My dark caramel locks bounced on my shoulders as I walked down the hallway as any normal day, my smile as bright and beautiful as ever. The day had no reason to bring my emotions down to a plummet, until I heard it.

That weekend was one of the best. Christmas by the Lake was around and the joy was all around town. My best friend came into town and it made it that much greater. We placed light-up Santa hats on our heads and walked around in the snow talking. Cassi and I would always run into the little Gingy and reindeer costume. They were overly adorable.
She went home that Saturday and my life officially went back to normal. Cleaning, writing in my novel, and talking to friends were the highlight of my days again.
School came that Monday and it was a drag as it usually was. Homework in Algebra I, Spanish I, and a paper due in English I. A fiction paper over what our worst nightmare was. Fiction, my favorite, but there was a catch. The one written and presented the most fluently will get the honor of having it in the school newspaper and it being entered in one of the biggest writing contests in the state. My biggest dream right at this moment is just that: my writing out in public to be recognized.
The teacher let us go for the class and I asked him about what he was mostly looking for, and he reassured me to write from my heart and that I have a very good chance. A smile spread across the features of my face as I hold the hand out of the assignment and rush out the door running home to start on the paper.
I entitled it ‘Night of All Darkness.’ I wrote straight for three hours with no breaks. My mind was focused on this assignment, and making it as perfect as I can. As I click the print button I take a big deep breath, and as if my life depended on this I crawled out of my little quiet spot in the back of my closet where I find it easiest to concentrate on purely writing. Walking to the printer I pick up the three pages with black lettering on clean sheets of white paper. As soon as I get it ready for the next day in English I class I leap into bed getting comfortable before dozing off deep into a sweet dream.
When I woke that morning, I slid out of bed pulling my jeans up fastening them then slipping on a shirt and my flip flops. As any normal day I put on a smile and walk through the silver lined doors of the school. I walk to my tall grey locker all the way down the hall and groan softly as my friends walk over to me and poke my side to make me yelp as they do every day. I give my friend a glare before I hurry off to Spanish with Detra. As we sit in class and do exercises, I finally hear the bell ring, and I fly out of my seat, it being one of those days I can’t sit still. I let out a huff as my friend grabs my bag pulling me back so she can go first then a small laugh escapes my lips.
I headed to Science, the class that was always an entertainment to me. That day my mood was unusually good as I start having a giggle fit. By the end of class, Mr. Lobdell seem to have had enough, he put me as panel board eraser. That whole time I didn’t mind because all I could do is laugh, and as the class leaves the room empty and spread in the hallway I go to Physical Education.
Boring class as usual, dodge ball is not my forte, and I let out a grumble as I head up to study hall. The school is unusually quiet as I watch the class. I watch my friend Katlyn do her homework as I start to read brushing off the odd behavior. I get up after a bit, pull up my jeans and ask Mr. Kockler if I can go get my writing notebook. He nods with a smile. I have let him read part of my novelette already and he seems to like it a lot. I can tell he encourages it.
I walk from the lunchroom study hall then skip down my locker hallway. My dark caramel locks bounce on my shoulders as I walk down the hallway as any normal day, my smile as bright and beautiful as ever. The day had no reason to bring my emotions down to a plummet, until I heard it.
I spin quickly against the lockers as I see a rush of students run from the art room, the only one missing: the teacher. I panic as I run around back to Mr. Kockler. I stop hiding behind a wall as I see a young student with an 18 mm gun. My body instantly starts to shake as I sprint as quietly as I can to Mr. Kockler and the study hall. I shake hard as I try and talk calm.
‘Mr. Kockler.. There’s a boy with a gun. We have to get out of here!’
“Erin, please tell me you are joking.” Mr. Kockler said. I look up as alarms go off and the doors lock. I look at him and he nods then yells to the study hall.
“Everyone hurry out! Go!” He looks down at me as I shake my head. “You too, Erin. Go! I don’t want you in here!”
I quickly run away from him into the school as I look around. My mind purely on wanting to make sure my friends are safe. I’ve always said my life exists to save others, I believe that and forever will. I would rather risk my life to save my friends then wallow in self-pity over losing a friend in this. I run then hit a wall stopping as I freeze seeing him. The shooters cold eyes as he has a group cover. I see two of my friends in that group.
I hear Mr. Kockler come behind me and grab me. I kick and shake my head. He sets me down in a hurry., and then whispers in my ear, “Erin, you have to come with me. I can’t let you risk this.”
I look at him seriously and whisper, ‘It’s always felt my destiny, Mr. Kockler, to take care of others. I’ve always thought my life is here to save lives so why not my friends? I love them, Mr. Kockler. I can’t just leave them.’
He gives me a soft smile as he holds my shoulders. “Erin, that may be true, but I can’t let you do this. If you have to do this, I am helping you. No questions asked. Got it?” I nod at him and think hard.
I look up at him as the light bulb goes off in my mind. ‘I’m going to run for them, but pull me back. I’ll scream and get his attention. Then run.’ I give him a smile. ‘Thank you, Mr. Kockler.’ I look around the corner then snap back my eyes closed tight.
He fires the gun at a young junior instantly killing her. I look back then away tears rolling down my cheeks. I motion to my two friends Zelda and Christina to go. I mouth ‘I’ll distract him, I have help, just please just GO.’ I make a heart with my hands with a soft smile.
I see Christina nod and move with Zelda as I run and feel Mr. Kockler pull back knowing if he didn’t I would run out and try to take him down myself only getting myself killed in the process. My lips open in a high pitch scream as I hear the shooters footsteps coming towards us.
Mr. Kockler and I scatter ending up in Mr. Perry’s room. He points to the teacher’s desk and I move under it as he sits next to me. Footsteps creep closers as my heart pounds so hard in my chest I can almost swear that the whole school can hear it. I take in a deep breath as I hear the door open slowly. I quickly look at Mr. Kockler seeing his fear shine out as I know that the gun pointed at him. I got him into this and this is my fault. My job is to save him.
I jump out and yell ‘NO!’ The next think I feel is piercing pain in my abdomen. I fall to the floor and then I hear another shot in the hall. Mr. Kockler hurries to my side after looking out the door seeing the shooter on the ground. I hear him whisper “Erin, he is dead. You’re going to be okay. I promise. Stay with me.”
Tears roll down from the corners of my eyes, the pain in my abdomen sharp, but the fact of knowing that I saved Mr. Kockler helped with the pain a bit. I hear him faintly on the phone talking; the next thing I feel is moving. I hear his voice grow softer and softer until it goes silent.
I wake up in the hospital with Mr. Kockler beside me and my friends talking at the foot of the bed. I look at them all and hear Mr. Kocklers voice.
“You saved us all, Erin. I don’t know how to ever repay you.”
Katlyn looks at me speaking softly, “We all love you so much, Erin. Don’t ever scare us like that, but you are forever a hero.”
A smile grows on my face as I hear the word ‘hero’. Tears of happiness roll down my cheeks as the doctor walks in giving us the best news. “Erin will be just fine after recovery.”

That day will never be forgotten. My school tried it’s hardest to recover and eventually did. My scar on my stomach always a reminder that I saved lives that day.
My life feels as though I just need to save one life until it will feel complete. But if I save many, I would have lived the perfect life by my standards.

{Note: This writing piece is a 'Fear Paper' based on last December, but my teacher said to take it somewhere no one will expect}

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