It Should Have Been Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 05, 2018

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Submitted: June 05, 2018

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It Should Have Been Me.

As I stand here watching the coffins being lowered in to the ground, I cannot help thinking that it should have been me, rather than you, inside one of them. You pushed your way forward to take the bullet that took your life but saved mine.

Shutting my eyes for just a second I am back inside that classroom. You are standing beside me, one arm resting gently around my waist. The door opens and we all automatically presume that it is Ms Haines, ready to drum some more historical facts into our brains. No one even looks towards the door, we all start moving towards our seats.

The instant the first shot is fired we all know we’ve made a mistake. It was never Ms Haines at the door, but someone with a gun. Shot follows shot, follows shot. We are a mass of hysterical screaming and shouting bodies, flinging ourselves here, there, everywhere, trying to evade the flying bullets.

Through all the noise and confusion I hear you call my name. A bullet is making it’s way towards me. I watch it and it is almost like it is moving in slow motion. One second it is in my view, the next you are there.

The impact jolts you back then tips you forward, your blood spattering my face as you tumble forward knocking me to the floor. You are much bigger than me, have pinned me down. I can barely breathe and can feel your blood seeping its way through my clothes, but you’ve hidden me from his sight. His booted foot lands about a foot away from my position. Could I grab at his ankle? Bring him down to hit the floor beside me? Then what?

That moment of hesitation has given him time to move out of my reach. It is a decision that I will no longer have to make.

There is still shouting, screaming, my panicked class-mates running anywhere just looking for a way out before he targets them. Who is he? I can’t see enough to tell, but there is something that I recognize about him.

The pressure of your body on mine makes it hard for me to breathe. A dead weight; at that thought, I place a finger against your neck and know that you have gone. I think it is then that I pass out, although I do have some vague recollection of voices, running footsteps and the door once more slamming open.

I must have passed out properly then for the next thing I know I am in hospital. You took the bullet that was meant for me, but it passed straight through you, hit me too. I’m barely wounded but only because you gave your own life to save mine.

As I watch the coffins lower I can’t help wishing that I had died with you. The pain of imagining going on without you is almost too much to bear. They shot him, Keith Jackson, the guy with the gun. We’ll never know exactly what set our classmate off on that killing spree now.

Does it really matter? Knowing why will not bring you back, after all. So many deaths, fifteen in all, before they stopped him. Many more injured, and all of us living through it again and again. Will it ever stop?

I wish it could have been me.


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