Hope For Change | Teen Ink

Hope For Change

March 17, 2019
By ParkerRobert_B SILVER, Greer, South Carolina
ParkerRobert_B SILVER, Greer, South Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” -Mark Twain


The loud gunshots pierced through the hallways. I was coming back from the library and without thinking, started running down the hall. Students dropped their books and scrambled into the nearest classrooms. The loud wooden doors slammed shut. I frantically made my way into a classroom and squeezed in with the other students. Everyone in the room cowed down in a corner and unlike the drills, there was no talking. All I could hear was labored breathing and muffled cries. For a few seconds there was an eerie silence, and then the gunshots resumed. My heart was beating in my throat and I could barely catch my breath. Was this really happening to me? I thought school was supposed to be a safe place

All across the room students turned on their cellphones, most likely to notify their parents of what was happening. The blue light revealed their scared faces. I followed what everyone else did, and took out my phone too. Suddenly I was hit with a terrifying realization.

What if I die? I’m not ready to dieI don’t want my family to be in pain.

After a few minutes of sheer panic, the gunshots stopped, or so it seemed. We all sat up and looked around, many of us joining our hands in solidarity.

Thump, thump, thump.

I could hear footsteps approaching. His wet boots squeaked across the tile floor. As I looked towards the door I was filled with terror. A towering shadow was right outside our classroom. The next few moments went by in a blur. One thing I knew for sure was that he had knocked open the door. Screams filled the air and one recurring color was red. The color of blood; of lives lost. I will forever remember the teacher who was in that room. I don’t know her name, but she was a hero. She dove in front of us, keeping us out of harm’s way.

I looked over, and to my horror, I saw my best friend lying in a pool of his own blood. His hands fell to his sides. I looked up and saw the shooter. He wore a long, tan trench coat and his eyes—his eyes were black and emotionless.


I fell back, my head slamming against the hard floor. My hands trembled with fear and all of the blood rushed to my head. An intense, throbbing pain took hold of me. My brain was telling me I was dying, but I refused to believe it. My eyes shut and the horror I had witnessed was finally over. Or so I thought.

1 Year Later

Most nights I wake up, covered in sweat, haunted by my own nightmares. I feel like I am being suffocated, my throat being clenched by the man with the dark eyes. Each day is a constant battle. The pain and misery I experienced will never be forgotten. It is etched into my heart. My family has been with me through it all. At the hospital when I was being treated for my gunshot wound. Therapy sessions filled with tears and heartache. I didn’t care though. As long as I could be with my family again, it didn’t matter what I was doing. It took me a long time to get out of bed and back to reality. Going back to school was the hardest thing I had ever done. The atmosphere was completely different. During class changes, the halls were a lot more quiet. There was not a lot of laughter anymore.

I was so angry at the world. ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’ was a recurring thought. Trying to make sense of it all was like being stuck in a maze and having no idea where to go. When I would turn on the news I would hear about more and more school shootings. It made me sick to think that there were people out there who would prey on innocent children. In the months following the shooting, many of the students joined together, advocating for change. I was one of them. I knew that no matter how hard it would be, we must raise awareness for gun violence.

Some days I would call my best friend, Pete, forgetting what had happened to him on that fateful day. Of course there would be no answer. Just me and my loneliness.

One day after returning home from school, I was notified by a group of my friends that they were attending a rally at the nearby park, speaking out about gun violence. They said that news crews would be there and that it would be broadcast throughout the United States. I knew that by joining, I would be doing something good for our country. I said yes and before I knew it the day had finally arrived.

When I arrived at the park, I was shocked at the amount of protesters. Most of them were kids my age. I never realized how much kids impacted our community until then. I saw many people from my school there. One girl, who I had known from my English class went on stage. The entire crowd fell silent. She spoke with such eloquence and grace, it brought me to tears. It’s like all of the thoughts I had had over the past year were summed up in her speech. When she finished and stepped off stage, the crowd erupted with applause. The entire world knew that the teens in our community had stepped up, risen above all else, to spread a message about peace and change. I knew my best friend would be proud. As I left the event, a newfound feeling of calmness and love washed over me. All of us teens had worked together to make the world a better place.

The author's comments:

‘Hope For Change’ is a short story from the perspective of a school shooting victim. This piece was written for the Atlantic Institute Essay Contest whose theme was Building Community: The Role of Teens. I wanted to write about a relevant issue and bring more awareness to the emotional pain school shooting victims deal with everyday. I hope you like it!

Word Count- 979

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This article has 2 comments.

on May. 4 2019 at 7:05 pm
ParkerRobert_B SILVER, Greer, South Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” -Mark Twain

@Hermione-Granger thanks for taking the time to read this somewhat long short story. This one is one of my favorites that I have written because i brings up a relevant issue that some people shy away from talking about

on May. 3 2019 at 7:27 am
Hermione-Granger BRONZE, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
4 articles 0 photos 198 comments
This piece is so gorgeous and beautifully written.