“What are you doing?” Says the frighten middle aged woman in the doorway in which I came in from.
“...Eating?” I say, not sure what exactly she expected me to say, I mean, she saw me there eating ramen noodles in a cup.
“We’re being held hostage and you decide to raid the kitchen?” She kind of whisper-screams. I almost felt kind of embarrassed, but mostly angry. Not at her, just the whole situation. I didn’t ask for this. I’m 16.
“Right, I didn’t ask for this. All I wanted was to come pick up my little brother from daycare after school. How was I supposed to know some crazy guy would break in here? And besides, the whole point of having hostages is for them to be alive, as leverage to get what you want. Can’t be alive if I’m starving.”
She rolls her eyes. I tend to be quite insensitive under pressure. It’s a coping mechanism.
Thump, thump, thump…
His footsteps were slow. Menacing.
“I’m getting out of here. If you don’t come with me, you’re on your own.
“Right. A middle aged woman, probably going through menopause, took it upon herself to guard my life” I thought. But I didn’t want to be alone, so I came with.
I leave the downstairs kitchen, following her trail.
Mrs.Anderson turns back towards me, slowly, her face totally struck with shock.
His footsteps again. Slowly, slowly, he walks on the floor just above us.
The man makes a big thump sound, probably kicking a door open. We hear the small screams of innocent children begging and crying, the voices overlapping from the opposite side of the house, most likely frightened by the sound. It then hit me that my little brother could be in that room, his innocent life at stake. Everything had felt so surreal until that moment. I drop the ramen noodles and shove the woman as I runover to the fire hydrant. It was the only thing I could find that was heavy enough and fast enough. Two teachers and what seems to be a young mother look at me at once. I rip the fire hydrant off of the wall and walk to the door, standing there for a minute while I thought. Everyone simultaneously realized. I swing it onto the lock of the door once unsuccessfully, making a few dents.
“Stop!! He’s going to come down here!”
Everyone yells overlapping. Once again, I hit the lock. It falls off.
A young male teacher got up, looking at me.
I stared at him as I kicked the door wide open.
It was too late. He runs after me as I dart out of the room and up the stairs.
He stopped at the doorway, but I wasn’t going to take chances, so I kept running.
I hear the man with the gun’s footsteps, close by. Too close. I felt my heart rate increase terribly as I turn my head.
Thump, thump, thump…
His footsteps. They were a lot clearer now. I saw the shadow of his figure as he was approaching the corner just a hallway down from me.
I quickly dive into a dark room that seemed to be empty.
But as I rolled in, I saw about 20 small faces look up at me from under desks, behind the coaches, and basically anything else they could use to hide themselves in fear along with the babysitters, who I happened to land right next to.
I looked behind me. I had left the door wide open.
The door swung open, and everyone, including me, screams.
A young, fit, blonde, man, maybe around 17, stands before us. Nothing of what I expected.
His eyes were red, but he clearly had too much energy. Probably on drugs at the moment.
He attempts to speak, but his words come out slurred.
“Anyone want to come forward?”
I couldn't help but to maintain eye contact with him. He was staring down at me like he could see right through me. Like he can just figure me out.
He squats down next to me, sort of dropping his gun. His recklessness with something so deadly made me incredibly nervous.
“You know, you look a little old to be babysitted.” He whispers, way too close to my face. His breath reeked of alcohol.
I just stared.
He rises, adjusting himself. Then scans the room, making eye contact with every child in the room.
He looks at me again.
“I think… you might have a little sibling here. Don’t you? Why else would someone like you be here?”
No. He wouldn't. He couldn’t. Please...
I scan the room as I look for my brother.
And that’s when my heart dropped.
In the corner, was my baby brother, just 9 years old, wearing a blue polo shirt and khaki jeans. It was picture day at his school earlier that day.
I want to keep looking at him, because I knew that may have been the last time I’d see him. But I know to not draw attention to him for his own safety, so I quickly look away.
“Who is it?”
I stay silent.
He walks towards me, quite without direction, but it still scared me.
“Who is it??!??”
I back up, afraid, and stutter as I say “He’s not here.”
“Really? I don’t believe that.”
He says, pointing the gun directly at the boy towards the back of the room, and before I can respond, he tries to shoot, but the woman in charge grabs him towards her before the boy can get hurt. Everyone screams. I felt guilty for not doing anything, but I was completely struck with fear.
He yells over the gunshots that he fires aimlessly breaking almost everything in the room, children scattering to get away. I’m struck with fear.
“You’re crazy!” I scream. He turns to me and tilts his head. “I know! It’s great, isn’t it?”
He slurs as he continues shooting with extremely poor direction, it seemed like he was really trying but his body physically would not let him, probably due to whatever he’s on. My brother is all the way at the right side in a corner.
I stand up softly behind him. Without thinking, I grab a chair,and as he turns around, I smash it onto him, aiming for his neck and head. He falls to the ground with the gun, confused and hurt.
I quickly bend down to grab the gun. He grabs my wrist with his free hand. I kick him as hard as I can on his chin, and grab the rifle. I fire at his stomach twice and he howls. The remaining kids continue screaming and immediately run out of the room.
“You have no idea who I am, do you?”
With tears in my eyes, I whisper, trembling, as I say “It’s over now.” I hold the gun against his head and pull the trigger.