Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless.
- Lao Tzu
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“Emma West?” Mr. Mickelson reads out as he calls the attendance.
“Here” I say dumping my bag on the seat next to mine as I sit down.
“Well alright everyone is here, are we ready to leave?” Mr. Mickelson asks. No one replies but continue to talk. “Are you excited?!” Rose who is sitting behind me asks. I shrug and look out the window where I could see the juniors walking into their classes. Our class is going for a field trip to a factory which experienced a gas leak a couple of decades ago. We are spending the entire day at the factory today, staying the night at a hotel and will be on our way back tomorrow morning.
Before anyone could start a conversation with me, I quickly grab my phone and earphones and blast music into my ears. Five minutes pass on with sir instructing how we should behave and what we should not do. With that ending, the bus starts to pull out of the parking lot in our school and I decide to shut my eyes to get some sleep.
My eyes snap open when the bus comes to a sudden stop. I slide on the seat and hit my head to the seat in front of mine. “Ahh.” I cry out in agony, my right hand lifting up to touch my forehead to check if it was bleeding or not.
“Emma are you okay!” Lily, a girl who was sitting on the seat next to mine says worriedly. I squeeze my eyes shut and continue to keep my hand on my forehead. I nod and quietly whisper a ‘yes’. A few moments later I open my eyes and look towards the front of the bus where Mr. Mickelson had gotten up from his seat and was heading towards the driver.
“Have we reached?” I ask Lily, still rubbing my head slowly.
Lily furiously shakes her head as she looks out the window. “It’s not possible, we’ve been on the road only for an hour.” I look out my window and see only trees and shrubs all around. We should be out of the city by now.
“Everybody get down!”
My eyes widen when I hear Mr. Mickelson scream on top of his lungs. I snatch a glance at Lily who was already hiding beneath the seat. I waste no time and do the same. I notice a lot of the boys near the aisle trying to catch a glimpse of what was happening.
The air is suddenly filled with screams when we a gun goes off. I quickly shut my ears with both of my hands and squeeze my eyes shut.
“Everybody stand up.” A new voice screams. It was a man. I slowly open my eyes and see everyone standing up one by one. Lily stands up as she looks at me, giving me signals to stop hiding, but my feet are frozen to the ground. I start to stand up but fall back down when the man yells again.
Tears start to form in my eyes. Half a minute must have passed by now. Everyone must be up but here I was still down scared to even stand up. Lily sends me pleading looks to stand but I can’t, it’s like my feet were stuck to the ground.
My eyes fall on my phone that was on the seat. I quickly grab it and call 911. “Is this everyone, this is your last warning.”
I place my phone on my ear and sigh in relief when a woman answers, “911 what’s your emergency?”
“An armed man has taken over our bus and I think has shot someone.” I whisper as low as I could. I could hear Mr. Mickelson bargaining with the man to calm down and thankfully it was creating a distraction. The man would not be able to hear me. I start sobbing when I repeat what I just said in my head.
“Shut up.” The man yells followed by screams from the people in the front. Tears roll down my cheeks as I try my best to listen to the woman on the other side of the phone.
“Ma’am I am tracking you as we speak. The police are on their way, how many are you on the bus.” She asks. I take a second and try to hear what was happening in front. I could hear things falling and girls squealing but I could not make out what was happening.
“16.” I cry softly.
“Alright ma’am just please stay on the line and update me on what is happening. Do you know who it is?” She asks. I gulp trying to calm my thirst, my throat completely dry, my hands shaking and the tears not stopping.
“Emma!” Lily cries. I look up and my heart skips a beat, my phone slips from my hand and falls down to the ground. The gun was right in front of my face and the man who now I recognized stood there with a smirk on his face.
“Get up.” He snarls. As an instinct my hands go up in the air and I slowly start to stand up. I was going as fast as I could but probably he thought the opposite. He grabs my shirt and pulls me up causing me to yelp.
I stumble upon a bag when he tries to pull me out of the seat. “How dare you.” He yells, his hand going right across my face making me cry out loud. Before I know it a bullet is fired at my phone blowing it up in pieces.
Girls were screaming and crying, the boys tried to act tough but some had already failed and had tears rolling down their faces. “What’s your name?” He demands grabbing a piece of my hair. A sob leaves my lips when he grabs my hair too tight. My hands go up in the air to try to get myself out of the lock.
“Em.m...ma.” I cry out.
“Well Emma darling do you know who I am?” He sneers, his mouth right next to my ear. I quickly nod, trying to free myself but fail to do so.
“Who am I?” He taunts.
“Will Jackson, you’re the most wanted criminal right now.” I sob out. Goosebumps appear on my arms when Will starts to laugh like a maniac behind me. I squeeze my eyes shut when the laughing stops and I feel the barrel of the gun touch my head.
“That’s right darling, now start walking to the front.” He barks, leaving my hair and pushing me forward. I wail and take a few steps forward, looking behind I see Will walking towards the end of the bus where the boys were.
I gasp when I see Mr. Mickelson fallen to the ground with a huge gash on his forehead. I quickly sit on my knees next to him and open his bag that was kept on the seat. Opening it up I grab the first shirt that I see and tear it into smaller pieces.
“Shh.” I say quietly when Mr. Mickelson whimpers when I dab the shirt on his forehead where it was bleeding. Giving him the shirt to hold I look behind at the girls who were holding onto each other and balling.
My jaw falls open when I look in front and see the driver lying dead in his own pool of blood. Stumbling I fall back from shock, my hands start to shake tremendously, tears already welling up in my eyes. Everything seems to be blocked from my mind, my breathing got louder as my eyes stay focused on the dead man who was lying with his eyes still open.
“Emma.” I barely hear Mr. Mickelson. I look towards him with my mouth still wide open, my ears as if they were blocked. I can only see him looking at me with worry in his eyes as he continues to speak but I can’t hear anything.
Before I know it Will starts pulling me up from the floor by my collar from behind. I shake my head and snap out of my shock. I look at Will with a confused face which angers him even more.
“Who did you call?!” He exclaims. I open my mouth but then shut it again, what can I say? Will continues to scream from anger, demanding to know who I called but my mouth stays shut. Everyone was even more scared now, he has a gun in his hand and he’s furious right now. Who knows what he can do.
I squeak when Will starts to pull me near the driver, this is it. He’s going to kill me and leave me lying dead near the driver. But instead we walk past the driver and start going down the steps, we were out of the bus now. Will pushes me away which makes me trip on a rock and bang my head on a tree.
A scream leaves my lips and I break down, my cheeks are wet, my head is pounding and my heart is racing. I just want to be back home, in my bed knowing that I’m with my family. My eyes are shut as I hear Will climbing back onto the bus and demanding everyone to get out.
I continue to cry as people come down one by one, I could feel their eyes on me as they stand around me.
“Em.” I hear a soft whisper. I open my eyes and see Zack holding his hand out to help me up. His eyes were red, his cheeks were stained. I wipe my tears away and take Zack’s help to get up. I look around and see that the bus was now empty, everyone was out except for Will who was still looking around.
“Who did you call?” Zack asks quietly, not looking towards me so that it doesn’t look suspicious.
“The police.” I murmur. “They should have been here by now.” I continue wondering why they weren’t here.
“Do they know where we are?” He asks, hope dripping from his voice.
“No they were tracking us through my phone.” I shake my head. My eyes suddenly widen, I turn my head towards Zack to see him looking at me with the same expression. I mentally curse when I realize that since my phone was blown up into millions of pieces they could have lost us.
My eyes follow Will as he walks towards the front of the bus and climbs down the steps, a bag with its zip open in his hand. Will’s eyes were filled with anger, confusion and worst of all. They were set on me. He throws the bag on the floor and walks up to me.
“I’m asking you one last time, who did you call!” Will demands, his hands griping my arms. “Did you call the police?” He mocks, shaking me which makes me uncomfortable due to how close he was to me. I gulp nervously and shake my head vigorously, hoping he would buy my lie.
“I’ll just deal with you later.” He sneers, leaving my arms and taking a few steps back allowing me to breathe. Will takes out his gun from his pants and lifts it up.
“Everyone put you’re wallet in this bag.”
One by one everyone starts to walk up towards Will slowly and throw their wallets in the bag but I just stood there. My wallet was in my bag, which was in the bus. Once everyone was done, I prayed Will noticed that I hadn’t put mine in since many people went together to give their wallets. But my prays weren’t heard when Will looks at me straight in the eye, his gun pointing at me.
“Do you have a disorder or what?” He spits. I bit my lip and shake my head,” My wallet is in my bag.” I squeal when Will comes closer.
“Then go get it.” He scoffs. Not wanting to anger him anymore I quickly run up the steps. I try my best to ignore the body that was lying on the floor and jog down the aisle towards my seat. No sooner do I start opening my bag than I hear sirens. My hopes heighten, a smile spreads across my face. But that all disappears when I hear heavy footsteps.
“You called the police!” Will shouts. I turn around to face him and see a scowl on his face. He lets out a scream of frustration and sits in the driver’s seat which makes my eyes go wide when I realize what was about to happen. “No.” I yell, dropping my bag and running towards the front, but it was too late. Will had closed the glass door and had started to drive.
He went so fast that the bus went back when it started and almost made me fall. I gripped onto a seat and started to weep. The group of my classmates and my teacher was starting to disappear. “Please Will stop.” I beg, sobs leaving my lips as I scream and shout for him to stop but he continues to ignore me.
I look behind us and see two cars and an ambulance had stopped next to my classmates and four more were behind us, following. I look around the seats that were filled with jackets and bags hoping I would find something that I could use and attack Will with.
My eyes stumble upon a steel bottle that was rolling about on the floor. I quickly pick it up and hide it behind my back. Walking up the aisle towards Will I take deep breathes hoping that he wouldn’t notice me.
As I stand right behind him, I quickly take the bottle and bring it in front of me. But before I could swing it Will takes a sharp right making me tilt and fall on the floor. The bottle rolls down the steps making a ‘thump thump’ sound before it’s stopped by the door.
“You are so dead.” Will shouts, taking out his gun and firing a bullet. I yell in agony when the bullet goes through my arm. Waves of pain continue to hit me as I apply pressure on my arm. My shirt moisten due to the blood, and cries continue to leave my lips. I open my eyes and see Will glancing at me. His eyes are set on me, the bus was still going on full speed and the police were behind us announcing for Will to stop.
I shut my eyes again, when the pain hits once more. “Shit.” Will swears. I open my eyes once again and see that his hands have a tight grip on the wheel. Confusion runs through me when his hands suddenly leave the wheel and he closes his eyes shut. The front of the bus hits something hard and comes to a sudden halt.
My head is heavy, my eyes are shutting and I try my best to keep them open. I notice Will opening the door next to the driver’s seat and jumping out. My eyes automatically shut but I forcefully open them when I hear the sound of glass breaking. I lift my head up and see two officers entering the bus. Sighing in relief I put my head back down on the ground when it gets a little difficult for me to keep it up.
“We need an ambulance here.” One of the officer says. The other steps out of the bus and starts yelling for an ambulance. The officer sits down next to me and tries to pick me up. “Will..” I mutter, not having the strength to speak properly.
“He’s been caught.” He says as one of his hands go under my knees and the other goes on my back. “Were you the one who called?” He asks getting up with me in his arms. I nod lightly and close my eyes.
“Thank you.” He whispers causing a small smile to appear on my face.