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Surrounded

Surrounded

I’ve never seen everyone in such a panic, such frenzy. Instinctively, I turn around to find Eric but everyone’s dashing around the halls and his face is nowhere to be seen. I try to reason, what are supposed to do in a code red again? In the midst of my panic I hear the second ringing of a gunshot and I take off. I finally find my safe haven but the doors have already been locked. This isn’t happening. I pound and pound, delirious while the tears begin to stream down my face. Finally, after giving in to my plea, the teacher unlocks the door and quickly pulls me into the classroom. He gently closed the door, locking it again, and I can faintly see him gesture towards the wall next to the door. I make out the shadowy clump of students and through the darkness I slowly settle myself amongst them.
I look around for a familiar face or some sort of comfort and quickly realize everyone is doing the same. Everyone is uneasy and some are weeping silently. One boy, Jack from my chemistry class, begins to say something but he is quickly shushed. I continue my search but it doesn’t take me long to realize that there is no familiar face, no comfort, so I sit and try to walk through that past ten minutes, can this really only have started ten minutes ago? All I know is that one minute I’m at my locker in between classes desperately searching for my calculator, and the next I hear a popping, clearly now I know it was a gun shot, and the mayhem began. I can assume the gun was on the other side of the school because there seemed to be a few seconds for the reaction from the popping noise and the racing and screaming. I try to think of anyone that I knew that could’ve been on the other side of the school. . . . A sudden realization sets in and I can feel my heart drop to my stomach. Eric.
My mind is knotted and I try to through the idea of him being shot out of my mind but it’s useless. I’m brought back to the one night that I always try to forget but being here, in the silence and the panic, I think I might just allow myself to open up that door. But not yet, not now. I try to refocus my attention to what is actually going on. So after the first gunshot and the sudden change in the atmosphere, I distinctly remember hearing a second pop. This was the shot that sent me sprinting. And then something clicks to me. That gunshot sent me sprinting because it was close. It was on my side of the school. That leaves me with one of two thoughts. First, The shooter is running around the school and shooting. This seems unrealistic because if this was the case, I definitely would’ve heard a third shot by now. Also, if he ran out of the school, we would’ve been notified by now. The second option sends a tingle down my spine and I can feel my eyes widen. There’s more than one shooter.
How can this be? How does this Happen? Why would someone, or quite possible someones, come in and shoot innocent students? Innocent kids. Are they going to attack everyone? Is there a specific person or group of people they’re after? How come no one has come to help us?
Stop.

I can’t keep asking myself these questions and driving myself crazy. I take a glance at my peers. Some are still crying, others seem to be trying to sleep (good luck), and the others are either holding each other or starring off into space. This isn’t doing anything to calm my nerves so I try and breathe. I relax my muscles and release the books I’d been clasping in my sore hands. There is some hope, I suppose. We haven’t heard any more gun shots. We haven’t heard anything from the shooter. In fact, we haven’t really heard anything. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not, so I dismiss the thought completely.

As my thoughts begin to become relaxed and open, I picture my family. I can feel my heart breaking and the quiver of my lip when I see my Dad finding out the news that I’m trapped in a school shooting. I can see him running out to his car and speeding all the way here. I can see him getting out of his car and busting into the school fighting off anyone who tries to stop him. I can hear him racing down the halls screaming my name. I see myself getting up and opening the door, running down the halls and seeing him. I can feel his bear hug and his comforting hushes holding me as I’m balling and tasting the salt from my tears.

As I look up through my clouded eyes, I’m beyond crushed to see that my hero is nowhere to be found. The only comfort I feel is when I close my eyes, hug my knees, and shut out the world. In the midst of my mental break down, I’m suddenly brought to reality when I feel the gentle touch of someone’s hand against my shoulder. The gesture scares me to paralyzation. Out of the corner of my eye I can see Jack sliding next to me and I allow myself to breathe. We aren’t aloud to talk, but he begins to whisper in my ear.
“It’s going to be okay April, we’re going to get out of here.”
These kind words relax, but confuse me. Jack puts his arm around me and I fall into the groove of his shoulder, still weeping.
“Thank you” I manage to joke out.
I feel a sudden rush of guilt come over me and I can’t help shutter. I couldn’t believe that a whole year had gone by since Jack had whisked me off my feet, like a prince, and I broke his heart like the awful person I was. Here I am again, brought back to the night with Eric, but I still refuse to think of it. Not here, not now. So I just sit in Jack’s arms, guilty as ever, and try to let my mind wonder to better memories.
I try to picture my Mother finding out the news but this is more difficult. How awful is it to say that I’m not sure how she would react? Obviously she would be upset and crushed, but would she cry? Would she rush to save me? The hesitation in my mind is answer enough.
“Did you hear that?” Jack’s whisper brings me back
“no. . . .” I mutter
“There is someone outside, in the hallway”
“Jack, are you. . .” my voice fads out and I can hear the footsteps followed by the snickers
“That’s Will, can’t you hear him?” Jack tells me
“Who?” to be completely honest, I don’t know most of the kids on our school
Jack gets close and quietly as possible he explains,
“Will, he was in our woodshop class and he was always off on his own. We always thought he was crazy. I wonder if. . . no way.”
I gasp, I know what he’s trying to say. This can’t seriously be happening. How can anyone do this at our school? We went to a good school, yeah it was a public school, but it was definitely one of the better ones! This kind of stuff didn’t happen here, not in this town. Nothing happens in this town, that’s why I’m here for crying out loud!
The streams are running down my face and although Jack’s trying to calm me, it’s no use because I can see the panic all over his face. My assumptions are true I can hear the voices talking. I try to make out how many but my mind isn’t really working. I can make out two, maybe three?
“Oh my. . . .” I blurt out
There is definitely another voice amongst them. A pleading voice. A voice begging.
“Please, don’t. . . .”
Everyone is shuddering and I can’t help but feel the urge to get up. The urge to run through the halls and help the voice.
“I can’t listen to this.” I whimper
My frozen body and Jack hold me to the ground like a boulder. I can hear someone running through the halls and I start to go crazy. I’m angst and I’m fighting Jack’s grip. At this point I’m ready to jump out the window on the second floor, anything to get out of this room. The steps become louder and then suddenly Will is shouting
“YOU ALL THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY, WELL HERE YOU GO.”
Pop.




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