I rush back into the classroom as I cover my mouth with my shirt trying to filter out the smoke.
I start to search for bodies and find one lying under a fallen desk. I lift it and toss it off of them, then check for a pulse. Nothing. I feel overwhelmed at the thought. The thought that someone I've known for months now is lying dead infront of me. I could have been talking to them not ten minutes before. I rock back and forth on my heels, my eyes blurring up once more. This time not only from smoke.
"Kevin!" I hear called out weakly. I whip my head around and spot a dust and grime covered body peeking out from under some fallen roof panels. I rush to them blindly before tripping over something and suddenly I'm on the cold yet burning hard ground. I ignore the pain shooting up my knee and crawl towards the body. Gabe.
"You okay?" I ask testing the weight of the panel. It's heavy but not too bad. Hopefully.
"Yeah, I think so... I just can't move..." He drones off, the empty look clearly being fought off. He struggles to remain fighting. For as it dawns on me that that is what he is doing that it is why he is still alive. The bodies around me... Some gave up when they had a chance... I push the thoughts away and brace myself against the panel.
"On three, okay? One, two, three-" I lift the panel and he scrambles out slowly, oh so slowly! Can a man not move faster when his life depends on it? He barely crawled! I have seen babies move faster than this teen boy is! But alas, he does get out from underneath and I let it fall against the ground. He kneels down next to me and brushes off his hands eyeing my knee.
"You're hurt." I look at it and as if suddenly reminded I feel excruciating, almost unbearable, pain as I spot the crimson red blood pouring from my apendage.
"I'll be alright," I say through clenched teeth. It could not be anything more than a simple grunt. "You think you can lift things?"
"Uh..." He stares off to the front of the classroom, or at least where it would be, for several long seconds. I hear gunshots again. I reach forward to stir him. He can't give in on me now. "Yeah," He says suddenly, "I can. Why?" I sigh with relief.
"Go to the front of the classroom, I'll head around back and we're gonna grab who we can and meet up at the entrance to the room. Alright? You got that?" Gabe nods slowly, distractedly, before scruntching up his brows.
"Nothing..." I shrug and stand.
"Alright, go on. I'll be there in a minute." I walk away from him, leaving him to stare at my back. I go from body to body checking cold neck after cold neck. Soon I've checked eight and know that there is only one more I can check before I have to head to meet up with Gabe. I see a body lying on its stomach. Probably not alive. I carefully shake it, him, and call out to him.
"Hey, Will... Wi-" I can't bring myself to say his name again. My emotions threaten to overwhelm me. I reach for his neck but stop myself. An inch away. I can't bring myself to do it. I can't accept the fact that he is probably dead like the rest of them. Another person that I couldn't save. Can't save. Someone I did not get along particularly well with but if I wanted to mend things he was always there to do it. But where is he now? What can I do now if I want to make my peace?
"Kevin!" My name rings hollowly through the smoke filled room. More gunshots. "Come here, quick!" I retract my hand and stand. I run towards Gabe without looking back.