the shady file II
the Mass shooter and the suicide bomber
The shooter sealed the letter he had just written and left it propped up on his table. He took his time to get dressed. He put on his favorite pair of jeans, a tight black piece of clothing that had various chains dangling between its numerous pockets. He grabbed a loose white t-shirt from his closet, and wore it. Once he was done, he put on the black hoodie he was most partial to. He grabbed a pair of gloves and stuffed them into the hoodie’s front pocket. He searched his room until he found both shoes of the only pair he owned. He put them on and looked at himself in the mirror. He played with his red hair until they were the way he wanted, after which he walked through his tiny room and examined it one last time. A sudden panic seized him, and he fell to the ground.
“I can do it,” he muttered. “I can do it. I will show them. I will show them all.”
The shooter lay on the floor, and continued to whisper to himself. He stood up after a while, suddenly, and stormed out of his room. He stopped at the front door, wondering whether walking through the shithole that he had the misfortune of calling a home one last time was worth it. He went back and forth on the thought for a few minutes, until he heard his father yell for another beer.
“Fuck it,” he said, as he left his house, slamming the door behind him.
The shooter put on his gloves as he walked to the nearest bus stop. The sky was gray, the day bleak, the sidewalks covered in snow. He used the wall of the bus stop’s only booth as cover from the icy wind that rushed past him. He thanked his stars when the bus, rather unusually, arrived on time. He ran into it and grabbed a seat in the back. He connected his headphones to his music player, before putting them into his ears. He smiled as his favorite album began to play.
A few kids from his school boarded the bus a few stops later. They sat a few seats ahead of him, and giggled as they looked his way and whispered something to each other. For the first time in his life, the shooter didn’t feel the urge to scream at them.
“Keep smiling, filth. Keep smiling. You will end this day in tears,” he whispered to himself, before ignoring them and looking out the window again.
The shooter watched the neighborhoods the bus took him through. He wondered, for the last time, what his life would have been like, had he been born in one of those homes instead. Would he have been one of the popular kids at school? Or would he have been an overachieving nerd? Would he have had friends? Or would he have ended up where he was today? Would being born somewhere else have made any difference whatsoever? Or was he always destined for this?
The shooter dozed off for a while, waking up only when the bus pulled into its last stop. He waited for the kids from his school to get off first, and he followed them once they did.
“Just as I thought,” he smiled and said to himself, when he saw them heading into the same mall he was going to.
He followed the kids from his school until they found the rest of their group. The shooter noted down the location the group plopped themselves in, before making his way to the massive gun store that stood a few blocks south of the mall. Once within the store’s confines, the shooter walked straight to the nearest counter.
“What can I do for you, young man?” the lady behind the counter asked.
“I’m here to pick up,” the shooter answered.
“Here it is,” the shooter said, as he handed the lady a few pages.
“My, my! That’s a lot of hardware,” the lady said.
“Yes, ma’am. It’s my birthday today, and my father is finally going to teach me how to be a real man,” the shooter said, trying his best to sound as friendly as possible.
“Good for you, young man! Good for you,” the lady said. “ID?”
“Here it is,” the shooter said.
“Well, that checks out. Your order is ready as well. How will you be paying?” the lady asked.
“Cash,” the shooter said, as he handed the lady a bunch of notes, “My entire family pooled in, you know.”
“Very nice. You are a lucky one, aren’t you?” the lady exclaimed, as she counted the notes.
“You’re all set, young man. Please go to the counter down there to pick up the order you placed online. And happy birthday to you!”
“Thank you, ma’am,” the shooter said, before he began walking towards the counter the lady had pointed out to him.
The shooter walked out of the store a while later, armed with enough firepower to mow down a small army. The guns he had bought were a joy to hold, and he had taken his time and checked each one of them thoroughly before exiting the gun shop. Each piece was well oiled, and both the handguns and the rifles were much better than he had expected them to be. The ones he had been practicing with at the gun range were shabby compared to the pieces that lay in the duffel bag he carried over his right shoulder.
The shooter made his way back to the mall, and he entered the restrooms on its far end, the ones which nobody frequented. He got into the cleanest bathroom stall and double checked the lock on the door. Once he was satisfied, he put his duffel bag on the floor and knelt over it. He took out one gun at a time, and began loading them. The shooter filled every gun and every spare cartridge he had with all the bullets he had bought. He then put the spare cartridges in the bandoliers he had purchased, and wore the bandoliers under his hoodie once he was done.
The shooter then calmly walked out of the restroom and made his way to the mall’s central food court. He looked around for a discreet spot to sit in. He needed a corner that he could sit in and wait, unnoticed, and therefore, undisturbed, until the mall was at its most crowded. He found exactly what he was looking for some time later. One corner of the food court had an isolated table that was located behind a large, fake tree. The table was as good as camouflage. Nobody could even tell that it was there, or that there were people sitting on it, unless they looked at it very closely, something that was rather unlikely given the setting and the mood.
The shooter grabbed some food from one of the joints at the food court, and made himself comfortable at the last table he would ever sit on. He put the duffel bag under the chair he sat on, and made sure that the bag was squeezed between his legs so that he could feel it at all times. He looked around the mall as he ate. He watched the people around him laughing and having fun, and he suppressed the rage it all induced in him. He had an urge to just pull the guns out of his bag and begin shooting at the filth that surrounded him, the filth that he hated so much, and yet so desperately wanted acceptance from, but he fought it with everything he had in him. His eyes eventually landed on the kids from his school. He observed them for a while, seething in rage as they joked around with each other, clenching his teeth every time the various couples within the group cuddled and kissed.
“Have your fun, you pieces of shit. Have your fun. Your world will soon come to an end,” he whispered, before he took another bite of the last sandwich he would ever eat.
The shooter tried to sit still for the next half hour, but it proved too difficult. He tried playing a few games on his phone but he couldn’t bear to look at them for more than a few minutes. He tried distracting himself by observing the people in the mall, but his mind kept coming back to the task at hand, no matter how hard he tried to make his brain wander. Finally, he gave up, and got off his chair. He knelt next to his duffel bag and opened it.
“This cannot wait. It’s time. Let the fucking chaos begin,” he muttered, as he reached into the bag to grab his mask.