Chapter 1: The Massacre

I looked up at the man as he pressed the cold steel of the handgun against my forehead. The smell of blood and gore was far worse than I could have imagined.

In the end I couldn't do anything heroic or praiseworthy. My life from this point on would be just a number.

Still, looking around me I know that this isn't right. Why would anyone do this?

Six armed men had walked into the mall only just a minute ago. It was strange, but I was too busy being worried about other things. Today was supposed to be my first date. In the seventeen years of my life this was the first time I'd even been able to get a girl to meet me even for just a movie.

It was all because of one quality I had no control over. The reality of my current existence is that I am repulsive.

People cringe when they see my face, but maybe that's what saved me for these precious seconds of introspection. It's a rugged and malformed face, it was the kind of face that made babies cry. To add to my misfortune, I was short, unathletic, and although I supposedly had an above average IQ, I couldn't prove it because of my undiagnosed dyslexia.

It's just my mom and I, and we aren't well off either. She's a drunk and a gambler so it always feels like we're scrambling for money at the end of the month. And I've gone hungry or been 'accidentally' locked out more times than I care to count.

Because of this, I also don't have a lot of nice things. In my short life I spent a lot of my time in the protective walls of the local library where I was just another visitor. None of the librarians called me stupid when I had to concentrate to read a single sentence or when I had to ask what words meant what. It was my only escape, the only place I ever felt safe.

For that reason, I don't really feel scared at all. Even though I'm staring death in the face, it seems like a much kinder and quicker death than I had thought I'd be fated to. Fate was always such a funny thing to me. I'd been born like this and it had always stopped me from doing anything. A cage of circumstances.

My fate, that was doomed from the beginning.

Today was a tragedy, and the end of my fate. It'll be on the news. I'll just be a number, but maybe it was better for me to be here instead of somebody else. A nice person with friends. Yeah, maybe they were spared because I was here. My date should have been here an hour ago, so maybe by standing me up she's safe somewhere else?

I'll think about that. My fate was to die so that she could live.

Something wet rolled down my cheeks. I'm crying.

Partially, I have to admit I'm crying out of self-pity of trying to delude myself with one more obvious lie where I have faith in the best of people, but I think a part is joy. In the end, maybe I was able to do some good? But at least this travesty of an existence is finally over.

Ya, let's go with that. Because at this very moment as this black handgun is pressed against my head, I don't feel scared.

If I can protect at least one person I can be at peace.

I'm going to be free.

I finally accomplished something…

If I had a chance to do it all again in a different body in a different place. A place where people weren't scared of my ugliness. I'd do what I could to be free. I'd be free. I'd be strong, strong enough to protect something. I'd make a friend maybe two even. Close ones, that might cry if I were to die.

But most importantly, I'd live.

I could feel him pulling the trigger, since the gun was pressed to my forehead. It was sudden, but I was finally free. The key to the prison was a bullet to my head.

That day in a city I forget the name of, six armed men invaded a local mall and opened fire on a civilian crowd. 89 were injured, 24 were left in critical condition, and 47 were confirmed dead. I was one of the 47.

I don't know how I knew this. I just… did.