Beneath the Black / by Katy G. (January 2019)

*Please be aware that the following story depicts several instances of gun violence. If reading about gun violence disturbs you, you may wish to stop reading now.*

On January 15th, 2018 Quentin Black opened fire on West Meadow High school. He entered through the south hall at approximately 8:42 AM where all the science classes were located and shot down two girls on sight in the hallway, Maria Gomez and Jennifer Costilla. He then proceeded to enter Mr. Tillbury’s classroom where a presentation on the human body, specifically the heart was being presented by Naomi Cox, honor roll student and student body president. 

“The heart will beat about 115,00 pumps a day and pump about 2,000 gallons of blood. One interesting fact is that the heart will still continue beating even after it’s disconnected from-” The shot rang through the classroom and pierced the ears of the uncorrupted youth. Mr. Tillbury moved towards Quentin but not before a second shot was sent through his heart, sending him to the ground.

In the library, Elizabeth Cooper and her friend sat studying for their upcoming AP Literature test. Elizabeth was a wild and flippant. Her step was a dance and her words were a song. The auburn tints in her curls reminded Quentin of an ember in a fire. Out of the 2,600 students that occupied West Meadow High, she was the only person who didn’t look beyond Quentin but saw him, like a person, even though the birth deformity which scarred half his face dehumanized him to everyone else including himself. Beast. Monster. Abomination. The tormented words from his weak minded classmates had rooted themselves in his being. He believed them. 

The tip of the gun was pressed against the temple of his head as he stood before Elizabeth. Her eyes were wide with fear and tears stained her rosy cheeks and she looked up at the sad boy from her literature class. You’re not a monster, Quentin. I refuse to believe that what makes you most different from everyone else is what demonizes you. They’re just too blind to see what lies beneath. 

“This is what’s beneath Beth! Is this what you wanted to see?” Quentin sent three bullets into Elizabeth’s chest and while the red poured through the lace of her shirt he pressed the gun against his temple and pulled the trigger. Click. The chamber was empty.