I can’t even imagine what it must have sounded like –
the alarms, the gunshots, the screams, the begging,
the praying, the laughter, the cheering, the crying.
I know the sound of Eric’s laugh. I know the sound
of Dylan’s voice. I’ve heard a fragment of a recording.
And I still can’t piece it together enough to hear the horror.
I can’t even imagine what it must have looked like –
the muzzle of a Tec-9 in your face,
the black boots walking past you as you hide under a table,
the boy in a trench-coat, in the hallway, with a shotgun.
Blood on the floor and blood exploding out of someone’s head,
and blood pouring out of a hole in someone’s back.
I can’t even imagine what it must have smelt like –
metallic blood, the stench of open wounds,
smoke from pipe bombs, shit and piss and sweat,
your own body odour, cafeteria lunch food,
linoleum floors, body spray, the inside of a toilet cubicle,
the inside of a storage cupboard, the smells of school and death.
I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like –
begging for your life at gunpoint while the killer laughs,
watching children being murdered
right in front of you, seeing TV violence in real life.
Closing your eyes and listening to people dying and begging
and crying and praying and whooping and whispering.
Realising that you might actually really die right here,
on the floor of a library, in an unlocked science room,
in a toilet stall, under the table of a cafeteria. Trying to pray
to any god listening that you want to live, please, please, please.
But what good did it do the other children? What good did it do
for the kids you heard getting killed?
Running out of the library and past a dead body and past
another dead body, with your hands above your head,
so the police don’t shoot you, of course.
Standing by a cop car with the images still playing in your head,
and the sounds of gunfire still ringing in your ears,
not knowing if your friends are dead or alive.
Being faced with cameras and reporters and microphones,
and an unending barrage of questions:
What did you see? What did you hear? How did you feel?
What happened? Do you know who the killers were? Why?
Where were you? What did you do? Did you talk to the killers?
Were you friends with the killers? Do you know the Trench Coat Mafia?
I can’t even imagine what it must have been like
to actually be a student or a teacher or a reporter or a photographer
or a cameraman or a journalist or a copy editor or an editor in chief
or a police officer or a SWAT team member or a paramedic or a nurse
or a doctor or the parent of a victim or the parent of someone injured
or a friend of a student or a bomb squad member or a family member.
We’ve all seen the chaos unfolding, live on the news.
We’ve seen the police standing behind cars and we’ve seen
students running for their lives, students bleeding on sidewalks,
parents hunting for children, parents hugging their kids,
people standing around and crying and holding one another,
ambulances racing and sirens blaring and cameras rolling,
but imagine living it.
Dear Columbiners, not everything is about Eric and Dylan, s.b.w.
I had a dream about you [..] I dreamed that we were moving through the world together, you and I [..].I dreamed we fed on the evildoer [..]. We would go on forever. And we talked. `Our conversation’ went on and on. The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice