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I was sitting in my Algebra class, I felt calm and in my own world. The class was loud, the sound of scribbling pens, chattering students, but it was all drowned out in my ears. I ignored everything around me and heeded every word my teacher said. Mrs. Bradshaw stood at the front of the room, she wrote on the whiteboard, markers squeaking against the surface. She had taught us how to graph functions before, but gave us the formula in hopes it would help. Walking around the room, she passed out the packets. I always loved her as she was patient and had a love for helping students. You could tell how passionate she was about her job, even if it was an underpaying profession. She never cared about the money because the reward was being able to teach us.
The packet seemed easy, I calculated the slopes, plotted the points and drew lines. My best friend in that class seemed to struggle, she never seemed to understand math but excelled at every other subject. Mrs. Bradshaw invited her to the front of the room, in order to help her individually with the difficult problem. Her brain spun, Shelby seemed lost as her eyes darted side to side on the paper, no answer came to her.
I looked around to see other students finishing up their packet, I continued my own work. When I had finished my last problem, I looked up to see Shelby, she was so excited and happy. She grinned from ear to ear, her grey eyes lit up and everything seemed perfect. Shelby had such an uplifting soul and a positive attitude even in the most difficult moments.
Mrs. Bradshaw exclaimed, ‘Yes, you got it!’
A sense of joy and livelihood rushed over her face, it seemed as if everything made sense in the world. She took her seat, thrilled to continue on, and hopeful of completing the next problem. Mrs. Bradshaw sat at her desk, located at the front of the room, and we were about to continue the lesson.
BANG! A shot rang out, echoing through the room, and Mrs. Bradshaw stood up quickly. The students looked around at each other, unsure of what the sound was. The shot sounded near, it wasn’t next door, but it was definitely close. Mrs. Bradshaw yelled, ‘Get down now!’
She sprinted to the door, pulling the blinds shut, turning out the lights and locking the door. The class was now situated under the desks in the back row of the class. Fortunately, our class only had one window, which was previously closed, we sat farthest away from the door as possible. Everyone was fearful, my heart raced, my brain spun. I doubted this was drill but I didn’t want it to be real. Another shot rang out, it sounded louder than the first, it also sounded closer, as if it was drawing near. We sat in darkness with only the light from the blinds shining through. There was no sound, only silence, the light shining through was now blocked, something was placed in front of the window. My heart dropped as another bullet was shot, it was aimed at the doorknob, breaking the lock. A hand tried fiddled with the knob, attempting to enter.
At this point, I was frightened, terrified of being shot, I couldn’t see anyone's faces in the dark, I assumed they were all as scared as I was. My mind rushed, I wasn’t in my own world, I felt petrified of being killed, I thought about how young I am, thinking that I have a life to live. It didn’t take long, the knob turned open, and the door opened wide. I could see a shadow of a figure, footsteps emerged from outside.
A large man walked inside, wearing all black and carrying a rifle. He had medium olive like skin, dark eye bags, and a large, tall figure, he towered over us. He scanned the class, holding his gun high, it was cocked, ready for use. He aimed his gun to the left side of the room, where people were hiding by the cabinets.
A handful of students stood up, attempting to run from the shooter, they didn’t make it far as he shot them. I’ll never forget the terrorized shrieks from students as their bodies fell to the ground, bullets pierced their skin as blood ran onto the floor. Mrs. Bradshaw sobbed, she ran at the man in hopes to unarm him. He now held his gun facing Mrs. Bradshaw, a few more shots rang out. I watched in horror, my friends, classmates, and teacher were lying in front of me, dead. My instincts told me to fake being dead, that way, he won’t shoot me.
The shooter scanned the room, seeing the other students left unharmed, he shot at them, instantly killing a few, including Shelby. She dropped, a bullet had hit her leg, she stumbled to the ground and laid there, no movement. I felt as if I had been shot in my heart, my best friend was injured on purpose, by a man with access to a dangerous weapon. I followed the instinct to lay dead, still thinking the shooter would ignore me.
I told my classmate next to me, ‘Get down!’
He obeyed, quickly laying down on his stomach, to the right of me, I told another classmate to fake dead. He seemed to already be doing so, and he didn’t want to break character. I lied down, next to me, was a pool of blood sopping from his shirt. I realized he wasn’t faking but he really was dead. I wanted to cry, the loud shots kept playing in my ear, I couldn’t open my eyes. Eventually I heard footsteps, slowly walking away. The shooter was leaving the cemetery that he had just created. I cried, for what felt like forever, I slowly noticed the people in the class who had survived. I couldn’t get over Shelby being gone, last time I saw her, she was smiling in her own perfect world.
I felt numb, lying in the dark for a long time. The sound of gunshots occasionally rang out, I wondered if my parents knew what was happening, and if the police were doing anything. We were taught to not talk, make noise, or leave the scene of an incident. I didn’t know how long we were there for; I would guess about 45 minutes before someone emerged.
Footsteps drew closer, the sound of keys clanking and radios communicating. A few police officers entered the room full of carcass’s, one held a flashlight, shining on the bodies.
Another said, ‘It’s the police, if you’re alive, make yourself recognizable.’
I sat up, the flashlight was pointed at me, blinding my eyes, I squinted and noticed 3 other kids sit up as well, the lucky ones.
We were told to walk out of the room, I stepped over the dead bodies of my classmates and teacher. So many innocent lives were taken, I felt fury, and wanted justice. More police officers joined the class, medics were rushed in to care for the injured. We walked through the front door which was closest to our class, in the distant hallway, I could see medics helping a teacher. We exited the building; a wave of fresh air fell upon us. Other classes were also being evacuated, everyone met outside at the field.
Emma ran over to me, she threw her arms around me asking, ‘Where’s everyone else?’
My eyes glazed over, tears fall onto her shoulder, my heart stopped, I utter, ‘Dead.’ Her face washed over pale, and she realized we were the survivors.
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