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The Gunman This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The gunman had reached room 204 of the Hilton inn, immediately kicking the door open with his PMR-30 gripped tightly at his side. The door slammed against the wall and a small girl jumped slightly at the sudden intrusion. This is it, he thought.

  The girl was sitting on the windowsill casually, reading the last few pages of her book. Although she acted nonchalant, the atmosphere grew tense and there was a slight quiver of her lip as she slowly looked up. It took all her might to tear her gaze from the gun to the eyes of the man holding it. Careful not to let her voice crack, she spoke clearly to the man at the door. "Didn't your mother teach you how to knock?" her lips curled into a small smile. The gunman was taken aback. There was a hesitation before he cocked the gun and aimed it at this young girl. Her smile did not falter, but she smoothly turned her head to look out the window. She hoped the gunman wouldn't see the fear in her eyes through the reflection of the window. 

  No police. No panic had ensued. I made sure of that, the gunman thought. There was nowhere for her to hide. Where were her parents? His palms grew sweaty and the gun seemed to grow heavy as  the moments passed. He saw her fearful eyes in the reflection of the window. I can't waste much time. No witnesses.

  The realization of no police killed all hopes of rescue. She was alone. Her eyes began to flood with tears, but she held them back as her mind searched for an answer; a light of survival. Her phone. It sat next to her on the windowsill. Taking a deep breath, and turned back to the gunman. His eyes were wide with growing anxiety and madness. "If this is going to be my last day," she swallowed, fiddling with the keypad as she pushed the emergency number and turned the volume on mute, "May I finish my book?" 

 She wants to finish her book? Whats the point of that? Well, this is going to be her last day. And the police aren't coming anytime soon. But what if someone has seen me? The gunman weighed each option carefully. "Fine. You have five minutes to finish it," the gunman said. 

  This is it, she thought. I have five minutes to finish my life. She gulped and tried to speak loudly so the phone would pick up her voice.  "Alyssa woke up to the sound of screaming outside of her room. 204 seconds passed before the screaming stopped. Gunshots could be heard from the Hills. Tons of people were chaotically running through the streets. Another raid." Her heart was pounding rapidly as she heard the seconds tick by. Please help me, she thought desperately. She turned the page as if she were reading it. Last page. "Twenty seconds," the gunman's voice was surprisingly quiet. Her breathing became erratic as she tried to keep herself from breaking down. But it was obvious. Her voice was airy and cracked as she choked back her tears. "Alyssa was alone when she got outside." Her tears fell onto her cheeks endlessly and she wept as she spoke. "She fell to her knees as the guns were all pointed at her. Alyssa looked up to the sky for comfort. "Heaven help me," she said." 

 "Time's up," the gunman said. He watched as the girl shakily closed her book, her tears etched on her face. She looked out the window to the sky and whispered, "Heaven help me." And he pulled the trigger.




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