What happens when you have nothing to lose.
The child sobbed softly in her arms as she tried to reassure him that everything would be alright. The shattered glass crunched loudly under her feet as she and the boy moved slowly through the otherwise 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, books and pens still on those that remained upright. Large chalked numbers revealed the day’s unfinished math lesson on the board behind the teacher’s desk, which was cluttered with text books and notes.
The boy began to weep uncontrollably as she tried to put him onto one of the chairs. “It’s okay, it’s okay”, she repeated as he lay his head in his hands on the desk, tears now streaming down his dirty face. Going to the nearest window she peered out into the grey, rain soaked morning. The schoolyard below seemed 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 only now had his sobbing desisted slightly to a quiet moan as he drew circles on the desk with a newly acquired marker.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted three men with guns at their side slowly enter the schoolyard below. Using their hands to signal the men fanned out, each moving in different directions. Panic now engulfed her as she grabbed the boy and left the classroom, retracing her steps back along the dimly lit corridor.
She quickened her pace as she passed the shattered glass, thinking she heard voices behind her. Turning left past more classrooms the body of a woman lay protectively over a dead child in a pool of blood by the doorway of one. Further ahead lay two more children their faces etched in pain from the gunshots that ended their short life. “Don’t look”, she whispered to the boy she carried, “it will be over soon.”
Reaching a stairwell she moved hastily down the first flight 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.
On the ground floor she noticed the neon green exit sign that illuminated the top of the door. She glanced over her shoulder before setting off in its direction. Another woman lay lifeless in a foetal position by the water cooler, her white blouse stained heavily red from a gunshot wound to the neck, as she and the boy passed.
She gripped the metal bar on the door and pulled down but nothing happened, the exit was locked. She tried it again and again nothing. “Shit, shit, shit”, she muttered under her breath as she looked for an alternative 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 lay open in front of her. 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. The window opened slightly as a rush of cold wet air streamed in before jamming on its lock. She tried another window but it was the same and then a third. Realising all the windows were similar 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 meals they once carried. She was tiring fast as she searched for a way out. Next to the large silver industrial refrigerator behind the ovens, she spotted another exit. Once again, she pressed down the metal bar that ran across it, but this time with a slight groan the door swung open.
The rain soaked her and the boy as she ran across the almost empty car park behind the kitchen. 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 who had his weapon pointed at her. He edged toward her never taking the gun off her.
“I’m a teacher and I am trying to get this boy out of here”, she lied with 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 gradually putting 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. She fired off two quick rounds both hitting the man, one in the stomach and the other in the head. 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.