This is a piece of writing I decided to write on something I feel very strongly about. It discusses quite a tough-topic, that could be upsetting, and It's about to just tell you that. This was in no way written to offend anyone, so please say so if it does and it will be immediately removed from my blog.
As he walked the corridor, he became immersed in the silence. His feet hit the ground with the same timing as the clock; slowly, as it approached eleven. A flag with red and white strips - a collection of stars clustered in one corner - could be seen outside, where a class was taking place: children clutched skipping-ropes in their hands, singing rhymes in friendship-groups; others held tennis rackets, bending slightly and preparing to swing, lime balls travelling the length of the playground. The teacher, with loosely-tied brown hair had a piece of string around her neck, a whistle attached to the end, signalling for the now red-faced class to change activity. They weren't the only one's sweating. He mopped his brow with his hand - his hairline damp. Ice-cold drops made the journey down his back. He could feel them reach the bottom. Apart from the distant noise from the Kindergarten class as they drew pictures to take home with them that evening, eagerly pointing out which of the figures was them, little else could be heard. Although, silence must always be disturbed; whether that's when a chair crashes to the floor, or when a child begins to wail. A man with a gun tucked into his coat-jacket.
The school bus is crowded. The noise of the radio can hardly be heard over the numerous conversations that take place on topics that range from willing to broken hearts, from first-love to break-ups, from the stresses of school to sunny-days spent lounging on the beach. I sit closer to the front, a mere few seats behind the driver with a girl who only looks up from her phone in the short-lived moments of silence - wondering why. She never attempts to start a conversation, still infuriated over the teacher's choice to sit her next to me on the journey. Jealousy strikes inside of me and I wonder what Skye is doing - it's free period, reading in the library perhaps? Chewing on his lip as his hand lingers on the edge of the page, ready to start the next chapter? I turn the page of the book in my hands, looking forward to tomorrow when I can meet him between the bookcases for lunch - real and fictional worlds colliding. Classmates chew on strawberry laces, and reach into bags of pale-pink candy-floss; open bags of Tangy Cheese Doritos and gulp-down cans of Coca-Cola. Some sit back with their head-phones plugged in, yes-closed as they are taken elsewhere with the music - on the contrary this is better than watching the reaction of my male-classmates, who shout obscenities at their game-consoles every-time they lose. I roll my eyes. Girls re-apply their make-up, and hold hand-held mirrors, beauty-bags over-flowing with lipsticks and eye-shadows. The seats we sit on are comfortable, if you ignore the feel of gum beneath your fingers when you run a hand across the edge, or how the seatbelts press against your skin - almost causing blisters to form. I stare out of the window, unable to read in the noise, watching as the scenery changes and we approach the town . Without notice, Tony, our bus-driver pulls over into a near-by lane, the engine slowly rumbling to a halt. Questions hurry around the bus in an incoherent mix of thoughts. I can just make out:
"Have we broken-down?"
"Have we got caught in traffic?"
"Has there been an accident?"
That's when the news report begins, and my book drops out of my sweating-palms onto the bus-floor, open to Chapter Eleven where the corner of the page is bent. Eyes-wide, jaws-dropped, heads buried in hands. Conversations are cut off as if they have been sliced by a knife, ending so suddenly. Muffled cries are heard, panicked-voices, bodies wracked with sobs. I search for Skye, knowing he is not there to give me a reassuring smile, to whisper the words, "It's going to be okay", like he did when I was twelve and broke my leg. He was the first to sign my cast - even adding some cartoons to decorate the bare-parts. Even he couldn't comfort me now. The girl beside me, who's name I make-out is Em, is the colour of snow when there are no footsteps. Her hands shake, her eyes brim over with tears and her body becomes wracked with sobs. Apart from that, she is unmoving. I try to find the words I need, but the search is worthless. I have nothing to say that can make a difference. The rumble of the engine is the only thing that can be heard but around me, people refuse to look up, not wanting to see the world when it no longer hides the truth. A women's voice, muffled as she chokes on her tears, begins to speak, but you can't ignore the shouts in the background:
"It has been confirmed that a man in his twenties, who is thought to have been an ex-pupil at Sea View Elementary and High School, entered the school armed, and he is now deceased. It is suspected that he began firing his gun as fourth-period began at the school. There are countless tragedies."
My school. Our school. A shooting. I am too numb to continue to comprehend what else she says. Countless tragedies? Was Skye one of them? A match strikes inside of me as I realise that nobody will be punished for this; that the coward put an end to his own life too. Did he feel guilty? Show any sign of remorse? Any sign of being human? The fire flickers - golden and amber embers burn. Mine and Skye's lives are tied together with pieces of rope; intertwined closely, with several knots that bound our past, and left-over parts waiting for our future. I don't want it to be tethered. There was the summer we spent building a treehouse, where the flowers are still interspersed between the trees. The gnarled branches of powerful oaks reach out, in a competition to see which can grow the tallest. A river flows, leading into a waterfall that reflects the movement of the birds in the sky. That falls into the valley below where fields of roses bloom.
In a desperate spur of energy, a reach for my bag and snatch my phone, buried deep under the mismatch of items inside. I search through the never-ending list of contacts, each letter of the alphabet passing-by, and with each comes a new set of faces that smile up at me. In Skye's picture, he is laughing. I dial the contact immediately. The problem is, it doesn't even ring.
If you're wondering what happens next, Part 2 will be up next week! For now, tell me what you thought in the comments!
This piece of writing belongs to Sophie Louise. Please do not copy my hard work without my permission first. Copyright does protect this blog.