Winner, December 2012 KidPub Writing Contest
There’s no mistaking what happened on December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I knew the day wouldn’t go as planned before I ever woke up. My alarm clock went off four times, but I was so comfortable underneath my nice, cozy comforter that I didn’t want to get up. My little sister quietly entered my room and ripped my covers off. Goosebumps instantly covered me as the cold surrounded me. I started to yell; rant, actually, about how she always got into my stuff and ruined my life. I wish I hadn’t said any of that, but of course I didn’t know that would be the last thing I ever said to my little sister.
I dropped my little sister off at her classroom; the usual routine. I gave a warm smile to her teacher and then headed off to my fifth grade classroom. I sat at my desk and began chatting with a couple friends of mine. Within a few minutes the lesson had started, and I pulled out a piece of paper as we started going over long division.
I thought maybe something heavy had fallen, so I didn’t really pay attention. The teacher looked up from her textbook and stared at the door for a moment. She continued teaching, though.
Boom. Boom. BOOM!
Something was definitely wrong. This room used to be a science lab, so there were large sink areas everywhere. My teacher herded us behind the sinks and told us to be very quiet. No one giggled, no one whispered, and no one dared to move a muscle. We heard a piercing scream as another shot rang, and a few kids silently sobbed into their best friend’s shoulder. My heart pounded, and the room started spinning. It had to be a dream. I pinched myself and winced as a spot on my arm turned red. A few more shots were fired and then there was only silence. I wondered how many people were dead. I wondered if the murderer was on their way to my classroom. No fifth grader should ever think these thoughts during Math class.
There was a quick knock at the classroom door. A few students gasped, and I started shaking. I think a kid next to me peed himself, but I tried not to think about that. A red card flew under the door, meaning it was only the principal. The teacher went and opened the door, her face flustered. I wonder if she was as scared as us. The principal’s eyes scanned the room before they landed on me. She motioned for me to come to her. Was the murderer outside waiting for me? Probably not. But it was a possibility, wasn’t it? I just wanted to know what was going on. I stood up from behind the sink and walked over to her, waving goodbye to my friends.
“What’s going on?” I asked. The principal didn’t respond, only motioned for me to follow her. The school hallways were empty…except a sobbing woman in the lobby. I could only see her from behind, but she looked oddly familiar. Her dark brown hair was tangled, and she was wearing a Christmas green bathrobe. My Mom has the exact same one. The woman turned around and my heart stopped. The sobbing woman in the lobby was Mom. She broke out in sobs again, and so did I. She embraced me in a hug and we just sat there, sobbing into each other.
“Where is she?” I asked Mom. My little sister was nowhere in sight.
“She’s gone, baby. My little girl is gone.” A piece of me died as she said that. The little girl who woke me up every morning, made me play dolls with her, and was the best thing in my life, even if I wasn’t always nice to her, was gone. We cried for a little bit longer as more and more sobbing parents, grandparents, and other guardians made their way into the school, wondering why their little girls and boys had to be the victims. Mom checked me out of school and we went home. She mostly talked on the phone with Dad, and I could hear him getting choked up, before we lost connection. We drove on in silence. I didn’t want to ask any questions, for fear I would make Mom cry again. She was holding up for now, but I knew this would take a long time for us to move on from.
It didn’t take long for word to get around. A guy came in, shot twenty kids and six adults, and then shot himself. He couldn’t even live with himself after he killed so many people. What kind of horrible person would do such a thing to innocent kids and adults?
Our minivan pulled into the driveway, and I choked a sob as I looked behind and stared at the car seat my little sister had sat on this morning. Her Pop-tart crumbs were still in it, too. I always joked about her being a messy eater…
Mom lay down on the couch and cried. She told me to go on up to my room, so I did. I walked up the spiral stairs; the same stairs we used to race up at night, and started walking down the hallway. Her bedroom door was cracked open, so I stepped inside. Everything was the same way it was this morning. Her dress up clothes littered the floor from last night. Her favorite Barbie was in her spot on her perfectly made bed. The teddy bear she slept with every night was sitting on top of her pillow, waiting for his owner to come home. Little did he know that she never would.
I glanced around the room at all the awards she had. Her pink wallpaper was peeling, and last summer when I offered to fix it, she replied, “No thanks, I think it gives it a nice look.” I will never see that toothy smile again. I’ll never give her guy advice and teach her how to match her clothes. I’ll never get to see her graduate highschool, and see her fall in love and get married. I’ll never be an Aunt. I’ll never see her face light up on Christmas morning when she opens the Summer Time Barbie I bought her this year. This one, messed up guy has ruined my life. Tears streamed down my face, and before I knew it, I was sobbing. And then my nose started running and I got the hiccups and got upset all over again. I carefully got her teddy bear, curled up on her carpeted floor, and with her bear held close to my heart, tried to make the numbness in my heart disappear. Will this pain ever go away?
Days passed, and things were the same. Mom, Dad, and I never talked. We stopped laughing and making jokes and eating as a family, because we weren’t a family anymore. Not a whole one, at least. Christmas was tomorrow, and it wouldn’t be any fun because I wouldn’t be woken up by my little sister, who would be so eager to open presents.
And to top it all off, there is absolutely no snow on the ground. Usually we at least have a couple inches, but nope. Zilch. I don’t have a little sister or snow. This is going to be the worst Christmas ever.
I didn’t really see a point in going to sleep that night, because it’s not like opening presents on Christmas Day would cheer me up. Of course Mom and Dad put on their happy faces and actually tried to make me smile, but it’s not the same. I miss my sister. I started thinking about her, and all the funny things she used to do, and I started crying again. Sometime during that mess I fell asleep, though, because I awoke to the sound of a rooster crow. I rubbed my eyes and sat up in bed. I looked out the window and had to look again. Was that…snow? The forecast on the news last night hadn’t called for snow. I raced to the window and pulled back the sheer curtains to get a better look. It looked as if the whole world was white.
I hurried to my dresser and pulled on a pair of fuzzy socks. I put on snow pants right over my pajama bottoms and a large winter coat over my shirt. I tugged on some gloves and boots and ran down the hallway, through the kitchen, and out the door. I took my first step into the snow, but nothing happened. It was as if I was walking on a floor instead! I didn’t hear the familiar crunch of snow. I bent down to touch it, and as I got closer, this snow seemed to look a lot like people. I saw eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and suddenly it opened its eyes. I wanted to scream, but it wasn’t scary. It was actually kind of peaceful. I walked around, and more and more of these things opened their eyes. They had glittery white dresses on, and above their heads were halos. This wasn’t snow…these were angels!
As I rushed around the front yard, I saw angels from everywhere. I didn’t know some of their names, but suddenly there were twenty angels in a group. Their names wrote themselves carefully in the snow. I looked around until I found my little sister. She looked the same, except not as small and fragile. She was smiling brighter than I’ve ever seen her smile before. She held up her little angel hand, but it was as if she was trapped underneath some glass. I put my hand against the glass where her hand was and whispered, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” I heard her whisper back. I started crying tears of happiness. I ran inside to get Mom and Dad, so they could see her again, too. They grumbled as I pulled their arms outside over where I stood a few moments before, but she was gone. All that was left was a little cross necklace she never took off. My smile fell and I told Mom and Dad they could go back inside. I plopped myself down on the ground and stared up at the sky. Before I knew what I was doing, I was making a snow angel. I stood up to examine it, and bent down to finish it. I carefully traced my sister’s name into the snow. I tied the cross necklace around my neck and blew a kiss to the snow angel before heading back inside.
Whether she’s in Heaven or on Earth, she will always be my angel.