Deliaire Pett glanced at the time.
It was 2:00. Ten minutes till school would end.
She fingered the clock dial on her pink and white jeweled watch, a birthday present from her grandma, and spun the dial round and round.
This was supposed to be a normal day. It had started out normal with her waking up to the sun’s warm ray’s shining through her window.
Deliaire had always been a morning person, the only one in the house who woke up early on weekends. Her cousin called her weird, but she only detected jealousy in his voice, that she could easily wake up on school days, when he was struggling not to miss the bus.
Her younger brother, Mike, sat under an identical desk next to hers, his head buried in his knees. Deliaire scooted next to him, and patted his head, trying to comfort him. He moved away. She sighed, it wasn’t his fault. Sometimes, she wanted to be alone too, especially after what had happened this morning.
Mike’s head popped up. He looked awful; his face was streaked with tears, his gray sweatshirt, crumpled, and his jeans, patched with mud. He opened his mouth to say something, but must have decided against it, because no sooner than he had opened it, it shut.
“It’s going to be ok, I promise.” Deliaire tried
“No, it’s not, and it’s all my fault. If it weren’t for me, we wouldn’t even be in this.” Mike’s face crumpled and he buried it back in his knees.
Deliaire moved closer to him and squeezed his hand. “I’m serious; it’s not your fault, so stop beating yourself up for it. I mean, how you were supposed to know that this would happen.”
Mike suddenly looked up at her. “How would you feel, if your idea was stolen from you and then brutally used against you?”
“Well…” she says, “I would feel, sad and angry and betrayed and I would try my best to stop that person”
“But, how?” Mike asks
“I’m not sure” Deliaire admits “But it doesn’t help to sit here crying about it.”
“Well, then, what should we do?” he demands.
“We should probably check to see if the coast is clear, and then make a run for it.” She suggests.
“But, how will that, help defeat her?” Mike stands up and walks over to where the clock used to be.
“It won’t, but if we stay here too long, they’ll find us for sure.”
“But…” Mike’s lower lip quivers “what if they find us, and make us into” he pauses “one of…them.”
“I don’t have all the answers, but the best we can do, is try to get out of here safely.” Deliaire walks over to the door, and lifts up the black flap covering the window. She peers through, scanning the hallways for anything suspicious, and then with a small nod, she closes the flap.
“Is anyone there?” Mike whispers
“I don’t think so, but maybe we should wait for a few minutes and see if anything turns up.” she suggests before sitting back on the floor.
Mike sits by her, and then at Deliaire’s request, starts telling his story over, to see if any particular details were forgotten. He tells about how it all started with a research project on the brain in science class.
Ms. Kower had asked them to write a paper on the brain’s functions and how it transmits signals to the rest of the body. Mike had done the project, plus extra research and information for extra credit. He included stuff about how you could use light to stimulate parts of the brain and if you set this up in different parts you could control someone’s movement or emotions. He also said that when scientists perfected this method, they could fix things like personality disorders. It was a pretty good report and fetched him an A+. But, little did Mike know, that the teacher would use his research to start something of her own. How was he to know that she would research deeper into the topic and then figure out a way to perfect the method, since apparently she was mad smart. All, that was left then, were the people to control, which of course was an easy fix, the entire student body.
Mike thought that it was all his fault and if he hadn’t started on the topic, then maybe she wouldn’t have either and then everyone wouldn’t have been turned into mindless zombie slaves.
Deliaire ponders the story, and then says “There has to be a way to stop it, right? If you cut off the source then maybe it will, or at least become less powerful.”
“I’m not sure what the source would be though, maybe a machine in some random classroom, but I’m not even sure of that.” Mike exclaims.
“Calm down.” Deliaire tells him.
He takes a deep breath, “We need to get out of here, there’s no way we can do anything if we’re hiding in this room. Plus, like you said earlier, they’re going to get to us sooner or later.”
“Ok, so we need to think of a plan to get out of here, let’s check and see if the hallways are clear first and then run down the nearest stairs. Then once we get down, we start running towards the cafeteria.” she says
Mike nods. “Ok, but, why the cafeteria?”
“I know a way out from there, that’ll take us out by the road, then all we do is run until we’re safe and far enough away from this school.” she explains
“What do we do then? Get help?”
“I’m not sure, possibly, but we can decide again once we get to that point.” Deliaire stands up, and walks toward the chalkboard.
A few minutes pass as Deliaire and Mike are thinking through this escape route. Then, Mike breaks the silence.
“What if they catch us, or, one of us?”
“Then,” Deliaire pauses, not sure what to say. “we put up a fight, and if we lose then at least we tried.”
Sensing that she was done, Mike walks over by the door, lifts the flap up ever so slightly and peers though the small opening. “There’s nobody there, and the halls are empty, no zombies either.”
Deliaire goes over to the door to check for herself. Sure enough, the coast was clear.
“Should I open it?” Mike asks her, his voice barely a whisper.
She gives him a small thumbs up sign, and he slowly turns the knob and opens the door, trying not to make any noise.
Once out the door, they both step out and scan the hallway. It looked normal, school day normal, except without all the people.
Deliaire starts walking towards the right and Mike follows close behind. Then, they hear a noise.
Mike jumps back, startled. “What was that?”
“Keep quiet, and keep walking, don’t make any noise.” she tells him, her voice faint.
They keep going until they see a girl sitting in the hallway, her body turned towards the yellow locker. She was wearing a peach colored top and jeans, and her long brown hair was tied up in a high ponytail. She was really pale, almost as white as a crisp piece of paper, but other than that, she looked normal.
Deliaire reaches out and touches her shoulder. The girl shakes ever so slightly, and turns around to face them.
“What are you doing here?” Deliaire asks
“My name’s Sarah and I’ve been hiding here all morning, trying not to get caught by ‘them’. I was thinking of escaping the school, but I never got the guts to do it.” she says
“Well, we’ve been hiding too, in an empty classroom just down the hall from here.” Mike confesses
Sarah nods. “So where are you going now?”
“Away, away from all this.” Mike says, a sure tone in his voice, like he couldn’t be convinced otherwise.
“Well, could I, come with you? There’s not much to do here and I could get caught too.” Sarah pleads
“No, just no, I don’t want another life at stake, this is my fault and I don’t want anyone getting hurt just because of me.” Mike says in his mind. He looks at Deliaire, glares at her, and wills her to look back, to take her gaze off Sarah.
Deliaire knows that Mike wants her to say no, no matter how desperate the girl seems, but she just can’t will herself to do that to her.
“Sure” she says to her and a slight smile makes its way onto Sarah’s face.
Mike tells her that she has to be as quiet as she can while Deliaire explains the escape route. Sarah just nods, which makes Mike think that she’s not really listening at all. At the end of it, Sarah gets up and dusts off her jeans, and then they keep going.
They all keep walking, as soundlessly as they can, until Deliaire notices a door that leads up to the stairs. She pushes down on the door and tries her best not the let the door creak as she is pulling it open.
“Go.” she urges to Mike and Sarah and then she carefully closes the door. The stairway is quiet as they are walking down. So silent that it seems suspicious. Nobody says a word.
As they are going down the last flight of stairs, Deliaire hears a noise. “I think I heard something.”
Sarah shifts her feet. “Yea, I think I heard it too.”
“It could be coming for us.” Mike murmurs, panic already in his voice.
The door by the stairs opens. Mike sees a patch of sunlight from outside and thinks about how they could have gone out that way.
A man, cloaked in black comes in followed by 3 zombies. Their skin is a deathly white, even paler than Sarah’s. Their eyes are blood red and their tongues loll out of their mouth. Their arms outstretched, they only mutter one phrase. Bow down to Kower.
The man notices them first and directs the zombies towards them. Sarah gives a small shriek, looking as if she is going to faint. Deliaire grabs her hand and they run down the last few stairs, Mike a few steps in front of them. They run towards the door on the other side, but the zombies are fast approaching. Mike runs ahead, Deliaire running close behind, but one of the zombie’s arms catches Sarah.
“No, don’t!” Sarah shrieks, struggling against the zombies’ grips. They looked weak, but were actually quite strong. Sarah kicks one of them in the shin. She tries to punch another one in the face, but the last one corners her.
“Leave and save yourselves.” she calls to Deliaire and Mike. “Please!” she cries.
The zombie bites Sarah in the fleshy part underneath her rib.
Sarah screams, her yell echoing in the empty stairwell, and then stops struggling. Her eyes turn red and she smiles.
She had turned into one of them.
Deliaire tries to run back, to try to save Sarah, but Mike holds her back, saying that it’s too late.
Deliaire takes one last look at Sarah and then runs out the door, close behind Mike.
They run like they had never run before, all the zombies and now Sarah were following them, just at their heels.
“They’re gaining on us.” Mike gasps, gesturing to the fast approaching zombies.
“Hold on, we’re almost to the cafeteria.” Deliaire yells.
They race into the cafeteria, Mike following Deliaire to the door that leads outside.
Once they are outside, they keep running. Across the road and onto the sidewalk curb that went in a circle with trees in the middle. Then they stop to regain their breath.
“I think we lost them.” Mike says between breathes.
Deliaire nods. “That was close.” she agrees.
“Yea, it’s just that…” Mike trails off, a sad look in his eyes.
“I know, we lost her, but it was too late to save her, you told me that.” Deliaire says.
“I know that, but if she didn’t come with us, then maybe she’d wouldn’t have.” he confesses
“She wanted to come and besides they would have gotten to her eventually.” she acknowledges.
A look of panic crosses Mike’s face.
Deliaire looks away from Mike and to the sidewalk ahead, a woman, cloaked in black, was running towards them.
They quickly ran the other way. And kept going, hoping to cross the road ahead and run past the school. But, they weren’t fast enough. Another figure crossed their path, and then they were surrounded.
The figures smiled. They nodded at each other, and then shuffled them into an awaiting black car.
Mike and Deliaire were thrown into the back seat; the doors slammed shut, and the engine purring. The car took off.
Soon enough the hoods came off of the figures, revealing their parents. Mike and Deliaire both gasped. They could not believe their eyes.
“I know you’re surprised and very confused to see us, but we have a lot to explain to you guys right now, so I’d like you to please hold your questions till later.” their mom says in a silky voice, pulling off her sleek black gloves.
She explained the whole thing to them. How they were involved and how they both helped Ms. Kower with her plan. They were hoping to stop it somewhere in between, with the wrong directions, but that didn’t happen, so now, they were off to stop her themselves.
Even though, they probably meant good, Deliaire still felt betrayed. How could they do this to her? Her own parents, helping the enemy?!?
They went on with the plan and how they were sorry that it turned out this way, but she still felt as though she could never trust them again; that she’d never look or think about them, the same way again.
They’d been betrayed; she and her brother, and they’d had to go through this horrible morning. Did their parents even care about how they felt?
No matter what they said to cover it up, there was no way she was ever going to trust them ever again, Deliaire was sure of it.