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It’s funny how that was the first thought I had when I woke up, a pencil carefully making its way across a crisp white sheet of lined paper while a pale hand with chewed nails brightly painted with fuchsia polish guided its path.
Was this hand my own?
I watch with growing curiosity as the scene continues to play out in my head, the pencil carefully drawing multiple looks and lines across the page. I dig deep into the back of my mind, searching for the correct name for the squiggles the hand and the pencil were making.
Letters. Words. Sentences.
The memories of those things come back to me rapidly. I remember how I would hold a book in my hands and quickly open it, not being able to wait a second longer to vanish into the world that the words would take me to. I vaguely remember that I would do this, read, for fun, while other people would only do it for school.
For some reason, the word sounds very important in my mind. All of a sudden, the scene before me of the hand and pencil changes into one of a large, empty room as I continue to struggle to remember the significance of the word. I find myself studying the empty room, searching for anything that would trigger a memory again. After finding nothing, I start to get annoyed with myself, wondering, what’s the point of an empty classroom anyway?
I watch in awe as the scene changes yet again at the simply thought. Desks and a podium appear and posters cover every inch of white space on the once bare walls. Teenagers filly every desk while a sole adult stands in front of them all, her hands on her hips and her eyes stern. I watch in admiration as she begins to speak in front of the class of a least thirty students, knowing that I would never be able to do that.
I quickly turn away from her and towards the faces of the students, trying to ignore how eerie it was that I couldn’t hear any noise coming out of the teacherr’s mouth. I let my eyes rest for a few seconds on each face, studying one before moving on to the next. Most of them were so obviously on ther verge of falling asleep that it was ridiculous, but, after I glance behind me, the teacherr didn’t seem to care too much.
I remember that school was boring. I was getting bored just watching it take place, and I find myself wishing for one of those magical changes of scene to happen again. I inwardly sigh when nothing happens and settle on looking over the faces once more. I look over each one, not recognizing any, until I reach a boy that I hadn’t noticed before in the back corner. His head is resting on his hands, so all I can see at first is his long, jet black hair. My heart starts racing as he lifts his eyes, connecting immediately with my own. His stormy grey orbs don’t look away from me as his hand starts to slowly drift down to where his backpack sat next to him. I start to panic for a reason unknown to me as he leisurely starts unzipping it, a cold smile playing at his lips.
I somehow manage to tear my eyes away from his and look back towards the teacherr, praying she had finished writing on the board and had turned around. My eyes dark back towards the boy after, to my dismay, the teacherr hadn't moved. The boy was definitely sneering at me now, and my heart almost jumps out of my chest when I see how close his backpack is to being open.
What are you doing? A blonde girl that’s sitting next to him says. I hold back a cry of terror as he reaches deep into his bag, ignoring the girl.
The room erupts into hysterical screams when they see the gun he’s pulled out. People start franticly running towards the door, but they all stop cold in their tracks as the boy pulls the trigger.
STOP!! I see him yell.
It’s then, when the students start to realize that they weren’t getting out of the classroom, that the tears start streaming down countless faces.
I watch as the boy with the stormy eyes yells something else. Something like, Get down!, but probably with more obscenities. I find myself wishing that I could be one of the students huddling on the floor or in a corner. At least they were able to close their eyes.
I watch in continuing horror as a girl carefully approaches him from the side. I hadn't noticed her before, but she seems to be everyone's last hope.
“Greg. You don’t want to do this,” the girl says, bring, with her voice, my ability to hear.
The boy, Greg, spins towards her, the gun pointing towards her head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The girl puts her hands up in a sign of submission. “Please, Greg. Just put it down,” she says, her voice strangely peaceful for being in such a dangerous position.
I suddenly understand the girls reason for approaching Greg as the students huddled on the floor start to shift towards the door. Greg now had his back completely turned to them, giving the kids a much better chance of getting away. I watch as the teacherr quietly opens the door and everyone starts to get out of the classroom, some crawling on the floor and others jumping to their feet and running.
She was a hero.
My view of the scene shifts to the girl’s point of view, showing me Greg’s twitching smirk and cold eyes in vivid detail, tying my stomach into knots. Even though he was entirely terrifying, there was something almost sad about him. Maybe I was just feeling this because it’s what the girl was feeling, but I do feel sorry for him. While caught up in these feelings of pity for Greg, neither I nor the girl see it coming when the butt of the gun roughly smacks into her temple, knocking her out cold and leaving me standing where she was just seconds before.
The whole scene pauses as soon as she hits the ground. My rapidly beating heart doesn’t slow as I look down at the girl, wondering if I recognized her like I had Greg. Her clear blue eyes stare off into the distance and her mouth sits slightly parted, tying my stomach again into more knots. I look away from her face quickly and let my eyes rest on her unmoving hand. My heart jumps into my throat when I see her bright fuchsia nail polish.
It was me.
I was there, lying helplessly on the floor.
Or… maybe I already am.