by Victor Thomas

Chapter 6

I pulled my car into the school parking lot and stepped out. Another day at C.H.S. was dawning. Wyatt climbed out of his truck beside me. His eyes darted about fearfully, as if my very presence disturbed him, but at least he was trying to act normal. I guess I'd messed him up worse than I thought, but that was just too damned bad.

Shayne walked up moments later and purposefully gazed at him.

"You shouldn't pick on people because they're different."

My mouth practically dropped open. I was shocked he had the balls to address Wyatt like that. He was usually so meek. Wyatt laughed at him.

"Yeah, right. You're way beyond different, queer."

"Where's your buddy, Jack?" asked Shayne, looking around.

I felt a cold shiver of fear pass through my body. Shayne was way too calm and detached.

"He'll be along, not that it's any of your business, faggot!"

"Good, then we'll just wait for him."

Wyatt smirked at him.

"You're quite the little freak, aren't you? If you wanna see Jack, you wait on him. I'm going in."

"You're not going anywhere," said Shayne.

That's when he pulled the pistol out of the front of his jeans and pointed it at Wyatt.

"I hate you," he said. "I hate every guy like you. Just because someone's different, you think you can do whatever you want to them. Well, you can't."

Wyatt threw himself back against his truck, dropping his backpack.

"Dude, calm down, we…"

"You shouldn't pick on people," said Shayne, firing.

Blood exploded from Wyatt's chest. He sank to the ground in slow motion, just like in the movies.

People all around were screaming and running away. It was chaos. Shayne turned the gun on me. I just stood there, looking at him with his finger on the trigger. This is it, I thought. I'm going to die.

"Why didn't you help me? I begged you to help me," he said, "but instead, you said I deserved to be beaten. You called me a fag."

I was scared shitless. I'll admit it. Shayne had gone psycho. I was suddenly sorry I hadn't stepped in and saved his butt.

"I'm not the one who beat you up," I pointed out, hoping it would save my life.

"Yeah, but what did you do to stop those assholes? Nothing! Instead, you threatened me. You think you're so hot because you're so good looking and you have all those muscles! Well, you're ugly, Bryce! You're so ugly inside make me sick! You wanna know something? I am a fag! You wanna know something else? I wouldn't touch you if you begged me. You disgust me! You think you're so fucking hot, but you're nothing but a pathetic loser, and that's all you'll ever be because you're selfish and conceited, and you don't give a damn about anyone but yourself. I hope you rot in hell."

I stood there trembling. He moved closer until the barrel was touching my forehead, right between my eyes.

"Please…" I said, trying to keep from bawling. "Please don't kill me."

"That's right, butt boy, beg the faggot, beg him for your life."

"Please…" I repeated.

"I should blow your brains out. You wouldn't be so pretty then, would you? I'm gonna do something worse, though, much worse. I'm going to let you live and go on being a complete and total asshole. It's all going to come back on you, Bryce, and when it does, you'll wish I'd killed you."

I swallowed hard. His hands trembled as he held the gun. He took a couple of steps back.

"You should've helped me," he said, turning the gun on himself. He pointed it at his head.

"No, Shayne, don't! We can…"

There was a deafening blast and his head exploded. That's what it seemed like. I was standing not three feet away from him. Blood and parts of his brain splattered on my shirt, face and neck. He fell face down on the pavement, a pool of blood widening beneath him. I leaned over and hurled my guts out. I'd never seen anything like that before in my life. I knew I'd have nightmares about it forever.

Ms. Sanchez, who'd been on parking lot duty, appeared at my side. She put a hand on my stomach and another on my back as I emptied the contents of my stomach, then dry heaved. I could hear Ms. Neeley sending a student running for the principal, then shouting at everyone to stay back.

Wyatt was moaning. That was the first indication that he was still alive. I sat on the ground and looked over at him. He was leaning against the tire of his truck. Ms. Neeley was examining him. He was bleeding a lot. My stomach ached, but I pulled off my shirt and tossed it to her. She pressed it against Wyatt's chest to try to slow the bleeding down.

I was shaking so hard I couldn't stop myself. I was hyperventilating, too. I thought Shayne was going to blow my brains out. His blood dripped from my face. I looked down. I was covered in gore. Even my torso, which had been covered by my shirt, but was now bare, was smeared in Shayne's blood. I dry heaved again and thought I was going to pass out.

I could hear sirens in the distance. I looked over to see Shayne lying on the pavement. More teachers were coming, keeping kids back from the gruesome sight. I felt cold.

I thought he was gonna kill me! I thought Shayne was going to blow me away. Instead, he turned the gun on himself. I couldn't think about it. His blood was on my hands, my face, everywhere. I tried wiping it off, but I knew it would never come off, not really.

An ambulance and a squad car raced into the parking lot. The EMT's rushed to Wyatt. They quickly examined him, secured a pad tightly against his chest, then placed him on a stretcher. In a moment, the ambulance was speeding away. Another came soon, and the paramedic's examined me.

"You're in shock," one said.

I let them guide me onto a stretcher. I wasn't feeling so good.

Just as they put me in the back of the ambulance, I saw other EMT's covering Shayne with a sheet. He was dead, of that there was little doubt. I'd seen parts of his skull and brain explode and felt them hit me. I'd seen him fall lifeless.

The guy in the back of the ambulance with me was really nice. I was covered in gore and was on the verge of freaking out over it. His voice helped calm me.

"You're a football player, aren't you?" he said as he took my blood pressure.

"Yeah," I said, trying to slow my breathing.

"You're going to be okay," he said. "You're just suffering from shock. Your heart is racing, but that's understandable. We'll have you fixed up in no time."

"Okay," I said.

My mind was kind of numb, as if it was trying to slow down so I wouldn't have to see Shayne's head exploding all over again.

I lay there in the emergency room with his blood and brains covering me. If they didn't let me clean up soon, I was going to be sick again. I tried to get my mind off it. I thought of Wyatt, somewhere in the hospital, fighting for his life. I wondered if he'd make it.

I'd never came so close to death before. I really thought Shayne was going to kill me. He held my life in his hands. I'd never been so helpless. He didn't have half my strength or moves, but none of that mattered while he was pressing the barrel of the pistol into my forehead.

I thought of the things he's said to me. Did he really see me as such a despicable person? I decided he was crazy, just plain crazy. He had to be. You didn't bring a gun to school, shoot a kid, then blow your own brains out if you weren't crazy. It didn't matter what he thought of me. he was nuts.

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