Chapters 6–9

This harrowing novel provides a minute-by-minute account of a school shooting.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. oblivious
    lacking conscious awareness of
    He strides down the aisle, toward the stage, apparently oblivious to the students who plot to stop him.
  2. revel
    take delight in
    It’s an endless current of fear, and Tyler revels in the power.
  3. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    My step falters at the thought. Fear reaches out to strangle me as gravity pulls me down.
  4. feign
    give a false appearance of
    I put my hand on my chest and feign shock.
  5. mundane
    found in the ordinary course of events
    “You hurt me, my dear fellow. Such mundane activities are far below a man of my standing.”
  6. indignation
    a feeling of righteous anger
    In any other situation, Fareed would have rolled his eyes. In any other situation, I would’ve grinned at his indignation.
  7. stoicism
    an indifference to pleasure or pain
    Fareed stares at me, his face grim. “Let’s worry about that after we figure out how to deal with this,” he says softly. There is a stoicism about him but also a deep sadness.
  8. spite
    feeling a need to see others suffer
    Ty’s spite makes me feel like throwing up my meager breakfast.
  9. meager
    deficient in amount or quality or extent
    Ty’s spite makes me feel like throwing up my meager breakfast.
  10. magazine
    a compartment for holding cartridges in some firearms
    He has the gun in one hand. His other rests on his waistband, where, strapped over his dress shirt and slacks, he carries extra magazines, perhaps even another gun.
  11. creed
    any system of principles or beliefs
    Hometown, family, God, country: that’s the Opportunity creed.
  12. lineage
    the kinship relation between an individual and progenitors
    It’s preached by the mayor who can trace his lineage back to the Civil War and the elderly farmers, like Abuelo, who linger outside church to discuss the crops and the weather.
  13. relish
    derive or receive pleasure from
    She relished being alone. She didn’t want to be bound to anyone, and Opportunity severed her ties for her.
  14. unperturbed
    free from emotional agitation or nervous tension
    Most of the students stay where they are, yet Tyler seems unperturbed.
  15. sear
    become superficially burned
    My eyes sear with tears of anger.
  16. dumbstruck
    so surprised or shocked as to be unable to speak
    Chris is temporarily dumbstruck.
  17. labored
    requiring or showing effort
    For a step or two, he’s silent, his breathing labored.
  18. comply
    act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
    “The time for talking has passed. Move.” He waits for Mr. Jameson to comply and then continues firmly, “Now.”
  19. tentatively
    in a hesitant manner
    “Where are my former classmates? Raise your hands.” Ty’s voice drops, and it makes the hair on my neck stand up straight. A few people tentatively raise their hands.
  20. mar
    destroy or injure severely
    More shots mar the silence, and all I want to do is barge into the auditorium.
  21. surreal
    characterized by fantastic and incongruous imagery
  22. virtually
    slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but
    It means the auditorium is virtually inaccessible, the perfect place to trap all students.
  23. spree
    a brief indulgence of your impulses
    If he’d gone on a murdering spree, it would’ve been less scary. It would’ve been a random act of violence.
  24. collateral
    accompanying; following as a consequence
    Tyler will shoot everyone who tries to stop him, who gets in his way, but they’re collateral damage. They’re not who he came here for.
  25. silo
    a cylindrical tower used for storing grain
    I focus on the horizon and on the silhouette of Opportunity. The old clock tower and the church. The grain silos, which, according to Matt, look like castle battlements.
  26. vindictive
    disposed to seek revenge or intended for revenge
    “He was vindictive. When he got into fights with Tomás, he wouldn’t take it out on him. He’d take it out on the people close to you. He cornered Tomás’s sister during junior prom and tried to kiss her. That was why we broke up that night. Ty told me later he only meant it as a joke.”
  27. feral
    wild and menacing
    That night, Ty stared at me with a wildness in his eyes that I’d never seen before. Gone were kindness and patience. Gone were the smiles. What was left was feral.
  28. seethe
    be in an agitated emotional state
    He was seething. “Why is it always about me? This town—this school is taking everything away from me. My home. My mother. My sister. Why am I to blame?”
  29. scour
    examine minutely
    I scour my mind for comforting words: “Just hold on”? “We’ll get out of here”? No. They’re all empty promises.
  30. pirouette
    a rapid spin of the body
    My head feels light, as if I did a thousand pirouettes.
  31. grudging
    unwilling or reluctant
    He helped Dad in his shop during the week and disappeared on weekends to hunt. He got Dad’s grudging respect, while I got left behind.
  32. incentive
    a positive motivational influence
    “Would it help if I gave you an incentive to make the right decision?”
  33. fringe
    a social group holding marginal or extreme views
    Tyler drove us to the cemetery; then we got fries at the diner and he took me to a fringe performance of the Tuscaloosa dance company. It was a modern retelling of Othello.
  34. leaden
    made heavy or weighted down with weariness
    I should leap to my feet, but my arms and legs are leaden. I can’t move.
  35. dote
    shower with love; show excessive affection for
    Granddad doted on her but he put his foot down.
  36. flimsy
    lacking solidity or strength
    The flimsy clips are no alternative to lock picks.
  37. woo
    seek someone's favor
    But he woos the teachers and has them wrapped around his little finger.
  38. liable
    at risk of experiencing something usually unpleasant
    On my knees, I grasp at Asha’s ankles. I’m vaguely aware of other hands pulling at Asha too. She is liable to strike us all down for getting in her way.
  39. aloof
    remote in manner
    He clearly doesn’t care about anything anymore. He hasn’t cared about anything since junior prom, when everything started to spin out of control.
    Until that night, he stayed aloof, despite spray-painted lockers and messages scratched into the hood of his car.
  40. eloquence
    powerful and effective language
    He tricked us with his eloquence and the occasional fake smile.
Created on March 20, 2020 (updated March 25, 2020)

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