10 Minutes After

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Review Chain

10 Minutes After is a girls recount of a school shooting at her graduation. It follows her actions every minute for the 10 minutes after the first shots.

Submitted: March 27, 2018

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Submitted: March 27, 2018





I walk into the already full hall of eager students and teachers. Graduation. Everyone is laughing and smiling as I slip into the line in front of my best friend. She was last. She taps me on the shoulder, I swing around and face her, her arms are crossed.

“Yara Zerda.” She states. “Trust you to be late for your own graduation.” I giggle and wrap my arms around her.

“Sorry Via, I couldn’t find my cap last minute.” She chuckles and hugs me back.

“All is forgiven. You look magnificent by the way.” I blush. I am wearing a blue knee-length dress with a pair of black heels on my feet. My usually black frizzy hair is carefully placed in a sleek bun and my brown skin is shining. I turn to her. “Says you.” She flicks her hair and I giggle. She is wearing a beautiful white two piece dress and her hair is straight on the sides accentuating her gorgeous face. I gaze at the rest of the line in front of me.

“I can’t believe we are finished.” I state a hint of sadness gripping my voice. Via follows my gaze and sighs.

“Yep, the next chapter of our lives is about the begin Yara.” I grip her hand as everything goes quite.

“Hey do you mind if we switch?” I ask her suddenly. She looks at me confused. I shrug. “I kinda want to be last, you know, savour it.” She giggles and nods, we exchange places. Teachers bustle around us, checking positions and marking names.

“Yara!” A small man squeaks throwing up his arms. “Finally!” I flush red and laugh at my favourite teacher. “Sorry Mr. Pho.” He tuts and places a tick next to my name and position. “Good luck girls and don’t forget to smile.” he says with a wink. I take a deep breath as the music starts.

People head out as names are called slowly.

“Alisa Adams ….. Bryce Allen …… Cristopher Baker.” The line shuffles forward. The class has roughly 70 students and I am the last one to go. It feels like hours before I am finally just steps away from the stage.

“Via Zaida” I nod in encouragement as my best friend smiles and walks out on stage. I’m alone backstage, I get ready to hear my name.




A sudden pop makes my jump. Then another one, and another. I can’t see past the curtain but I hear people scream and a deafening thud makes the room echo. I glance behind the curtain to observe the commotion. People everywhere duck behind chairs and tables and grab onto  one another. I feel dizzy. I can see someone lying on the ground between two tables right in front of the stage. People are crowded around so I can’t see who it is.




My heart pounds as I step from behind the curtain. I make eye contact with my classmate. His eyes are filled with fear and I frown. ‘Run’. He mouths to me. I see a figure standing in the door. He has something in his hands. A gun. I dash behind the curtain, my hands shaking and my throat dry.






More pops. Gunshots I think to myself. I look around backstage for anyone. People have either run out or are still in the hall, hiding under the tables. A shiver goes down my spine. Where is Via?




I hear sirens wailing in the distance. A voice shouts something I don’t understand and I hear more gunshots then the crash of the closing door and more screams. My heart is pounding as I peek outside of the curtain.




People are slowly getting up as I step out from beside the curtain.

“He ran off after hearing the sirens.” I hear from a voice from the crowd. Families are huddled together as I make my way towards them.




I notice people huddled beside figures laying on the ground. I walk past the boy who motioned to me earlier. His face is covered with blood and people are wailing next to him. My eyes burned with tears and a lump forms in my throat.





I walk past more and more dead and injured people and with each step my heart sinks lower and lower and my eyes go fuzzy from my tears.





I feel a buzz in my pocket. I take out my phone and with shaking hands turn it on. 22 new messages flashes across the screen. I quickly write to my parents telling them I am safe. They couldn’t come because they were in Australia for my dads new job and missed their flight. I tremble as I think what could have happened if my mom hadn't forgotten her passport and made dad drive all the way back for it.




My next thought is Via.

“Via?” I croak scanning the room. I see Via’s brother Max huddled with his parents at the foot of the stage. It was the figure I had seen earlier. My heart drops and I begin to shake. I run towards them.





She lay there, a bright red stain on her chest and her beautiful face covered with blood. I drop

to my knees sobbing.

“Via. No-no please no.” I cry clutching her soft hand. My heart is aching and my screams fill the hall. My wails are heart wrenching and I can't stop trembling. I grab onto Via’s family and we wail together.




As we sob I see the police and ambulance fill the hall. TV crews appear and sirens continue to wail. Paramedics come and lift Via onto a stretcher. Her family follows them and I am left alone at the foot of the stage. It should have been me i think to myself staring down at Via’s blood on the floor. I switched places with her. She could have been safe but i foolishly swapped places. I break down and I feel a pair of strong arms lift me up.

“It’s ok miss. Its all over”

I blackout


10 people died that night. Parents and siblings of my classmates, people i had been friends with since grade 7, Via… Mr Pho. It was a massacre and now I have to prepare for my 18 year old best friends funeral.

© Copyright 2018 Izabel. All rights reserved.

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