Attack And Receive

Entry by: Zanna

14th September 2018
The Light Within

A glow from the lantern shows a promise of a tomorrow. Tonight, in the darkest of memories, one light exists for me. When I see more faces, I see more light shaping hope for each other. The strength of light from the lanterns in a procession accentuates the love and comfort received. Those paper lanterns mean the festival is once again alive in this town that has survived a mass shooting. I can't put off those ugly memories that eat into my life. But there's a need for me to move on.

Holding my sky lantern slightly above my head, I see its mellow light dancing inside a bamboo frame. But I need to see the light on your face especially in your eyes. I look for you in the crowd. I look for you in the alley, but I only see black cats stretching their legs and yawning under a street light. The darker side of the night is on my back with sombre clouds trying to creep up behind me. Images of you sheltering me keep flashing on my mind. The bloody attack on students in the school cafeteria should not have occurred. I feel an anxiety attack coming on. I just need you to hold me close to your chest. I just cannot find you when I need you the most.

A fortnight ago, he pointed his gun at Christopher who had never harmed anyone in his life, not even a fly. He was not a stranger. He was just another student whose philosophy of life juxtaposed Christopher's candour. He was suspended from school for misconduct. And he came back with a rage that took the lives of my seven schoolmates. He shot Christopher with the first bullet grazing his skull and the second penetrating his heart. It was a bloody sight.

The attack is still vivid on my mind as if it had just happened. I stare at my trembling hands. I was under a table hanging on to my dear life. He had seen me with his cold eyes and he held his gun in both hands aiming at me. Christopher's lifeless body laid behind him. You stood up and faced him. You whispered to me to lie low while you engaged in a conversation with him. You confronted him fearlessly while I was shaking like a leaf on a tree whipped by wind in a storm. I could sense the numbness in my feet.

It was a chaotic sight with students fleeing to take cover with food trays dropping, chocolate milk spilling and corn on the cob being squashed. I caught sight of his smirk smile as he approached you. He stopped a rolling red apple with his soiled black boots. He could have just shot you there wincing from an emotional pain after the death of his mother.

You called him by his name. Both of you belonged to the school computer club. You once told me that he was a geek, rarely engaging with others and that he preferred to be alone. You attended his mother's funeral, and you said that it was odd that he wore a straight face, showing no emotion at all throughout the ceremony. I told you that people mourned differently. We never spoke of him again. When you mentioned his mother to him, he broke down right there at the cafeteria, but the gun was still held firmly in his right hand.

"She was all I had!"
"I'm sure she was a beautiful person."
"Yeah, she was."
"I'm going to see her real soon!"
"Put down your weapon!". I heard a voice of authority. I could not see the face.
"On the count of three, throw down your gun!", said the police officer.

He went berserk.

The police took control of the situation. Officers from the forensic department counted the bodies. After the heartless attack, I received news that you left with no traceable address.

Letting go of my lantern in the night sky, I see it glowing like the other hundred lanterns. I hope mine reaches heaven so that you would receive my heartfelt thanks for saving my life in the attack. I feel a radiant joy in my heart.