It had to be done. I couldn’t stand her! I pull the trigger. She collapses to the floor, bleeding. I hear a gasp. I can’t take it in anymore. I can’t hold it in anymore. I cry, kneeling. I cry and cry and cry, until my throat is sore.
As I open my eyes, I’m still in the parking lot where it happened. She’s.. gone. I look around. I see more blood. But it’s not coming from me, it’s where she was. I run, the opposite way of where she was. I look back. But I can’t (so technically I didn’t look back). A hand covers my mouth. ‘Shout and I shoot you.’ Says a voice. ‘O-ok..’ I say, trying to hide my obvious fear. I close my eyes. But . . . I open them again, crying. ‘Why are you..’ says the voice. ‘Wait. J-Jason?’ ‘Camilla?’ I gasp. ‘It can’t be.. I-I killed you…’ ‘Umm, no…’ she replies. I can’t believe my eyes! She’s alive?! ‘You.. survived?’ I ask. ‘Not exactly.’ She shows me her leg. ‘I’m still bleeding,’ she says. ‘but you can’t die because someone shot you in the leg! Well at least, not for me. How.. though? Why?’ She asks. ‘I.. I..’ I start. But I can’t. I fall to the floor.
‘Stop! Stop! It’s a dream! It’s all a dream, sweetie. Don’t get so worked up!’ Says a calm voice. I open my eyes. ‘Mommy?’ I ask. I look at my surroundings. I see a messy desk, filled with crayons and unfinished homework and random thrown books and a small plant, then the floor, dirty, sticky, a bit smelly, and crayons are thrown there, too. And my bed. Neat. Not a single speck of dust. Pristine. ‘Are you listening, honey? I called the school and told them you were sick so you can stay at home today. There’s not much going on, anyway, so you won’t be missing much. Also!’ She exclaims. ‘I got your favorite!’ Mom pulls out a fresh, clean bowl of my favorite: cereal, ice cream and sprinkles! I smile. ‘You’re welcome, sweetie.’ That’s when it hit me. I’m 7 years old. The young Jason. Before Mom and Dad died. Before I was in middle school. Before I changed. Before everything. Well, technically, not everything. But I had been.. dreaming my future? It was so real. I’m so worried that I gobble up my cereal and ice cream and sprinkles without making ‘mmm’ noises every time I take a bite. Without saying as much as ‘thank you’ to Mom. Without even hugging her. I think about it. A lot.
‘Mom.’ I say. ‘What’s up?’ She asks. ‘Thank you.’ I say. Mom looks puzzled. ‘For what?’ She asks. ‘You know,’ I reply, like it was the simplest thing in the whole world. ‘For everything.’ Mom looks at me. ‘Oh, sweetie. That’s so nice of you,’ Mom says. I look forward, knowing that if I look at her I would burst out crying. And that’s when Mom died. Car crash. But here I was, able to help. ‘Mom, look out!’ I yell, as she almost crashes. That’s when I saved her. Mom stopped just in time. We cried that night. She thanked ME, for saving her life. I had a do-over. With my life. So I’m glad I could save Mom. And somehow, Dad too.
Actually, the next day, we found out the car in front of us was a taxi. With DAD in the back! So we could’ve killed him. I could’ve listened to Mom instead. But no. I didn’t. And guess what? It actually helped me. A LOT. I saved my future. Myself. ME.
‘Have fun at school!’ Mom says, as she kisses my forehead. ‘I will!’ I reply.
I walk slowly. Kids and their parents (well, kids) push past me. Harsh. I look at the classes. ‘Hello!’ Says a friendly- looking lady. ‘You must be new!’ I smile, nodding. ‘I’m Ms. Hailey! Please make sure to report to the principal’s office, she’ll help. It’s up the stairs, to the 1stfloor, and the room at the very end of the hall on your left. You’ll see a door with “Ms. Vanessa” written on it. That’ll be it. Good luck!’ I smile, even more. ‘Bye. Thank you!’ She smiles back. ‘No problem!’
Knock knock. ‘Come on in!’ Says a cheerful voice. I step in, slowly and cautiously. ‘Hello. I’m Jason Peters. Are you Ms—’
‘Vanessa? Yes.’ She says, looking at me. ‘Oh, Jason! Welcome! I’m Ms. Vanessa, the principal of this school!’ She looks behind me. ‘Where are you parents?’ She asks.
‘Oh, my Mom dropped me off at the entrance,’ I reply. ‘Could you tell me where class 4B is, please?’ Ms. Vanessa smiles. ‘Just next door,’ She says. ‘Oh, and if you ever need anything,’ she smiles, as I leave. ‘feel free to come here.’ I smile back, waving.
I walk to the nearby door. It says, ‘Mrs. Tamara.’ And below, it says, ‘Class 4B’. I slowly touch the cold, golden doorknob. And push.
‘Hello!’ Says a young-looking woman, who I think is— ‘I’m Mrs. Tamara! I’ll be your teacher for this year! Feel free to sit wherever you may like.’ Mrs. Tamra smiles. I look at an empty table in the back and sit there. There’s only me, and another boy, who’s fidgeting in his chair. The class fills in soon with chattering, joyful children. I gulp. Two girls and a boy sit on my table- er, OUR table. The rest look like they’re avoiding it. One of the girls is talking — very LOUDLY — and she has chestnut hair, with light brown eyes. I look at her for a while. Maybe TOO long, because… ‘Uh.. hello? Hello?????’ She asks, clapping her hands in front of my face. ‘What?’ I say, as casually as possible. ‘Oh, you’re alive!’ She scoffs. I shake my head. And look at the boy. He has glossy black hair and dark blue eyes, with violet glasses. He’s currently reading a book. A BIG book. ‘Hello.’ I say to him. ‘Hi.’ Says the other girl sitting on our table. She has red hair and green eyes. I smile. Her friend looks at me. ‘Uh, excu—’ she starts, but gets cut off by the red-haired girl nudging her. ‘Um, hey.’ She half-smiles, waving at me. I smile even HARDER, appreciating that she’s making an effort. ‘What’s your name?’ She asks. ‘I-I’m Jason. You?..’ I reply. She smiles properly. ‘I’m Victoria. You can call me Vicky, though.’ I can’t say anything, because the red-haired girl started talking. ‘Hi. I’m Traci. Extra info about me that you might like to know: my favorite color’s yellow. My b-day is on July 16th, and I have a big brother. He’s OK, I guess. That’s about it. You?’ Traci says. I smile, softly. ‘I’m Jason, my favorite color’s pink. My birthday is on, um, March 5th. I.. I don’t have any siblings.’ I respond, almost whispering. ‘Pink? What?’ Victoria says, in disbelief. ‘Yeah. Umm, you?’ I ask, trying not to annoy her. ‘OMG, do you know how many crushes she has every week? Wait, no, everyDAY.’ Traci smirk-gasps. Vicky blushes and shoves her. ‘Shut up!’ She says. The black-haired boy looks up. ‘Guys, stop fighting.’ He says, because the shoving was starting to get to HITTING. Traci looks at him, speechless. Until.. ‘Oh, OK. Um, sorry.’ She says. Vicky looks at me and smirks. ‘Look who has a crush now!’ Traci looks at her, clearly embarrassed. ‘No, I don’t!’ She almost-shouts. ‘If you say so…’ Vicky says. I laugh a bit. Maybe she’s not so bad after all. ‘Hey, when’s your birthday?’ I ask. Vicky looks at me. She points at herself, and says, ‘Me?’ I nod, smiling. She puts her hands on the table and exhales deeply. ‘Why do you ask?’ She asks. I give her a what-do-you-mean look. ‘Well, I told you mine. It’s only fair.’ I shrug. She shrugs back. ‘OK, fine.’ She inhales, and exhales. She looks nervous. ‘Why are you so nervous?’ Asks Traci.
I look at her, guilty. ‘I’m sorry! I’m just new and it’s hard!’ I exclaim. Traci and Vicky give me a ‘look’. ‘I meant Vicky.’ Traci says. Vicky sighs. ‘Boys.’ She says, rolling her eyes.
‘Well, my birthday’s December 24th. And my favorite color’s lime green. And mint green, too. Happy?’ She says. ‘Well..’ I start.
‘Sorry to interrupt, but are you guys listening?’ Mrs. Tamara asks. We all look at her, guiltier than ever. ‘Umm…’ I start.
‘Yes, we were just discussing our times tables, right, guys?’ Vicky says, somewhat persuasively. ‘Yeah.’ We all say. ‘Oh, sorry! You may continue.’ Mrs. Tamara smiles. We —sort-of— smile back. When she leaves, we all exhale very deeply. ‘Wow, that was close.’ Traci says. ‘Yeah.’ The boy says. Then he looks at me. ‘Hi,’ he says. ‘Hello!’ I reply. ‘I-I’m Ezra.’ He says. I smile. ‘I’m Jason!’ I respond, merrily. ‘OK, time for English!’ Mrs. Tamara says. What? It’s … oh. OK.
‘Don’t forget: no homework this week! Oh, and recess WILL be outdoors, since the summer’s gone!’ Mrs. Tamara smiles. We all nod. And head out. ‘Vicky! Traci! Come!’ Shouts a girl. Traci and Vicky look at each other. And … ‘BYE!!!’ Vicky shouts as they run to her. ‘See ya!’ Shouts Traci.
I sigh. I guess I’m— ‘Hey. Want to eat together?’ Ezra asks. I look back. ‘Sure.’ I reply.
So we do. ‘What do you have for snack?’ Ezra asks. ‘A sandwich. You?’ I respond. ‘I have a granola bar, and a juice.’ He smiles. I smile back.
After eating, Ezra continues reading his book. So I look around. And spot Vicky and Traci! ‘Hey!’ I shout, running to them. ‘Heeeeeeeey!’ I shout again. Traci looks back. And quickly looks away from me. Vicky looks back. And waves. ‘Who’s that?’ The same girl from before whispers. ‘Oh, that’s Jason.’ Vicky whispers back. ‘He sits with us and Ezra.’ I smile, waving at the girl. ‘Are you new?’ She asks. I nod. ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Oh, hi! I’m Cheryl!’ She says. ‘Jason.’ I reply, shaking her hand. ‘Want to play Murder Mystery?’ Cheryl asks. Traci nudges her. ‘Ahem,’ She says. ‘We’re already busy. Now, run along!’ She glares, sounding like Dad. ‘Hey, that’s not polite!’ I exclaim. ‘Ugh, would you just—’ Traci starts, but immediately gets interrupted. ‘Young lady! How dare you cheat!’ A man says, running towards us. ‘Me?’ Traci scoffs. ‘Yeah, right.’ The man GLARES at her. ‘I don’t like your tone!’ He shouts, sounding again like Dad. ‘You have do redo your Maths test!’ He shouts. Traci gasps. ‘But.. no! Why…’ she stammers. Cheryl rolls her eyes. ‘Told you it was a bad idea!’ Cheryl exclaims as Traci drags herself to the Maths class with the man. ‘Be careful,’ Cheryl says. ‘She’s not as kind as you think.’
I go back into the class, thinking about that.. EPISODE with Traci. “She’s not as kind as you think.” What does she mean by that? Is Traci not who she pretends to be? I have to find out.
So, when school’s finished for the day, I text Mom to tell her that I’m going by bus. (I’m not.) So she says OK, and I follow Traci home. (To HER home, of course!) I spy from the window. ‘Oh, you dirty, ugly liar! You big pile of trash! Can’t you do any better?’ A woman yells, furiously. Crocodile tears fall down Traci’s cheeks. ‘It’s just a stupid test! So what? It’s just GRADES, Mom!’ Traci shouts. ‘Couldn’t you do any better?!? You’re such a disappointment to this family!’ Her mom shouts even louder. ‘Well so are you!’ Traci screams, before running up the stairs. Quite an episode there, too. Tears fall down the Mom’s cheeks. She falls to the floor, crying. I cry a bit too. Is this why Traci is so… mean? I guess I shouldn’t be angry at her. “Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” “Be nice.” “Don’t worry, be happy!” “If you had the choice of being right or being kind, choose kind.” “Choose kind.” “Choose kind.” “Choose.. kind.”
I run home. I pant so much and sweat so much I look like I’ve been running a 5 hour marathon! (Yes, that much.) Mom looks at me as I enter. ‘Oh, honey!’ She says, hugging me. Dad comes too. ‘Was your day OK? Did any tease you or bully you?’ He asks, concerned. ‘No, it was good.’ I smile. ‘I made 3 friends!’ Well, 2. I don’t know if Cheryl WAS my friend. Either way, I still have Ezra and Vicky! ‘Oh, sweetie, that’s great!’ Mom exclaims, happily. ‘We were worried sick.’ Dad says, softly. Sometimes I forget that he shouts at me.
‘Hey, um, Dad.’ I say, as I leave the bathroom (I showered). ‘Yeah?’ He asks. ‘Did you.. lose your job?’ I inquire. Dad gulps. And suddenly looks angry. “Sometimes I forget he shouts at me.” Well, not today. Then he scrunches up his face. ‘Well, um, yes.’ He whispers. ‘But Mommy’s looking for a job. She’ll find one,’ Dad smiles, sadly, and whispers, ‘She has to. She.. has to.’