“No,” Elisa said. “Your brother is nice, but I’m not into him. And I’m not a fling person.”
“Good, because my brother is exactly that type of person,” Patricia laughed.
“So, let’s talk about Jacinta,” Elisa said. “Apparently her boyfriend is abusive, and she needs a place to stay. She’s pregnant. So, she stays in the shelter for now, right?”
“Yeah. And we make sure the boyfriend doesn’t come in.”
Two weeks later, everything went to hell.
The day started normally, but when Elisa got to work, she noticed Patricia was chewing her lip.
“I have a feeling, amiga. A very bad feeling, and I don’t like it,” she said.
“I don’t know. Something bad,” Patricia said, worried.
“Well let’s just work and maybe it will go away,” Elisa said, patting her friend on the arm.
Elisa was doing a group session with teenagers when she heard it. It sounded like popping, and then she heard screaming.
That sound was a gun.
“Okay everyone, hide, now. Do NOT follow me,” she said, running out of the room and looking down on the scene below.
She saw people running out of the building, then saw a man with a gun aim and fire at the crowd. At least two went down.
“Oh no,” Elisa said to herself. She ran back to her classroom, and ran to the window and looked at how far up they were. Not too far up from a lower level roof, and it had a ladder leading down to the ground. Opening it, she sent her teenagers out of it.
“What about you?” a girl asked.
“Don’t worry about me, get the hell out now!” Elisa said, hugging the girl tight.
After they were out, she ran downstairs and saw Patricia.
“Tricia!” Elisa called her.
“It’s Jacinta’s ex!” Patricia said, crying as she held the frightened girl.
“Upstairs there’s a roof, with a ladder leading down,” Elisa said to Jacinta. “Go, run, now!”
“JACINTA!” the man yelled, spotting her. Patricia ran toward him, to keep him away from Jacinta.
“RUN!” Elisa said, and Jacinta did. She made sure the girl made it to her classroom before slamming the door shut. "Tricia, let's go!"
Two gunshots rang out behind her and Elisa heard Patricia’s cry ring out.
“No no no please!” she yelled, before a series of gunshots rang out, and silence fell.
Tears streaming down Elisa’s face, ran until she found two dead bodies ahead of her. Thinking fast, she hid under them, and waited.
Nick was sleeping when he got a phone call from AJ.
“Hey, man, what’s up?” he said drowsily.
“Shit man you need to turn on the TV, to CNN,” AJ said, sounding upset.
“Don’t make me say it, man, I can’t,” AJ said, his voice cracking.
Feeling really worried, he turned his TV on, and turned it to CNN.
“We’re following the situation as it develops, for those just tuning in, we’re getting news out of Buenos Aires that the Evita Peron Center, a shelter for children and teenagers, has an active shooting. Multiple shots have been fired, and dozens inside are feared dead.”
“No,” Nick said, sinking into his sofa. That was where Elisa was.
“Nick, stay with me man. We don’t know if she’s even there today,” AJ said.
“She’s always there,” Nick whispered, horrified.
Nick watched the TV, feeling his heart shatter in pieces as he did. He regretted everything he’d said to Elisa before she left. He regretted letting her leave the concert without apologizing. He only wished he could take the events of the last eight months back.
“Hey, we’re heading over. You don’t need to be alone,” AJ said, and hung up, leaving Nick to wonder if the love of his life was dead or alive.
Meanwhile, Elisa hid under two bodies as the gunman went around, holding her breath. She was thankful she had her phone on her. Peering through her closed eyes, she waited for the gunman to leave the hallway. When he did, she called the emergency number.
“I’m calling from inside the center. The gunman is someone’s ex boyfriend. A lot of kids got out but most of the workers are dead, I think I’m the only one left. Please, help me,” she said in a whisper.
“Is there just one gunman?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes. Please- oh my God-“ she said as she heard a gunshot. Crying out in pain, she realized she’d been hit in the shoulder.
She looked up at the gunman, who had the gun pointed at her head. She saw Nick’s face flash in front of her as she spoke.
“Please, sir, don’t kill me. I can help,” she pleaded.
The man looked at her, in sadness. He lowered the gun for a moment.
“No one can help me. She left me. I can’t live without her,” he said, and, looking around, a tear fell down his cheek as he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
“No!” Elisa wept as he fell to the floor.
A bunch of policemen burst in with their guns drawn. One ran to Elisa and assessed her wound as the others began checking the other bodies for more survivors.
As they brought her out, she was almost swamped with reporters, though the police kept them away. Elisa tried to stop the tears that flowed,but she couldn’t.
“Don’t worry, Miss, we’ll get you patched up at the hospital,” the paramedic said.
“Wait,” Elisa said as she saw Patricia’s mother weeping in the line.
She walked over and hugged her.
“I’m so sorry, we tried to get away but-“
Patricia’s mother screamed in grief.
“No no no no! Not mi hija, Dios no!”
Elisa sobbed as she comforted the elder woman. Diego was ashen faced as he helped his mother up. Looking back at her, he reached for her face.
“Thank you for making her happy,” he said, tears in her eyes.
Patricia’s mother ran to her and hugged her.
“Go home, Elisa. You’ve done all you can here,” she whispered. “Be safe, mija.”
Elisa nodded. All she wanted to do was leave Buenos Aires behind for good.