We all saw it. It slid a crossed the room with school papers and other materials. Of course it wasn’t hard to spot in this mess, it practically stood out. Then Mr. West picked it up. Not caring too much for the fight in front of his eyes, but the fact of that it was in his hands, it was here, in the middle of Elton Miles Middle School. The hallways were quite, a picture of confusion, maybe fear. The bell rung once as a warning, but if it rang a second time, none of us heard it. Security officers form the high school next door came rushing over, breaking up the fight that already stopped. They looked like deers in headlights as Mr. West handed it over and slowly backed up. We all did. Our backs to the lockers and walls, but no one said anything. No one explained themselves. No questions were even asked. We simply were just shocked.
Darren Floyd went to grasp his bag, pulling on his fresh braid I know his grandma did, stepping far from the kid he almost pounded into the granite floors of the school, letting his Nike’s drag on the floor. He looked as bad as the rest of us almost, going back and forth between it and him. He looked scared almost, which was surprising coming from the sixth grade bully, but everyone has their weakness and fears, and we all are looking at Darren Floyd’s. The principle, Mr. Suncup, came running and I mean running, with real officers behind him and that’s when Melody Vu screamed out as if we were all blind to the fact:
“Eric Blake has a gun!”
The hallways went chaotic. We were forced into our classrooms and put on lockdown an hour before lunch; no work was truly done, unless it was under a desk or away from the windows in whispers. I colored the whole class period just like everyone else, but I worried. He really brought it to school like he said he would. Eric had shown me the gun before, at his house on our sleepover days. It was his dad’s and he said it was loaded. I remember him telling me he just wanted to scare Darren with it, nothing serious. Of course it was still wrong. They both were.
Darren has no right to continually bully and fight Eric. Over what? Well it’s weird. Eric’s mom and Darren’s dad are getting married, making them soon to be stepbrothers. Worst part; they might have to live together. If Eric’s mom wins the custody battle against his dad (of course, she definitely gonna win now once the court hears about this). Darren would rather stay with his grandmother out in Luster Park, but now that Eric’s has inherited her parents’ house, down by The Colt River into the bayou then the gulf, she wants them all to live their together. That’s what today’s fight was about.
My name was called down to the office, scaring me. When I walked into Mr. Suncup’s office, my parents were there, Eric’s parents, and Darren’s dad and grandma, along with two cops and a guy in a suit with the same badge, probably a detective. Lunch was in twelve minutes, I was starving due to lack of breakfast, so I was hoping this moved fast. I took a seat in between my dads, Daddy Rick, held my hand as I tried to pull on my dreads out of a nervous habit.
“Now Mrs. Walter, Bella, I need you to tell the complete truth for the officers. This is Officer Henry, Officer Jude, and Detective Lionel.” Mr. Suncup pointed to each, looking sickly despite his young age.
Officer Henry and Jude looked close in appearance, with the same strawberry blond ear tip cut hair, pink-pale toned skin, and rounded nose. Officer Henry’s eyes were blue, while Jude’s were dark brown. They looked close in height as well despite sitting down. The biggest difference was Officer Jude had breast, a round pair on her chest. Detective Lionel looked more Hispanic with a faded beard and hazel eyes. He had the same ear tip cut hear style, just more curly and he looked taller than the two.
“Officer Henry, Officer Jude, are you related? If that’s okay to ask?”
Officer Jude laughed, “Yes, he’s my cousin and my best friend, just like Eric is too you.”
“It’s also okay to tell on your best friend, if they might try to hurt someone Bella.” Added Detective Lionel. “Bella, what did you know about the gun Eric brought and the fight between Eric and Darren?”
I looked around, everyone looked worried and I felt like crying. Daddy James rubbed my back, while Daddy Rick held my hand still. I swallowed hard, feeling hot with pressure.
“Yes, I knew of the gun. Eric said it wasn’t loaded and he just wanted to scare Darren with it. He wasn’t gonna hurt him, I swear!”
“Now why would Eric want to scare Darren with a handheld gun?” Lionel took out his pad, writing away, and shortly breaking eye contact. I looked to Eric and Darren, both heads held down, playing with their fingers. Eric looked up, eyes being bluer then I remember this morning, nodded slowly.
“Darren picks on and beats up Eric daily. Before it was just because Darren’s a bully. He picks on everyone, but when his dad and Eric’s mom announced their engagement, Darren took his anger out on Eric the most. He tried to fight back honestly, even told the art teacher the complete truth after seeing them fight off school grounds. The never fought in school, just pranks, pushing, name calling, all done by Darren.”
“Why didn’t Eric tell his parents?”
“He didn’t want to ruin his mom’s happiness, especially after his parents “bitter divorce” as he calls it. He asked me not to say anything and I did try to help him as much as I could. I even learned how to use my aunt’s make up to cover his black eye once. He wasn’t gonna kill him, promise!” I was starting to breathe harder than normal, eyes clouding up, my hearing fading: panic attack. I remember Eric’s blue eyes hovering over my face and then nothing. Just like Eric became after the system was done with him.