Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
The pistol was pretty easy to get. It was a SIG Sauer 1911, bought it with my dad’s credit card. The name didn’t mean anything to me, it was just a machine, a machine that spat metal death. I arranged for it to be dropped off at the post office instead of being delivered directly to me, so that I could maintain a level of secrecy. When I picked it up, the teller didn’t ask me what was in the box. If she had, I would have said it was some duck calls, or some other thing for my dad’s birthday. People are easy to fool. Now that, that thing sat in my hand, heavy and sleek. And cold. I didn’t, couldn’t hold it for long before dropping it into a rusty brown colored shoe box that I had kept for hiding secrets. It clunked down, the sharp silver meeting the dull cardboard like a rabid animal sitting on a couch. The pistol should do something… it was supposed to make you feel a thrill, the thrill of owning something that you were not supposed to. I just felt empty, staring down at it from my mountain of dark grey bedsheets like some homicidal god. Closing its lid, I slid the box and the fatal cargo it held under my bed, reaching as far as I could go, deep into the shadows. Yes, the shadows, that’s where the gun and its bits of glinting murder belonged. I looked up, surveying my room in its cover of reflects from the street. My blinds were open, showing the world below me in a flash of neon color, plastic sound and choking metal. Now I got up, my bare feet plodding across my carpet, and closed out that other world, the world of brightness and concrete and neon and honking, flashing cars. My clothes for tomorrow were laid out on my dresser, and I watched as they turned from yellow light to dark, hulking shapes. I slipped back into bed, but I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t let the thoughts in my head have a screen to play on and show their gristly faces. So I stared at the wall, looking at the plaster that was held bare and dry, nothing to cover up its sheer blankness. Finally, my eyes revolted against my tired will and closed, letting the dreams in.
I walked into the school, a coat draped around me to hide the ghoulish thing I held beneath. Monsters, people of stone and steam, washed passed me, not touching me, not even looking up from their bright metal worlds to see me. I waded around them to the second floor, where I spotted him. Bright hot gasoline shot through me, fueling my arms and my hands, pulling the piece of wood and glinting metal from its hiding place. He looked at me, he saw what I have in my hand, and he saw, finally, my face. What he sees is not another punching bag or wall to spit on. With the lump of metal in my hand I am more than what I was without. I pull the gun up and level it at his face, demons seething inside me like white hot fuel, goading me on. My hand squeezes the trigger, but all I can hear is his scream, and all I can see is the red painting I make across the white school wall. Now I cannot stop, even if my rage had calmed to a tempest, even if the fire had been tampered I would still have gone on. I aim again, pointing at the girl with brown eyes and hair, the one who was so unlike the others, so open, but still had not seen me. Now, now I just flicked my finger. Such a small thing, but it dealt out so much, finally making the creatures look up from their worlds and notice that no, I am not going down again under their storm of mindless, windowless eyes and stupid feelings. Then, when I am surrounded by death, I put the pistol to my head and squeeze. For the first time, I hear the shout it makes as it punches a bit of metal into my head, through my brain.
I see nothing. I feel nothing. I am completely empty. I walk and stop before two doors. I look at them both, see the lines of students making their separate ways. Beside the door on the right stands the girl, crying as she watches others make their way down through the door on the left. She sees me, she watches as I walk towards her. The others don’t see us, standing there beside the right gate. I expected reproach in her eyes, maybe even hate. I didn’t expect the flood of words that came to me through her eyes, the windows to her very soul. They whispered sadness, implored with grief and a deep thing that I have no name for. I make my way to the right gate, but I cannot enter. I turn back to the girl, watch her dry her tears, look away from her fellow students. I watch, desperately as she looks at the right gate, and a light beams down on her face, taking away her tears. She opens the door, goes through it. I stand there. I try to follow, but I can’t push the gate open, I pound on it, scream at it, but it does not open. I don’t want to go through the left gate. It stares at me like a hungry animal, and I shrink against the barrier of the right gate, but I feel myself giving in, sliding to the ground and bowing my head, between the two doors. A crack of light shines on me. I jump up, but the right door still won’t open for me. The light plays around my head. Suddenly, I am pulled away, my arms wrenching and grasping at the door even as something pulls me back the way I had come. My arms give out, and I fly back through the dark.
Beep, beep, beep. My eyes open in a different world, a planet of disinfectant and white. My head throbs as if a sword had buried its toothy rod in there. I groan, long and loud, closing my eyes again. Beep, beep, beep. I turn my head painfully, hoping that a different position will help me get back to sleep, back to the dark. Instead, I see the girl sitting by my bed. She is small, a miniature of her sister; the girl at the gates. She looks at me with hazel eyes, sitting straight-backed in a hard seat.
“Why are you here.” I whisper hoarsely. “I killed your sister.”
Her shoulders go up, and back down. Her eyes dart away from mine. Carefully she stands up and places a book on my bed. She opens her mouth to say something, but shakes her head instead. She pats the leather book, and finally answers me.
“Ellie said she was going to invite you to Youth Group that day…” She looks back into my eyes, and I don’t see sorrow for death in those pools of brown. I see the pining that comes when someone you admire, someone you will dearly miss, has gone away for a long time, but I don’t see what I saw on my dad’s face when he got the phone call that had shattered our lives. She knows… I think blearily, she knows about the gates. The girl is speaking again, looking at me, and for a moment I could’ve swore that the light from the right gate came in her face and lit her from the inside.
“Ellie said that you were hollow inside, and that you needed something to fill you up.” The girl looks down and pats the book again, drawing my attention to it. “This was hers. I think she would have wanted you to have it.”
No more words, just a silent goodbye. She walks out of the room. Beep, beep, beep.
Three years later I walk up the steps of a house, weathered brown siding enclosing a dark green door. I grip a book in my hand nervously. My backpack had held more, but this was my last stop of the day. I raised my free hand and knocked on the door, then cursed my clumsiness when I saw the doorbell button. I heard someone come all the same and the forest green door cracked open. The girl regarded me with those same hazel eyes, looking even more like her sister, Ellie. I cleared my throat, but it stayed tight.
“May I come in?” I said. She looked at me before then nodding, widening the emptiness where the door had stood till I could slip through. Behind me, the door slid closed, reminding me so much of Heaven’s gate, at which I had stood at as I watched another brave girl, one whom I had never given the chance to to take me to Youth Group, shine in God’s glory as He led her to life everlasting. One day, one day I hope to meet her there.
Note: This is purely a work of fiction, and the author has taken some creative liberties in imagining what happens when you die. She does not know if there are actually doors as shown in the story. She does, however, know that everyone has a choice to either live for the world or live for God, and she knows that there is a Heaven and a Hell. Please pray for all the kids who go to public school, and for those who have survived a school shootout.