The Norwegian Massacre

A piece I wrote after hearing about the Nowegian Massacre on television.

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1. The Norwegian Massacre

Why is this happening?

I barely notice the sound of my feet pounding on the ground beneath me, slightly muffled by grass and pine needles.

I dare not look back to see if he was chasing me.

My heart feels as though it would burst out through my chest.

But I can’t stop, not even to catch my breath.

My hair whips around my face; some of it flies into my mouth.

I quickly spit it out.

I can still hear the gunshots and smell the gunpowder.

How did this happen?  No, I know the how.  But I don’t know the why.

 

I’d come to Utoeya for the Labour Party Youth Camp with the Student Council, thinking it would be something good to put on my CV.  I want to go into politics when I’m older.

It seems like hours ago that the camp leaders announced a meeting to discuss a bombing that happened earlier in the day in Oslo.  They also told us that someone was coming to the island to discuss it with us.

A short while later, around five o’clock, a tall, blond Nordic man came down the hill.  We just assumed he was a policeman because of his uniform.

The ‘policeman’ asked everyone to gather around him.

Next thing I know, he suddenly starts shooting at everyone and everything is in complete chaos with people falling dead around us.

Everyone is trying to run away from the madman, although ‘madman’ is not quite how I would describe him.  He was so calm, and in control, like he knew what he was doing.  He was beyond mad, almost insane.  It was a cold, calculating kind of madness that was further enhanced by the uniform, all black with red trimming.  Like a Nazi.

The memory of those icy blue eyes made me shiver.

All the while people were falling down dead all around me.

He’d given us no warning; he just shot at anyone and everyone.

Today was supposed to be a fun and informative; now it’s a nightmare.

 

I feel like I’ve run halfway across the island, and my legs are starting to feel tired and heavy.  I struggle to run.  But I can’t stop.  I mustn’t let him catch me.

I can hear the bang, bang, bang of the gun I remember he had carried.  It must have been fired at least a hundred times by now. Now another person’s dead, or injured at the very least.  One bullet had grazed my shoulder in the scramble to get away from him.  I barely notice the stinging pain in my shoulder, and I vaguely worry that I must be leaving a blood trail behind me.

I can’t help wondering if my friends are alive or dead.  How many people have been gunned down like animals?

That man…why was he doing this?  What did we ever do?  Most of us are just kids.

When I’d realised that the ‘policeman’ intended to kill us, I’d run into the woodland surrounding the camp.  The trees themselves are too thin to hide behind so I’d kept on running, trying to find a place where I can be safe.

I burst through the tree-line, coming to a stop.  Looking around, I see I’ve come to a shingle beach.

I must have reached the other side of the island.

The sand and shingle crunch beneath my feet.  There aren’t many places to hide here.

My breath comes out in sharp bursts.  I can’t seem to get my breath back.  But I can’t worry about that.  I have to find somewhere to hide!

The gunshots sound closer now.

I can feel the panic start to rise again.  I look around frantically.

I see the cliff side.  There is a small alcove just big enough for me to squeeze into.

I’ll be safe there! I hope.

I press myself flat against the side of the cliff and slide myself into the gap.

I must have been there for ten, fifteen, minutes before I heard the crunch of heavy footsteps overhead.  He must be about five feet above me.

My heart pounds in my ears. 

I try to breathe as quietly as I can, but it seems to echo around me.

Please don’t let him hear me, I pray.  Please don’t let him find me.

I shut my eyes tight.

Time seems to slow as the footsteps draw nearer and nearer.

Oh God.

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