“We’re gonna be late for class if you don’t hurry up, Leah.”
“Oh relax, Gina”, Leah said as she opened her locker, “ It’s senior year, we can afford a few tardy slips. Besides, what is Mr. Gibbs going to teach you that you don’t already know? You’re a genius. It’s me that should be rushing to get to class”, Leah said with a short laugh.
“Yeah, I guess you’re-”
“ATTENTION STUDENTS: THERE IS A SHOOTER ON CAMPUS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. GO INTO LOCKDOWN IMMEDIATELY”, called the monotonous pre-recorded voice on the intercom. Chaos ensued as people began running and screaming through the halls trying to find safe places to hide. Gina and Leah were lost in a stampede of other classmates filing into the library. They shut and locked the door behind them and turned off the lights. All that was left to do was wait.
“I feel like a sitting duck just waiting for something to happen. I hear about this stuff happening all the time and I always think that it could never happen to us, to our school,” said Leah.
“Shhh! Shhh! Everyone be quiet! Did anyone else hear that?” Gina whispered frantically.
“What is it, Gina? What did you hear?” questioned Leah.
“I thought I heard gunshots coming from down the hallway, but I don’t hear them anymore so maybe it was just my imagination.” As soon as those words left her lips they heard three deafening shots ring out and the door came crashing down. They all held their breaths waiting for what they knew was coming. A reign of bullets suddenly echoed across the room and ear-splitting screams began to drown out the thunderous gunfire. Against her better judgement, Leah peered around the shelf to catch a glimpse of the shooter, but the only thing she could see was the shooter’s black and white Converse, inching closer to them. As she was about to turn away something on his shoes caught her eye: they were covered in messy doodles, some of which Leah had drawn herself when he used to hang out with her and Gina.
“Gina! It’s Mark!” Leah whispered.
“W-what are you talking about? It can’t be Mark. I dropped him off this morning, right before I saw you.”
“I saw his shoes...the doodles are unmistakable. Gina, you're the only one who can stop this. You're the only one he'll listen to.” After a few moments, a frightened yet steely resolve took over Gina’s face as she painstakingly stood up from behind the bookshelf.
“Mark! Stop! Please!” she screamed. The gunfire ceased immediately once he recognized who was speaking to him.
“Gina! What are you doing here? Why aren’t you in Gibb’s class?” called the shooter, shocked to see her here in the library.
“Mark p-put it down and we can talk, okay? We were late to c-class and then we heard the announc-”
“You weren’t supposed to be in here! I avoided Gibb’s class so I knew you would be safe!” screamed Mark.
“Why are you doing this? I don't understand how I could have missed it. What happened, Mark? We used to be so close. We told each other everything, but after Dad died you weren’t the same. I’m so sorry, I should have been there for you when you needed me, but hurting innocent people won't resolve anything!” Gina cried.
“How would you know what I’m going through, Little Miss Perfect? You’ve always been the favorite, the best at everything, the center of attention everywhere you go. Now it’s my turn for the spotlight” sneered Mark. He raised the gun with hatred in his eyes-
“Stop! Put the gun down! You’re under arrest!” the Sheriff yelled.
Three officers tackled him to the ground and dragged him, kicking and screaming, out of the building. Leah and Gina ran to each other, disbelief and shock mingled across their faces.
“Are you alright?” Leah asked, “I can’t believe you distracted him for so long. That took a lot of guts, Gina.”
“My dad always said courage isn’t just about being brave,” Gina replied, “it’s about doing the right thing even in the face of tragedy.”