Fiction: “Just Another Day”
Elizabeth McDonnell | On 13, Jan 2020
My blaring alarm shakes me violently out of my sleep. I lazily slam my hand onto it to shut the damn thing up. I miss the first time and groan. I hit it repeatedly, still not opening my eyes, until the noise stops. I sigh, thankful for the silence. I let sleep drag me back under its warm blanket, content. This doesn’t last very long, the drilling of gunfire jolts me back into consciousness. I hop out of bed, make my way to my bookshelf. I pull out the bible, open it, and take out ‘Chichi’. I yell out “BLUE” and swiftly duck under my bed, knowing the drill. I hear my parents yell it back, soon followed by my younger sister.
I lay there on my side, holding her with my right hand, cradling it with my left. I point her towards the door and wait. I roll my eyes. How annoying, I bet it’s the Andersons again…
I don’t move from my position for a good 10 minutes, my eyes threatening to close in the process. The building’s alarm beeps once and I sigh, the coast is clear. I slide out from under my bed, nuzzle ‘Chichi’ back into her home and put it back on the bookshelf. I hear rushing footsteps tumbling down the hallway towards my room. Mom barges in and says “ Hurry, get ready for school! We’ll be late, again…”, exasperated. I respond with a simple ‘Yes mama’ and get dressed.
I run to the kitchen and grab a banana, no longer having time for a proper breakfast. Mama is rushing to get Chleo’s lunch together, Chleo herself nowhere to be seen.
“Chleo, let’s go!” I exclaim, annoyed. This little girl can never be on time.
She stumbles out of her room, skirt lopsided and blouse only halfway buttoned.
“I’m ready, I’m ready!” she responds, out of breathe.
“Like hell you are. Samantha, help your sister look at least a little civilized.” Mama says.
Doing as I’m told, I put my banana down and start straightening out her uniform. As I am buttoning her shirt, I notice the lack of protection under it.
“You forgot your vest, again.” I state with an eye roll.
“Oopsie!” Chleo exclaims and scurries back to her room.
“C’mon now, you wear that thing everyday! How do you manage to keep forgetting it.” Mama barks out, stressed from the time crunch.
Soon enough Chleo rushes back out and we are ready to go.
Mama drives us to school a little faster than usual. She drops me at the middle school campus, which is across the street from Chleo’s school. I file into one of the lines to enter, nodding and greeting classmates and security guards. Getting in always takes the longest since the metal detectors go off half the time. Do they not understand school policy? Everyone has to leave their weapons at home.
I finally get through and make my way to homeroom for announcements. Clubs, activities, and this weeks deceased are blasted over the intercom, ending with the pledge of allegiance. The bell rings and I leave to go to my first class. Today, it’s self defense. I hate that class, I spend the rest of the day feeling gross! I never have enough time to shower after it.
A loud blast sounds from the corridor to my left, stopping me in my tracks. It goes off again and I listen closely. From the sound of the rounds and the frequency of the blasts, it is probably an AR 15.
Go to a nearby classroom.
Turn off lights.
Pile desks in front of the door.
Hand out scissors.
Hide in a corner.
Sitting in silence, the only noise heard are the gunshots and shouts of pain. At some point the police stop the shooter, after God knows how long, and the principal announces the coast is clear. We work to put everything back where it belongs.
The hallways are covered in blood and bodies, EMT’s working to get the kids and a few teachers out. Janitors have the cleaning supplies and get to work on the blood. I step over a gasping girl. She looks familiar, I think she’s in my homeroom.
I arrive to classroom 1214 and take my seat. The class files in and the bell eventually rings. There are fewer kids than usual.
“Okay class, today we will be learning some basic first aid,” my teacher states. I take out my notebook and start to take notes.