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Sneak Peek at Active Shooter, Chase Adams 14


My cell phone pings, and the glow from the screen penetrates the darkness.

I immediately grab it and hold it up to my face.

One simple text.

One line.

One word.

I've been waiting for this moment—waiting for it ever since we’d had that first conversation more than six months ago.

My fingers suddenly feel alive with a burst of adrenaline. Tiny tingles make it difficult to continue to hold my phone.

It’s late, well past midnight, but like most nights, I’m wide awake.

Because I've been waiting for this text.

And it is going to change everything.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. After all, not only did the text mean the start of something new, something violent, something exciting, but it also marked the end.

The end of everything.

I slowly rise from bed, cell phone in hand, eyes locked on the text, as I make my way to the closet.

I open the door and observe the clothing arranged on hangers. Then my eyes drop to the handful of sets of shoes on the bottom, and the hamper full of dirty laundry behind that.

Slowly, methodically, I remove the shoes and place them off to one side. Then I grab the hamper and pull it out.

My heart is beating quickly in my chest, thrumming, really—I can feel my pulse in my throat and wrists. With my free hand, I grab the chest at the back, casually swiping away the laundry that had missed the bin and covered the top. It’s heavy, and I'm forced to set my phone down to pull it all the way out.

When it is finally resting in front of me, I stare at it and listen.

My house is silent.

Everyone is sleeping.

Everyone but me.

The key to the chest hangs on a chain around my neck, as it always does.

I’ve never taken it off. Not when I shower, not when I participate in gym class even though the teacher tells everyone that no jewelry is allowed. No bracelets, no rings, no earrings, and definitely no necklaces.

But like everyone else, the teacher doesn’t pay attention to me.

Nobody does.

They will soon.

I use the key to open the box but just before I flip the lid back, I hesitate. This is the moment of truth.

I can still shove the chest to the back, cover it in laundry and delete the text.

Nobody will know just how close they came.

Nobody but me.

And that, I think, is the true definition of power.

Knowledge of an impending tragedy while others wallow in blissful ignorance.

It’s the word impending that gets me.

Impending implies inevitability.

My eyes drift to the cell phone sitting on the carpet next to me.

The screen is still illuminated, and that single word glares up at me accusingly.

I nod at it, as if accepting my fate, all of their fates, and then I open the box.

Even though I know what’s inside, the sight of gleaming metal still incites a small tremor of terror.

One of the items, is bigger than the rest. More intimidating, more fear inducing.

The others are smaller, handheld, easily hidden in a backpack or in the waistband of a pair of dirty jeans.

I grab the largest object, turning it over in my hand as I look down at the metal. There isn't much light in the closet, but the glow from my cell phone is so sufficient to illuminate my face, allowing me to see my reflection.

My face. The one that I've lived with my entire life.

It’s ugly.


Not special in any way.

And the others… the others have made sure I know this.

Well, that is all about to change.

As I adjust my hand on the butt of the gun, I look down at the text one last time.

One simple word that will change everything.


Tomorrow, things will be different.

Tomorrow will be anything but normal and boring.

And after tomorrow, people will remember my name.

I sigh and shudder again, this time with pleasure, and then I place the gun back in the box.

Then I crawl back into bed and, the first time in as long as I can remember, I fall asleep with a smile on my face.

Tomorrow will change everything.

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