Written by Hope75
The child sobbed softly in her arms as she tried to reassure him everything would be OK. The shattered glass crunched loudly under her feet as she and the boy moved slowly through the silent building. Noticing a slightly opened door at the end of the corridor, she made her way towards it.
Pushing it gently with her shoulder, the door opened to reveal an empty classroom. Bright, colourful drawings of dinosaurs, jet planes, and other fragments of children’s imaginations adorned the walls of the room. The seats and desks were scattered and disorganised, while books and pens were still on those that remained upright. Large chalked numbers on the blackboard revealed the day’s unfinished maths lesson, and the teacher’s desk was cluttered with text books and notes, forgotten in the rush.
The boy began weeping uncontrollably as she tried to get him seated on one of the chairs. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she repeated as he hid his head in his hands, tears streaming down his dirty face. Going to the nearest window she peered out into the grey, rain-soaked morning. The school yard below seemingly abandoned as the driving rainfall danced and glistened on the solitary swing set in its centre. She glanced briefly back toward the boy who remained in the same seated position as before. His sobbing had subsided slightly, until it had turned into a quiet moan as he drew circles on the desk with a permanent marker.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted three men with guns at their side slowly entering the school yard below. Using their hands to signal, the men fanned out, each moving in a different direction. Panic now engulfed her as she grabbed the boy and left the classroom, retracing her steps back along the dimly lit corridor.
Passing the shattered glass, she heard voices behind and quickened the pace to match her apprehension. Turning left past more classrooms, she saw that one of the doorways was blocked by a woman’s body. She was lying protectively over another child, surrounded in a pool of blood. Further ahead lay two more children – their faces etched in pain from the gunshots. “Don’t look,” she whispered to the boy. “It will be over soon.”
She moved hastily down the first flight of stairs, the boy rocking in her arms with each step. Pausing on the landing, she listened for any more voices and when she heard nothing descended the next set of steps. She noticed the neon green exit sign on the ground floor and glanced over her shoulder before running to the exit. A water cooler caught her eye, and then the body beside it. Crunched in the foetal position, the woman’s white blouse was stained from a gunshot wound to the neck. She kept the boy close to her as they passed.
She gripped the metal bar on the door and pulled down but nothing happened. The exit was locked. She tried it again but nothing happened. “Shit, shit, shit,” she hissed, frantically looking for another way out. The men she had seen from the window were entering the school from the front so that was not an option. She moved toward the back of the building, the weight of the boy now beginning to drain the strength in her arms.
The door of the school canteen was open and the smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air. Moving through the rows of tables and chairs she tried to open a window on the far side of the canteen. A rush of cold wet air swept in before jamming on its lock. She tried another window and then a third, but each were jammed. She carried the child through the hall and into the kitchen behind.
Pots of steaming food sat on top of the cookers in the kitchen with utensils strewn on the surfaces beside them. Shards of smashed plates littered the ground – some still decorated with the odd bit of food. Still looking for a way out, she spotted another exit next to the large silver industrial refrigerator. Once again, she pressed down the metal bar that ran across it and, this time, with a slight groan the door swung open.
She was soaked through by the time she and the boy ran across the car park. Trying to remember where she had left her car that morning, she stood momentarily to get her bearings.
“Ma’am, stop right there,” a booming voice commanded behind her.
Turning slowly she faced the police officer. His weapon was pointed at her. He edged toward her, keeping the barrel steady.
“I’m a teacher and I am trying to get this boy out of here,” she lied, fear tinged in her voice as she held the child close.
”Okay ma’am, just put the boy down and we can get you both to safety,” the officer replied and put his weapon back in its holster.
She placed the boy on the wet concrete, his hands still wiping tears from his face.
As the policeman moved toward them she swiftly removed the Glock 19 from the band of her jeans and fired off two quick rounds, hitting the man in both the stomach and eye. His body folded underneath him as his face cracked off the wet surface. The boy screamed as the loud bang of the gun exploded in his ears. Grabbing him up in her arms again, Anna ran in search of her vehicle.
This story excerpt marks Hope75’s first published piece here on Inkblots. Anna is her current work in progress, with the first chapter very well-received by members of our Inkwell forum. But Hope75 has got lots more planned for Anna as this is just a taster of what’s to come in the future.