My head is spinning, everything is happening too fast, I try to breathe and slow down the frantic rhythm of my thoughts, but the screams of the people just outside the doors stabs into my brain like individual knives, and I throw my head back against the desk I am under in frustration. There are more gunshots and I jump as my phone buzzes in my pocket, it’s from Matt,
“We have Jessica, we’re headed to the front now, meet us there” I drop my phone and begin to run, they’re heading straight for the shooters. I’m running hard and fast, and nearly overshoot the hallway that I find them sprinting down, I call out to Jessica and she turns so fast she loses her balance, her beautiful brown eyes fill with hope and happiness as she spots me and she runs towards me, I run forward too but stop in horror when I see her mouth drop open, and her face slowly drain of colour as she reaches down to her stomach, where the blood is pooling on her shirt.
“No! Jessica!” I scream and sprint forward again, catching her as she staggers and lowering her to the floor gently, cradling her in my arms and comforting her as she begins to sob quietly, stroking her hair and I feel the numbness spreading through my body, just like her blood is pooling on the floor around us. I tell her I love her, and that she’s going to be fine, and she looks up at me and I can see the light fading from her eyes, as she mutters, her voice barely audible,
“I love you too” And then she’s gone. I can feel her limbs go limp in my arms and I don’t even realise that tears are cascading down my cheeks until I see them start to fall onto hers. I look up then, and I can see the shooter, staring at us in shock and the rage fills my blood, circling in my mainstream and making my heart pump faster. I gently lay her on the ground and stand up, my fists clenched at my sides, he looks down to the gun in his hands and throws it to the floor as if disgusted with it, and we make eye contact one more time before he runs. The look on his face is apologetic and I want to kill him, I want to tear him apart so he can feel even an inkling of the pain he’s caused me. I watch him dart off down the hallways to find his accomplice and I hang my head in resignation. I return to her and pull her back onto my lap, unwilling to leave her here, even as I hear my friends calling my name, and when her friends approach and begin to sob and scream and reach for her, I keep her close. It feels like a long time before someone manages to tear away from her, and as soon as they do, I turn wild. I throw punches and kicks and tear at it whatever’s closest to me until I collapse on the floor and begin to cry again. I can the feel the hole in my chest expanding until it feels like it will swallow me whole, and I half wish it would.
“I’m sorry, man, I’m so sorry” Someone is saying to me, their voice sounds choked, like they’ve been crying. I realise it’s Matt, and I look up at him, hoping to find some comfort in his presence, but when his eyes look anywhere but at mine, I realise that hope is futile. He keeps muttering to his apologies to me, and I don’t care, I don’t even bother to reply, until he just stops talking and walks away. Even if I could form words right now, I wouldn’t know what to say to him, because it’s not okay, and sorry won’t bring her back. I let out a small scream, the last one, as the realisation that I’ll never see her beautiful smile, feel her arms wrap around my neck in a tight embrace, smell her wonderful perfume or hear her angelic voice again washes over me. There is nothing I can do, because I can’t change what’s happened now, I’ve lost the only person I ever truly loved and I raise my head for the first time, looking at the crowd that is gathered around me and they watch me apprehensively. My eyes hover over some of her friends as they sob and clutch to each other, and I have no idea how to be these people. I know I will be expected to mourn her loss properly, but what about the part after that? The part where I’m expected to move on and return to normal life, that is the part that I won’t be able to play. I get up and stagger away from the crowd, out the front doors of the school and I begin to run again, as fast as I can, as different memories of her play in my mind and things I had planned for the future blend together until all my thoughts are just a blur of her face and mine.
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