Isobel Bowdery is a 22-year-old woman from Cape Town, South Africa, currently in Paris.
On Saturday, Bowdery shared on Facebook her terrifying and heartbreaking account of being inside the Bataclan music venue on Friday night when more than 82 people were killed by gunmen.
In the post, Bowdery writes that when the gunfire first started, she thought it was just part of the show.
"You never think it will happen to you. It was just a Friday night at a rock show. The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. And then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. In an instant."
She says she lay down on the floor of the club for over an hour, pretending to be dead and trying not to breathe.
"Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry - not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I - to have a fun Friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticulously aimed at shot people around the standing area I was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. I expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare."
Bowdery also describes the heroes of the night: the strangers who helped her, the friend who bought her new clothes so she wouldn’t have to wear her bloodstained top.
"But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on the line to try and cover my brain whilst I whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy I loved was dead, to the injured man who I had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support - you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. To never let this happen again."