PARIS — Boris Rehlinger's wife had finally agreed to go to see Eagles of Death Metal — an "amazing" group from the United States.
They had a great view of the show from the right-hand side of the Bataclan concert hall when the band took the stage — until gunfire cut through the music.
He said he saw only one attacker — a young guy, Rehlinger said, dressed in black.
"I heard a noise ... like fireworks," he said. "It was not fireworks but shotguns."
Rehlinger said the smell that hit his nose immediately made it clear that this was no celebration — he'd been to a shooting range before and recognized the scent of gunpowder.
"Bang, bang," he said. "The smell of steel ... it's warm, it's visceral."
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Some people ran; others dropped in front of him. Some were wounded or dead, but others like him hit the floor just trying to save their own lives.
Rehlinger heard male voices speaking in French and invoking France's war in Syria as the reason behind the assault. He saw one attacker — a young man who appeared to be in his 20s, dressed all in black — and heard the click of Kalashnikovs reloading.
He stayed down for a long time — he doesn't remember how long exactly.
"I heard people injured on the floor and [smelled] the smell of blood," he said.
A man in front of him was moaning on the floor, crying out and saying he couldn't feel his leg. Then Rehlinger said he heard a boom.
"It was a very big detonation," he said. "And after, silence."
As the hostage situation played out, he lay still — those whose phones rang or who moved were shot.
"Bam, bam," he said making the motion of a gun. "An execution."
He thought of his daughter, his son and his wife as he lay there — and throughout, he managed to stay calm.
"It was important to just breathe and wait," the actor said. "What else are you going to do?"
From the floor, he could see what he thought was a redhead lying beside him — until Rehlinger realized that her hair was colored by massive amounts of blood.
At one point, he said, he heard one of the attackers shout out a phone number for hostage negotiations. Then, French SWAT teams stormed the concert hall. Once Rehlinger made it out, he saw "blood everywhere. ... Blood and bodies laid on the floor."
It took some time for him to find his wife and the couple who had joined them at the concert — and even longer for him to finally start to process what had happened.
In the moment, he said, the events around him felt surreal."It's like you go out of your body," Rehlinger said.
"I realized only this afternoon," he said. "I fell down, crying."
Rehlinger said he thinks it will be some time before he fully wraps his head around what happened — and the memory of those bodies lying there will never leave him.
"Each person has their own process to deal," he said, but "I am a lucky guy."