–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
There was the blood. And the bullets. And buckshot. And the bombs that he didn’t know whether or not they’d go off, even though he’d tested the recipe deep in woods: where only thoughtless nature could hear the homemade blasts. In those days, he felt like a chemist. And, amid those blasts, the begging…constant begging. As if the lives of these people meant anything near what the people who were helping harvest the minds of these young saplings into fruition thought that they could or would mean.
Anything at all.
And now, stuck in the janitor’s closet. Mop bucket. Bleach. Maybe enough supplies in here of all places to help clean up the mess he’d made—the one that spilled the red ink of his classmates onto the yearbook’s thirsty, tiresome, pages.
He wondered, this year, what they’d even look like? How are these “thought engineers” going to mastermind their hopeless “slogan?”
“High school that ‘survived’ the tragedy?”
“Bad things happen for a reason?”
“We lost many, but we stand strong?”
What do you put in a high school year book after something like this? The aftermath of a school shooting leaves all these “questions.” As if it could leave behind silly little things like questions. And that’s when he realized his epiphany, while accepting also that these precious thoughts, produced in this singularity of a moment, would never be known to anyone else:
“They don’t have questions. They already know the answers. They just don’t want to admit to, and to confess the fact, that they already know the reason why.”
He said it out loud: as if muttering it in the near silence amid cries of agony made it more real.
And then he remembered his first day of kindergarten.
“You sit over there, Randy!” And “over there” he sat. Because he did something that he couldn’t even remember doing—something that someone, somewhere, in some classroom, told him that he was wrong for doing. And deep down, back when he had some sense of moral conscience about him, Randy knew that, whatever it was, it wasn’t wrong at all.
It was Randy who was “wrong.” And, for the years that followed, it was Randy who became wrong, simply for being who he was: Randy Rutherford.
And that, he knew, was the unpardonable sin of the aristocracy that made that school what it was.
So, events took their course. Randy became bloodthirsty. And thus the blood of society’s young was poured out over polished white marble floors, and amid trophies, and calenders chock full of meaningless events, and the footprints of schoolchildren—all set to do and become things that, in Randy’s mind, were nothing at all.
And maybe these things and people and places and events didn’t mean anything at all.
But, before Randy put the last twelve-gauge round he had into his shotgun’s chamber, he asked himself one final question:
“Even if all of this is pointless, what if I had tagged along, anyway?”
Inspired by the daily post: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/daily-prompt-beginning/