Tick, tock goes the clock on the wall. Tick, tock, tick, tock. I watch the clock for a moment, watching the hands tick on, before glancing out the window next to me.
Everything is peaceful and still, and it’s almost as if time has stopped, frozen. A robin flies over and lands on a water fountain, outside the window, and I watch it take a drink.
It lifts up it’s head and chirps, staring right at me. It cocks its head and chirps again before flying away.
I’m about to turn away and pay attention to the lesson again when I see a dark shape moving towards the school from the road.
As the shape gets closer, it gets more distinguished, and I realise it’s a young man, maybe late teens or early 20’s.
He’s in a long, dark trench coat and sunglasses, and a hat covers most of his dark, almost pitch black hair.
His coat is buttoned up, and he walks quickly but his steps are soft, as if he is trying not to draw attention to himself.
I frown a little, but he disappears hurriedly from my view by the window and I don’t try to keep looking, not wanting to draw attention to myself. I look up at the board and jot down a few notes.
I’m impatient and nervous. I’m fidgeting with the corner of my page, and my palms are sweaty. Something about that man unsettled me.
Maybe it was the way he was sneaking around, or the dark clothes he was wearing. Maybe it was the way he was holding himself. I don’t know, but I don’t like it. I glance up at the clock.
Time seems to slow down. The second hand tick slowly, it’s speed seeming to slow even more as I continued to watch. I glance back out the window, and time seems to speed up.
There are four knocks on the door, and it is kicked off its hinges with a crash. So much noise. Everyone is screaming, the teacher diving for her bag. The man thunders in, guns blazing.
The teacher yanks open her bag, and pulls out something small and silver. A pistol. Everyone ducks to the ground, and I hide under my table. Hands shaking, I fumble in my backpack for my phone.
I slip it out and hide it behind my back so the man doesn’t see it, and dial 911. I hold my breath, and that’s when I hear a scream of pain. Oh my god, someone is shot.
I peep out from under the table, and see the teacher lining up her pistol, training on the man.
Before she can fire, she convulses, and collapses to the ground, the pistol flying out of her hand and across the ground. I stare at her body, terrified out of my mind.
“911 what’s your emergency?” a bored voice says across the speaker of the phone. It’s almost inaudible with all the screaming, yelling and bullets being sent flying.
I put the phone up to my ear and angle myself so the man can’t see it, and say “Gun shooting! At Loveland High school. Please, Please, please send help! There are people shot, and--”
The table is kicked away from me, leaving me in the open. The shooter towers over me, glaring angrily at my and the phone in my hand. “What, do you think, you’re doing?” the man speaks.
I flinch when I hear his voice. It was deep and gruff, generally terrifying. I gulp and drop my phone, scrambling back away from him.
The room is silent except for my scrambling backwards and the man angrily stepping forward. Everyone has stopped screaming, watching in horror as the man corners me.
I feel my back against the wall. I notice a student dash over to the teacher while the shooter is distracted with me and check for her pulse.
I can tell there is none by the downcast look on their face. The hurry over to another student who is lying on the ground with blood gushing from their leg.
I can’t tell if they’re passed out or if they are dead, and I don’t see the students reaction, because the man crouches down in front of me, one of his guns aiming right at my head.
I freeze, absolutely terrified.
Is he going to shoot me? Why hasn’t he yet? What does he want from us? Why is he doing this?
So many questions prancing frantically in the back of my mind, but I’m so caught up with the gun in my face, that I don’t voice any of them.
The man speaks again, causing me to flinch slightly.
“I said, what, do you think, you were doing?” He says slowly, as if I were a 5 year old trying to learn the periodic table. Instead of answering him, I ask him a question of my own.
I was so scared, I could only get one word out.
My palms feel sweaty, but I didn’t wipe them on my jeans. I didn’t move, I just stared into those sunglasses, trying to spot his eyes beneath the dark obys of the lenses.
“Why what?” he replies, an eyebrow raised.
I gulp and take a deep breath. “Why.. this? Why all this killing?”
The man laughs, just a normal laugh, as if he does this sort of thing everyday and gets right up in my face.
He pushes up his sunglasses with the edge of a gun, and I can see his dark brown eyes. The cold, empty, void that are his eyes.
“Why you ask?” He says softly. His voice is even more terrifying when he speaks softly.
I don’t answer, don’t even nod. He grins at me, a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Because why not?” he answers.
He takes a step back, and sees my phone. He places his heel on it, and very slowly, eyes trained on me, crushes it into bits. He turns around, pointing his gun at random people around the room.
They all shrink away, and one girl even gives a small terrified scream. He turns back to me, and takes a slight step towards me.
I can feel my lip quivering and my hands shaking as I look the man right in the eye, trying to be brave for what's to come.
The man suddenly jumps forward, causing my courage to shatter. A small whimper escapes my lips. The man just stands there silently, head cocked to one side as if studying a specimen.
“What is your name?” he asks suddenly.
“What’s it to you?” I mumble weakly back.
“I like to know who I am about to kill,” he replies with a shrug. The shrug is one of unconcern, one that shows he doesn’t care much about what he’s doing, whose lives he is ending.
He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. He. Doesn’t. Even. Care. I refuse to answer him, and look up at the clock.
For some reason the hand is spinning around wildly, whizzing by in a blur back and forth. I glance back at the man.
“Answer me,” he growls.
I shrug in reply. I don’t know what has gotten into me, where this sudden defiance came from.
I see him put a gun down, and before I knew it, I felt a sharp pain flare in my face briefly, before dulling down into a painful throb. The man picks back up the gun, and aims both of them at me.
My sudden defiance crumbles and I look up into my soon-to-be killer.
I smile, and say loudly, “My name is Sadzi White.”
“Well Sadzi White, it was nice to know you.” There was a bang, and then I was engulfed in darkness.
“Sadzi. Sadzi? Wake up Sadzi,” someone hissed, gently shaking my shoulder.
“Wh-What?” I mumble, lifting my head slowly. I rub my eyes groggily before I remember. My eyes open wide instantly, all tiredness forgotten. I glance up quickly, and swivel around in my seat.
I was back in class. I look out the window next to me and spot a robin land on the fountain. I frown, shaking my head as a feeling of deja-vu sweeps over me. I glance up at the clock.
The hands slowly ticking by, just like before. I glance at the teacher, who was alive and talking. Well, she was looking angrily at me, but same thing.
The time ticked onto the hour, and the door of the classroom was thrown open with a bang.