I wrote this in 2015. As anyone that has read ANY of my posts i am not the most accomplished writer, Spelling and punctuation are wasted on me. BUT hopefully this is readable and at least moderately enjoyable.
The Mall, a short story
As soon as Chad heard the noise He knew what it was. It had been a slow day at work not much call for gardening supplies in January when there's 6 inches of snow on the ground, Chad started working at yard and gardens a couple of years back, the pay is ok and the hours are good, but these slow days can drive you crazy. Located at the far end of a mall complex it was the first and last store you passed going through the mall. With its own external doors it was often used as a shortcut by people entering and leaving the main mall area, this was great for impulse buyers. But this morning tho was not a good day to be shopping.
The store had been open a couple of hours and chad was waiting for Mary to start so he could take a break, he was standing behind the register when the shots rang out 4 shots a second or so between each and they were close, chad ducked down behind the counter reaching for his Glock 9mm pistol that he concealed carried everywhere, everywhere that is but work. The mall was a weapon free zone and as such chad had left his pistol in a lock box under the front seat of his truck parked almost a mile away in the employee parking lot.
Around 20 seconds after the first shots here was more, a lot more chad couldn't count them as he cowered behind the bulky counter, tucking himself up under the cash register, the shots tho sounded further away like the shooter had moved further into the mall, chad slowly peeked over the counter and could see dozens of people running towards the mall entrance with several running into his store to use there parking lot exit. Chad yelled for them to keep moving waving his arms towards the door located on the other side of the sales floor.
Chad wasn't brave or a hero but something compelled him to help, he moved towards the mall door side of the store reaching for the knifing his belt, why he felt the need to touch it he couldent explain but he just wanted to know it was there. Chad was an avid shooter and had taken various courses for his conceal carry permit one of which included an active shooter scenario, he knew he should seek cover and wait for help, whilst protecting those he could but when he got to then store door and see what lay outside his rational thought went out the window, not 5 ft from the store door lay Mary his co worked a bloody bullet wound in her back, laying on the floor by her hands 2 cups of coffee, one for her and one for chad.The reason she was running late, she had stopped to get them both Farbucks from the stand in the food court, something she often did.
Chad laid on the floor and reached out to Mary grabbing the closest hand he pulled sharply trying to get his friend to the safety of the store, chad was so distracted by this he failed to hear the dozens of shots raining out further in the mall. Failed to see the dozens of people charging past the store trying to get to the safety of outside, His only thought was to save his friend.
Chad pulled Mary inside and pressed his hand against the bloody wound on her back trying to stop the bleeding, he called her name over and over and got no response, he reached for her neck trying to remember how to feel for a pulse, but his actions were wasted, the bullet that had hit Mary and pierced her heart she was dead in less then 60 seconds, the 9mm hollow point round expanding in Her body turning her insides to mush. Chad sat there crying both for the loss of his friend and in fear for what was happening.
After what seemed like an eternity but in reality had been 60 seconds chads head started to clear, the noise of screaming and crying slowly sunk into his head. Laying on the floor in the hallway were more then a dozen injured people, with more streaming past them slipping in pools of blood or tripping on the out reached extremities of the shooters victims Chad crawled to the nearest one a teenage girl who was screaming in pain a bullet wound clearly visible in her left arm, Chad scoops her up and shoves her into the arms of a man running past yelling for him to help her, the shocked man doesn't stop running but takes her and keeps on moving towards the malls exit. Chad pushed against the crowed till he gets to the next person laying on the ground an older man who was clearly dead, the round having struck him in the neck.
Chad moved behind a trash can grabbing the shoulder of a woman sitting with her back against it, her hands are all bloody but Chad doesn't see anywhere she's hit, he moves around her to try help her stand and that's when he sees the body of the young boy, no more then 4 years old he's living with his head on his mothers lap his leg torn to shreds by the impact of the bullet. Chad removes the knife from his best and cuts a stop of cloth from the boys shirt. He wraps the strip around the boys leg just above the knee. He takes 2 pens from his back pocket, tucking one inside the fabric bandage on the boys leg he starts twisting, the fabric tightens on the boys leg, 5, 6, 7 twists and the bleeding stops to a bare tickle,. He tucks the pen under the twisted fabrics to hold it in place, he takes the other pen a marker, check the time on his watch and rights it on the boys head, he grabs a woman running past and physically stops her, drags the young mother to her feet shoves her child and the child into the strangers arms and pushes them all towatrds the door, The lady grabs the child and leads them on the way to safety.
Chad can hear more shots almost contently further into the mall, he remember hearing the words sheep dog on a YouTube video, sheepdog he thinks to himself, a person who puts himself between the bad guys (wolfs) and people who can't look after themselves (sheep). He knows that the only guy who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, the olive are minutes away he knows they must be co ing but how many more people will die before they get here. He makes a choice to head deeper into the mall just to see if there is something he can do. He wishes he had his gun, but returning to his car would take to much time, armed only with his knife he heads against the flow of fleeing people towards the sound of the shots which he is now sure is coming from the food court.
Chad passes store after store, many with the shutters pulled down, about a year ago the mall had sent a notice to all stores that in an emergency such as this they should lower there shutters and move to the back of the store, Chad thought it was stupid to trap yourself inside with nowhere to go, not to mention leaving other people trapped outside. He move cautiously along the side of the hallway making his way towards the sound of gunfire which had slowed some, Chad made it to the inner space where the food court was located, the large space was a mess, there were tables laying on there side. Chairs club across the floor and more scrialy bodies everywhere, the large space looked like some kind of zombie movie with bodies laying over each other the sickles metallic smell of blood and gunpowder hanging in the air, Chad ducked behind a large metal teach can and leaned around it trying to see if there was people he could help or something he could do. Not one person close to him was moving, there were no people running or trying to escape, he could here some people crying out in pain and others crying but from where he was he couldn't see anyone alive or moving, Chad finished scanning the room and was turning to leave when he seen the man, dressed all in black, walking among the tables in the dining area of the food court, why he didn't see him before he wasn't sure maybe because he was looking lower at the people laying in pools of there own blood.
The man had a small shoulder bag hanging across his body, a compact pistol,in his hand, he walked between the tables shooting at what looked like the floor but Chad was sure he was executing the injured that lay all over he space before him. After firing a few shots the man reached into the bag and removed another magazine and reloaded the pistol, Chad was shocked that this much damage had been caused by one man with a pistol. The man was moving away from Chad, his first thought was he had to do some thing. Knife in hand he moved around the outside of the food court using the tables chairs and trash and for cover, he wanted to get behind the man and see if he could maybe distract him or stop him, Chad move to the next isle over and started coming up behind the man who was so engrossed I. Shooting his victims to notice Chad a mere 50ft away. From the time he spent hunting he k ew that fast move my would draw the attention of the shooter, he. Moved at a slow steady place crouched as low as he could manage, weaving around tables, slowely stepping around pools of blood and over the limbs of the shooters victims, every time the shooter would stop to reload Chad would gain on him a few feet, now within 20 ft of the shooter Chad heard a noise to his left, the direction he had co e from the malls entrance, he and the shooter both turned at the same time.
Moving towards them were four police officers dressed head to toe in black, with body armor and helmets, assault riffles raised, they were moving fast towards them they were a me re 100ft away, they couldn't see Chad or the shooter because of the upwards angle of the malls corridors but the shooter had clearly seen them. The shooter took his pistol placed it under his chin and pulled the trigger. Chad turned towards the shooter I time to see his lifeless body crumble to the floor, Chad stands to his full hight and starts to walk towards the shooters body. He dosent know why but he wants to make sure he is dead. Chad is a mere 5ft from the shooter when the police see him, they yell at him to drop the knife, but Chad dosent hear them he's so focused on the shooter that he has complexly forgot about the police. They yell to him again but he keeps on moving, he's now standing over the shooters body, he starts to bend to check for a pulse, he knows there won't be one but he feels compelled to check. He reaches down towards the shooters knock his hand a mere inches when the first rounds hit him, 3 of the 4 police officers have fired the round hit him almost as one. chads brain has started to shut down his muscles moving on there own his legs straighten his body stands he turns towards the police trying to yell for them to stop, the move causes the officers to shoot again and again. In total them4 officers shoot Chad 19 times.
It takes three days for the truth to come out, the loan gunman had recently returned from a 3 month trip to Pakistan where it is believed he was radicalized by Islamic state. He had entered the mall with two 9 mm handguns one of which malfunctioned after a mere six shots, the shooter had dropped the gun which is latter found less then 8 feet from where Mary had died,
Video footage had shown him shooting random people as he made his way to the food court. He reloaded the semi auto with 10 round magazines a total of 19 times in 7 minutes, he had filled a total of 43 people and injured 112 move. The security footage showed chads story and he was hailed as a hero. A sad story of a man who tried to help and died for it, if only he had so stayed in the store seeking cover as he had been taught, he would still be alive.