Masquerade of Madness

Infinitely Worse

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

The gun was fired in a burst of three, reminiscent of the devils three knocks at ones doorstep at midnight.

The sounds were extremely close. In fact, the shooter was probably in the classroom right opposite them right now.

How this person managed to reach all the way up to the classrooms wasn clear, but what was clear was that Sebastians class would most likely be the next to get shot up.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

The gun roared out again, waking up those who were still in a stupor, unable to comprehend the implications of what they just heard.

If the shots weren enough, the miserable high-pitched screams coming from the next classroom were sure to drill one fact into their brains.

We are in the middle of a school shooting.

In contrast to the chaos and cacophony coming from outside their classroom, everybody in it was dead silent.

An oppressive atmosphere started to build up as everyone was too shell shocked to even take a breath.

Are we going to die here today?

This question was probably going through the heads of every person in that classroom.

But not a soul dared say it out loud. As if that very act would set their fates in stone.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

The shots blasted out a third time. It was like the rhythmic toll of a death knell – persistent and unavoidable. Each time the bell tolled, somebodys death was announced.

The triple beat mixed in with the harrowing screams began to compose a dreadful, bloodcurdling symphony, hypnotizing the thoughts of whoever had the misfortune of hearing it.

They could tell.

A message was being sent.

A message soaked in blood,

Promising of more to come.

[You will all die here today]

A self-fulfilling prophecy

[There is no escape]

An Omen of Death

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

The shots rang out…

…again

and

…again…

and

again….

Luckily, by the time the shots rang out for the fifth time, Mrs Brown had managed to get a hold over herself and decided to take charge of the situation.

She shot out a string of instructions in a clear and concise manner.

Students rushed to turn off the lights and close the curtains.

Then they scrambled to hide under the desks.

Perhaps if the shooter thought that the class was empty, they would be left alone?

Alas, it was but wishful thinking.

After the teacher finished firing off instructions, she sprinted up to the door to lock it off.

What she didn notice was that the screams from the next classroom had stopped.

The shots had also stopped firing.

Instead, a pair of heavy footsteps could be heard slowly making its way toward their classroom.

Just as Mrs Brown was about to lock the door it was kicked open by an enormous force.

From the last row, Sebastian could just make out the outline of a gun peeking over the threshold of their classroom door.

Even though Sebastian had never seen one before, he was pretty sure that the shooter was using some sort of shotgun…

*BANG!*

*BANG!*

*BANG!*

… and that shotgun just fired thrice at point-blank range.

.

.

.

As Mrs Brown was blasted away and her lifeless body slumped to the ground, her killer made their way into the classroom.

The once spick and span floor was now stained with blood, innards and gunpowder stains.

The shells ejected from the shotgun clattered on the ground before coming to a stop.

Unfortunately, nobody was able to hear it as their ears were still ringing from the gunshots.

*Click* *Clack*

The shooter leisurely re-primed the shotgun as he made his way to the centre of the podium where the teachers desk was located.

His steps were unhurried and mechanical. It seemed that he wasn worried in the least about getting stopped.

Perhaps it was the weight of the bag of shells he was carrying? Perhaps it was but a hallucination created from fear?

But each step the shooter took seemed to echo out. Like the ticking of the second hand of a clock, they signalled the never-stopping passage of time.

The time left before their inevitable deaths.

He didn even slow down as he came across the remains of Mrs Brown. His once pitch-black shoes stepped over blood, intestines and brain matter alike without any partiality.

Once he reached his destination, he came to a stop, turned towards the students and slowly raised his gun.

”…stay still… ”

He spoke in a low but deep voice. His tone was extremely casual. Like that of a doctor chastising an unruly child while trying to give them a shot. It was for the childs good after all…

Yet to the listeners, it was no different from the voice of the reaper.

After all, it wasn a doctor who wanted to give them the shot, but a bonafide school shooter.

By this time very few students had actually managed to hide under their desks.

The rest were either still scrambling to find cover or were frozen still in shock.

The silent grim atmosphere exclusive to their classroom from moments ago had long given way to pandemonium the moment the killer spoke out.

Some were covering their mouths to keep quiet and reduce their presence.

Some were screaming at the top of their lungs as they lost their minds.

Some were sobbing miserably. Wailing their hearts out at this hopeless situation.

Some were praying to whichever god could hear them or saying their final goodbyes to loved ones.

And finally,

Some were dead silent with blank expressions on their faces, plunged into the pits of despair, they had long abandoned all hope.

But, not a single person,

tried to run

or fight back.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

The shots started firing.

Somebodys head just exploded.

Another just lost their leg.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

He fired again.

This time two people died on the spot.

The shooter also managed to finish off the guy who had lost his leg.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

Once more.

This time nobody died, but a lot were injured by the stray bullets.

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

Again

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

and again

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

and again…..

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

.

.

.

strange… the screaming had stopped…

.

.

.

The shooter lowered his gun and surveyed his handiwork.

Apart from those that were already dead or bleeding out on their way to it.

The rest of the students were hiding under the desks.

Some were lightly injured by stray shells while a lucky few were completely unharmed.

It had been a while since the shooter had stopped firing.

Did he perhaps leave?

Thinking that, somebody risked looking out from their spot of cover…

*Click* *Clack*

…they thought wrong.

*BANG!*

This time, only a single shot was fired.

After seeing that nobody was leaving their covers, the shooter decided to lower his gun again and walk down from the podium…

.

.

.

… and into the aisles.

.

.

.

*BANG!*

Not only had the pattern changed.

*BANG!*

The game had too.

*BANG!*

If somebody made a sound

*BANG!*

they got shot

*BANG!*

If somebody moved a little

*BANG!*

they got shot

*BANG!*

Little by little the numbers were whittled down.

*BANG!*

Strangely enough, he never shot at the dead bodies or those half-alive and bleeding out.

*BANG!*

No, he only shot at those who still thought that they could hide

*BANG!*

Those who thought that they could run.

*BANG!*

After all, didn they receive the message?

*BANG!*

You will all die here today

*BANG!*

There is no escape

*BANG!*

So… please stay still

*BANG!*

.

.

.

Sebastian had long lost count of how many times the gun was fired.

Truth be told, ever since Sebastian heard the first gunshot a few minutes ago, his entire body had frozen up in fear.

His mind had gone blank, incapable of processing any coherent thought.

It was as if he was a stranger in his own body, forced to watch it like a spectator confined to the third-person perspective.

The ever increasing intensity of his headache and the constant ringing in his ears, did not help in making things better.

All he could do was watch.

Watch the slow creeping passage of time as his classmates got gunned down one by one.

The first shots were heard at 1:45.

The killer burst into the room and shot Mrs Brown dead at 1:50.

He watched as the gunner then turned and started to fire at the class.

At some point in time, without his realization, his body was already cowering beneath his desk.

He watched Annas head get blasted off her shoulders as her body slumped to the ground.

The time was 1:52

He watched Josh, with his innards pouring out of his body, on the verge of death, slowly crawling toward him with his hand outstretched grasping into the air.

Was he trying to say something? Unfortunately, it was too late. His body was already getting cold as it lay to his right. The distance left between them was very little, but it was one he never managed to surmount within his lifetime.

The time was 1:54

Once the gunner stopped randomly spraying shots all over the place, Seb watched on as that bas*ard started to play some perverse game of hide and seek.

Even though the triple beat had switched to a singular one. It looked like the shooter was performing a waltz of death as he weaved in and out between the rows and columns of broken desks and bleeding corpses. (A.N: Waltz is characterized by a triple beat)

The time was 1:56

Sebastian was leaning back on the rear wall of the classroom and his legs spread out on the ground like a dead starfish.

His neck was tilted to the right as he was apparently still staring at Joshs outstretched hand grasping into the air.

Sebastian watched and watched.

However, he still found himself unable to control his body.

Was it something fortunate? but Sebastian wasn allowed to dwell within his thoughts for long.

The ringing in his ears had stopped and…

*Click* *Clack*

Somewhere close by, he could hear the shooter reload and pump his gun again.

The footsteps of the shooter slowly and steadily made their way towards him.

Eventually, his line of sight was obstructed by a pair of bright red shoes.

Perhaps it was once a different colour, but now the shoes had been long dyed red by the blood and innards of countless students.

Seb raised his head slowly to look at the owner of the shoes.

The shooter was wearing a school uniform, but anyone could tell at a glance that it was someone in their late 20s or early 30s.

His face was obscured by a ski mask, so the only discernable feature was his eyes.

Dark brown eyes filled with intense rage. Rage at the world, rage towards itself, Rage towards everything and everyone in existence.

Rage towards the very concept of existence.

Seb found his consciousness drowning within the boundless rage as he locked eyes with the killer.

”You stayed still. ”

The killer spoke for the second time since he entered the classroom.

”Good Job. ”

The tone of his voice was surprisingly still as casual as ever. Like the doctor complimenting his patient for co-operating well with him for his job.

The shooter raised his gun again and pointed it directly at Sebs head.

And pulled the trigger again…

*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*

… three times.

.

.

.

The time was 1:57

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