It was seven AM. Early by some standards, but late by others. Her alarm clock was going off - same as it had been in regular five minute intervals for the past hour and a half.
It was the first cold day of the fall season, late in September, early in the year for Texas. Destiny awoke with a gasp - the fresh air filling her lungs as her brain slowly latched onto consciousness. Papers spilled off her lap, Swedish fish wrappers, acquired freely from a walk to campus, twirled to the ground.
She reached over, smothering the squawks from her phone. Another five minutes of silence.
Something was different today. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, not yet. But certainly five more minutes of slumber would solve her unease.
Deep in slumber, Destiny suddenly, knew what was different. Destiny had thought, for as long as she could remember, that life was composed of all that you could hold onto. Like grasping at threads in a forest of ragged edged hems. Like attempting to hold onto all the water, at once, in the fountain at Littlefield. It was larger than your efforts, there was always more than could fit within her ten fingers (two thumbs, eight fingers, plus several square inchage of palm to be more precise). But if you wanted something, all Destiny would have to do is reach out and grasp it. Hold on for dear life, perhaps, but she had only to put her hands around it and it - life! - would be hers.
So many options can be daunting. Even so to someone with the name of Destiny - you would think that she would be more prepared for the eventual coming of life. Or at least have bigger, stronger hands.
But Destiny realized that life was not, in fact, all that you could grasp in your hands. It was, in fact, just (no more no less) that that would fit within her hands. In other words, life is not all the rocks that fall within your grasp, but only those that fit, snugly, in your palm.
Destiny awoke to the sound of alarms. Groggily, she came to slowly. Students were fleeing to the elevators, chaos reigned near the stairs. It was all happening slowly, behind her, above her, some different plane entirely. Her plane was separate - the corner of the library, where she usually sat so she could watch the sun come up over the capital. Austin was never as beautiful as when orange sunlight broke over the golden dome. As it did every fall morning. Do we call them miracles if they happen on a schedule?
By the time Destiny had come out of her sleepy reprieve, the sixth floor of the PCL was empty. Deserted, but noisy. There were sirens blaring out non-sense. Something about armed gunmen and lock downs. Just another piece of life to be grasped onto - it slipped away.
A man appeared in front of her. Or rather, a boy dressed as a man appeared in front of her. Ski mask in one hand, AK-47 in the other.
His eyes were fearsome, angry, loathing, scared. At first glance. At second glance, he locked eyes with her. With Destiny. And something in his face changed. It went from scared and angry, to calm, peaceful. It was like watching a hand grasping at a ledge, suddenly lose its grip and grasp nothing but air.
He knew, in that moment, what his destiny was.
Destiny tried to close her eyes, but the image of blood splattering against the books, catching the first rays of the fall sun, would stay with her forever. As she turned, lifting her hand to protect her face from the splash, a few flecks of blood landed, calmly, without fanfare, in her palm.
Nov 29, 2010
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