One Moment

April 13, 2009
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Deep down I knew those three harsh sounds were bullets being fired into people I had seen, heard of, or loved. Immediately everyone dove under their tables waiting for the terror that would come next, the impending choices the shooter would make.
Thick steps crashed against the floor, their sound getting closer and closer. No one could move, only sit and wait, praying that our door was not the next to be chosen. We would soon discover the fear of waiting would be replaced by the new fear of watching those his feet emerge in the doorway of the room in which we hid.

“Get up!” he bellowed as he grabbed a cowering girl that hid nearest to the door by her hair and her bleached blond streaks became entangled between his fingers. Her face quivered in pain and her eyes, once neatly painted with make-up, were now dripping with black tears. His own eyes stared back into hers with seething hatred as he almost hissed, “What….is….my….name?” Each word cut the air and split our hearts as we realized she could not answer. She covered her face of regret in her hands, desperately begging, “Please, no, don’t, please.” He watched her pleading for her life as it rested in his hands, and yet he did not flinch but waited silently, still wild with anger. It was as though he was testing her when he knew all along she would fail his test and almost hoped that she would. He threw her forcefully to the ground as though she was merely a rag doll and walked further into the room.
My eye, in disturbed curiosity, feasted on the small crack between the desks and chairs. I could see his sneakers; their color, originally white, was worn from use and grass and dirt covered the untied shoe lace. Another stain, darker, lay in droplets on the front of his left sneaker and I knew what it had to be.
That same shoe crashed hard into an upturned stool as his fury mirrored the loud bang that followed as the chair collided with the metal table. Its high-pitched sound deflected against the walls and rattled our ears painfully, but no one dared to cry out. It was as though the vibrations were beating through my shaking hands, feeding panic deeper into my blood.
My eye stayed glued to the crack, watching his every move. His unlaced sneakers turned now, preparing for what was to come.
His hand that had been hidden before rose and in it was the gun. He bent down again next to the same girl and placed it on her temple. She pinched her face, preparing for the blast.
“Wait!” a shout came from the other side of the classroom. “Your…name….is” she paused as her lip quivered and hands rattled beside her. At the sound of her voice his head jerked quickly to where she stood and the class’s whimpering fell silent to find the girl who had spoken.
Even under his beseeching eyes she still found strength, for when her lips moved again they did so with a forceful strength and her hands lay steady by her side. “Your name is Jacob,” she paused, “Jacob…Stewart. You ride your bike to school every day and you like to put it in the third rack in front of the school. You always bring a stack of red pencils to class with you and you have a bunch of Star Wars pictures in your locker.” Long streaks of perfect tears slid one by one from her face but her voice did not falter and she kept on. “You always eat red jello for lunch and you always sit under the same tree outside the cafeteria.”

Each word stole a piece of anger from his face replacing it with a tear that matched hers. His jaw released its taught grip to shake with the sobs that erupted in the silent room. She paused now, watching him and each pair of eyes shifted, following her gaze. “You are not invisible Jacob because I see you.” All fear fell from her as she stepped closer and closer to him.
Shouts rang out as his hand cradling the gun shot quickly into the air, “Don’t ccccome any closer,” he stammered, “or I will shoot. DDDon’t think I won’t. If you don’t believe me just look dddown the hall.”
Her feet stayed where they were but it seemed not because she believed he would shoot but almost as if to say 'Its okay now Jacob. I know you don’t want to shoot me or really any of those people.' She waited and he continued to take a step further and further back. Finally he had backed completely into the wall and as he did the EAT HEALTHY poster hanging there crunched beneath his back. His arm was still raised but it had gone limp and his face crinkled in the drying tears. Slowly her foot began to rise and it did so again and again until the space between them had disappeared. “You are not going to kill me,” she whispered, “because I see you.”
“You’re not invisible Jacob.” she whispered even more quietly.
Her hand, like her feet, moved ever so slowly until it found the cool black metal of the gun. It fell over his, stained with the day’s cruelty and the blood that would forever remain, until finally his hands had surrendered the gun. “Come on,” she said and it seemed that in that moment they were the only two in the room. “Let’s get out of here.”
His eyes flashed in a second back to deep panic and he was the young helpless boy again afraid of the world’s dangers. “Trust me, it will be okay.” She did not know that and there was a part of him that knew this too but for some reason he followed as her hand, placed on his shoulder, guided him out of the classroom, the front door and into the blinding sunlight.



What met them outside was a typical mob scene of police, paramedics, hysterical parents, escaped survivors, and the media. But as the double doors of the school gradually moved before their eyes, an extraordinary thing happened; the crowd of people was stunned to a soundless calm, but that moment did not last long for the chaotic frenzy returned almost as if turned on by a switch. Police officers swarmed at once and enraged parents began to viciously shout at the monster that had killed their children. His face did not even flinch but remained like a stone even when the cops threw him on his stomach and bound the blood-stained hands. From that moment on everybody knew his name.





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DillianIvy02 said...
Apr. 24, 2009 at 6:22 am
This piece is stunning. I feel it captures the struggle of the characters, while also capturing the energy of the author. It effortlessly develops, and transitions with ease from the climax to a strikingly heartfelt resolution. Truly stunning, pushes the boundaries of the reader's comfort level to expose the greater meaning of it all. Well done.
 
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