John

Rebecca Goutcher

John was a pretty basic 12 year old, as far as 12 year old boys go. Standing at a grand height of 5’3 with a mop of dirty blonde hair falling over his eyes, He was a rather scrawny boy. He possessed very little, if any, athletic skills although he liked to think his academic smarts made up for it.

He didn’t particularly like school. It wasn’t the work that bothered him, he could handle the work, what he didn’t like were the people. All his classmates were interested in was who could make his teachers (and him) the most miserable.

He sighed.  Teenagers are such cruel creatures.

His shoulders hunched and his earphones blasting sweet melodies, John looked at the ground as he walked. His mind had drifted and his feet carried him along the familiar path (which led straight to the hell they called school).

BANG.

He frowned, that wasn’t part of the song. He paused his music and looked around.

He realised what he’d walked into a little too late.

Suppressing a yelp, he dived behind a grit bin. He peered over the top and shrunk back into himself immediately. A tall, buff man with scarily rugged features, was returning a gun back into its holster in a small clearing.

Lying a few metres away from the man was the crumpled form of a person.

As the man picked the person up by the ankles and slung him over his shoulder, John tried to assess his options logically.

He doubted he’d be able to run very far without being heard or shot down so he ruled that option out. If he tried calling the police the man would probably hear him so that wasn’t an option either. He could sit there and wait it out… yes, that was a good idea, all he had to do was wait for him to leave and then he could go to school and pretend it never-

“Hello?” the man called. His accent was foreign. Italian maybe? He liked italy, they made good food, their language was pretty and their architecture was stunning-

He was getting side tracked.

The grass, only a few paces away from where he crouched, crunched under the weight of the brute and the body he was carrying.

Should he just surrender? Perhaps the man would respect him and let him go, he was still a human after all.

He preferred to think that, despite recent events, he would have enough humanity to not blow his brains out.

It was a better mental attitude to have than the alternative.

He realised how quiet it had gotten just as the cool, hard metal of the gun pressed against his skull.

He gulped, resisted the urge to scream, and tried to calm his nerves. He was only a kid after all, no one in their right mind would shoot a kid.

“Stand up before i pull this trigger.” The man said softly some place behind him. John still grasped onto the hope that he was bluffing but thought it best to do as he said.

So with shaky legs and his head buzzing, he stood up slowly and turned around.

He tried to keep his face neutral and conceal the gut-wrenching fear he felt building up in his chest. The man was even more terrifying up close, his scariness amplified by the deep scar that traced the left side of his face.

Should he try to explain himself? Beg for his freedom? Was he to make the first move or is that the man’s job? He wasn’t particularly sure what he was supposed to do.

He could almost laugh at how completely unprepared he was to be in this situation, but looking down the barrel of a gun that’s aimed at your head isn’t very humorous.

If he could barely defend himself against the people in his school, what chance did he have against a 6’4 wall of muscle who was obviously more conditioned to this lifestyle than he was.

“Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you.” He said flicking the safety off of his gun and looking expectantly at John.

So, it’s the one with the gun who makes the first move. Nice to know.

“I won’t tell anyone, I promise. There’s really no need to make death threats, I swear I won’t go to the police or anything. I just want to go to school, please.” His voice faltered from the nausea he was feeling, which kind of ruined the ‘cool and confident’ image he was going for.

The man’s face twisted into an unevenly forced smile, “Mi dispiace, I’m still trying to learn your language. I really don’t intend to make you feel…” he trailed off, scowling to himself, “threatened.” He said clicking, smiling with satisfaction.

John doubted that was true considering there was still a gun aimed at his temple but he tried for an innocent smile anyway.

“Look, I don’t want to cause any more trouble for you than I already have. You killed a guy and I’m sure you had your reasons,” putting his hand in his jacket pocket, he felt for his phone, “So, why don’t you just let me go and we can forget this whole thing happened.”

He pressed the on/off button 6 times, an SOS button that immediately contacted emergency services.

His phone vibrated and John felt the heat rise to his cheeks as he prayed the man hadn’t heard it.

The man’s eyes frantically darted to John’s pocket and he felt his heart drop to a depth he never knew possible.

The man growled and cursed, his face contorting into an ugly shade of anger.

He lowered the gun from his head to his torso and John closed his eyes waiting for the impact.

He never remembered much after that.

Nothing apart from the ear-shattering gunshot followed by the paralyzing pain that encompassed him.

Nothing apart from how he had laid staring at the sky, clutching his blood-soaked shirt thinking about how this was a stupidly pathetic way to die and the reassurance and gratitude he felt when the sirens found him.

{ Rebecca Goutcher } Bio

I’m a huge bookworm and I really like writing. I love drawing both digitally and normally