I clutched my friend’s phone tightly in my hand, the shards of glass from its shattered touch screen pricked my finger but the pain is incomprehensible to the stabbing guilt that was gnawing at what little remained of my pride and sanity. Tiny beads of blood started to seep through the tiny prick in my finger so I stopped squeezing it and let it sit in my palm. I laugh silently to myself as I stare at the battered phone. It was this tiny, innocent device that started all this. All the trepidation, all the tears, the cries, the wounds, the pain...the deaths caused by this tiny, electronic device that’s now sitting in the palm of my hand is uncountable. Moments of joy, moments of sadness, moments of euphoria that broke to moments of the deepest despair and hopelessness, we used to battle through all of them together as a team.
Where is my team now? Where did everybody go? Did they leave me to rot in the darkness and the loneliness because I was one of the 4 people who started all this? Am I the one to blame for all this tragedy? Am I the one to be held accountable for all the deaths? Am I...a murderer? But who do you blame for the deaths? The gun or the person who used the gun to shoot the victim? I swear I didn’t mean to... I didn’t know about the consequences. I thought it was a joke.
I thought...it was a joke...
I sit down under a dying oak tree, its branches drooping and most of its leaves fell when the weak sea breeze blew in my face. Opening my backpack, I produce a tiny, silver harp which I sit on my knee. I play a morose chord, letting the sound reverberate off the stone walls of the school courtyard. It echoes into the distance as I add more chords, building up a sad, slow ballad-like lament. Beautiful, slow, lamenting... the harp’s voice filled the courtyard with the shadowy simulacrum of life and the lives that have past. Combined with the harp’s song, I open my mouth and started to sing. It was foreign at first, hearing the walls sing back to me using my own voice; a choir of ghosts to condemn the one who still lives.
They repeat to me, the story of this school. It’s once life filled halls turning to nothing but hollow shells of what they used to be. They tell me the story...they tell me the story of my battles and survival that came at a great cost... I stutter to a stop, my voice trembling too much to keep in tune. The harp’s voice reverberates sadly back to me as the choir of ghosts fade to silence and I’m alone again to do nothing but sob as quietly as I can.
My friend’s phone rings, breaking the silence with a discordant buzz. I pick up the phone tentatively and look at the video sent to me.
“No...not another one...” I whisper hoarsely as I play the video.