Eleah Gersten explores a moment of hope in a difficult reality
A faint sharp pop sounded. Everyone's head perked up from their work. Another pop, but this time it was closer. A screech was heard off in the distance as more heads turned and questions began to arise. The mumble in the classroom was silenced by another pop.
Suddenly, the wooden classroom door swung open and students rushed in with panicked looks. A teacher followed while muttering in a quick voice, “get under the tables, hide.” Eyes widened before students ducked under tables, curling into a ball and pulling out phones to message parents. The door was locked with a click. The classroom became dark, only a ray of light flooded in from the hallway to illuminate petrified faces.
Thumps from scurrying children were overmasked by the unpredictable sounds of cracks and screeches. With each shot, students flinched. With each scream, eyes clenched shut. Each pop became closer and closer, till the walls began to shake. The bitter, pungent, metallic sulphur produced a putrid air. Sirens began to blare from outside, but the deafening cracks did not cease.
Nor did the roar of sound distract the students from their fear. As if they were statues, they remained still, only their tense muscles trembling. Breathes became short gasps, eyes darted in search of danger. Tears rolled down faces while kids looked up to the sky, mouthing a prayer for safety.
Only faint sniffles and stuttering whispers to family members on the phone were heard. The light from the hallway reduced and the room darkened. A silhouette came into view, peering into the classroom through the window. His badge reflected in the light as he stepped back and kicked the door open, relief and hope flooding into the classroom.
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