[Arc 1] Prologue: The Massacre

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In his last moments he realized how hopeless everything had been; his life, his love, and his luck had all failed him in the end. If you asked him what he did to deserve this, he'd shrug his shoulders. All his life he'd been stuck in the cage of reality. On every side, he was barred an exit, at every turn somebody was mocking him. If he could learn to trust again it would be too soon.

I had never really been called handsome by anyone other than my own mother, and even then, it was sparingly.

Is this my fault...?

I did this didn't I? I wasn't strong enough.

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

Still looking around me I know that this isn't right. Why, why are so many people dying?

Six armed men had walked into the mall only just a moment ago. It was strange, but I was too busy being worried about other things. Today was supposed to be my first date. I am Seventeen, and today was the first time any girl had agreed to meet me even for just a movie.

The reality 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 hard and rugged face, my father's face. Where ever he was. It was the kind of face that made babies cry. On top of that or rather beneath it I had my mother's stature, so I was on the smaller side.

I'm terribly uncoordinated at sports. It's not that I don't try, it's that I haven't been given a chance to practice and get better. Maybe I shouldn't use that as an excuse.

My mom and I 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.

Because of this, I also don't have a lot of nice things, I am able to read books at the library or play some games on the internet. And because of my looks I can't get a job to make any money. School is hard for me too, math, language, literature, even art. I'm a failure. I had Dyslexia so I can barely read let alone get nuances correct. Don't get me wrong I love to read, it is just frustrating, but I love those worlds where anything is possible. Everything around me is a cage that binds me, even this body is a cage. But by the looks of things I might be free in a moment.

Am I suicidal, am I welcoming death? I don't think so, I've just come to terms with my situation. Better get it out of the way now, I suppose. Even if I was given another chance in this life I don't know what I could have done better. I was kind and friendly to everyone.

There were even a few people at school that would spare a moment to talk to me. I wouldn't call them friends though, since I've never been to their houses, and I can't invite any one to my house or my mom will shamelessly start begging for money or try to win it off of them.

I don't have the power to change my circumstances, I don't think I ever did. If I tried a little harder maybe something would have been different. If I practiced sports or even exercised a little instead of spending countless hours gaming maybe I'd even be attractive enough to have a girlfriend, or at least been able to hold hands with a girl.

Today was a tragedy, it'll be on the news. I'll be just 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.

I'll think about that.

The gunfire has slowed down, and I finally get out of my own head as someone in a black ski mask approaches me.

This is the mall where I was supposed to meet that girl. She was two hours late. I guess I really was stood up. Must have been some kind of joke to her, say yes to the ugly kid, and laugh about it later. That's it, if I'm here than she must have stayed far away. She was safe. In the end, I guess I did protect one person. I did one thing good with my rotten good for nothing life as a rat in a dirty cage.

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

Partially, I have to admit I'm crying out of self-pity, but I think a part is joy. In the end, I was able to do some good. Maybe she'd reflect and repent, become a truly upstanding person. Have kids and raise them to be upstanding too.

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.

I'm a peace.

I'm going to be set 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 strong, strong enough to protect something. I'd make a friend, maybe two even. Close ones, that might even 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 my 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 those 47. I don't know how I knew this. I just... did.

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