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The sound of gunfire resonated in the vacant, locker-lined halls. The building once smelled of scraped-knees, pencil shavings, and laughter. Now the scents of gunshots and fear suffocated the air. Windows, doors, anything that would allow someone to peer into the many rooms within the building were blacked out. These rooms were filled with children who, for once, were dead silent, except an occasional shaky breath. In one room the students were huddled near the far adjacent corner from the door. Some shoved under the counter attached to the wall. The door handle began to shake furiously and everything froze. Within the mass of terrified, huddled bodies there was a girl. This girl had dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders, blue jeans and her entire life in front of her. She sat there with her eyes squeezed tight in a silent plea, as if doing so would make everything go away, make everything . . . okay.
And then there was me. On the other side of the door. Vindictive enough to not care about what happens after this. Nothing. Nothing was going to stop me. I hated this damn school! Why wouldn't I, after all it had put me through?
Bang! My back slammed into the lockers behind me. I let out a small groan.
“Oi. Lucas why don’t you fight back? Too scared huh? Wuss!” Kody, a muscular, blonde, popular kid laughed in my face.
“Kody, can you just leave me alone . . . ? For once?” I said. I blinked with exhaustion, I couldn’t get my head to focus. Did I hit my head too? I lolled my head up to see Kody and his crowd laughing around me.
“What a loser!” Jonah, one of Kody’s friends, chuckled. He reached into my bag and took out my wallet, spilled all of its contents onto the floor. One of them picked up my credit card and held it up to my neck, pretending to slice my throat.
“Lucas, we’ll see you after school. Okay bud?” Kody said, a round of light chortles followed.
They marched off and I finally looked around, I noticed several passers-bys just staring . . . at me. I looked to the side and a teacher stood there. I grimaced and walked back into their class.glancing at the “No Bullying” sign across the hall. I looked at my phone, class had started. I trudged off to class and accepted my fate.
As soon as I made it into my class my teacher reprimanded. “Mr. Pierce, you’re late. Again.”
I rubbed the back of my head and slumped to my seat.
“Talk to me after class Mr. Pierce,” my teacher said.
I simply nodded. What else could I do?
The school would pay. It and everyone related to it would suffer for what they did to me. I had never done anything to anyone in the school that would put me on their bad side. But yet they tormented me. Bullying from belittling nicknames to beatings after school, I suffered through all of it. But no matter how much evidence there was from classroom callouts to cuts and bruises decorating my being, administration seemed to turn a blind eye.
I broke into the classroom and glared maliciously at the cowering students. My eyes reflected all the years of torture I had faced in this hell. The girl with the dark brown hair peeked up at me, and we met eyes. Hers were warm, kind and full of life, as if she had never seen any of the world's cruelties. They had a golden brown color, almost like honey. Mine were cold, cruel and dead, like I had been beaten to my core.
I tsked and raised my arm. Click. I aimed my hand gun at them. Click. Pulled the trigger. And then there was a symphony of screams and gunshots.
Moments later screeching sirens filled the air and I could hear choppers hovering around the building. I stood there in the room, staring at where there had once been a mass of people. But now there was only a pile of hollow shells, covered in red splotches. Red also stained the nearby walls, splattered with bullet holes. Red seeped into the carpet which now had a slight squishy texture. I moved to the window, dragging my feet ever so slightly. Dozens of police vehicles pulled up to the building. Officers clad in their traditional dark blue uniforms piled out of the white and black cars, on top of which bright lights flashed and I could hear the sirens much more clearly now. Men in dark gear spilled out of black vans, marked with bold white letters reading POLICE. They wielded larger guns, most likely Carbines, and shields. They quickly formed a line of defense encompassing the school. Survivors rushed out of the building accompanied by armed officers, that’s when I knew my time was up. They were already inside, searching for me. I heard a door get kicked in just down the hall, followed by a flurry of stomping boots and stern commands.
I wondered what titles I would be given, Murderer? Definitely. Terrorist? Most like likely. Psychopath or Homicidal Maniac? Quite possibly. But would they ever think Senior Student or Bullying Victim?
No one cared, no one ever had.
A cop outside rose a white megaphone to his mouth. “Drop your weapon! I repeat! Drop your weapon!”
I loosened my grip on my handgun. It clattered on the floor. Officers fully decked in Kevlar and riot helmets burst through the door. Their heavy boots clunked on the scruffy carpet. Turning slowly, a shallow sigh escaped from between my lips. I wasn’t ready for a life in a prison cell. But what other choice did I have? My folks couldn’t care less.
A large man grabbed my arm, his gloved hand gripping my arm tightly, it reminded me of the many times my arm and been gripped and bruised before. They marched me out of the building, my arms restrained by metal loops and a chain. I could feel the tension, the contempt in the air. I kept my gaze on the ground, but not straight down, for that showed remorse and guilt. And I didn’t have any of that . . . right?
I was shoved into the car, blocked away from the front seats. I closed my eyes.
I opened my eyes and rose from crouching behind a stone wall. Sirens wailed behind me maybe a mile or so away. I had to bust out, I wasn’t going to die and not away in an 8 by 8, concrete cell. I had unfinished business. I ran, I ran faster than I ever had before. I had spent the last seven years locked up. Probably for the better. Run. Run. Turn. You gotta lose ‘em. I jumped over a handrail and fell a few feet below, landing on a patch of grass with a thud. The sirens gained, and I could tell that they were a mere few blocks away. I dashed across the street, barely dodging a black BMW. I hurdled myself across a low fence into a yard lined with daisies and tulips. I reached the back of the house and scaled another fence, much taller this time. I could feel the wood splintering and piercing my hands as I pulled myself over the wooden barrier. Keep running. Almost there. I tore through a few more yards, green and well kept. I made a sharp right and met a vacant asphalt lot, lined with faded yellow marks.
The building was a skeleton, crumbling and hollow. I creaked open a door, dust flying off its glass panes. When I stepped inside a rush of cold air brushed over my face. I strolled down the hall and could hear the sirens faintly outside. I paced down the hall, most of the windows had long fallen out, evident from the few pieces left in the frames and shattered fragments of glass lying on the floor. My footsteps echoed between the white walls, leaving a sense of faint nostalgia within me.
Seven years gives you a lot of thinking time, and I thought a lot of that brown haired girl with the golden-brown eyes. Those eyes haunted my vision during the day, my dreams at night. The screams I heard that day constantly rang in my ears. This time, I was only armed with a black permanent marker. I ghosted through the building, and ran my hands against the cold brick wall. I eventually made my way to the second floor and made my way down the hall, my sneakers pounded softly against the worn tiled floor. My eyes searched for a certain room, one I hadn’t been in for seven years. Here. This is it Lucas.
I yanked the door open. It was as heavy as it ever had been. I walked to the wall. They never bothered to even clean up the building afterwards. They just instantly shut it down. I was honestly surprised they didn’t demolish it. The blood on the wall was extremely dry and cracked, most of it had fallen off, but even then there was a slight stain. I ran my finger against it, rubbing it between my fingers. I brush them on my pants, as if that could fix anything. Maybe things could have been different . . . maybe if I wasn’t stupid enough to let my rage and my problems lead me to do something so hideous. To do something that affected so many innocents. Maybe if I had gotten some help, any help before it was too late. Maybe if I had friends or anyone to talk to. But I didn’t. I was alone and outraged, a dangerous combo. It’s no excuse though.
I pulled off the cap of my black permanent marker, and shakily brought it to the wall. In big letters, I scribbled “I’M SORRY. I KNOW THIS WON’T FIX ANYTHING. IT CAN’T BRING THEM BACK. I CAN’T GO BACK AND STOP MYSELF. BUT I’M SORRY” I grimaced bitterly, but a sad smile crept onto my face. I rummaged around the room, it better be here somewhere. I was sure I hid it well enough. I pushed aside some rubble and opened a cupboard door.
I felt around inside of it, straining my arm to the very back. Here it is. I had hidden a secret second handgun, in a small gutter in the back of the cupboard. I withdrew my hand, gripping the firearm. I walked slowly towards the wall again. I stared at it for several moments. I stood next to my message, back against the wall. Raised the gun towards myself, widened my mouth, aimed towards the roof of my mouth and up to my brain.