Books crashed to the cement floor of the high school. Stacey shouldered students aside. Her breath came in gasps. Her heart beat in time with the seconds hand on the clock. Her watch read 11:07. At 11:05, she had opened her locker door, a crumpled note on stained paper had fluttered to the floor.
‘At 11:15 I will take my brother’s pocket knife and I will turn it on myself, you will find my dead body on the floor of the abandoned locker room.
She had thrown her books to the floor as the shrill bell shrieked. The hallways filled with babbling students. Stacey ran. The green doors of the corridor slammed open. The noise bounced off cold tile walls. Sunlight blinded Stacey, sweet dripped down her forehead. She sped down the walkway. She dashed past the soccer fields and pools. Her digital watch read 11:09. Fear clutched at her stomach, tears blinded her.
‘how could my friend have sunk so low?’
Questions and worries pounded her brain. The doorway of the abandon hallway loomed in her vision. She slammed into them, gripping the handle with a shacking hand. Her watch read 11:11. Stacey yanked the door open. The hinges groaned. Stacey’s green eyes rotated to the floor. Faint footprints were imprinted in the dust. She followed them through the building. Her feet slid as she turn a corner. Lungs screaming for air, she glanced down at her watch. It read 11:12. Sweet dripping into her eyes, Stacey’s eyes were drawn down the hall. Jen stood on the other end.
She was raising her knife in the air.
Stacey ran faster, her hand reaching out. Their bodies collided. Stacey gripped her friend’s wrist. Jen screamed. She turned to face Stacey. Her scream rocketed off the empty walls. Jen fought for the knife. Stacey held fast.
The clock struck 11:15.
Stacey wrenched the knife out of her friend’s hand. Light glinted off its silver blade as it skittered across the floor. Jen slumped against a cold, dusty locker.
“Jen, why?” Stacey questioned.
Jen lifted her face to met Stacey’s gaze, “What’s it to you?”
Tears pelted the dust.
“You do matter to me, to your mother, brother, and most importantly, to God. You are a person with many gifts and talents. God has a plan for your life, if you end it now you’ll never know what it was,” Stacey gasped, her eyes resting on Jen’s tattered Bible where it lay, half covered in Jen‘s sweeter.
Jen glowered, “And what talents are those?”
Stacey sat before her friend, “you have a beautiful voice and a wonderful imagination. You can draw. You make people feel loved, included, wanted, and important.”
Jen’s eyes widened, her hands rested limply in her lap, “After my father started beating me and my mom started drinking, my boyfriend forced me….” Jen started to cry, “And you seeming more interested in other people, I began thinking that I must not be worth the effort. I still read my Bible… God seemed to withdraw from me….”
“God loves you far more than you can imagine. He is hurting along with you and so am I. Why didn’t you tell me anything?” Stacey asked, placing her hand on her friend’s shoulder.
Jen shrugged, tears rolling down her face.
“Jen, you need to remember that I’m here for you. You can tell me anything and I will help you. We can work through this rough spot. Trust me, trust God,” Stacey murmured.
Jen stared at her friend. Her lips twitched.
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