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“Run! He is coming!”
A few hours earlier…
Like most horrid disasters, it all started one sunny October day; the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. What could go wrong?
It was a Monday; we had the day off, and I was taking my little sister to the mall. Since I had just gotten my driver’s license, I jumped at any opportunity where I could drive; even if that opportunity involved taking my seven year old sister, Lilly, to the mall to pick out some new clothes.
“How is this one, Ashley? Lilly asked me. She had on a pink shirt with little sparkles all over it. She looked like a giant disco ball.
“Umm…very pretty!” I said, trying to sound like I actually liked the shirt. I wasn’t trying to lie; but I think that Lilly’s opinion was more important than mine, regarding her clothing.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of Lilly flouncing around in almost identical sparkly shirts and dresses, she had narrowed it down to the five things she was going to get. “Great!” I said enthusiastically…after sitting for two hours in a small plastic chair, I was ready to leave! After Lilly and I paid, we walked to the food court, where we decided to get subs at the gourmet sub restaurant.
“So, after we finish eating do you want to go to the toy store? We can each pick out a lollipop and then browse the store?” Lilly asked me.
The anger still simmering in me from the two hours I wasted watching her try on clothes began to boil over. “NO! NO, I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO THE STUPID TOY STORE! WHY ON EARTH WOULD I WANT TO WASTE ANYMORE OF MY TIME AT A TOY STORE? I ALREADY SPENT MY ENTIRE MORNING WITH YOU!!!” Lilly’s eyes widened. Her lips trembled. Then, like a waterfall, tears began to flow out of her eyes.
Not wanting to be seen with a cry baby, I told Lilly to stay where she was and I went to go say hi to some friends. At least they got to go to the mall to have fun because I sure didn’t. “Hey, Lexi!” I said, brightening up.
“Oh, hi, Ashley!” She enthused.
Pulling out a chair, I started to talk with Lexi. Then, a mere five or so minutes later, everything and everyone silent. Turning around, I saw a man, he was holding up a gun. He had dreadlocks and was wearing all black. Then, as if in unison, everyone went into a wild panic mode. Food was flying, shopping bags were being tossed around, and everyone was running around screaming. Then, realization hit me. I had left Lilly alone, at a table right near the gunman.
“LILLY!” I shouted over the noise. “Lil-LY!” Then, as if by miracle, I saw her. I ran to her, and on my way picked up a stray boy who was bouncing around the food court, completely oblivious to the man. Pushing Lilly and the boy under a table, and then throwing myself on top of them, I prayed. I prayed that we would all be okay. As the man moved closer, I realized that we needed to move. Making a life and death decision, I pulled Lilly and the boy up and ran.
A lady rushed up to me, grabbed the little boy-obviously her son- and started to run with us. Reaching a store, I pounded on the door. I then figured out that all the stores were in lock down. I yanked on the door as much as I could, but it would not open, so off we ran. Then, in a panicked, breathless whisper, as a bullet flew past my ear, barely missing me, I said to Lilly, “No matter what happens, I love you and I am so sorry for what I said.”
I don’t remember every detail from that point on. The man fired eleven shots-or at least that is what the news said -and then a Policeman came barreling around a corner. The gunman then held up his gun, shoved it under his shirt, and ran out the door.
After the gunman left, I cautiously peered out from behind a poster that was plastered over an empty store which we were hiding in. With a sigh of relief, I told Lilly and the woman and her son that the coast was clear. Thanking me, the woman ran off, her tot stumbling after her. Grabbing Lilly by the shoulders, I asked her if she was okay. Luckily, other than being a little bit shaken up, she was fine, as was I.
Soon after, I called our Mom who sobbed into the phone. Apparently, she was watching the 1:30 news and it was interrupted with: “Breaking news: man fires shots at local mall.” Of course, Mom knew we were indeed at the mall and had worried herself sick; and Dad did too (once Mom had called him and told him what was going on).
I learned a very important lesson that fateful day. I realized that I shouldn’t take anything for granted. I learned that for me to actually say “I love you” to my sister that it shouldn’t take a crazed gunman on the loose; I should just do it naturally. Thankfully, Lilly and I survived that crazy day and because of that, I am a change person. I am a person who loves my little sister with all my heart because she is the best thing that will ever happen to me. Lilly and I are sisters no matter what.