“Hello, Dawn. How were your last two weeks of school?” Mrs. Ross, Coral Coast High’s librarian, asks. I give her a smile as I place my two finished books in her awaiting hands to check back into the system.
“It was fine. I am already ahead for the next week. That gives me enough time to finish the mural.”
On the second day of school two weeks ago, I decided to paint a mural on the second floor of the library. Mrs. Ross was on board with the idea when I first presented it. The principle, Mrs. Oliver, however, was skeptical.
I do spray-paint art. I started doing it when I was thirteen. Now, I am seventeen, almost eighteen. So I have been getting better and better for four years now.
I had to show Mrs. Oliver my work before she agreed. She is super excited to see the finished product, as is everyone else.
“Well, your supplies are in the art room,” Mrs. Ross says and I nod. “Before you start, can you put all these books away for me? And you need to tell Mr. Wells you are going to be finishing the mural during his class. He is in the teacher’s lounge where you can put your things.”
I nod and I head into the lounge.
Mr. Wells, the psychology teacher and my first class teacher, along with Mr. Rush, the Home Economics teacher, greet me as they eat their breakfast since classes don’t start for another thirty minutes.
“Is it okay if I miss your class, Mr. Wells?” I ask as I put my things under an extra desk.
“Finishing the mural today, Ms. Ozric?” He asks and I nod silently. He nods and contemplates his answer, though I already know it. “Alright. You can miss my class. But I expect a finished mural after first class ends. I believe everyone has been waiting long enough to see it.”
I smile widely and I give him a nod. I wave to them as I leave the room and I sigh. I grab the book cart Mrs. Ross got out for me and she put all the returned books on it.
We moved all the books and tables to the first floor for me to paint without making a mess on everything.
Once I am finished, I put the cart away and I leave the library to go to the art room. I dodge people, ignoring people’s hateful glares. I don’t care about what they think of me. They can think whatever they want to. As long as I know what’s right and wrong. That’s all that matters.
I make it to the art room and I greet Mrs. Bailey. She opens the art locker for me and helps me put everything in a bag to carry back to the library. We say our goodbyes when I have everything and I leave.
“Hello, Dawn. Fancy seeing you here,” an annoying voice says and I tense.
Stay calm, Dawn. No hurting this insufferable human. Not yet.
“Lose the shock, Flint. We go to the same school. Unfortunately, we are going to see each other once in a while,” I say flatly and Flint scoffs.
“Not for long,” he spits and goes into his class. I freeze, trying to figure out what his hidden message is. What is Flint up to?
Deciding I am being paranoid because of past events, I shake my head and I walk into the library. I go to the second floor and I go to my mural. I place everything on the floor and I put on my gas mask and protective glasses. When I am ready, I start painting.
I am painting our mascot, a dolphin, reading a book with the quote, “today a reader. Tomorrow a leader” - Anonymous. Mrs. Ross chose it.
One hour later, I am finished with the painting. I put everything back in the bag before I take the tape off the wall. I then take the tarps down and I neatly fold them. Grabbing everything with a content smile, I go back down the stairs. Right as I get off the stairs, I freeze at the sight in front of me. My smile disappears and my eyes go wide in fear.
Flint is holding a gun at Mrs. Ross’s head while smiling cynically at me. Everything in my arms falls to the ground with a thud, but I barely hear it. Flint smirks and he moves his gun to point at me.
“Today is the day, Dawn. Today is the day Dawn Ozric dies. Oh, your poor father will be devastated,” Flint says and I calculate everything. I am twelve feet away from him. He is holding a short-range firearm which means I have approximately 12.5 milliseconds to react. Not enough to move out of the way, but enough to make sure I don’t get shot in the heart. Where are the freaking school officers?
Mrs. Ross tries to sneak away but Flint whirls on her and points his gun at her head. She cries and tears rim my eyes. I can't let her die because of me.
“Flint! Don’t hurt her! She has nothing to do with this!” I shout. Flint looks at me before moving the gun back to me. I slowly hold my hands up and I stand straighter. Mrs. Ross stares at me with fear, her eyes screaming at me to run away. But I can’t. Flint will just shoot me down.
I take a deep breath and I look straight into Flint’s eyes. he pulls the trigger and I move slightly to the left before the bullet pierces the left side of my chest. I fall to the ground with a cry of pain. Tears roll down my face as pain courses through me.
The last thing I remember before going unconscious is the smell of smoke and the temperature rising to dangerous heights.