I didn’t want to go to church that day.
It was the sunniest Sunday in Sutherland Springs
And I just wanted to play. But things were different today:
With the pastor away, my dad would lead the sermon.
I could hear the choir singing
As we walked the streets that day
To the small, white church standing tall
Like an angel in the center of our city.
Inside, we decided where to sit:
Near Annabelle, the pastor’s daughter,
Asking her grandma when her parents would be back?
Near the Johnsons, the oldest couple in town,
Who always smelled musty, but always gave me candy?
Near Haley, the red-haired teen,
So I could brag about how papa was leading church today?
But before we could, I felt sunlight from behind
As the doors opened and darkness entered.
Boom! Boom! Boom! And instead of the choir,
All we heard was the gunman’s rifle screaming.
He was wearing all black and a skeleton mask.
He pointed his gun at papa.
He fired. Papa fell.
So did Annabelle. So did the Johnsons. So did red-haired Haley.
And so did all my family. All gone.
Just me. Bathed in blood.
No, I didn’t want to go to church that day.
But now that church is the closest thing I have to a family.