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 Softly, Slowly

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Dena
Demi-Titan
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Posts : 6550
Join date : 2010-05-03
Age : 18
Location : Earth

PostSubject: Softly, Slowly    2/9/2013, 1:09 am

So I wrote this. And enjoy it, in a rather disturbing way. Oh well 8D

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I'd never thought it could really happen. That was what they always told you to do, right? That it could happen to you – that you shouldn't think that it didn't.

But it did.

I'd heard of the Newtown thing – everyone had. Even two months later, you still heard the occasional thing about it. When I'd first heard the news I can't honestly say I was surprised. I'd always been interested in psychology, and with my brother being a borderline psychopath I didn't doubt that someone could do it.

I guess, in a way, I felt for the families of the children. How terrified the children must have been. But I can't honestly say I was really effected by it. It was like all the other shootings, just with younger victims. California, Virginia, the Batman premiere, wherever that had been. It was America – the land of sociopaths and gun-happy morons.

In retrospect, I didn't really know that many specifics about the Newtown shootings. I loved reading, but the articles I could find either weren't specific enough or just boring.

Two weeks before it happened, our school had a lock-down drill. It was in Enrichment – a class that was hard to explain. There was Art enrichment, for the really artistic people, Orchestra, Band and Choir for the people really good at that, Math for those really bad at it. Mine was Language Arts-esque. It had always been my best subject.

I remember it clearly. We were watching a video on the Harlem Renaissance for some unknown reason. I was sitting at a table with Max and Riley – Adam had been absent that day. Then, suddenly, over the intercom the principal (“lovingly” dubbed Mr. Sweater-Vest by yours truly) spoke.

“We are going into lock-down”

Mechanically almost, we all gathered into the corner of the room. We'd been doing lock-down drills since the first grade, it was simple by now. Go into the corner of the room, don't talk and don't be an idiot.

It was different than usual – the teacher usually turned the lights off and closed the blinds, but she didn't. As we scurried into our positions, our teacher – Mrs. Beck, an old lady and complete and utter pushover, whispered to us that they'd be given new rules on what to do. We stood quietly for a few minutes before over the intercom, our principal said once more that the drill was over.

Mrs. Beck told us something about how new research had shown something and some other nonsensical babble I didn't really listen to.

Later on that day, in 2nd Block which happened to be Chemistry for me, our teacher gave us a speech before class really started. Our teacher, Mrs. Turner, was new to our school this year but still one of the most loved ones in the school with her zany teaching style and Chicago accent.

She brought up the Newtown shooting and the lock-down procedure in her class. We were to line up against the wall instead of in the corner.


The thing that really stayed with me was the other thing she mentioned – the fight or flight response. Walking around the front of the classroom, she said that if someone really came into our classroom with a gun, we were welcome to run out of the other door in the classroom, a closet that opened into the class beside ours, but we could also stay, fight, and throw stuff. She literally told us that if someone came, we were welcome to throw the class pet at him, to do anything we could. Chairs, textbooks, all of it.

Then class started and I didn't think about the shootings or anything again, until it happened.
***

It was a Tuesday. The day had started out normally – waking up at 5:30, doing my math homework before getting dressed, brushing my teeth and hair and putting my contacts in. By 6:50 I was out the door.

In Enrichment we started watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was one of the really old versions, but not too terrible to watch. Social Studies was nothing but note-taking and time to work on homework. And then, like clock-work, science came once again.

We were given study guides to fill out with a partner of our choosing. I immediately paired up with my best friend, an adorable socially awkward girl named Holly. She sat next to me in a Pikachu t-shirt, her hair with it's teased puffiness. We'd dubbed the puff Queen Juliana a few months back.


For the first 15 minutes of class, all was familiar. Giggling as we tried to concentrate, though we randomly inserted Pokemon impressions or random questions that had nothing to do with anything. I was content.

And then the damned intercom beeped on once more.

“We are going into a lock-down This is not a drill.”

The class froze for a moment. Nothing really clicked – not a drill? What did they mean not a drill?

A part of me didn't want to take it seriously. Last year we'd had a fire drill that “wasn't a drill,” and all it had been was that some nimrod had been smoking in the bathroom and set off the alarms.

But the little voice in the back of my mind whispered, “Newtown.”

It was Mrs. Turner that reacted quickly. She whispered sharply for us to get against the wall, and the chairs screeched as everyone violently pushed them back in their haste to get to the safe place. Mrs. Turner, her face white and her lips pressed into a thin line that didn't completely hide her fear, locked the door and came to join us.

I was numb. My seat was directly next to the door, so the spot on the wall I had gotten was right next to it. Holly stood beside me, shaking violently, and I knew she was crying. We both had severe anxiety issues, but she had been a very sheltered child, thrown into reality too fast at a young age, leaving her with irrational phobias of nearly everything. The dark, strangers, of being killed, being lost, being hurt.

She must've been terrified, but I only stood there.

One of the boys began whispering. It seemed unnaturally loud in the otherwise quiet classroom. I thought it was Aria, or maybe Brandon. Neither of them could ever shut up. The whispers stopped quickly after half of the people in the room turned and glared at him. I don't remember if I was one of them or not. I probably was.

The minutes that passed in silence seemed like hours. We waited for something. For the voice of our principal to announce it was okay, that we could go back to class and we could gossip like old ladies about what had happened.

But nothing like that happened.

It was around seven minutes into the lock-down that we heard it. It was explosive; like that moment when you turn on music with your headphones in, not realizing the volume was turned up all the way.

It was horrible and terrifying because I knew what it was. No matter how amplified, it was recognizable.

It was a gunshot.

I remember trembling. I wasn't one to get scared easily, the only times that stood out in my mind that reminded me of the fear I felt was when I went up on a rope course 30 feet in the air, connected to nothing but a chord, and being rushed to the hospital in pain thinking I was going to die.

Somehow this was worse.

People were crying now – Holly had her face hidden in my shoulder, and I could feel the wetness accumulating through the fabric. Mrs. Turner had rushed over to a girl that had begun hyperventilating. Many of the kids were huddled together like sheep in the face of a wolf – terrified, but hoping that there was safety in numbers.

For the next couple of minutes there were no more sounds, and when there was it wasn't one I was expecting.

It was the sound of someone whistling. It came from outside the door, echoing off of the walls and lockers easily. And somehow, that was what made it click. What made it real.

Not the terrified sobs of my best friend, not the sound of children hyperventilating in terror, not even the eardrum shattering sound of the gunshot.

It was the whistling.

Someone was outside the room. Someone, something, was outside the room. And there was no mistaking what followed the whistling – the sound of keys.

My heart was being a million miles a minute in my chest. The door creaked open slowly and though I never really believed in God, I found myself grasping at straws, praying: Let it be Mr. Sweater-Vest. Let it be Officer Kerry. Let it be a teacher, Mrs. Smith. Please let it
be a teacher.

The door opened completely and I couldn't breathe. I couldn't force myself to look to the side, to see who had walked in. I didn't have to, really.

Screams broke through the horrified silence, the kids running as if there was a stampede to the closet door. There were shouts, and I heard a high-pitched screech of, “Help!” It was funny, in a dark way. I thought that only happened in movies.

Things like that didn't happen in real life, after all.

Holly began to tug on my wrist, but my body couldn't seem to move. My eyes could, and they trailed the the body of the person – the man – who had walked in. He was wearing stone-washed jeans and a gray t-shirt splattered with-

Paint. It was paint. It had to be paint, of course.

I forced my eyes up. He had unhealthily pale skin, a gaunt face and long, greasy hair that was a color somewhere between dirty blond and light brown. His chin was covered in stubble and his eyes were a baby blue that normally would've been pretty, if they weren't on him. They just looked mad, crazed, insane – it was terrifying. His lips were open in a smile that made me feel as if I were an inch tall.

The most important thing about him though, had to be the gun in his hands. A gun. A real, legitimate gun. I thought it was a pistol, though I only recognized it from the times I was bored enough to play Black-Ops. Unlike on TV it wasn't in pristine shape. There were scratches and dents here and there and what looked to be mud on the side.

There was another tug on my wrist, this one strong enough to send me tumbling back. I knocked into someone – Holly, I realized as my eyes darted to her on reflex. My caramel-haired friend fell to the ground, catching herself with her hands before freezing in terror.

The man, who had been watching the other kids flee with that same predatorial smile on his face, turned to my fallen friend and cocked his head to the side. His features blanked for a moment before he raised the gun – the real, actual gun – and pointed it at her. Right at her head.

Like a rubber band, I snapped.

My family had a history of mental issues. My brother was in a category all of his own. I was horrible overprotective and possessive of things and people I considered mine. Holly was mine and no one was allowed to hurt her. I lost all rational thoughts at that moment, and with a sound that resembled a roar, jumped at the man's back.

I was thankful in that moment, for once, for being the short one in a family of people that were all over six feet besides my two four-year-old siblings. It had given me practice on jumping up high, especially with my brothers. And the man probably wasn't even 6” - probably only 5'9”.

I wrapped my legs around his waist, took his throat in the crook of my elbow and squeezed. His muscles spasmed in surprise for the first few moment before he began thrashing around.

Everyone, or maybe it's just me, holds back subconsciously. Especially when wrestling around. A punch in the shoulder – you could hit so much harder. You could gouge out their eyes, scratch and bite and kick and make them hurt and scream in pain, but you don't because they're a person. You don't do that.

But the moment I decided I was going to fight, I fought. I squeezed as hard as I could and when I felt his nails raking my arms I made a split decision and bit down on his hand when it came close to my mouth. I bit down as hard as possible, not giving up even when the disgusting taste of copper leaked into my mouth. I refused to let go even as he shook me around.

Suddenly his other his other hand got a hold of my hair and with a scream he threw me to the ground. I instinctively opened my mouth to let out a cry of pain. I fell to the linoleum floor with a crack as my head landed against a desk, and for a moment my vision blurred. My hands gripping my head an tears pricked my eyes from the sharp pain. Still, I forced myself to look up.

I noticed a couple things. Mrs. Turner slowly creeping up behind the man with a container filled with some liquid – the acid she'd said she kept in the cabinets, that no one ever really believed existed, and I also saw the gun pointed right at me.

The man stood, glaring down at me with an unstable gleam to his eyes. His chest was heaving and blood dripped down from his hand. A small part of me felt a thrum of pride because I'd helped – I'd done that. I'd hurt him.

I couldn't resist the tears that forced there way down my cheeks. I was terrified, in pain, and helpless. But I raised my chin, unwilling to let myself be weak, no matter what happened next.

Two things happened at once. Mrs. Turner dumped the acid on his head and I barely had time to react before there was an earth-shattering sound that made my ears ring. Somehow, my body collapsed backwards, and I stared at the ceiling blankly. The man's pained screeches were little more than white noise.

There was nothing.

And then there was agony. My body convulsed – I threw my head back, barely noticing as it cracked against the ground and screamed. I screamed and cried and thrashed and sobbed. I don't remember everything I said. Nonsensical babble about wanting it to stop, about my parents, about my dog.

I don't know how long it lasted. That mind shattering, intolerable, unexplainable, excruciating pain.

But slowly, slowly, it began to change. It became softer. I felt lighter, weightless. I was able to think, though my thoughts were hazy.

I forced my eyelids open and looked up at the blurry faces around me. I tried to focus and realized I was looking at Holly. She was hunched over me, crying and snotting all over herself, her voice raw and terrified. I wanted to reach my hand up, to pat her shoulder or hug her, but my hand was strangely heavy, so I made my eyes move.

Autumn was another girl I knew. We weren't really friends, but we had all the same classes and talked a lot, mainly about books. She was always collected. But now, she had her mouth open in what seemed to be some kind of horrified trance. Tears trailed silently down her cheeks. I noticed vaguely that her mascara was running.

I looked around once more, realizing there was someone else there, but my eyes wouldn't focus. The colored blur was big – probably Selena. She lived across the street from me. She was nice enough... a little boy crazy...

A cough tore itself from my throat and with it gushed a red liquid that shined in the bad lighting. There was a name for it... somewhere. I knew it. It was...

There wasn't any pain anymore. I felt warm. My eyelids felt as if they weighed a million pounds, and they slowly began to close.

“Arden!” A muffled voice cried. It was... I knew...

Holly, my mind supplied. She was important. I forced my eyes open.

Another cough tore itself from my throat, and through it I managed to croak a few words, “S'okay. S'okay... 'ly...”

My throat was full of the liquid. I couldn't force a breath, I couldn't breathe, but I couldn't bring myself to panic either.

And I was so tired...

Finally, as if falling to sleep after a long day, I stopped fighting. My eyelids closed.

And I saw white.

_________________
Nisha Caldbeck - Lupe Drake Leeson - Thanatos Kessa Anders - Set Kiara Ortiz - Sekhmet Annalise Baker - Tartarus



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