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Never Saw You Coming.
Never say Never. That’s the saying. I never thought it would happen, not in my wildest dreams. Never thought, I could do what I did. Never thought, by any stretch of my imagination that my life would change. Never thought, he would come for me. Never thought, it would happen the way it did. Never say Never. Just don’t. Because then, it does happen. Just like it did with me.
The band hall was buzzing, as it always is. We did our usual routine, like usual. I was waved at, some people talked to me as they rushed to their chairs. Soon, we all played the warm-ups and started the band class.
One of the flaws about the band hall is you can’t hear the speaker, or the alarms for that matter. Students, including me, are usually late to class because we can’t hear the bells over the band. This really hasn’t been a problem. We don’t care. Most of us would rather miss that next class anyways. We love the band hall. It is one of my homes. I know that no matter what, a student, or family member in my case, will be there. The band is a family, always. I know I will see a friend, who might as well be a brother or sister. Some cousins and maybe an aunt or uncle will be there too. I know for a fact, always, that our director, Mama, will be there, standing in the front, not so patiently waiting for us. The one person, I never thought would show up in the band hall though, was Samuel. An actual, blood related, family member.
The alarms went off. Of course, we didn’t hear them. How could we be expected to? I’m pretty sure Mama got blamed for that later on. We were playing the song, Canterbury Walk, so no telling when the sounds were sent out for the school to take cover. It probably didn’t take long for him to find us. When the whole school goes down on lock down, the place where the music is, usually is where the people are. He knew I was in band. My stupid saxophone and me. When he entered, only Mama saw him. We all know better than to look up from our music. But, we are a good band, and know to look up at our director. The look of confusion and insecurity showed on her face. There is a reason we call her Mama. She loves us like she is our own mother, and she is like a Mama bear when it comes us, her cubs. She cut us off, and the room went silent. You could feel how still each student was; almost as if we had all frozen in time. “May I help you?” Mama asked the figure standing still by the doors. I didn’t think much of it, I mean, they didn’t call a lockdown, or so I thought, so it didn’t seem like anything to worry about. I broke the stillness picked up my pencil and marked that blasted A flat I missed again.
“Where is she?” The figure now asked. The class looked around in confusion, but my eyes grew wide, recognizing the voice. How could I forget? That very voice haunted my mind, my dreams, daily. I feared that voice. In the past, that sound brought me happiness. Now, I instantly wanted to cry.
“Where is who sir? Did you stop by the office and get a visitors pass?” Mama tried to hold her composure.
“Screw that pass. Where is she? Where is Adalynn?” The whole band took in a light quick breath, some looking over at me, even though my mind told them not to. You freaks. He will see me. You don’t want him to see me. It could get me hurt. It could get you hurt. It was too late. Samuel turned his head as the rest of the band did, and when he spotted me, I couldn’t tell if his eyes were glowing with happiness or hatred. Whichever, Mama didn’t like it. She stepped off her podium, and stood in front of the band, like she does when she tells us something serious and important.
“Sir, to see her, you have to go get a pass…If you want, I can send a staff member to bring you there. But otherwise I’m sorry,” Without letting Mama finish her sentence, I saw Samuel make a swift move with his right arm and I’m pretty sure I knew what was happening before everyone else did. Samuel pulled from a hidden pocket in his jacket, a handgun that looked small but I knew was powerful.
He loaded it even before pointing it at Mama. “Now, I want you to stay still. Every one of you bonehead kids will stay still. Adalynn, leave the horn here, and come on. We are going. Now.” Without thinking twice I removed my neck strap and placed my sax across my chair. I looked up and Samuel no longer had the gun on Mama, but on me. Wow, he is smart. Mama would have done something if the gun was on her. She just wants us safe. Doesn’t even care about herself. But if the gun is on me, she won’t move. Not an inch.
Walking through the band over to Samuel was probably what I remember most. I looked at everybody. My Brothers and Sisters. My Brothers looked ready to kill, and my Sisters ready to bust an eardrum with screams of terror. I didn’t know if I would ever see them again. With Samuel, there was no telling what was going on in his mind. I could get over to where he is standing, and he could shoot me. Then shoot my family. I had not the slightest clue. All I knew was that even if it was just for a minute or many years, I would miss my family.
When he jumped I barely remember. I know that for a second, I made eye contact with a brother, Jace. I recall that Jace wasn’t far from Sam. Just one lunge to his left. I remember Jace, one of my best friends, was the last person I saw, before I took another step toward Sam. Then I heard a tackle, and saw Jace, trying to pry the gun out of Samuel’s hand. I stood there stunned. By the time my other Brothers got out of their seats, it was too late. The water in my eyes grew greater when I heard his finger connect with the trigger. Samuel was to his feat in seconds holding the gun, ready to fire at my other standing Brothers. I remember through blurry eyes seeing Jace, on the floor. A hole in his gut. He was going to suffer. Your fault. All of this. Everything. Adalynn, it’s your fault. That’s when I finally spoke. “Sit. Every single one of you sit. Samuel, let’s go. You’ve done enough now.”I felt their eyes on me, as I kept my eyes on Jace. When I finally looked up, every pair of eyes was on me, including Sam’s. “You all heard me. You idiots, sit down before he shoots you. Samuel, let’s go. Aren’t we going?” Still nothing, not a single movement.
Finally, I looked at Mama. “Help me here. Do you want them to die like Jace? Make them sit, he will shoot. He is from my family, of course he will.” I pleaded. She nodded her head, and all my Brothers moved back to their seats. I saw some of my Sisters with their eyes closed moving their lips in prayer. You don’t even know how much I need it. Some of my siblings knew about Samuel. The terror in their eyes showed. Whether they were scared for themselves or me, I don’t know. “Samuel, come on. You have done enough, I’m coming with you. You got what you wanted. Me, and a life of someone else. Now, come on.” And with that, Sam turned toward me.
When we made eye contact, I forced myself to look away from my own real cousin, to the friend I considered a Brother. He looked at me, and blinked. My strength of holding back the tears broke. I crouched down beside him, kissing him on the cheek. He looked at me, and a tear slid down his face. He smiled, forcing it through the pain. I smiled too, and tapped his nose saying, “No matter what anyone says, I’ll see you again okay? I’m sorry your time came so soon. I love you Jace, you’re my hero. Even if you died in the process. No matter what, you are the hero.”
Samuel’s hard footsteps came closer to Jace and me. When he saw Jace’s chest slightly rising and falling, Sam pulled me up by the arm, pushed me behind him, and the pointed the gun on Jace again. The second shot felt as if it had gone through me, not Jace’s chest. Samuel bent over, closed Jace’s bright brown eyes, spit on him, and mumbled, “Yeah what a hero. Adalynn, come on.” Somehow, I managed to make it out of the building without looking at Jace’s corpse, without turning back, and without a feeling. I was numb. Samuel, pushed me in the passenger seat and off we went. Not long later, I heard on the radio the whole story, again and again.