I am...We are

January 21, 2010
By , Chapel Hill, NC
How do the most terrible things happen to the most undeserving people? I asked somebody, anybody, while I bent over the lifeless body. My tears soaked my shirt as I stared into the empty eyes, terrified. The approaching sirens kept getting louder, but all I heard was my broken heart while it thumped in my ears. Breathing got increasingly harder as my throat closed, choking me with my own breath. I lay down and pressed my head against her chest, wishing that I would hear the steady beat of her heart… There was no such sound.

I am Payton Farrington.

The sounds and movements of the ghetto were extra loud today, as I walked home from my school in the late afternoon. Classmates scurried around, shoving and pushing each other. Soon enough one of them would be offended and a fight would break out, I snuck away into a back alley to escape the trip to the police station for once. Heck, I couldn’t have picked a worse path.

A cold, pale hand wrapped around my dark arm, I started and turned around on the person. There was a flash of something silver and I felt a cold, sticky, sensation against my neck. Pain followed this tingling feeling and I fell to the ground, stunned and take off guard. My attacker stepped out of the shadows, it was a white man with crazy eyes and a mass of brown hair. I recognized him from the benches near the supermarket, where he’d take naps frequently. I stared in fear at him while I pressed my hand against my neck. Deep red blood flowed from a gash in my neck. I lay, unarmed, on the concrete, anger grew in the pit of my stomach. The man raised his knife again, I put out my hand, thinking it’d protect me somehow. Soon enough, the knife had buried itself in my palm and was lying on the ground.

The man put on an evil and wild expression and made his way to my backpack that’d been thrown off of me when I fell to the ground. The anger had made it’s way up to my throat and, as my attacker searched through my backpack, I made a low growling sound. I looked around frantically for a way of escape. My anger blocked my vision as I groped for the knife in the dark of the alley. Finally, my hand clasped around the handle and I stood up and stumbled over to the man silently.

I raised the knife in the air and brought it down hard, not even looking as to where it would go. I felt impact and heard a sickening scream, without pausing to look back, I snatched my backpack and ran down the street towards our house at the corner. Or, at least, that’s what I thought I did. In reality, I found myself standing, breathing heavily, over the man. His blood drenched my clothes and covered my hands and face, he was breathing… I looked down at my hands with disbelief and horror, I dropped the knife onto the ground and backed away, leaving my bag in the dead man’s clutch. I could hear sirens coming and turned around and sprinted into the night.

I am Tyron Baxter.

I put a hand to my jaw, feeling where it was swollen and bulging. I leaned forward on the bathroom counter, staring into the mirror at the skinny boy facing me. I’d explained my purple eye to my parents by saying I ran into a wall after school, they believed me. The boy had punched me right after I’d ducked out of a kiss with his girlfriend, it tore at me like a bullet and there was no way to dodge it in the little corridor. Now I look in the mirror at the skinny little kid from Newark. What happened to me?

I am Jay Logan.

The door slammed loudly and I turned to watch my brother storm out of the house and onto the front lawn. Breathing deeply, I rushed down the stairs and out into the pouring rain. I stood in front of him and yelled through the rain.

“ Where are you going?” I screamed at him. He looked at me painfully, did he have another fight with dad? Did dad hit him again? He turned and climbed into his car, rolling down the window, I ran up next to him.

“ Out,” he replied gruffly, he had always been non-talkative, ever since mom died. I tried to smile when I looked at him, but it took all my strength.

“ Are you coming back?” I questioned, stopping the tears from coming before it was too late. He looked up at me and shook his head sadly. My heart sank and I could feel the tears coming, my voice shook as I spoke.

“ You can’t leave, not now,” I said to him, he couldn’t possibly leave right now. He was my idol, the only reason that I hadn’t left home years ago, if he left now…What would be my motivation? He shook his head again and put his foot on the gas, I backed away slowly and watched the car sputter down the road. My brother drove out of sight and I was suddenly alone. I turned back to look at the house, beer cans scattered in the yard, I could see my father staggering around in front of the television. I wiped the tears off of my face and whipped around, away from the house…and I started to run.

I am Trey White.

The dust swallowed me in it’s amazing strength I was blown backwards, onto the ground. My tears flowed off my cheeks onto the dirt road as I got up, glancing at the men behind me. I walked forward, nervous and uncertain about what I was going to do. I walked through the window that’d just been blown to bits by a stick of dynamite. I stepped into the back of the store, covered by the screams and mayhap the explosion had created. People rushed by me, struggling to make it out before the smoke engulfed them, I placed a nurses’ mask over my face carefully and proceeded to walk up to the counter.

More people were entering behind me and they went searching for more people, robber’s masks over their faces. I turned and saw the barrel of a gun pointed right between my eyes. A rough voice ordered me to the back of the store quickly. I obeyed and sat down in the smoke, it wrapped around me, choking me. I coughed in the dark atmosphere of the store. I heard some scuffling in the front, a cash register opening, more scuffling. Three gun shots. Silence.

I am Malik Sharp.

We are heroes.

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