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“Okay class, you are dismissed!”
My hand immediately fills with pain as I push myself out of my desk and exit the cold, lifeless room. As I pass through the door into the hallway, I quickly look both directions to see if my friends are there. No where to be seen, I slowly turn around to the school’s exit. As soon as I take my first step I hear someone call my name. “Mark…Mark!!” When I turn around I see Greg running awkwardly towards me, Joey following right behind.
By the time that they reach me, they are both completely out of breath. “Mark, why were you leaving?” Greg asked.
“Well I looked around for you and I didn’t see you,” I responded hastily, “so then I just decided to go, and then that’s when you called my name.” I could see that Greg wasn’t quite satisfied with my answer and was waiting for a better one. Finally Joey broke the silence.
“Well all that matters is that we’re all together now, right?”
“Sure…” Greg mumbled still not satisfied.
“C’mon guys let’s go,” I led the way out of the school knowing that my friends were following behind me. When they had finally caught up to me I noticed that Greg was limping kind of bad. “What’s wrong with your leg, Greg? Why are you limping?”
“Dodge ball day today in gym…I dodged the ball and landed right on my leg,” he whispered.
“Oh, that sucks,” Joey answered for me. We continued on the sidewalk taking occasional twists and turns. Every house we passed looked familiar. The constant repetition had burned the images directly into my memory. As we walk, I turn to look at my friends. Joey and Greg have been my friends since kindergarten. They have always been there for me during the good times and the bad ones. I would hate to lose our friendship.
I notice that Greg and Joey have been looking at me for a while. Finally Joey speaks up, “Dude, what are you looking at?” As he asks this, Greg turns to the direction that I was staring in.
“Oh, nothing,” I respond, “just thinking.”
“What are you thinking about?” Joey persists.
“Do you guys have any idea of how long we’ve been friends…?”
Greg joins into the conversation, “This year is going to be our tenth.”
“Wow,” Joey whispers. At this moment Greg’s cell phone starts ringing.
“Hello?” Greg answers. His face turns immediately pale. “What do you mean? What happened?”
“Oh man,” I whisper to Joey. “Something bad must have happened.”
“Yea, I’ve never seen him like this before,” he responds.
“Okay, okay! I’ll be right there I promise!” Greg screams into his phone as he hangs up. In reality the phone call only lasted about a couple minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. This is the first time that Greg has ever been this worried and he won’t even tell us what’s going on.
“Hey Greg, what happened?” Joey asks.
“My mom called me,” he answers cautiously. “She said that my grandma got into a car accident and the ambulance rushed her to the hospital. They say that she’s in critical condition. Sorry guys, I can’t come with you. I got to go home so my mom and I can go to the hospital.”
“Are you sure you have to go?” I question him. “If your mom is going then why do you have to go?”
Greg looks at me, astonished. “How can you say that? This is my grandma that we’re talking about!”
“I know that but-”
“You know what Mark? I don’t want you to talk to me anymore! You’re supposed to be my friend, and for you to say that just proves that you only care about yourself and nobody else!” Before I have any time to respond, Greg rushes off in the other direction.
“Can you believe him?” I ask Joey rhetorically. “He has no reason to freak out at me! I didn’t do anything!”
“Well, he kind of has a point when you think about it…” he responds.
“What do you mean he has a point?”
“Mark, you have never had a person die in your family. You don’t know how it feels.” Joey was right. Up to this point in my life I have never had anyone in my family pass away.
“I still don’t understand what you are trying to say. This doesn’t make any sense to me!”
“What I’m trying to say is that Greg’s grandma is really hurt. There is a huge possibility that she will die today.” Before I could say anything else, Joey calmly walks in the same direction that Greg had walked off to.
Now I was left completely alone. Alone to think to myself, to think about what I just did. I was just talking about how much I cherished our friendship, and now this is what I caused. My friends left me just because I was being selfish.
When I focused back on the sidewalk, I noticed that I had strayed off of my usual route. I looked around curiously as I walked, trying to spot familiar landmarks that gave me a sense of where I was. I looked around for about thirty seconds or so, still unable to identify anything. Right as I was about to put my head down, I saw something familiar in the corner of my eye. I looked up immediately and realized that I had walked in a complete circle. I was about a few blocks away from my school. I hurried toward the direction of the school when I heard footsteps behind me.
I spun around right away, searching for what had made the noise. Almost sure that there was nothing or no one there; I turned back to the direction I was walking. As soon as I turned around I heard the footsteps again. This time I saw three people behind me, keeping their distance. I could barely make out their features when suddenly they had started to walk faster. They were making their way in my direction, decreasing the distance between me and them.
Instead of me walking towards the school, I was making as many twists and turns as I could to try to lose them. They were keeping up with me, not even showing a struggle. When I turned around one more time I instantly made out their appearance. One guy was a tall, with long legs and arms. He looked about 6’5. The next person was a little shorter, about 6’0 or 6’1. He looked a lot stronger than the first guy with what seemed like bulky arms and large calves. The final guy was the most intimidating. It was more like a mix of both people at about 6’3. Height and strength was both put together into this guy. They were all advancing and I started to run.
I ran for what seemed like the fastest I have ever run before. Even when I looked back, they were catching up to me and I was not making any progress. As I looked back to the street in front of me, I noticed a curb coming up fast. I had no time to react and I immediately flung over the side of the road and face planted onto the sidewalk. As soon as I attempted to get up, I felt a huge surge of pain rush through my body. I instantly knew that they had reached me.
Every blow brought another painful memory to flow through my brain. Punch and kick, ‘My best friends…’ Punch and kick, ‘I’m so sorry…’ Punch and kick ‘Please forgive me…’
Each blow was focused on a certain point of my body. One blow, applied to my leg. Another blow targeted my ribs. One more blow to my head. It repeated this pattern for what seemed like forever.
I continue to think as the pain rains onto my body. ‘What would have happened if I never argued with Greg and Joey? What if I would have just let him go?’ I was brought back into reality when I felt something crack in my abdomen. I was immediately conquered by the pain and started coughing up blood.
Time seemed to slow down as I turned and looked straight into the eyes of my offender. The menacing look in his eyes and the smirk on his face seemed almost promising. I was completely helpless, no mercy. That was when the final blow had struck my head, and I fade into the blackness.