Bullets

The sky is dark and overcast, the day bleak and dull. What is life? I sit here in English, looking out the window at the clouds that hang dangerously low. I am thinking about how they might just come down so low they would engulf the school and when you look out the window, all you would see is grey.

Fifty shades of grey, I think. Ha ha. I want to read that book, the trailer looked good. I might go to see it. Imagine the people in the cinema start getting turned on by it all.

Our teacher, Mr Grey, stands at the front of the class, he wears his usual tweed jacket, dark press pants, squeaky brown shoes and…oh look it’s started to rain. I get so distracted so easily. I sigh quietly to myself and go back to thinking about the dark clouds engulfing the school. It creeps inside, like in Stephan King’s The Mist. Touching everyone, burning us all. Everyone breaks out in red shiny blisters that explode and produce green slimy…whatever…everyone dies. Lovely thoughts for a fifteen year old.

Mr Grey steps out for a moment. Something tells me he needs the loo, probably the way he rushes out and into the staff room.

Please take this down class, I just have some explosive diarrhoea I need to take care of.

I try not to laugh. I amuse myself, how sad is that?

The bell rings before Mr Grey gets back and can give us homework. Good for us. To be honest I don’t mind doing homework, because we’re in Transition Year. Because we get fuck all, that’s why, pardon my French. I didn’t know that the F word was French, wonder what it means?

Irish is boring. Sure who am I telling? I’m good at it, but its too much of an effort to participate. Besides, the teacher is talking to himself (half the class is asleep).

Our Irish teacher Mr. Connors tries his best. Last year he gave us some helpful advice on what do do in the Junior Cert. It worked, I got a B. Other people who are too lazy to try, got D’s.

To hell with them. None of the people in my Irish class, bar one or two, are my friends. I don’t care about them. If they were on fire and I had a fire hose, I’d drop it. Then run away. Because fire, bad. I can hear shouting in the hall. Most of the boys in the class, talk out of turn, throw things at each other, laugh at inappropriate things, bully other students, smoke at lunch (sometimes weed) listen to music in class, don’t bring books to class etc. The list goes on.

The girls just put their heads down and sleep. Most of them are bitches. Their hair color, jewelry, tone of voice, walk, and behavior all screams Bitch. I don’t know what my identity would scream. Outcast, weird, antisocial. Whatever.

This class can not go any slower. I’m starting to fall asleep, my back is itchy and I’m cold because some gobshite opened the window saying he was too hot. Its September and it feel like Summer.

And I met you in the summer, we fell in love as the leaves turned brown.

I like that song by Calvin Harris. I’m trying not to let my head smash against the desk. Because that would be unpleasant. Finally the bell rings. Thank God. I exit the room and start towards the main stairs to go up to Agriculture Science.

On my way up the hall to science someone grabs my shoulders. I turn around, it’s Kyle.

‘Hi.’ I say.

‘I’m signing out.’ He says grinning.

‘Lucky you.’’ I reply. ‘Who’s collecting you?’

He shrugs.

‘You haven’t arranged it have you?’ I say. We walk up towards the office. I have to go upstairs to go to science.

‘I just couldn’t be bothered going to the last three.’ He says looking at his phone. He texts his Dad as we walk, saying he is sick…yeah ‘’sick’’ know what I mean?

‘Okay,sure I’ll see you tomorrow so.’ I say walking upstairs.

He looks back down at his phone. ‘Have fun in science.’ He calls after me sarcastically. I flip him off. I just remembered that I need to finish my art project.

Our science teacher, Mrs Weasels (I know, such a name) is commonly referred to as ‘Froth’ because she foams around the edge of her mouth when she talks and also has a slight lisp. Just hope she doesn’t put you near the front.

Attention on board, the first five rows will get wet. Please keep your hands and feet inside the desk at all times.

I try to concentrate on what she is saying, but its like watching a DVD that keeps sticking. She is a lost cause. Half the class is empty and I’m bored. Some people at the back put their heads down and go to sleep. As usual. When the teacher calls out Kyle’s name I say he’s gone home. This is nice, isn’t it? Depressing weather, people going home every five minutes and the remaining ones are all half dead.

Class finally ends and lunch time begins. Yah! I walk down towards the lockers. People are in the way. I put my bag down and take out my sandwiches. I sit down beside Rita.

She smiles at me.

‘Hey.’ I smile.

‘How was science?’ She asks.

‘Boring, where were you for it?’ I ask.

‘At the office, trying to get them to let me sign out.’ She says.

‘Oh, not you too,’ I groan. She nods and laughs. I smile, ‘Everyone is signing out today.’

‘Yeah that’s why I’m doing it. Because everyone else is gone.’

‘I might sign out later. I’ll see.’ I say.

She stands up to get her bag.

Everyone else goes off downstairs to the canteen. Leaving certs are allowed to go off school grounds for lunch. Lucky bastards.

The locker area is empty. I write down the homework that I forgot to write down from Rita’s journal. She goes over to her locker to get something. I eat the rest of my lunch.

I remember my art project was due today and go wandering the halls for my art teacher Mr Freeman. I stop by the bathroom to wash my hands, taking a moment to fix my curly black hair in the mirror.

Hang on, the canteen is open. I could really go for a cookie right now. How much are they?

Reality check, canteen plus money equals food. The school food is actually okay.

I take my stroll past the staff room just as Mr Freeman comes out.

‘Oh, sir!.’ I say just as he walks past.

‘Yes, Jesse.’ He says pleasantly.

‘You know how I’m supposed to have my art project in today? Well I haven’t finished mine yet, so can I go up and finish it now if its okay with you.’

‘Of course you can. I’ve had a couple other people ask me the same thing. I’m headed up there now so why don’t you follow me up?’

I nod.

He nods back and gives me a thumbs up. I continue my way off to the canteen. That was a coincidence wasn’t it. Now I can finish my art and turn it in on time. Good boy Jesse, roll over Jesse, sit Jesse. My brain is talking to itself. I need to get a life. Big time. I take a look at what is for sale today. The cookies are all gone. Damn. I take a muffin instead. Close enough. I think I need to take a shower. I trot back up to the lockers, all the while thinking about my art and how I should finish it.

I brought in some turkey bones that I was thinking about glueing together as firewood, then cutting out some cardboard and making them look like people sitting around a camp fire. But then I thought about making a cardboard cut out of a ghost and have it hover over the wood. Mr Freeman said I could get a C. That’s good enough for me.

Ha ha that rhymes, maybe later I could-

Somebody screams downstairs and I hear something that sounds like fireworks going off down by the canteen. Then lots more screaming. I pause, listening for more. Then someone comes running up the stairs and around the corner. They have blood all over their jumper. I recognize him from the year above me. His name is George. His neck is stained red, with a small hole in it. I cover my mouth to stop myself from screaming.

Those weren’t fireworks at all. I see someone’s shadow on the wall coming up the stairs and dive to my right to hide. The door to the prayer room is right beside me. I open it and emerge into the musty dim light. The blinds are open. I close the door slowly until only a crack is left. Then I look out the window. George is now on the floor face down.

Two men emerge at the top stair, dressed in something that looks like black uniforms, carrying semi automatic Uzi’s. I duck down and hold my breath. They pass by and disappear around the corner down the hall. I take a deep breath and stand up. I’m shaking.

I have to get out of here. I exit the room and peek around the corner. The two armed men have vanished. What is happening here? Why are people shooting at us? My brain has a million questions all at once.

Breath Jesse, just keep your head and think. Find the nearest exit.

I shake my head. Now is the time for running, This is like those night terrors that I used to get as a child. I can see down the stairs, to where someone is lying face down on the ground. Its one of the girls, her hair covers her face, her hands are bloody. Oh God, please let there be a way out of this. I want to burst into tears. But I can do that after I’ve gotten out of here. I creep down the stairs. Another student lies on the floor, one of the seniors who I recognize to be a prefect. His face, chest and legs all have numerous amounts of holes in them. I peer over the banister. More bodies, some streaks of blood, a class room door is left open. I go back up. I have to leave, now, who knows where those men in the uniform have gone.

Maybe some people have already gotten out. Leaving Certs who left will be okay. People outside might have fled. I go down the hall to the windows. I can’t see anyone outside. But there might be survivors.

More gunfire echoes somewhere in the building. I bite my lip. Think Jesse, think. Okay, well if they are downstairs then I could climb out a window. No, find an exit. Oh!

I remember there are fire exits down at the other end of the hall. Bingo! They are down beside the science rooms. They lead down two flights of stairs and to the back of the building. Once on the ground you just run through the back gate. It goes up by the shop.

I can’t resist, I sprint down the hall, towards the class rooms. Gunfire rings out somewhere nearby. Flight is essential at this point. I can see the doors, getting closer. I can almost taste the fresh air. Yes, come on. My legs won’t move fast enough. Keep running.

Just keep running Jesse, just keep running,

As I reach the end of the hallway, I see someone coming up the stairs. Its one of those armed men, blocking me off.

He turns and points the gun at me. I don’t have time to scream. A burning pain tears through my abdomen. My hands fly to cover myself. I look down to see blood seeping through my white school shirt at an alarmingly fast rate. The cotton, now heavy with blood, begins to drip. My knees buckle and I hit the floor, but it doesn’t hurt. The man in the uniform approaches me.

My vision blurs and I can’t hear anything except my own pounding heart that is now slowing down. Everything goes dark very slowly and then nothing more.