I don’t know how long I debated because time seemed to cease in those moments, but the illusion was shattered when the teacher’s voice piped up from the back of the room.
“Do it!” He was trying not to scream and failing miserably. “For fuck’s sake, do it!”
No. No, all of this was wrong, no, I didn’t understand, I couldn’t understand. And the teacher just kept SCREAMING at me (“oh God please just do it for fuck’s sake it’s only one child just KILL HIM”) and everything in my mind was screaming, too (you can’t do it yes you can no you can’t it’s only one child to save twenty others but I can’t yes you can) and Todd’s voice came in over the earpiece (“Shit, Lily, don’t do it, don’t listen to her, we’re sending help in as fast as we can, try to stall”)…
And then I realized that, maybe, there was another choice.
I took a deep breath before I spoke, praying that this would work, please, God, let this work.
“Taylor… you know I can’t kill that child. There’s… a part of me that wants to. A part of me that wishes it could inflict the pain that I received on someone else, as though that would get rid of it. But it can’t. And I won’t. It’s better that I let that part of me die here and now. What you do about this is up to you, but I can’t play this game with you. I’m sorry, Taylor. If I hadn’t left… maybe none of this would have happened. I’m… I’m so sorry.”
As I spoke, I turned the knife towards myself. Suddenly, the world didn’t exist outside of Taylor and me. She stared and I returned it as I lifted the knife to my own throat.
“Lily…” she warned.
But it was already too late.