All through the night, River Valladares pinwheeled between the TV and his phone, channel-surfing and texting, filtering the news and rumors, exchanging information with his teammates on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School cross-country team, frantically groping to determine who could be accounted for and who was still missing.
The 18-year-old tried lying down, but he couldn’t sleep. When he closed his eyes, images from the day burned through his brain. He saw backpacks flying over a chain-link fence, heard the caterwaul of sirens. The sound seemed to cleave his life in two, the innocent one before 2:21 that afternoon, and all the hours and days to follow.