“Hi Mrs. Perskins!” A young man waved vigorously as he hurried through the crowd of kids. An old lady turned around slowly, unsure of the voice and man she saw coming toward her. The man was wearing a blue hoodie and blue pants and seemed older than the crowd around the school. He was catching his breathe as he pushed up his thick black glasses.
“I’m sorry young man, do we know each other.” Mrs. Perskins asked.
“Yes… Um, It’s me Brian Chase?” He said unsure if her memory would remember a random student in her class. She squinted for a time, looking at Brian’s face.
“Quiet one, always sits in the back. Of course, I remember you.” She waved a finger in front of his face. Walking away Brian looked incredulously around before following. “I remember all my students believe it or not. Got real good memory I do.” She stated matter-a-factly as she continued down the hallway.
“That’s amazing Mrs. Perskins. It was like three years ago when I graduated. I assumed no one would remember me.” He looked down for a second thinking about those dreaded high school days of his youth.
She stopped for a second in front of a door and turned around. “Well maybe I only remember the bright ones that come through my class, not all of them.” Mrs. Perskins gave him a wink before opening the door. Brian smiled as he followed her in. The room was filled with kids all waiting for Mrs.Perskins. “Hello class. Please give a warm welcome to our alumni guest Brian Chase. He will be reviewing our class discussion today. Brian embarrassed for the introduction just waved to the kids.
“Uh… Hello.” Brian simply stated and hurriedly sat on empty chair perched on the side of the room.
“Now please open your books to page one hundred twenty.” Mrs. Perskins proclaimed as she started to write on the chalkboard. The words read: Energy is found in different forms, is conserved, and has the ability to do work. Mrs. Perskins voice faded as Brian watched in nostalgia. He remembered how much he loved Physics in high school. As he listened to the kid’s attention and laughter and Mrs. Perskins engaging presentations, he could not help but feel eighteen again. He watched on and smiled throughout.
Before he knew it, the class was over, and all the kids were exiting the room. Some stayed while conversing with their friends. Brian got up and quickly shook Mrs. Perskins hand as she was putting away her notes. “Thank you so much for letting me sit during your lecture.” She shooed away his hand.
“Think nothing of it. Just make sure you become successful with the knowledge I’ve given you. Then we could call it even.” She finished cleaning up and then motioned for everyone to leave, including Brian. As the students and Brian left he waved goodbye to Mrs. Perskins. He was thinking of visiting the other teacher’s he remembered but thought he did not want to spoil the nice memory he just made. Making his way to the front of the school he was looking forward to walking home. He looked around and noticed a lot of students were walking to their next class. He made his way through the throng and down the main staircase.
The main hallway was like any other school. Huge Pillars kept the main entrance aloft. One huge main staircase in the middle branched to either side of the second floor. On the first floor by the entrance you can see the offices on one side and the library on the other. It was winter and through the main archway’s orange light from the setting sun lighted the entire main hall. Just before reaching the bottom of the stairs Brian spotted him.
Entering the school, a man was dressed in tactical outfit. His face was open, but he wore a vest, gloves, and army boots. The man’s clothes were all colored black and in his hands he was holding an automatic rifle. Fear lumped in Brian’s throat as he ran around the corner on the side of the stairs and hid behind one of the huge pillars. He heard screams from other people gathered in the hall as they also noticed the shooter enter the school. Brian heard loud gunshots ring out and echo in the hallway. Instinctively Brian cowered against the pillar and ground as he shielded his head and face.
“Listen here, I chained all the exits. No one is getting out…” He heard the man’s voice yell out to everyone in the school. Brian closed his eyes and his memories came washing over him.
“Hey four eyes!” Big kid yelled from behind him. Brian slowly turned as his eyes met the big kids. Brian quickly made a run for it, but the other kid was taller and faster. Grabbing him by his bag he through him against the lockers. As he fell Brian shielded his face. Then the familiar punches and kicks started to land seemingly everywhere on his body.
His hand clenched into a fist at the memory. His teeth barred in anger and frustration. Brian stood up slowly his eyes still closed. In his mind he pictured the students again in Mrs. Perkins class. Recalling the smiles, the laughter, and the familiar learning space he was so accustomed to. Opening his eyes, he turned and ran past the pillar he was hiding behind, past the other cowering students and faculty, past the main staircase, and past the bullies that tormented him so…
Gunshots deafened his ears as sharp pains hit his chest and stomach. He ran with such force that even in falling his body collided hard with the shooter. They both scrambled on the ground. The shooter’s lost his grip on his rifle in the mayhem, but he quickly unholstered and fired his sidearm. Brian held on to his makeshift bear hug desperately as he felt more pain. Blood dripping from his mouth he struggled against the assailant.
Other students and staff startled at first, were now inspired and ran to Brian’s defence. They held the shooter down as another student kicked the pistol out of the shooter’s hand. Suddenly swarm of students came restraining the dangerous man against all their combined weight. A couple other students dragged Brian from the melee and laid him on the ground beside the offices.
Brian could faintly here one student calling for police and emergency services. Suddenly he could not here any of their voices anymore. He could only see their concern faces as twenty or so kids were trying to put pressure on his wounds. Brian for the first time actually felt really good. ‘So, this is what it feels like to stand up for yourself…’ He thought to himself before closing his eyes.