‘The Capture’ by Samuel Davallou, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

In Paris, riding a bus moving in the opposite direction.
We were meant to be returning home that fateful day, but as soon as we left our accommodation, we turned left rather than right. Right was towards Calais, the ferry, and home, but we were travelling towards Luxembourg, Belgium, and Germany. Then, shooters armed with AKs and Glocks emerged from the toilet’s entryway, I knew at that moment that this was a hostile situation and the entire bus fell silent, just before the screams began. One by one, then another, and before you could say anything, everyone on the train was shouting and wailing.

Then, without notice, they came around and collected our phones, headphones, and smartwatches. “You resist, you get a Glock held to your head, resist again and you don’t want to know what will happen”. This is what we were informed while we gave over our belongings. I, on the other hand, had my phone charging in the ‘thief-proof’ space of my bag, so when they approached me, I explained that I did not have a phone with me and that I gave it to a friend they had already visited. Somehow, they believed me and continued down the aisle.

After hours of silence, someone requested if we might listen to music on the bus’s front-facing TV. One of the shooters led them down to the toilet. BANG! Then a splat and the unmistakable, horrible thump of a person hitting the ground. Once again, people began yelling and wailing. I asked the person in front of me who it was, and they replied in a shaky voice, “Ad”. My stomach sank, since Ad was one of my greatest friends, my school chess mate, and my English, Science, DT, and Math partner. As everyone observed a moment of silence in his honour, I prayed that it was not to traumatic for him. Then he, not the gunman, came from the toilet.

He had killed him and now held the gunman’s Glock. Everyone cheered, but the commotion subsided as other gunmen rushed him. A few others were shot in the commotion that ensued, and regrettably Tiago died, but Ad threw me another Glock, and I joined in, crippling, wounding, and ultimately killing the gunmen until only one remained, the leader and driver of our bus.

As all of this happened, Harry was contacting the cops on my phone, and by the time we got to the driver, there was a queue of police cars encircling the bus, with ambulances and fire trucks following behind. When I told the driver that he could stop the bus, surrender, and maybe receive a reduced sentence or suffer greater repercussions, he answered, “M’abandonner quand je suis arrivé jusqu’ici? Jamais. Before attempting to drive the bus into the approaching subway, he exclaimed, “I’m going to kill all of us!” I seized the wheel and stopped him before the bus came to a halt. We were saved.