Riot

by Eli Leichter Wilson, age 11
Riot Eli is eleven years old and lives in Berkeley, CA. He likes to write both fiction and nonfiction. He has published two book reviews in Berkeleyside. In his spare time, he likes to draw and play wiffle ball.

“Michael was trapped. He went up to someone and tried to ask what was happening. All the guy said was, “Why are you being such a hater?”
Michael said, “I don’t even know what I’m hating!””

Michael was baffled. A bunch of people with strange clothing were standing in the street. He knew nothing about this, who these people were, or what they were doing. All he knew was that at the front of the crowd, there was a bunch of yelling, “Get back!” 

He slowly started to back up back through the alley he had come from, when a crowd appeared on the other end. Michael was trapped. He went up to someone and tried to ask what was happening. All the guy said was, “Why are you being such a hater?”

Michael said, “I don’t even know what I’m hating!” The man just walked away. All Michael knew was that he had to get out of there. 

Stephanie knew that this march may have been overkill. She was having regrets. They hadn’t even asked politely. They were just marching straight away. She had been so eager to take action that she hadn’t even tried the easy way. Stephanie was not the leader of the march. She didn’t even know who was. She was just sort of following the herd.

Stephanie tried to wriggle up to the front, but everyone was so tightly packed. The lady in front of her said, “Move back to your spot! Stop pushing me!” Stephanie was confused. She had no idea why the crowd wasn’t moving, or why everyone was so squished. She couldn’t see over all of the signs people were holding, and she didn’t know why there was yelling at the front. Stephanie just kept going on.

Officer Norris was excited. He had woken up that morning expecting a normal day at the office. On his most exciting days, he went out and passed out parking tickets to people calling him an asshole just for doing his job. Now, the city had summoned all of the police officers in their small town to deal with the marchers. In his three years of being a cop, he had never done something even remotely as exciting. But as he rounded the corner in his beige police car, he was having second thoughts. The crowd looked awfully scary. People were screaming and swearing, and Norris had never dealt with a similar situation in his whole career. He uneasily got out of his car with his club, gun, and taser. He had never used any of them. Sweat was pouring down Norris’s face. He jogged to the crowd. Other officers had clear plastic riot shields. Norris didn’t think that this would be such a big deal. His excitement was slowly turning into fear and uneasiness. Norris would have to summon his inner tough guy.

Michael hadn’t moved. The crowds hadn’t budged either. He had no choice but to join them and get out of the alley. He had gone in to take a shortcut, but now he had to get out. So Michael moved with the hundreds of people in the street. He was slowly getting closer and closer to the yelling, but still couldn’t see anything at the front. He would just have to keep moving.

Stephanie was in the same situation. She let the crowd move her, and didn’t resist. Why were people yelling? She hadn’t thought this would turn violent. “Stop!” She yelled. “Stop fighting!”

Officer Norris heard something. Amongst all of the yelling and screaming, he heard one person say, “Stop fighting!” He tried to see who said it, but of course he couldn’t.

Someone tried to talk to him, but Norris got angry. “Get back!” he said. Norris took out his taser and thrust it into the man’s neck. He collapsed to the ground, unconscious. Norris was shocked at what he had done. He scooped up the man. It was Norris’s responsibility to get the man to safety. He could be trampled! 

Natalie stood on top of Antonio’s Pizza. She had her camera out and was filming the whole thing. No matter what happened, she had to capture the whole thing.

Her boss yelled at her over the radio. “Come back, Natalie! It’s too dangerous! Climb in the chopper!” Natalie didn’t move. Her job was to film whatever happened as close as she could. She zoomed in her camera and began speaking. “This morning, protesters gathered on Glenn street marching north. There has been minimal violence. Police are attempting to control the situation. One person has been tased.” Suddenly she noticed a police officer uncapping his water bottle. She zoomed in. It wasn’t a water bottle.

Suddenly the front grew much louder and Michael uneasily stepped back. A small metal object went flying through the air and struck a man in the face. He collapsed to the ground and began to bleed from his nose and mouth. Everyone stood there for a second before they processed what the metal was. Tear gas. Michael froze and began to act purely on instinct. He ran as fast as he could and covered his mouth. He pushed and shoved, but couldn’t move. Michael fell to the ground beside the man. The canister made a fssssshing sound. Michael began to cough. It felt as if an anvil was on Michael’s chest. He couldn’t breath and his skin began to burn. His eyes started watering and his nose began to run. A thick white smoke closed in around him and Michael tried to get up. He stumbled through the fog and eventually made it out. Everything felt like it was on fire.

Officer Norris couldn’t believe what had happened. As he climbed a fire escape with the limp body of the man he had tased, the tear gas was slowly billowing up beneath him. The wind blew all of the gas towards him. Norris was trained for this. He hardly had the strength to haul the man up the last ladder onto the roof.

There was a woman with a camera leaning over the edge. “Who are you?” she asked.

“An officer,” Norris said. “I need to get this man to safety. Can we stay up here?” She ignored him and Norris assumed that meant yes. It was kind of a rhetorical question. 

Michael ran down the street with tears and mucus pouring down his face. Then he spotted a fire escape that was down. He stumbled towards it and began to climb blindly. 

Stephanie was horrified. This had gotten way out of hand. She grabbed the man who had been struck and hauled him towards Antonio’s Pizza. She had her eye on the fire escape. She had to get to the top. 

Natalie went over to the cop who had come up and pointed her camera at him.

“I can call for a chopper to take this man to a hospital.” She spoke into her radio. “I need that chopper,” she said.

The cop said, “Thank you so much. I’m Officer Norris.”

Stephanie looked up. A black dot appeared in the sky. It steadily grew larger. It was a helicopter, coming towards Antonio’s. She needed to go to a hospital, but Stephanie didn’t know if she was strong enough to make it up there. She began to climb.

Michael collapsed on the top of the building. There were already three people there. One of them was lying on the ground. He looked back down at the crowd and noticed someone… carrying someone else. A woman was carrying the gassed man. She was heading towards the fire escape. Michael was at the bottom now. They carried the man in their arms. Together, they raced up the stairs. 

The helicopter landed on the roof right near Norris. He almost got pushed off the roof from the wind. Norris flung open the doors and said, “This man needs to go to the hospital.”

The pilot said, “But this is a news chopp-” Norris gave the pilot his signature death stare. “Ok, sir. Load him in.” 

Natalie was thrilled. She was getting the perfect story. She began to commentate while filming Officer Norris. “Atop a building in the middle of the Glenn Street Riot, unfolds a story of hope and perseverance. An officer helps an injured man into a helicopter on the roof of Antonio’s Pizza.”

Stephanie looked up. They were so close to the top. Eventually she and this new guy, who had introduced himself as Michael, climbed up onto the roof. There were already people there. And the chopper! The doors were closing and Stephanie panicked.

“Hey! Help! Can we use your chopper?

The man in the door with the police uniform said, “No. We have an injured man we need to get to the hospital.”

Michael yelled over the blades, “So do we!”

The helicopter’s doors opened again and the officer said, “Get in! Quick!” Stephanie and Michael quickly piled into the helicopter. As the doors closed and the blades began to spin, Stephanie saw the news woman stumble towards the edge. She watched in horror as the woman stumbled right off the edge. Without thinking, Stephanie wrenched open the doors again and jumped out. She ran towards the fire escape as fast as she could.

Norris was confused again. Why was this crazy lady running towards the edge? Natalie was probably dead. She would be soon, at least, from being trampled by the crowd. But then again Norris had taken an oath when he became an officer. Norris quickly filled in the guy that had just arrived on the situation and swiftly jumped the seven foot drop that was beneath them now. 

Stephanie acted swiftly. She scooped up the reporter’s limp body and rushed to her car through the protestors.

Suddenly, the officer from the helicopter rounded the corner and said, “Go to my car. It’ll go faster and has a siren to clear traffic.” The officer threw her the keys and together they ran for the patrol car. They clambered in and Norris put the reporter in the backseat. Then, Stephanie floored it.

The helicopter landed on the roof and the doors opened. Michael ran into the building and emerged five minutes later with two medical workers and two stretchers. He and the pilot carried the bodies into the hospital.

The tased man, Jeff, woke up quickly and Norris apologized again and again. After 13 hours of Michael waiting restlessly, the doctors proclaimed the other man dead. Natalie was fine. She had a minor concussion, but nothing too serious. Norris was promoted to Chief for bravery during the riot. The riot lasted three more hours and left two dead. Michael was surprised the number had been so low. Stephanie never marched again. She took action from her house, sending letters to politicians and such. The experience only made Natalie want to be a reporter more. And after a week or so, all was mostly well.

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