Authors: Charity Ferrell
E.M. Tippetts Book Designs
at the sound of the second gunshot, smacking my head on the top of the wooden desk. Covering my head with trembling hands, I tried to block out the noise, but the shots grew more erratic. They were close. I knew it because the screams were so clear. How was this happening? Things like this didn’t happen in our small town.
My heart thumped against my chest so hard that I was waiting for it to burst out and land on the dingy linoleum floor in front of me. I glanced to the girl next to me, crawled into a ball with tears streaming down her face while her body rocked back and forth. Were we going to be next?
Holding in a deep breath, I slowly stretched my arms above me and reached around until I felt the rough leather of my purse strap. I dragged it down and ignored the items flying out as it bounced on the floor. My hands frantically searched through the contents for my phone and when I found it, I kept hitting his name until I heard the ringing come alive on the other end. I had to talk to him. I needed to hear his voice and be sure the screams weren’t his.
Shooting Kills Twenty Students And Teacher.
Those words were on the headline of every news channel, website, and newspaper until the shock value wore off and some celebrity got busted banging his nanny.
Those eight life-ruining words.
My brain processed them over and over again but my heart tossed them out to the birds. That one small sentence signified the dead end to my road of happiness. It shattered every ounce of hope built up in my heart, then stabbed it a few more times for good measure.
The most important person in my life had been ripped away from me by selfishness and pride. Rodney Avila. I would remember the name until I took my last breath. He was upset his girlfriend broke up with him. Out of spite and pure insanity, he decided to take his dad's pistol with him to school. Heading directly to his ex’s first period class, he shot her and everyone else in the classroom. His homicidal spree ended with him turning the gun on himself, which was smart on his part, because if the spineless bastard were still alive, I would’ve taken it upon myself to kill him.
I blinked, fixing my eyes on the daunting building looming just yards away from me. My body shivered as the frigid raindrops showered down my body, soaking my dress and causing it to cling to me like a second skin. The weather had matched my mood impeccably: gloomy, cold and depressed. My hair I spent hours on earlier was now a sopping mess plastered to each side of my face. I couldn't see it, but I was certain the black mascara my trembling hands had applied earlier was now running down my face alongside the never-ending tears, leaving streaks down my stinging cheeks.
Bodies veiled in black passed by my stationary body, heading towards the very place I was trying to avoid. A few bumped into me, but I was too numb to be affected. My body didn't belong to me at the moment. The scrawny legs connected to my torso felt like they were glued to the slippery pavement beneath me. Out of habit, I reached up and caressed the tiny pendent dangling around my neck for what seemed like the millionth time that day. My icy hands moved back and forth around the chain sluggishly, letting the noise of the storm drown out the faint voices passing by.
I knew what everyone wanted, and it wasn't going to happen.
I couldn't do it and I wouldn't do it.
They wanted me to come in from the downpour and see him. My eyes fluttered shut, deflecting the heavy drops as I inhaled the strong scent of rain surrounding me. If I did what they wanted, if I stepped through those brooding doors, I would have to say goodbye to the person to the person who still owned my heart.
I swiped a falling tear off my face. This wasn't supposed to happen until we were grey and old. It wasn't his time and I damn sure wasn't ready to let him go.
Chilly fingers wrapped around my arm and broke me away from my trance. My entire body flinched, pulling away from the source and I looked at the culprit standing in front of me. She was gripping a bright red umbrella in one hand and her mouth was open wide, screaming at me.
"Please listen to me!" she shouted, begging. "GO SEE HIM!" My best friend, Tessa screamed. "You will regret this the rest of your life if you don't do this, Daisy! Please just do it!" Her lanky hand kept reaching out for me, but I kept up my childish game of pulling away. Being dragged across the pavement facedown sounded better than coming to terms with the fact that I would never be waking up from the nightmare that had now become my real life.
My lips parted, but my mouth was incapable of forming words. I stood there staring at her while her begging grew more frantic in an effort to gain my attention. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a larger pair of hands grabbed me by my waist firmly, hoisting me into their strong set of arms. "Let go of me!" I wailed, kicking my feet against him but gaining no advantage. The rain poured down on us faster and my eyes widened at the realization of where we were headed.
Hell to the fucking no.
I screamed, kicked and punched with all my will. Nothing. The more I fought back, the faster his pace picked up until finally my body quit producing the energy to fight. Whimpering, I laid limp in his arms, ready to give in to the inevitable. Warm air hit my face first and I twisted around, burying it in the crook of his neck to hide from the curious looks coming my way. I didn't look up until I heard the loud creak of a door opening and suddenly, I was being tossed onto a cold couch in the corner of a dusty room.
"Get your head out of your fucking ass," a dripping, wet Dawson sneered over my shaking body. His black suit was wrinkled and soaked to his body.
I winced at his words but it helped loosen the tongue that had been tied for days. Sure, the person standing in front of me might have been my dead boyfriend's best friend, but his hurt could never match mine.
"Screw you, Dawson!" I cried out, struggling to control the shakiness in my voice. "Don't you even dare try to tell me what the hell I should do!" I tugged on my frizzy locks, pulling them together and sliding my hands down them roughly to wring out the water.
"Well, shit Daisy," he yelled back, bringing out both hands and gesturing towards me. "Someone needs to say something. You're about to miss the entire funeral because you're being fucking selfish!" He paced back in forth in front of me. "How do you think Tanner would feel about how you are acting?" He stopped, mid-stride, narrowing his chestnut-colored eyes at me. My heart dropped at his name but I knew Tanner would understand my reluctance. The man I was in love with would've grasped my hesitation, aware of how hard it would be for me to see him like that.
In a casket.
That wasn't the last image I wanted to remember of him. I wanted to treasure our last goodbye- when he kissed me in the hallway and told me how much he loved me.
I snapped, jumping to my feet and leaving a wet spot on the couch behind me. "Don't try to tell me how Tanner would feel," I replied, my voice harsh. "I've known him my entire life. Since the day I was born!" I paused, swiping away the soggy hair falling in my eyes. "You've known him for what?" I stopped, waiting for him to answer my question, but he remained silent. "Four years," I shouted, answering my own question. "So you can shut the hell up!" A shaky finger stabbed him in the chest at my last words.
My emotions had been on overdrive since everything had happened. Not one word I had just said processed through my brain before I allowed them to leap straight out of my mouth into the open. It was a low blow. Everyone, myself included, knew that Tanner loved Dawson like a brother. They were best friends and I was a shitty person to devalue the friendship they had.