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The Boy Behind the Mask

Chapter Text

     The door swung open with a crash. Heavy footsteps clicked against the monotonous linoleum, perfectly matching the color of the ceiling-- a rich, soft, and blissful gray. Something thick and dark dripped from the man that came walking through the door, steps rhythmic yet unpredictable, as if part of an off-beat orchestra. All that was visible from where Zacharie was hidden was the thick cleats supporting a thin and frail figure, and the back end of a baseball bat, saturated with an aura that made his stomach tie itself into knots.

     There was a moment of silence where nobody dared let out a breath- hoping, waiting, praying that things would be okay. This had to be a drill. It was the only logical explanation, the school was holding one of their district-enforced drills. Only, things were a lot more realistic than previous drills, sinking a hole in the notion that everything was fine.

     Zacharie hoped that he was imagining the snarling and heaving breaths filling the room with an air of dread. Zacharie could feel himself begin to shake, cold sweat beading up on the back of his neck. He took a breath, forcing the exhale to stay in his chest for longer than he would have liked, as he hoped it wouldn't make any sound.

     Whoever it was drifted their way to one side of the classroom, almost as if their feet weren't moving at all. The sound of carelessly disregarded desks crashing to the floor mingled with the screaming of the students created a chaotic blanket over the looming dread that hung in the air. Even through the discord, Zacharie began to poke holes in this hour and decided that it must have been a dream. Yeah... a dream would have to make sense. It has to. Right? He just had to wake up.

     Zacharie snapped out of his thinking as he watched as the teacher slowly and shakily stand up from his desk, reaching for the gun mandated by the school, but it was already too late. A gun shot pierced the air with the sound, shattering a window. Water began raining in through the now open hole in the wall, accompanied by a strong wind that only seemed to make things worse. Not long after the window had broken, a sickening thwack echoed through the room. What could only be described as the sound a sack of meat makes when it hits the floor soon followed.

     The students were smacked with the blunt weapon one by one, and the panic in the room only seemed to grow as the students who fought back were... stabbed? and thrown back against the wall. Zacharie clutched his knees close, shutting his eyes tightly. There was nothing he could do. There was nothing he could do. He could hear the blood pounding in his ears, adrenaline leaving him lightheaded and sick to his stomach, and his shallow breathing wasn't helping. He wished he'd been nicer to his foster parents. He wished he'd given his... his mom a hug this morning. He wished he'd stayed home, and he wished he could disappear, slipping up his mask and burying his face in the soft fabric of his sweater, waiting, waiting...

     It seemed like forever, but the moment arrived where the classroom was dead quiet. Everyone was... dead... and Zacharie was the only one left. He didn't dare look up, warm breath heating the fabric beneath him and giving him a calming sense of security. It must have been only moments, but he could almost forget what had happened. His comfort was short-lived as he was forced back to now, interrupted by slow footsteps headed his way. Fuck fuck fuck. Tears began gathering at the edges of Zacharie's eyes as he realized that today was the last day of his life. There were so many things he had left to do. I-I haven't even graduated High School or attended college, or- or experienced a real relationship, I... fuck, I can't die today, I can't die, I... 

     The desk slowly scraped back from Zacharie's head. He could feel someone standing over him, and in the brief moment it took to realize that, his body made the decision. This was a life-or-death situation, a fight-or-flight conflict...

     And his body chose to fight.

     Something reached towards him, and Zacharie's fist made contact with whatever it was. He leaped up to his feet and his mask slipped to the floor, but that was the least of his worries right then. He could vaguely see a figure through his teary and blurred gaze, so he lunged. He was met with significantly less resistance than he thought. His jump was way over calculated, and the figure and Zacharie both went toppling to the floor. The person was trying to say something.

     Once Zacharie had the chance to wipe his eyes and let go of the breath he was holding, he looked at who he had pinned against the floor.

     "Cher Batter?" Zacharie exclaimed in surprise, feeling the blood rush to his face as he scooted back aways. The lights of the classroom had been turned on, and there was a rather large crowd of people he could see gathered just outside the door. Zacharie's eyes widened, darting around, trying to make sense of the situation.

     "Ow..." The Batter mumbled, sitting back up. "What the hell?"

     "What happened here?" The principal exclaimed more than asked, rushing over to the two boys.It was now that Zacharie began noticing the distinct lack of weight on his face, turning towards his broken mask with an almost look of panic on his face.

     It was now that Zacharie began noticing the distinct lack of weight on his face, turning towards his broken mask with an almost look of panic on his face. "H-huh?" He asked, the response more just the shock of his broken face-wear. He breathed in sharply as he collected the shards in his hands, turning his back to the classroom and running out the door. He just needed to... get away, the crowd of people was making him anxious, and he needed to fix his mask, and-

     The color drained from his face as he skidded to a halt outside the classroom. The school faculty was there, standing outside of the classroom, but the thing that shocked Zacharie the most was the mass of students pushing to get past the teachers. They unanimously looked at him, and there was a brief moment of recognizance before Zacharie regained his scrambled consciousness and bolted.