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Split Second

I once believed that I had an easy and typical life. I attended school every day. I hung out with friends and I received good grades. I believed that nothing bad could ever happen to me. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself.
Every few seconds I could feel my head starting to fall and then I’d quickly lift it trying to portray that I was awake. My eyes felt as if they were as heavy as bricks. The hot humid air of May wasn’t helping either.  My eyes lazily scanned the novel pages trying to find where we were reading but I was failing miserably. I could feel Mr. B’s strong stare on my back. I desperately tried to pay attention so I wouldn't have to read in front of the class for not following along. I believed that was my biggest fear. Speaking in front of the class. But I soon realized, I should seriously rethink that.


We continue to read our boring history book before an annoying ringing sound seemed to reverberate throughout the room. Mr. B slowly walked over to the phone as if he had all the time in the world. Once he has put a stop to the annoying ringing, I turn my head and focus on Mr. B. He is constantly nodding his head up and down but now I've noticed that his body language has changed drastically. His shoulders that had once been relaxed had now gone as tense as a board. His eyes flicker around the room as if he has no idea what he's supposed to do. Something was obviously very wrong.


Mr. B slowly hung up the phone. He then stopped and just stared at us as if he wished we could all just disappear.  He then took a deep breath and put a smile on his face, but I could tell it was obviously fake. He then spoke as if nothing was wrong.


“Okay students, there has been a little incident so we’re going to go into a lock in place drill,” He quietly spoke.
I glanced at the other kids in my class to see what their reactions were. Most of them were smiling and laughing and messing around like it was a normal Thursday morning.


Some students started standing up so I followed their lead. Mr. B quickly led us over the to the corner that could not be seen by the door. Once we were all seated, I stopped to just take in my surroundings. I could feel something heavy on top of my foot which I assumed was another student. I hugged my knees as close to my body as I could wishing that we could just go back to reading that dumb history book. Mr. B had locked the door and then closed all the blinds making the room almost as dark as night. The only reason it wasn’t pitch black was the tiny stream of light coming through a blind that wasn’t quite closed. He then quickly walked back to us and whispered,
“Someone has entered the school, but we’re not sure if he’s dangerous or not. We just want to be cautious.”
As what he said was slowly processing in my mind, I heard a popping noise ring through my ears. My first thought was that someone had brought fireworks into the school. I soon realized that this was not the case because this popping was different. These loud noises didn’t release a high pitch shrill or a sudden explosion as they bursted into an array of colors. They were quick and constant.


My blood suddenly ran cold. I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight. Shivers seemed to run through my entire body and wouldn’t stop. Beads of sweat started to drip down my neck. My shoulders tensed. Those weren’t fireworks. They were gunshots.


Mr. B also knew what they were  because his calm and relaxed body language was nowhere to be found. Instantly everyone in the room became silent. I listened for any noise at all, but I couldn’t even hear anyone breathing. For a long couple of minutes it was as silent as night, no one dared to make a peep. Then I could hear these heavy footsteps in the hallway as if their owner was stomping. The footsteps were getting louder and louder. I prayed as hard as I could that whoever was out there walked right passed our door.


Slowly I breathed in and out, and I believed it was because I didn’t want whoever was in the hallway to hear me. When the thundering footsteps sounded as if they were right outside our door, I held my breath and imagined myself as a statue. Suddenly I started mentally thanking God and anyone else I could think of. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved in my entire life. My relief was short lived. It was silent for a few seconds and then complete chaos let loose as if someone had broken down a fence with wild animals inside. Screams and cries for help could be heard from next door. It finally clicked in my mind that the shooter was in the classroom next door. All they had to do was walk through the door that combined our classrooms and he would be upon us.


Everyone looked at Mr. B hoping he had some idea that would save us all. He looked as lost as I felt. He must have come up with an idea that was better than nothing because then he said,
“Okay, we’re all going to be very quiet and move towards the door to the hallway. I need everyone to stay calm.”


His idea seemed reasonable enough “ , I thought to myself. ”


So we all slowly rose and quietly tip toed to the door. I tried not to focus on the sounds coming from next door, but they seemed to consume my mind. Most of us were almost to the door when there was suddenly a thundering bang that sounded as if someone had kicked the door open and it had slammed into wall. On impulse I turned around to see what was happening and it was then that I got my first look at the person who was terrorizing the school. He was tall and muscular, with wide shoulders and black hair. He was wearing black jeans and a big black Carhart coat. He had a face of steel and a handgun in his right hand. It was like time had frozen. No one dared to move.


One moment he was just standing there looking at us while starting to raise his gun and the next he was holding his head and yelling in outrage. Someone had thrown a book at his head from behind. While he was focused on whoever threw the marker, everyone else took that as their chance to escape. I immediately turned towards the door and briskly ran into the hallway. Once I made it into the hallway, I paused for a few seconds. Students were running all different ways. Some were running into bathrooms not caring if it was the girls or boys. Others were just sprinting down the hallway trying to fiercely get away from the horrible man.
Making a split second decision, I dashed down the hallway and threw myself through the main gym doors. Stopping for a moment, I looked around searching for a good place to hide. I rushed over to the tree green bleachers and forced myself through the tiny opening. Once I was finally a safe distance beneath the bleachers, I allowed myself to sorta relax. Feeling desperate, I started brainstorming ways I could get myself out. There was then almost like a click in my brain. I had to get to a phone. The nearest phone was in the classroom right down the hall. Not wanting to wait for trouble I took one look down the hallway and sprinted with all my  might to the usually General English classroom. Once I made it, I dashed to the phone. I dialed 9-1-1 and put the device to my ear. Nothing. My only guess was that someone had cut the phone lines.


Taking a moment to let my disappointment settle I decided to head back to the gym. Stopping at the classroom door and checking if the hallway was clear, I started jogging back to the gym. Hearing some loud noises I ran faster to make sure I didn’t run into anyone. In the gym I leaned against the wall trying to come up with another plan. One did pop into my brain, but it was a pretty risky one.


If the shooter was on one side of the school, then all I had to do was reach one of the doors on the opposite side. Having no other ideas, I settled on trying to get to a door.


I crept over to the main gym doors and listened for any sound at all. Hearing nothing, I inched out into the hallway and looked in both directions expecting to find a mass of chaos and disorder but was surprised to be awarded with a wonderful horrifying silence. I headed left and tore to the end of the hallway. Once I reached the end, I stopped and prayed that no one was around the corner. Silently, I peeked around the corner worried at what was waiting for me. The dark hallway, was absolutely empty. All that could be seen were the dark blue lockers and posters that lined the walls.  I quietly turned and crept down the hallway rushing towards freedom. I was halfway to the door, when I abruptly hit a brick wall. At least that’s what it felt like. Standing at the end of the  hallway facing the door was a man.


My first thought was that it was the same terrifying man with the gun. Looking closer I realized that this was a very different man. He was much skinnier and had golden blonde hair instead of black. Recognizing this sent a chill down my spine. There was more than one guy in our school, I just hadn't seen them. My guess was that if there are more, they are all guarding  the exits. It was almost as if time had frozen. I didn’t dare to move, not ready for the consequences that would come if I did. I pivot my feet and race in the opposite direction of the man guarding the door.


My pounding feet must be loud because I then hear a shout behind me. The man was chasing after me. Pushing myself to go faster, I made a sharp left and sprinted down the main hallway. I could hear his heavy footsteps gaining on me. One moment I was tearing through the vivid hallway covered with green lockers and colorful posters and the next I was on the floor quicker than I could blink. There was a throbbing pain in my knees and elbows from where I had tried to stop my fall. I was sure to have colorful bruises tomorrow, hopefully.


  Large hands grabbed my arms and jerked me off the ground like a ragdoll. His hands were gripping my skin so hard that I was sure he was leaving dark bruises. We started stumbling down the hallway back towards Mr. B’s room. The man only said one thing the whole way, so it was mostly quiet except for the occasional thud.
“Don’t even try to escape,” he stated gruffly.


He continued to walk me down the hallway but then made a quick turn into Mr. B’s room. I hesitated a tiny bit before walking in, scared at what I might find. He nudged me forward and I took a step. Inside the once boring history classroom was a mass of students. We’re the hostages. I was thrown forward and then not even trying to fight it, I sank to the ground and studied my captors. They’re four of them. One had black hair, one had blonde hair, and two had brown hair. They all wore faces of steel. They talked quietly to each other but otherwise didn’t say a word to us.


           I looked around at the other kids in the room. I would guess there are about 15-20 of them. Many of their faces showed defeat or despair. Knowing I had to do something, I looked around and was trying to possibly find a way to escape. I searched the room, for something to distract them or help us. The captors have pushed all the desks up against wall so the room is basically open space. The only thing I could reach was a book a few feet behind me, but there's not much  a book can do.


              The captors must have come to a decision because they turn towards us with serious faces. Two of them suddenly pull out their pistols and point them at the group. Everyone freezes quicker than you could blink.


       “Now, all of you better cooperate if we ask you to come with us. No funny business”, the black haired one commands.


           They start scanning everyone's faces as if choosing which of us would be the best choose. The brown haired one runs his eyes over me but then settles his eyes on me. His look sends chills down my spine. He starts to advance towards me and I do the only rational thing I can think of. I grab the book behind me and launch it at the man in front of me.


      As I do this thoughts start racing through my head. If you're going to die, at least your last action will be getting hurting one of these terrifying men. The book flies through the air and slams into the guy's face causing him to stop and hold his nose.  While this was happening, I was thinking my about my last few minutes of life. Thanking everyone I love and saying all of my mental goodbyes.  As I'm thinking about all of my great memories, the room breaks into absolute chaos. The once standing door is now laying on the ground and police are storming the room surrounding the four horrible men. They handcuff them and lead them out of the room, then go around checking all of the students that survived.

 
A nice police officer with brown hair led me outside the school and towards the sterile ambulance. The paramedic checked my head for a concussion and any other injuries that I may have had. He deemed me all good after a thorough review. I was bursting with relief.


The officers allowed us to run inside the school and grab our possessions. I slowly walked into Mr. B’s classroom and took it in. Everything was scattered and messed up just as it was when the bad guys were here. Then a book lying on the floor caught my eye. I reached down and picked it up. It was the boring history book we were reading earlier. I then realized that this was the book I had thrown at my captors and it must have been the book that someone else threw earlier. This book had pretty much saved my life twice today. Just this morning I was complaining about how boring this book was and then the next moment I was fighting for my life. I vowed to never take life for granted, because it can end in a split second.






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