The Right to Own Guns
by Leia S. Wittfot
It was a cold September day and the leaves were already colored. Mom had always complained, that autumn came so early, but since dad had left her and me, she was angry about almost everything. I told her: “Mommy come with us into the woods.”, but she didn’t want to, so I sat there alone at the shore of the lake and watched the sun go down. So many things went through my head. I was worried about Mommy, she was alone without me. Who would take care of her now?
Suddenly a stick cracked behind me and I turned around quickly. At the age of eleven, it was clear to me that there were no ghosts in a forest, but there were dangerous animals. “Come on boy, let’s eat before it gets too dark and we can’t see anything.”, my grandfather said, who stood behind me and looked down at me. He was about to return to our place where we had pitched up the tent, but I wanted to sit here a little longer to wish the sun a good travel. Will she rise again tomorrow?
A loud scream echoed through the forest. I knew that this must be my grandfather, because but for him nobody dared to come here at that time. As fast as my short legs allowed me, I ran back to him. The tall and close together trees rushed past me, birds that had been sitting peacefully in the trees flew away frightened, and I sprinted through the undergrowth.
When I got to the tents, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A big bear stood in front of my grandfather and attacked him. It struck the gun out of Granddad’s hands, everything happened too fast. My granddad yelled at me and ordered me to take the second gun and shoot the bear, but it attacked him again and I knocked over the dishes next to the fireplace with a loud clang. The bear turned around but I already had the gun in my shivering little hands and fired.
What exactly happened after that, I only remember like in a trance. The bear ran away, frightened. It was unharmed because I missed it.
I had told Granddad I didn’t know how to use it. I had told him I didn’t want to go hunting with him. But it was all too late now. Granddad’s dead eyes looked at me.
The Right to Own Guns – A Lesson in Math
by Jannik Oldekop
Have you ever wondered just how slow things can go? Maybe you have heard of the theory that gravity can alter and bend reality. Or maybe you once experienced an event that seemed to last for only seconds, only for it to turn out to be minutes? I don’t know what that effect is called, or if it even has a name at all. Maybe it’s just one of those things that can never be named. Whatever it is, Mr. Petersen’s math class was the absolute limit of that feeling, feeling like it stretched out into infinity, with only glances at the slow, ever-advancing Clock saving you from completely losing all sense of time. To say his Lectures were boring would be an understatement.
I began to drift away, his mumbling about calculus becoming fainter and fainter until it appears to only be akin to a slow rustle in the background, like leaves on an autumn night. My eyes just stared into nothingness. My conscience had deemed his lecture as something so miniscule, that it was no longer worth listening to it.
That’s when I was suddenly awoken by something. A loud bang resonated through the classroom. Instantly my sense became sharp as I was brought back to the lecture in an instant. “It was only a lunch bag some douche popped in class” I thought to myself while trying to call my now racing mind. Now if that isn’t tasteless I don’t know what is. Doing something like that when just a few months ago there was a school shooting at the school I previously attended. To be fair, he probably didn’t know about that incident. How could he possibly have, me not having told anyone at the new school hoping to get away from the trauma my old school had put on me. If he had known he probably would have never even considered exploding the small, brown Bag filled with air. It was too late now however, as I already started hyperventilating, my mind beginning to once again show me memories of that cruel day.
I was standing next to my friends in the cafeteria when we first heard it. I recall wondering what the hell was going on and sprinting to a window to see what the hell was happening. I saw two guys I recognized marching towards the school carrying what I deemed to be paintball rifles. I recognized them as Dylan and Paul, two kids who didn’t really talk a lot and didn’t have a lot of friends. I remember thinking to myself that this was one of the shittiest Senior Year Pranks I had ever seen. Then, they opened fire. Bullets struck students on the side walk, in the parking lot, and on the hill.
My friend Nichole was standing on the side walk right by them. They shot her in the stomach. She doubled over and then fell on her back. It looked like she exploded from the inside out, caking the side walk with her blood. Her knees flipped to the side. She didn’t get up. She just stayed crumpled on the ground. That was what made me realize that this was no joke. It wasn’t red paint on the ground. It was blood. These two were trying to get back at students who had mocked and bullied them during their four years at our high school. It was then I heard the siren blaring a signal for an alarm I had hoped I would never have to hear: It signaled an active shooter inside the school and to find a hiding place as fast as possible.
I ran as fast as I could, hiding inside a locker, figuring that they would soon enter the building and that I didn’t have time to find a better spot to hide. It was pitch black, except for a tiny slit, letting me see just the faintest glimpse of the hallway.
That was when they entered the school. Paul and Dylan opened fire again. It didn’t sound the way gunfire sounds in the movies. Each shot was like a dart hitting a dartboard. Nothing sounded the way you’d expect. No one was screaming or yelling at them to stop. It was actually really quiet. The screams only really started echoing the hallways after the first few bodies dropped. A loud bang resonated throughout the building, followed by screams normally only heard by animals. A scream resonating with pure fear and the knowledge that you were about to die. Almost no one died instantly, they fell down and wriggled in pain, praying to whatever god they believed in. A boy who’d been shot in the leg got up and tried to run away. Blood spurted through his fingers as he held onto his wound, covering his peers writhing on the grounded. Another kid tried to run, but while passing the locker I was hiding in got shot in the head. I know this might sound really bad, but I was kind of glad he died, since he slumped against the door of my locker, making it impossible to open unless you were to move his body. Paul and Dylan just continued walking, until I didn’t hear their footsteps anymore. There were two things I heard that are forever burned into my mind. The continuous barrage of gunshots coupled with both of them laughing…….
I finally managed to zone back in and calm myself. “It’s just flashbacks, It’s just flashbacks, It’s just flashbacks ” I muttered to myself finally having calmed myself completely. I turned to the guy behind me to kindly ask him to please never do that again, since it triggered something in me. However, when I turned around the whole class looked just as shocked as me. That was when I heard another lunch bag pop in the distance and screams filled my ears I had never wished to hear again. Screams resonating with pure fear and the knowledge that you were about to die…..
The Right to Own Guns
by Levke M. Gerdsen
When the two young men returned to London´s East End, it was late September of 1920. With the fresh memories of war imprinted into their minds, the first days were tough. Neither of them got a lot of rest at night in their respective homes.
For John it was comparatively easy to get back to his old everyday life. Nightmares prevented him from sleeping for only a few days, the surrounding sounds lost their horror after only a week. He awoke with the first rays of sunshine, went to work at the docks, and returned to already prepped dinner. On Sundays, he went to church with his family, fell back into the old trot. It was as if there had never been a war, never been a grenade exploding mere feet from him, when he sat in his old pub with his best mates, and had a few pints of mild, sometimes even whiskey, if money allowed. All in all, he was leading a good life.
Micah on the other hand led a miserable life. He barely left the house, and became increasingly sleep deprived. There was no way for him to close his eyes without clouds of dust and splinters blurring his vision. You could only pity him when you saw him, the bags under his eyes growing day by day, and the way he flinched every time a louder sound was heard. The panic in his dark orbs, not daring to move. Unable to move. His sister desperately did everything to try and make him feel safe. Yet nothing seemed to work. He only seemed to fall deeper into his darkness; the world surrounding him became a backdrop for all he could see. When there was no one else in the house he would hear steps. Voices. Shots. And all he would do was sit on the floor, hands over his ears, back to the wall, and rock back and forth until his sister or mother returned home.
It broke his mother´s heart to see her son like this. Frightened. Lost.
It broke her heart to touch his shoulder, and see him squirm under her touch. Slipping away from her.
The only time he would relax was when he listened to his sister reading her two boys’ stories. Listening to her soothing voice talk about love, and forgiveness, or read a funny anecdote. A chuckle escaping her lips, made him relax. And so she would read all the books they had in their small home, over and over again:
`Hey, Mister Smith. Did you see that man over there? ´, Arthur asked. Mister Smith shook his head: `My eyes are not what they used to be, but I definitely did not see anyone out in the streets.´ Arthur shrugged: `Okay, never mind. Maybe I´m just going bonkers.´ 30 minutes past by quickly as Arthur kept reading. He was disrupted by a middle aged man: `Excuse me, lad, can you tell me where I can find the bakery?´ He looked up perplexed: `Just follow the scent. Smith´s is the best for any baked goods´ `Thank you´, the man smiled kindly and went in the totally wrong direction. `Wait! Sir, where are you going…´ `Arthur! Who are you talking to?´ Mister Smith looked confused upon the boy. `That man asked for the way. Why?´, he replied. The elderly man smirked: `Oh, but there was no one there, that´s why´ Arthur looked around and pointed to where the coat, the middle aged man had worn, had just vanished from sight: `No way. He was right there!´ `I think you are losing your mind, boy´, Mister Smith shook his head, chuckling a bit.”
A smile graced Micah´s lips. “You should get out of the house again, dear”, his mother brushed through her son´s hair, “Perhaps you could get a job somewhere. It will take your mind off of things, and we could really use some money” “Mother, I can go, and work. He does not have to”, his sister interrupted her mother´s train of thought. “No”, Micah immediately knew what she would have coming for her. She was pretty; pretty enough to make men forget their manners, if they ever had such to begin with. “I can work! I will work! I will go. Now. I will go now. And find work”, Micah shot up and rambled on, trying to get his coat, and cap on as quickly as humanely possible. He was out of the house before his sister could say another word.
The moment he stepped out onto the street he regretted his decision. The sound of a car driving by and a few kids playing with rocks a few feet down the road, had him pressing his hands to his ears again. But this time he was not going to back down. He was not going to give into his fear. Slowly he walked down the street, the people, that passed by, gave him weird looks. Some boys his age laughed at him, making fun of his fright. His feet led him to the local bakery first, where he asked for employment. The baker declined, claiming he was not handy enough to be a baker, and not social enough for sales. But Micah was not ready to give up. Not with the thought of his sister being taken advantage of lingering in the back of his mind. He hurried down further, planned to ask at the slaughterhouse, but was too distraught by the sight of the corpses, and the overall reminiscence of a battlefield.
Lastly he ended up standing in front of an old stable. He knew the owner, Frank Sinclair. Micah and Mister Sinclair´s son, Rudolph, had fought alongside each other in the same company, the only difference being that Micah had returned from the front lines and Rudolph had not. Micah took a deep breath and stepped into the stable. The loud noise of a dog´s aggressive barking made him regret his decision. He stumbled back; fell into a pile of hay. He struggled to get out, felt like crying, screaming, and running away simultaneously. “Boy? Are you alright there?”, he had not heard Mister Sinclair´s voice in a long time but recognised it immediately. “Yes, Sir. I´m alright, Sir”, he stumbled to his feet. He saluted to the older man, as best as he could with the fright compulsively rushing through his veins. “Oh boy, what did war do to your poor soul”, Mister Sinclair shook his head and gently placed his hand on Micah´s shoulder, “How about a cuppa?” His entire body shaking he nodded, and followed Mister Sinclair to a small backroom.
He took a pot of boiling water off the stove whilst Micah sat down, and quickly prepped two cups. He handed one to Micah: “Now, what is it that you want from me, boy?” “I…I…I wanted to ask for employment. I don´t want a lot of money. Not a lot. I just, I just want a job”, Micah stuttered. Mister Sinclair chuckled softly: “If you are willing to work hard, I am willing to pay you good money. And I believe you are willing to work hard” “I am”, the boy nodded eagerly. “So, you will start Monday. Be there at 5 am. And don´t be late”, Mister Sinclair stated. Micah stood up: “I will. I will be on time. I promise. I promise you, Sir” “And I believe in you, boy. I believe in you. And, boy? Please, call me Frank”, he smiled sympathetically, making the boy feel at home. He nodded: “I won´t disappoint you, Frank”
So on Monday, he returned to the stables, and was perfectly on time, and prepared to do his absolute best. He worked hard all day, and did the best job any stable-lad had ever done. And so, Mister Sinclair happily handed Micah one pound at the end of the day. “Go out, boy. Go to the pub, and get a pint of mild or whatever it is, you desire” He took the money, but shook his head at the suggestion: “I´ll just get home right away, and spend the evening with my family. But thank you, Frank. For the employment, and for the pound.” “Okay then, boy, see you tomorrow”, Mister Sinclair returned to his work as Micah left the stables.
The next day he returned on time, and the day after, too. He worked hard daily, he well-earned his money. He got along well with Mister Sinclair and the other staff. He felt right where he needed to be.
A few days later he spotted a young woman heading to the stables. A beautiful young woman. Not cursed with the sort of beauty that made men forget all their manners though. She was gifted with a confidence in her steps that made everyone respect her immediately, and her mere presence was enough to intimidate everyone around her. She wasn´t one to mess with, and she made that very clear. But Micah wasn´t one to mess with anyone regardless, and even if he were, he was too stunned by the woman approaching him. At first glance he did not comprehend her facial expressions. Was she sad? Happy? Confused? But when his gaze fell upon her again, mere seconds later, he recognized her. And when she jumped into his arms, he caught her with ease, and hugged her tightly. It was as though all the fear, and the fright of war, and all the emotions he had held back, hidden in his heart, came rushing to the surface at once. He felt overwhelmed, cried, and pulled her even closer to himself. She let him, even though his tight grip started to hurt. She let him, because she could not believe this to be real.
When her father had mentioned that Micah was back, she simply could not believe it. The boy she had waited five years for, who she thought to be dead or taken hostage. He was finally back. And she wanted to tell him all those things she had never dared to say. All those things she thought she would never get to tell him. And when he let her back down onto the ground, still holding her close to him, she gazed up into his dark orbs, and knew that she still felt the same. Despite the scar across his face. Despite the terror war had left on his features. And despite his limping foot. Despite it all, she still saw her whole world in his eyes.
He still was unsure of what emotions her eyes held, but he knew that he liked them. Despite all he had seen over the years, all it took for him to forget about it all, was looking into her eyes. He desperately wanted to tell her everything. He wanted to tell her how much he had missed her. He wanted to tell her how the only thought keeping him sane and willing to fight was returning to her. And he wanted to tell her all the things he had wanted to tell her before departing to France. How her eyes held the reminiscence of an emerald, and how her smile would shine brighter than a thousand suns. How he had never seen such beauty ever before, in no person nor thing. And how dearly he loved her, with all his heart and body.
But there were no words in his mind to describe the feelings he held in his heart. All the words he wanted to say felt so meaningless compared to what he felt. The only way he knew how to describe his emotions, to let her know all his heart only belonged to her, was pulling her into a deep, and loving kiss.
So there they stood. In the muddy stable, rain pouring onto the roof, and the scent of muck surrounding them. And not a care in the world they shared the first of many kisses, so full of love that no words could ever describe them. And when they pulled away, Micah looked upon her, and smiled the most honest smile that had ever graced his features: “You took my heart without asking, but may I ask you now to become my wife?”