Samantha had waited until she was sure that no one could have been around. Finally gathering all her strength, she stood, hunched over, and crept back to the place of the shooting. She came to the clearing, where it had all happened. There was an eerie silence in the field, surrounded on all sides by brush. Eoin was not there anymore. Maybe he had not been hit as badly as she had thought. Maybe he was fine.
But then she saw it. A thick line of red sand, lying in a groove that could only have been made by someone dragging away his still form. The line was far to wide to be a minor injury, and she winced at the thought of the pain he must be in. She walked slowly around the circle, making sure there was nothing she had missed. Finally, finding nothing, she steeled herself for what must come next. She began going over treatments in her head, accompanied by images of the dog that had been used for target practice, the deer that had been shot out of season, barely holding on, the cat with only three legs, all victims of boys with guns.
Boys with guns. Like Brian. How could he have done that? How could anyone do that? A life is sacred, any life, but human lives especially. Yet he had gunned down a classmate in cold blood, completely unfeeling. She had been prepared to defend Eoin, but that was a completely different circumstance.
But was it? Was it really? She had been willing to risk Brian's life on a half-baked plan to save Eoin. If Brian had not shot, she might have actually done it. She would have been the one disregarding life, and Brian would be the one being dragged away. Could she take that? Would she have been able to cooly walk away, talking with friends, leaving a body in the desert?
Yes. If it was to save someone, yes. If she had had the chance, she would have been able to defend Eoin. Her conscience would be clear. But she had not been fast enough, she had been too willing to run away, and now Eoin was injured, dying.
Eoin must be saved. Everyone must be saved. Those who try to prevent that must be dealt with. She could find some allies, help those who, like Eoin, should never have been injured. And she would work to save the class from this bloodsport.
She started to follow the trail of blood.
((Samantha Atterman continued in The Ballad of the Coward