He sighed as they smirked at him. It's not like he wasn't used to it. Who wouldn't be, after suffering three years in this place? They may call it school, but it was his personal hell.
Getting through the day was the hardest thing he ever had to do. No one even noticed his sadness. They didn't think that he could be hurting. They didn't know his mother had died just weeks before, and that when he awoke this morning, his father was gone. Vanished. His father's things were gone; the house was void of all life excepting himself and his younger sister. He was in charge of her now. He didn't know if he could do it. He was seventeen! How did his father expect him to take such a huge responsibility at this young age?
No one even cared about any of that though. No one knew. No one asked. It hurt him. He knew they didn't care, but for them to show such ignorance... Couldn't they see the hurt? Couldn't they see the pain? No. They couldn't. They didn't look for it. They didn't care enough to.
He threw his bag on the floor when he arrived home. His sister hugged him, her angelic blue eyes looking up at him innocently. "When's daddy coming home?"
He looked up, trying to blink back the tears threatening to overflow. He couldn't cry in front of her. He had to be brave, for her sake. "I don't know."
She smiled at him. "That's okay. I like being here with you." She scampered off to her room. He followed slowly, pressing his ear up against her door. He could hear her talking to her stuffed animals, talking to them as if they were real people. As if they were her friends. He sighed. At least she could be happy...
He entered his own room and shut the door, making his way to his bed against the far wall. He flopped across it, looking up at the posters of various, little known bands littering his ceiling. He sat up and hit the play button on his stereo, letting the music invade his soul. He slowly drifted off to sleep.
He was shoved again. They laughed, evil looks upon their faces. Curses hurled at him. Kicks, slaps, punches. He was being called names, names no one should ever be called. He wanted to scream at them, curse them at the top of his lungs, but he knew it would do nothing. They wouldn't care. It would just goad them on. Something had to be done. Something drastic...
He awoke with a start. The dream had seemed so real. So lifelike. So much like the abuse he lived through every day. People were so cruel. They had to be punished. They had to be stopped.
He arose and exited his room. He stopped at his sister's door and opened it just a crack. She was sleeping peacefully, her little arms curled protectively around her small, brown teddy bear. His eyes softened at the sight of her. So looked so much like her mother...
He shut the door, sighing. No use thinking of their mother. She was gone. They were alone in the world, and no one cared.
He continued on down the hall, stopping again, this time at the closet next to his parents' room. He opened the door, stretching up to reach the top shelf and the box he knew he'd find there. His fingers grazed the cardboard, and he grasped the rectangular container. He wrapped his arms around it as if to hide it and hastened back to his room.
After carefully shutting the door, he set the box on his desk and opened it. There lay a black handgun and a box of shells. His father hadn't remembered it was there. He didn't think he had.
He had found this box earlier in the year, when he was searching for some clean dishtowels for his mother. She hadn't been feeling too well that day, and he was doing the best he could to help her out. He knew it was hard for her to do too much work now that she had started treatments.
He found the box hiding behind a stack of placemats on the top shelf. He opened it to see the gun, but quickly closed it as he heard his mother's voice asking what was taking him so long. He'd never forgotten that it was there.
He smiled sadly as he thought about that day. His home life seemed so happy then. His mother was still alive, his father home and happy. They had thought they would get through it.
He'd never troubled them with his problems at school before. He didn't think they needed to know. They'd had enough on their minds without knowing how their son was treated at school.
He picked up the gun. Now they would never know. And he could end it so easily. He could be reunited with his mom.
He'd made his decision.
The next day, after dropping his sister off at the local elementary school, he walked slowly to the high school, hands stuffed in the deep pockets of his long, black coat. The fingers of his right hand curled around the cool metal of the gun in his pocket. Today was the day. Today, they would all pay.
He entered the school and headed straight to his homeroom, not bothering to stop by his locker for his books. He wouldn't be needing them today.
He walked into the classroom and took his usual seat in the back, avoiding looking at the faces sneering at him.
The bell rang, signaling the start of the school day. The teacher stood up from her desk and asked everyone to quiet down so she could take roll.
His fingers grasped the handle of the gun. It's time.
He walked to the front of the room, curious stares following him. He turned and glanced out at the sea of faces. All the faces looking at him with curiosity, disgust, and hate.
He quickly whipped out the gun and pointed it straight at the captain of the football team, his worst tormenter. "Nobody move."
The looks on the faces of the students quickly changed to looks of terror. A girl in the front burst into tears. The boy at whom the gun was pointed slowly put his hands in the air. "Hey, come on man, chill out."
His eyes narrowed. "I said, don't move."
The teacher stood motionless behind her desk, not knowing what to do. She'd heard about these things before, but never thought she'd have to experience it herself. She was as frightened as the other students.
She spoke. "I don't know why you are doing this, but you need to put the gun down. We'll get you some help."
"Help? When has anyone ever helped me?" He turned to her, keeping the gun trained on the football player.
She took a small step forward. "It's okay. Just put the gun down."
He glared out at the students. They're faces were filled with fear. For once, they weren't tormenting him. For once, they were the ones that were scared. "No. I want them to suffer like they've made me suffer."
"I'm sure they didn't mean it." Another small step.
He ran his free hand shakily through his shaggy, black hair. "Oh, they did."
The football captain tried to stand slowly. He saw this and snapped his head back to glare daggers at him. He screamed, "I said, don't move!" And he pulled the trigger. The boy collapsed in a heap on the floor.
A girl shrieked. He didn't care anymore. He wanted them to hurt. He wanted them to feel the pain he felt every day. He started shooting in a frenzy. Seven were down, a window was shattered, and a hole pierced the back wall.
He jumped on top of the teacher's desk and stared at the carnage, teeth clenched, eyes narrowed, his breath coming in short, heavy pants. He raised the gun to his head and placed the barrel against his temple. He muttered three last words before pulling the trigger one last time. "I'm coming, Mom."
Six people died that day. Maybe if people had cared to find out how this boy was, it wouldn't have happened. Maybe if someone had reached out a helping hand to him, he wouldn't have died that day, a wounded soul.