I Killed a Man Today: Flash Fiction

Updated on July 3, 2018
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 175 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Source

Author's Note: *Warning*

This story contains a description of a school shooting. It may be disturbing to some.

This story is meant to be read along with another of my articles. It is a poem called, Sublime, and touches on the same issue as this story although it offers a vastly different solution. The purpose of the two articles is to help us consider what the responses of society should be to these extreme acts of violence against innocent people.

I Killed a Man Today

I don’t want to go to school today. I have a headache, and I didn’t do my homework for algebra. But I don't want to miss football practice, so I have to go to classes. I walk along the sidewalk considering the unfairness of a system that won’t let a football player go to practice on a day he misses school because he’s sick.

School buses pull to the curb and open their doors. Students flood the sidewalk and head as one toward the entrance. Others park their cars in the student lot and proceed to the same set of doors. Once inside, they begin dispersing.

I open my locker and look at my girlfriend’s photo. On the back, written in her perfect handwriting, is the message, Trevor, I love you, Cristina. I really like her. We met at a school-sponsored party after I spent half the night trying to find the courage to ask her to dance with me. I see her coming into the building. She drives her own car to school. I head that way to say good morning. Her hair is long, blonde, and soft. I’m not the star of the football team by any means. If she wanted, she could be with the star of the team. But she chose me.

A guy I’ve seen around school but have never spoken to comes in behind Cristina. He’s a loner and more than a little strange. Some say he flunks every class. Others say he aces every class. Who knows? Normally his eyes are on the floor directly in front of him when he walks. Some of the guys tease him and push him around. Some of the girls act grossed out when he comes near. Today, he seems more animated, like he’s glad to be at school. What’s his name? I can’t think of it.

Source

He’s looking wildly this way, then that. He opens his backpack and starts digging. I mean, he’s frantically digging for something. Then he stops. Whatever he was looking for, he must have found. He smiles and pulls his hand out.

“He has a gun!” someone screams.

I freeze. What should I do?

#

What would you do? Really, what would you do in this exact situation? You could do what so many are doing right now. They’re standing there screaming and pointing, screaming and pointing. I don’t know about you, but that just isn’t me. Another thing you could do is run like hell. Lots of people are doing that. It’s a much better choice than the first one. Some run farther into the building. Others are going back outside. That’s not me either.

Source

He’s shooting! My god! He’s shooting right into the crowd! One falls, and another. No! This can’t be happening! The magazine drops from the gun. He reaches into his bag and pulls out another, crams it into place and points the gun again. Stop! No! Now more of the students are running. He fires again and again and again. Each time, another student falls.

#

The third thing a person could do is to stop the shooter. Is that you? Could you? Would you? People are dying. I can’t just stand here and scream. I can’t run away and let my friends die. I have to do something. But what is that something? I could call the police, but I can’t imagine a hundred 911 calls haven’t been made already.

Source

I’m to his left. He hasn’t seen me yet. I look around. I can see people in the principal’s office peeking out through the window in the door. Outside the office is a single chair and a wooden table with periodicals on it. I see a Boy’s Life magazine. I bet there isn’t an article inside about what to do when shit like this hits the fan.

I dash across the hall and flip the table over. I kick at the leg. It loosens. I grab it and twist at the same time as I pull. It comes loose. I hold it in both hands like a baseball bat. It will have to do. I turn and run.

He doesn’t see me. He’s too busy reloading again. I stay as far back behind his peripheral vision as I can and loop farther behind him. Closer. Closer. He reloads and fires at the lingering students. Some just can’t seem to cope enough to get out of harm's way.

I’m standing behind him. He still doesn’t know I’m here.

#

He is one of the few guys in school with long hair. My plan is to crush his skull with the table leg. Could you do it? Can I? He’s firing again. Another falls. What is it like to kill another human being? He knows.

I pick my spot.

Like Smashing a Watermelon With a Baseball Bat

Source

I swing the club hard in a wide sweeping fashion. I play baseball in the spring. I know how to handle a bat. This is a homerun swing. The sound is a dull thud, not at all like hitting a baseball.

A couple of years ago, two buddies and I snuck into a farmer’s field and smashed a bunch of watermelons with baseball bats. The guy’s head felt like that—like breaking a watermelon with a baseball bat.

The shooter is on the floor with blood pouring out in a pool around his head. The gun lies a few feet away. People are crying, screaming out in pain. It happened so fast that I don’t even hear police sirens yet. The principal still hasn’t come out of his office.

I bend down and check for the shooter’s pulse on his wrist. I place a finger on the side of his neck. I’ve never had to search for someone’s pulse before. I’ve felt my own, but that isn’t the same. I check again, but I can’t find his pulse.

I killed a man today.

But maybe I saved a few lives too.

The People on Flight 93 Fought Back Against the Terrorists on September 11, 2001

Former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush survey the site of the Flight 93 airplane crash in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, September 11, 2010.
Former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush survey the site of the Flight 93 airplane crash in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, September 11, 2010. | Source

Fighting Back: Lockdowns in Public Schools

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Lawrence, when it came down to the moment, I would have that slight hesitation too, but if he killed one more person during my pause, I may have to deal with that for the rest of my life. These are tough questions and decisions. Thanks for reading the story.

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        Chris

        Excellent story, but one that poses a serious question, would I take a life to save others?

        I trained for in the Army, and I think I still would have little hesitation.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Shyron, I'm glad you got through and that you enjoyed this story, if it can be truly called enjoyable. Thanks for your persistence.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 months ago from Texas

        Chris, I do not know if I alone am having the sign in problem.

        Your story is awesome as usual, you make the reader feel like they are inside your character.

        Blessings my friend.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        I don't know what is happening, Shyron. Have others mentioned this problem too? I'd love to hear your thoughts about the story if you can get through.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 months ago from Texas

        What happened to my comment?

        I do not know

        Just where it went

        It does not show

        Five times I've had to sign in

        That is all I know.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Dora, I truly mean to write first as an entertainer. The story has to be good or I may as well stop. But sometimes a story does help to illustrate an issue. I certainly hope I haven't crossed over into preaching for a cause. Thanks for coming and enjoying yourself in my hub.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Be careful, Shyron, about just trying. The guy has a gun. If you don't succeed in taking him down, he will take you down. Thanks for reading and for the compliment.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        3 months ago from Texas

        Chris, oh my I don't know if I could even hit the shooter, I think I would be sick I mean really sick, but I think I would try.

        This is some awesome writing.

        Blessings my friend.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        3 months ago from The Caribbean

        Chris, I'm impressed how you got this important message across through a short tale. Enough to spark a discussion about options in dealing with this horror. Thanks!

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        RedElf, thanks for visiting my hub. I'm glad you found it interesting and that you see the discussion as being worthwhile. You might suggest to your son that he read this hub and the comments so that he has a grasp of more of the issues. The actions of my protagonist are only a small part of what needs to be a comprehensive approach.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Shauna, This is such a complicated issue to tackle. Some want to approach it by dealing with the "broken" psychological and spiritual aspects of potential shooters and society at large. This is a long-term solution that has great merit in my view.

        Others want guns in the schools. It has even been proposed that students be allowed to carry guns—not a good idea in my way of thinking. Some schools are now training students to fight back. I believe this is necessary. Teachers and staff should be leading the way with this.

        Profiling and counseling students who match the profile of a shooter is a must as far as I am concerned. Bullying must be viewed more seriously. Those who do the bullying should also be provided with counseling. Their behavior pushes potential shooters over the edge.

        Gun control? The guns are already out there. Seeing as we have the 2nd amendment, we can't sweep them all up and disarm the public. Then the bad guys will have guns and the good guys won't. Parents of students who have been identified as having serious social and psychological problems need to be advised against having guns in the home.

        My story is extreme, and it is a band-aid over the real issues. But when the shooting starts, I really believe fighting back is necessary. But we have to begin being proactive and not reactive on the subject of school violence.

      • RedElf profile image

        RedElf 

        3 months ago from Canada

        Interesting. A well-written story that has certainly provoked a lot of excellent discussion. My son would love your protagonist. He is very pro "do-what-you-can"

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        3 months ago from Central Florida

        Chris, I have great respect for the boy who decided to do something about the shooter. I don't know if I'd have the guts to do so.

        School shootings today have become common place in a very short period of time. If I were a student today, I'd be a nervous wreck. We never had to deal with situations like this when I was in school.

        I'm not sure what the answer is. I do know we make guns far too available and easy to obtain. I didn't grow up with guns. I don't like them. Unless you hunt for food, why on Earth would you have a gun in the house? I understand that today's environment calls for protective measures, but if guns weren't made available to the entire populace, we wouldn't have so many shootings.

        Despite what's going on on our own turf, I do not own a gun and don't intend to change that.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        manatita, this brings us down to the difference between acting and reacting. What I and others have proposed as fighting back is a reaction to the problem. In the short term, I stand by that kind of action only because something needs to be done immediately to save lives. School shootings, I think most would agree, will only continue. But a plan of action, as opposed to reaction, is necessary as well. Anything that even closely resembles religion will not have a chance in public schools. It would be seen as the establishment of a state/national religion. I think to focus on the profile of shooters in order to identify potential shooters could be effective. Individual counseling, as well as family counseling, could be utilized. This is action as opposed to reaction. But it still is not what you have suggested which would speak to the inner need very well.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        3 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        This story moves at lightning speed through the thought processes that might go through one's head in a moment of crisis like this. I like the way he takes decisive action rather than react with shock and horror like I probably would do.

        This whole realm of anger issues, bullying, and children inundated with violent images from birth, I believe, are linked to this outcome. I think back to my worst high school images and can't imagine anyone who could allow their feelings to overcome their moral inner guidelines.

        Great way to present the issue.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        3 months ago from london

        Well Chris,

        You are showing once again the deeper side I believe you have. A nice and serious question.

        Communism knows that it should start with the children.

        I grew up with morning assemblies, grace before meals, to offer thanks to God and a sense of morals and etiquette. Right and wrong.

        How do we reach the heart? It is praiseworthy that through the ages, Yoga Philosophy has not changed.

        It asks us to change ... to be the change we wish to see. It begins with what really is the Beatitudes of Christ. Just using different words. Of course it encourages prayer and meditation which the Christian mystics called silent prayer, the prayer of the Heart.

        We need Spirituality back in schools. Some American Universities are trying Mindfulness. It's a good start. You and I affect the world by the vibrations that we offer it. Love, empathy, selflessness ... brings results sooner or later.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        manatita, Your words, "Let us pray," hit at the heart of the issue so well. Guns will not solve the issues of the shooter and more guns will not solve the social problem of an increasing number of shooters. Only a change of hearts will actually solve these issues. The remedy that I have suggested, i.e. to fight back, is itself only a band-aid over a gaping wound in society. Hearts must be changed, broken people must be mended. How is this done?

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        3 months ago from london

        What can I say? I'm no judge. You told the story well. We know that these things happen. Let us pray.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Michael, It does come down to the question of who survives. Ideally, everyone does and everyone gets a new shot at life, including the shooter. But enough of letting one person dictate the fate of many when we have the power to prevent it.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Ruby, The discussion is happening, and I like what I hear. In the past, lockdowns meant lock the door, shut off the lights and everybody huddle together. So the shooter enters and there everyone sits on the floor in a manner very accommodating to the shooter. At least now they spread the children out around the room and give them books to throw at the shooter.

      • Michael-Milec profile image

        Michael-Milec 

        3 months ago

        A reality of our existence in your writing. We've come to live, we've been sent to live on this planet. A game plan can be changed, interrupted. It's my life, I might be killed if I do not kill first. In a twinkle of an eye. " I killed a man..."

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        3 months ago from Southern Illinois

        Chris, this story was written so well and with the pictures seemed to be happening. It would take a lot of courage but smashing a watermelon seems to be the right choice. I am one of the few who believes all schools should be armed and ready to shoot, not to kill but enough pain to take the person down, then some mental health. When kids bully others, and if that kid is on drugs or has a mental problem, they act out in the only way they know how, violently. Great read...

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Sean, I'd prefer no one got hurt or killed, including the shooter. But these kinds of things are forced upon us at times. Even the most peace loving pacifist should be able to see that there would be less suffering, fewer dead bodies if we responded as this young man responded in the story.

        These are tough decisions, as you have said. Thanks for reading.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        3 months ago from Greece, Almyros

        A young boy, tough decision, real life... You are a master of putting us in the "shoes" of your characters, brother!

        Respect!

        Sean

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Thanks, Ann. That is exactly what I intended. I'm glad it seems to have worked.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        3 months ago from SW England

        About the hashtag sign: I took me a couple of seconds to realise what was going on but then it fitted in just fine and didn't detract, in fact it helped because it gave a sense of time for the thinking process of the character, almost like when a drastic situation makes you go into slow motion. I think it's a good idea to do that.

        Ann

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Bill, it is just that. Thank you.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Ann, thank you for the feedback. I'll ask for a bit more if you don't mind. Anyone can respond to this. I placed the # sign followed by text in italics in a few places. This was meant to stop the action and hear the thoughts of Trevor, the main character. Was this effective or distracting? Did it stop the action too much?

        I'm sure that rounders experience would prepare you just fine for any dirty work that might be needed.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        3 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Fiction? I think not, not in the U.S., not in the year 2018. Any one of us could be called upon to act like this main character at a moment's notice....and ain't that the shits?

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        3 months ago from SW England

        Chris, you've taken us right into the viewpoint of your character and we see the scene unfolding. It's structured well. We feel the fear, the initial indecision, then the final decision. You tell it like it is, with skill.

        As for the swearing, I think that is mild and certainly acceptable in this situation as you are reflecting the thoughts of your character and it's realistic. How many people in that position are going to say, 'Oh dear me, well what should I do?'!

        I wouldn't have the baseball skill but I did play a mean game of rounders once. I don't think I could stand by either but who knows the reality until it hits you in the face, if you'll pardon the pun.

        Good piece, Chris, with an important message.

        Ann

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Venkatachari M, I am glad you can see reality in this story. Let's hope there is a growing number of people who can identify with the lead character in this story.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        John, as I researched for this story, I was thrilled to see that there are some schools looking at alternative ways to prepare for a shooting. High schoolers should be trained to attack en masse. That could be the difference between a dozen getting killed our just two or three. And the two or three would be considered heroes. Younger kids are being trained to throw things like books. I appreciate the support, John.

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 

        3 months ago from Hyderabad, India

        An exciting and thrilling narration of the shooting incident. There would always be someone who can associate himself with your character's position. A good picturization of the reality.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        3 months ago from Queensland Australia

        I great and very real tale, Chris. I know what I would do in a similar situation. Smash a watermelon! Any small amount of swearing in a piece like this is warranted to give authenticity to the emotions felt. A very good read.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        3 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Mike, excellent advise on the clip/magazine. I'll fix that. As for swearing on HP, I've seen every possible swear word on hubs moved to the vertical sites.

        I wrote this story to be controversial. I think discussion is good, thinking is good. If we think through these issues, when someone finds themselves in the situation, maybe they will take action and save lives.

      • mike102771 profile image

        Michael Collins aka Lakemoron 

        3 months ago from The Village of Lakemore, Summit County, Ohio

        Good Story. It would be interesting to see if you take this and write about the next day or the aftermath of his actions. Not everyone would see him as a hero.

        Just a little nitpicking, you shouldn’t swear on Hub pages, so maybe Sh&t hit the fan. Also, he would be using a magazine not a clip in a handgun. Clips are used to load a gun (usually a rifle). The Clip is aligned then the rounds are pushed in. When the rounds are loaded, the clip is discarded unless you have an M1-Garand, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)