He felt the cold, hard steel against his leg. His sweat pants did little to block the gun's icy emanations onto his warm flesh. He shivered involuntarily. The checkpoint lingered ahead, a few cars ahead of him.

His head was still spinning from the morning. When he woke up, his pounding headache had returned. He couldn't remember a time when his eyes hadn't throbbed and his ears had stopped ringing. Life had become a blur since—

"No, no, no," he mumbled audibly. He shifted uncomfortably in the worn driver's seat of his small car. Fewer cars remained in front of him now. Or at least he thought so. The reds and maroons of the other cars were blending together miserably, and it was becoming more difficult for him to distinguish the individual models. How much time had passed?

He checked his wrist watch. Nine thirty-eight. It had only been an hour since he woke up, but he felt as if he had gone through hours of tumultuous sensory overload. I need to get to Ivan.

It had taken him a few days, but he had finally found someone who could get him the drugs that would help his irrational sensory perceptions match his mind. If you can't fix what's broken, break what's fixed.

His eyes closed and his head tilted back in relief. The frustration of seeing the world through eyes that reacted as if they were on drugs while his brain functioned rationally and constantly worked to correct his scattered perceptions was exhausting. The hope of elevating his mind to the level of his senses was overwhelmingly pleasurable. Four, no five, cars left.


"Very little word has reached us from the campus yet, but there have been unconfirmed reports of another school shooting today. We have no specific details of fatalities or injuries just yet, and the campus has failed to issue a lockdown. We can only assume that the local campus and city police have handled the issue. We will disclose more information on the story once we know more."

The reporters shifted uncomfortably in front of the cameras. As the cameras flashed back to the news anchors, the relief in their eyes was evident. Other news stations had taken the story and run it as another "Columbine incident." Channel 5 had instructed its reporters and anchors to be careful in the way in which they handled the situation. Incidents at college campuses could quickly be blown out of proportion, terrifying not only the hundreds of thousands of college students and professors nation-wide but also all of their friends and family members.

It was an issue that had to be handled delicately and with little unnecessary embellishment.


It'll be fine, just two more cars to go. Just buy a parking permit and drive on through. No big deal. He eased his shaking foot onto the accelerator, but he was unable to properly stabilize the pressure he applied to the pedal. The car jolted forward, and he had to slam on the break to stop himself from rear ending the car in front of him. His front bumper squealed to a stop mere inches from the car in front of him.

The parking attendant and a few other drivers turned to look at him. He shrunk as far back into his seat as possible in an attempt to avoid their prying gaze. He squeezed his eyes shut and his fingers subconsciously moved to trace the outline of the gun tucked into the waist band of his pants.

He'd never fired a gun before. In fact, he was surprised he had mustered the courage to buy one. After learning about Ivan, it had strongly been suggested to him that he get himself a weapon, just in case. He was never sure what the "just in case" was referring to and how he would react if that type of scenario arose.

His mother had always been strongly against violence when he was growing up. He wasn't allowed to play video games because she believed they were inherently violent. Even the television he had been allowed to watch was closely monitored by his mother. However, his mother hadn't been entirely authoritarian; in fact, before she died—

"No, no, NO," he said more emphatically. His hands snapped to the wheel, clutching its worn leather covering until his knuckles whitened. The blurs of color that were the other cars had disappeared in front of him, which only meant it was his turn.


"So far, there have been two deaths, but no other injuries have been reported. Please stay tuned and stay indoors, the college has issued a campus-lockdown," a deep female voice spoke. Her hair was a rich brown that shined in the hot, bright lights of the camera crew.

"Aubrey?" The woman's brown eyes snapped around to meet the gaze of the man approaching her. "Have a sec?"

"Just a sec," a small smile played on her lips, baring her bright white teeth. She began walking at a brisk pace, the man falling into step beside her.

"What do you make of this, honestly?" the man asked her, slightly under his breath.

"Well, it seems pretty cut and dry. Some kid played too many video games, got high and decided to light up a school, only this time, it was for real. I just hope they catch him before he injures any more innocents. Why are you asking, Tim?"

"I just don't know, it seems, well, odd to me. Not like the other school shootings they are likening it to." Tim moved his head around nervously, his fingers clutched tightly into fists.

"He shot and killed a police officer. No, not even a police officer. A campus security parking attendant. It's completely irrational. Then he flees and shoots some unlucky student, probably just trying to get to campus to study for his finals. That pretty much fits the stereotype of an irrational school shooter."

"I guess you're right." Tim cast his gaze downward and slowed his pace. Aubrey picked up her and whisked down the hallway and into a crowded room of reporters.


Oh no, what happened—what have I done? His face was sticky with the intermingling of sweat and blood. His hand clutched the warm handle of a recently fired gun. He was running. Images were flying past him in blurs he could not identify, and sounds were swirling around his head faster than he could understand them. Am I really going crazy?

He didn't know why he was running or where he was running. His throat was raw, and his breathing was coming in shortened gasps, but he felt no pain except the thrumming in his hand that he had felt when he pulled the trigger of the gun.

He had tried to drop the gun, throw it away, get it away from him. But for some reason, his hand would not let go. He felt his hastened heartbeat as it pulsed in his wrist, pressed up against the warm metal of the gun.

"Mom," he sobbed in between gasps. Tears mixed with the concoction of sweat and blood already trickling down his face.

The sun became blocked out by a large concrete building rising up before him. The air became cooler as he approach the ominous building. In a frenzy of sensory overload, he ran into the seemingly empty parking garage, disappearing into its dark interior.


"We have finally heard word that the campus has been re-opened. The gunman is still at large, but the gun used to fatally injure two people has been recovered in the parking garage near the body of the second victim," Aubrey recited into the camera. "The identities of the campus police officer and student victims have not yet been released. Please stay tuned."


My head, he moaned. Or did he just think it? He couldn't be sure. He couldn't be sure of anything right now. Blood had run into his eyes, obscuring what little sense of sight he had left. The left side of his head was numb, and the right side was throbbing. With each throb, he could feel a warm viscous liquid ooze down his cheekbone.

In what felt like an eternity, he moved his hand down to his chest and nearly fainted from the pain he experienced. There was a gaping hole pulsing above his right pectoral. The ragged skin around the entry wound stung, and the deep cavern it had drilled through his torso squeezed out what had to be liters of blood. I'm dying, he imagined.

The cold concrete floor of the parking garage mixed with his warm life blood, as it seeped out of him to pool in thick, red puddles. His skin had begun to whiten and lower in temperature to match that of icy ground. He closed his eyes, despite the blood and gore being trapped beneath his eyelids. More blood quickly ooze over his closed lids, sealing them eternally shut.

His mouth moved into a contorted grin of relief, and in one last agonizing motion, he flung the gun from his otherwise stiff fingers. He heard the metal of the gun skid and thud across the hard ground as it spun away from him. The last sound he heard was the weak pulse of his emptied heart attempting to circulate blood to his battered body. And then, at long last, nothing.