Lessons Never Learned
Written by Ken Carman
Dave had been here before. This day started like every day for the coach. Students so gung ho they were a bit annoying, students who really had no interest in sports, gym and, if allowed, would do all they could do to avoid doing anything. Then you had the pranksters, the over active… he knew them one and all and could tell before the day started who he would have trouble with and who he wouldn’t.
All that was expected. But as of late he noticed that no one noticed him. Oh, adults these days were often treated as if they didn’t exist. Even his fellow teachers seemed to almost walk right through him.
“Is there any way to stop this, make them notice I’m here? Help them learn the lessons they need to learn? I’ve been trying.”
Another day, but the same day in, oh, so many ways. There was little he could do to stop what was about to happen… and happened… over and over.
How can you stop specters when you’re one yourself?
Why was he still here?
He was moving amongst the living and the already damned. The only difference was the living didn’t know that some day they too might be stuck reliving past mistakes amongst the rest of the damned. As the living passed him by he could hear and see them talk about the news of their day. Seems there were always more shootings at churches, schools, museums… nut jobs who thought their anger over the “way things were,” their opinions, were more important than the lives of those they snuffed.
Soon, as always, the ghosts of what had been took over everything. The living seemed to fade away into another dimension called “the present” where they never seemed to learn lessons taught long ago. Why is it if you brought back to life those who died brutally they would probably make the same decisions that took them down to that last, final, moment? Why is it even the dead made the same mistakes over and over?
He did what he knew he had to do, but had no heart for it. It was as if he couldn’t help himself as he heard the students approach. He knew what was about to happen, and was glad he had made sure the cafeteria was evacuated: telling students to go to the staircase leading to the second floor. He tried to run away from them, but they found him around the corner and shot him in the chest.
He didn’t want to do it. He wanted just to stay there. But it was as if he had no control over repeating what he had done before. He struggled, once again, to get to the Science area where a teacher started to help him.
He kept saying, “Please stop, I know what’s going to happen. Don’t take me anywhere. Leave me here. This needs to stop.”
But by now it was out of his hands and no one could hear him. Specters continued to do what they had done so many times before. He heard them discuss options. Then they put a sign in the window in the room where 30 students had been taking a test.
“1 bleeding to death.”
“The library! Don’t let students go to or stay in the library. Not again. KEEP THEM OUT OF THERE.”
No one heard him. He knew more would die. He could hear more shooting as he felt weaker and weaker.
As life slowly leaked out of Dave; red drop by crimson red drop, he wondered what would stop all this. Would the specters never come back here if ever humanity finally learned lessons about hate, and bullies, and never believing your beliefs so important that life was worth less than what you believed.
He went numb.
Then he felt nothing until…
Dave had been here before. This day started like every day for the coach…
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