets at a stall at the fête. The targets were shaped and coloured like the faces of clowns. Little Emmy Large fired off a shot at one of the clowns and hit him, square in the forehead. 'I got him!' she cried out in delight. The owner of the stall, Mrs. Peters leant over from behind the counter and gave Emmy a prize. The prize was a lovely cuddly bear. As she leant over, she was shot between the eyes by the sniper. The shot went straight through the bear's head and into Mrs. Peter's head. The bear fell into little Emmy's arms and she skipped off with delight. Little Martin Blossom looked up at Mrs. Peters slumped across the counter for a second, smiled and turned and skipped after his little friend.
'We are so lucky with the weather today. Do you remember last year it was raining and we had to do most of it inside the church?' said Mrs. Williams.
Mrs. Williams was talking to Mr. Lewis, the vegetable grower. They were having a passionate extra-marital affair that no-one in the village knew about. They met each Thursday to have passionate intercourse behind Mr. Lewis' shed. It was the day of the week when wee Willie Williams was at play group all day, Mr. Williams was in London for his weekly meetings, and Mrs. Lewis was doing her hiking club. The sex was so passionate that occasionally the next door neighbour, Miss. Pond, thought that foxes were fighting, making a sound like possessed babies, crying with voices like the devil. Miss. Pond was a Christian.
Miss. Pond would masturbate and then feel guilty about it. She was a Christian. She was a lonely lady. No-one in the village knew quite how lonely and guilty and horny Miss. Pond was. She was not at the fête, she was at home masturbating and saying her prayers. She was the only resident of the village who would survive that day.
A bullet flew from the barrel of the sniper rifle and swerved slightly in a breeze to strike Mrs. Williams temple to the left of its intended target. Her head exploded. Parts of her skull and brain flew apart and got stuck to Mr. Lewis, her lover. Mr. Lewis carried on talking to Mrs. Williams' body as it fell dramatically down on top of her baby in the pram. Wee Willie Williams was crushed and then suffocated by his mother's dead breasts. He was a happy baby until he died. He never became a professional footballer. Mr. Lewis was, shortly after this, shot through the head by the sniper. His body landed on top of Mrs. Williams, making it look like they might be having sex, or kissing.
Martin Blossom was with little Emmy Large round the back of one of the stalls at the fête. He was trying to steal her cuddly bear. The bear had a hole in its head. 'Give me the bear!' said Martin. 'No, it's my bear!' said Emmy. Martin jumped at Emmy, scratching and biting her and trying to kick her. Emmy ripped away from Martin and started to run. They were both killed by the same bullet; it flew through the air and ruptured their skulls one after the other. They were two young people, spread-eagled gracelessly on gravel ground. Their blood stained the bear. It was the colour of a rose.
One by one, the rest of the inhabitants of the village were shot by the sniper. Three hundred human beings were shot and killed. They were all shot through the head, in the most humane way possible.
A lark rose from a bush and beat its way upwards into the sky, emotionless. The lark did craps all over the bodies. The sniper turned his gun on himself and shot himself into a million pieces.