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The School Shooter (2)

Readers get to choose the direction of this story. Can you help Isabella prevent the school shooting?
Is this heaven?

All I see is white. A brilliant white that makes fresh snow seem gray, the kind of white that sears into my retinas and makes me temporarily blind. Like clouds parting for the golden sun, a surge of light shines through the white mist, followed by a burst of colors, like those of a rainbow. Faint noises are seeping through the cracks of the whiteness. Someone is calling my name. Over and over, it's getting louder until-

"Izzy!"

I open my eyes. All sounds of life come back to me, hitting me all at once. Students chattering and laughing. The buzzing of the projector above our heads. Mr. Patel's low humming, as he attends to the paperwork at his desk, seeming carefree.

What am I doing here in my English classroom?

I should be dead! I got shot! ... Didn't I? Or was that just a daydream?

I look to my right, where the large window is next to me. The window seat is my favorite spot in the classroom, enabling me to look outside at the fresh, green grass and oak trees surrounding our school building. Golden sunlight is streaming in, as peaceful as the light reflecting on the sea after a vicious storm...

For a moment, I get emotional. I thought I'd never see the daylight again.

"Izzy."

Startled, I look to my left. My seating partner, Pamela is looking at me in confusion.

"Are you okay?" She asks. "I've been calling your name for a while now. You dozed off."

"Oh... I'm fine," I reply, feeling somewhat shaken up.

"Well, I dunno if you heard Mr. Patel, but we have to make a Shakespeare poster together. So... um... how shall we do it?"

"Didn't we already do that?" I ask with a low groan. Couldn't Mr. Patel be more creative with his lessons?

Pamela gives me a weird look. "Uhh... no, we didn't."

"Uhh, yes, we did," I say, stubbornly. "We made a poster about Macbeth, since everyone else was choosing Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet, and we wanted to be original!"

"Hmm, that's such a good idea! We should do Macbeth," Pamela says.

"But we already did!"

"Did we? Huh..."

Pamela wasn't exactly the brightest girl around. Her own friends called her 'fish brain' because she'd forget a lot of things.

Just then, my phone beeps. A new message. Sneakily, I pull it out of my pocket and peek at it. The message is from my boyfriend.

Damian: Happy 6-month anniversary, babe!! I can't wait to see you after school xox

I remember this. Those exact words. I check the date on my phone. 1st November. I can feel the blood draining from my face.

This can't be... How could this be...? It should be 15th November today! The day that I was supposed to have my student election meeting. The day that I was going to finally report a certain teacher for his crimes.

The day of the school shooting.

"So... erm... where's our Macbeth poster?" Pamela asks, scratching her head. "Please don't tell me you gave it to me for keeps. You know, I lose things."

"We'll have to make it again," I say, sighing.

The rest of the lesson blurs past. So many events happened that were familiar to my conscious understanding and memory. Something small as Jessica dropping her pencil, to Matthew failing to toss scrap paper onto the trash can, to Jack falling off his chair from laughing too hard.

I had seen it all before, I had lived these exact moments. It was disorientating, like I was viewing the world through a lens, rather than participating in it. This experience was almost unbearable, as though the environment, everyone and everything, down to the last detail, consumed my mind and threatened to engulf me like a tornado.

Soon, the bell rang and I rushed out of there, feeling glad to escape from the suffocating classroom.

Now, I'm standing in the hallway. That wretched checkerboard hallway of nightmares. My two friends, Charlotte and Demi, are chatting away so casually, without a care in the world. I don't have many friends, but I'm content with these two.

Demi is the most beautiful out of us, looking like Jessica Alba if she had pale complexion and blue eyes. Charlotte is the laid-back friend, one who is pretty neutral and open-minded about many things. She's into sports and video games, while Demi is definitely the girly-girl type. I'm a mixture of both of them - like if they had a child together, the product would be me.

"So, you won't believe what happened the other day," Demi begins, a typical cue for her long-winded storytelling.

"Lemme guess, it has something to do with Shontell?" Charlotte says, whilst chewing bubblegum.

"Ugh, I'd rather not talk about her," Demi says, rolling her eyes. Everyone and their mothers know that Shontell is her nemesis.

"Well, that's certainly a first," Charlotte retorts.

This is the cue when I'd laugh, but I'm a little on edge right now. A little? Alright, a lot. I can't stop shifting around in my spot, unable to shake away the anxiety I felt.

Will I ever be comfortable in my life again? Is this even real life? Am I dreaming? Have I really gone into the past? How is that possible? It's a complete transgression of natural boundaries!

I'm just a normal girl. I have no supernatural abilities, no particular quality that stands out about me, so why am I here? Did I somehow will myself in this existence? Did someone else put me here? Is there a greater force behind of all this? Is this entire world some form of Matrix, and this is merely a glitch in the system? Am I dead and I'm just watching my life on replay before I pass over onto the afterlife?

So many questions! I can't even concentrate properly with Demi rambling on.

"Demi, you talk too much," I say, frustrated.

"Wait! I haven't got to the good part," she says. This is the same girl that talked about ice cream for an entire hour. As much as I love her, I don't want to relive another of her rambles.

"Just cut to the chase! Your mom is pregnant and you're hoping for a baby sister," I snap. "Oh, and you stepped on a beetle along the way and you feel bad. You're thinking of going vegan, but that phase will wear off within two days."

Not once have I ever heard both my friends go silent at the same time. Today is the day that it finally happened. Both Demi and Charlotte are staring at me with their mouths open in shock.

Why did I do that? I guess a part of me wanted to deliberately provoke this type of reaction. It seemed like the same things were happening over and over, beyond my control. I just wanted to be in control.

"H-how did you know that?" Demi asks, stunned. "I haven't told anyone that information. How could you possibly know?"

"Is- is this a joke?" Charlotte says, confused. "Are you both trying to scare me or something? Because I'm not falling for it!"

"And how the hell do you know I want to be vegan?" Demi says with a glare. "And what do you mean, it'll only last for two days!? You don't think I can do it? You don't believe in me?"

I sigh heavily. Great. Now they're throwing more questions my way, as if I didn't already have enough on my plate.

Just then, I notice the corridor doors swinging open. It's like I'm rewatching a movie. There were some incidents that I expected to happen, yet there were also things that I was noticing which I hadn't picked up the first time. This is one of those instances.

Lewis Taylor.

Among the herd of students, he's walking in with his hands in his pockets. His shoulders are hunched, his head hanging low. Ginger hair sticks out of his hoodie drawn over his head and earphone wires dangle out from his jacket pocket.

Students walk past him without batting an eye in his direction. He doesn't notice them either, his eyes fixed to the ground with an intense focus. Nothing about him seems hostile... Still, I can't shake away the image of his flaming blue eyes, and the madness across his blood-stained face.

He walks past me, making my spine tingle with nerves.

"Izzy! Stop blanking us!" Charlotte snaps, waving her hand in front of my face.

"Yeah, girl. You better explain yourself. How come you know all this stuff about me? Have you been spying on me or something?" Demi asks.

Both girls are digging their stares into me, demanding for answers. Meanwhile, I'm getting the urge to run after Lewis and talk to him -- something I've never done before. Time is ticking and I need to make wise choices, for the sake of all our lives.

What shall I do?

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Author's Note:

You have the choice to steer the story. In every chapter, I'll put up a poll with options for you to select. Your choices will impact the story, ultimately determining whether Isabella may or may not stop the school shooting. There are several endings I've planned out for this. So, pick your choices carefully if you want a good ending!
What should Isabella do?
Come clean to her friends! They should know the truth.
Go after Lewis before he escapes!
She needs time alone to figure things out.
By
Published: 11/27/2018
Bouquets and Brickbats