Twelve Hours

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7:00 AM

Elias ran through the snow ignoring the cold. He ran faster than he knew he could, not stopping once to catch his breath. He needed to get out of here. He needed to get someone to help. He needed to do something before they died.

Nearing the front of the school Elias began to sprint. He noticed headlights of a car and despite himself let out a laugh of relief. “Help!” He shouted as he drew closer. “Someone help! Please!”

He ran toward the front door where people stood in coats and Principal Lauer had just walked in the school.

“Elias?” A young woman asked.

“Eliza!” Elias shouted running and pulling his surprised older sister in a hug. “Oh my god! I have never so been happy to see you!”

Eliza pulled back from their embrace kind of uncomfortable. Then she noticed Elias’ strange appearance. “What- what are you covered in?”

The smile melted off of Elias’ face and he began speaking hurriedly. “Blood. They’re dead. You’ve gotta call the cops! They’re being held hostage in the Spanish room! There’s someone else who moved Matteo’s and Nani’s bodies too! I don’t know who it is, Duke, Veronica maybe? or maybe Cristiana or even Riley- no he didn’t know about it either.”

“What are you talking about?” Eliza asked him.

“Bodies?” A woman echoed. “Nani’s body?”

“You have to call the cops!” Elias yelled. “They’re working with the Uprise and people are dead!”

“No. No. No!” Cristiana shouted kicking the wall. She walked back and forth muttering to herself.

“Cristi just put the gun down,” Duke said slowly.

“No! I need- I need things to work to help him.”

“Help who?”

“Shut up!” She screamed holding the gun toward him with shaky hands. “I will shoot you idiot! Just shut up!”

Duke opened his mouth again and Cristiana shot toward him with shaky hands. She had been aiming for the wall beside him but with her shaking hands her aim was off and the bullet pierced his eye. Duke screamed in pain and doubled over clutching his eye while Cristiana stared at him in shock.

“D-Duke... I-I-I didn’t mean to...”

“Why the fuck are we standing here?” Elias shouted at the adults gathered around him. “Did you not hear me? People are dead? There’s someone in there trying to kill people!”

“We need to wait for the police,” Eliza told him patiently.

“What happened to Nani? I’m her mother,” a woman asked Elias.

Elias shook his head and turned his gaze to the floor. “I’m sorry.”

The woman sunk to the floor. “But who...?”

“Who else is... hurt? I’m Matteo’s father.”

Elias continued staring at the floor as she quietly answered the question. “Matteo, Nani, Colin, Ashley, Jordan, and Jackson was shot as I ran- I think Mickey was too...” Elias said nothing as parents gasped introducing themselves and demanding to know more about their children.

“Who killed them?” A man- Jordan’s father- asked.

“How did this even happen?” Another woman- Colin and Veronica’s mother- sobbed from where she lay on her husband’s shoulder.

“It- it started as a prank...” Elias said slowly. “Started by Nani and I. It was just to freak people out, no one was supposed to actually die-”

“So this is all a prank then?” A man- Veronica and Colin’s father- asked sounding semi relieved.

“It was at first... and then... Matteo he- he actually turned up dead... We tried to get out but um... We didn’t have our phones. They were locked in the safe... And the doors were all locked... Windows wouldn’t break... We just got lucky and smashed the right window...”

“Wait where was your phone?” Eliza asked him.

“In a safe.”

Principal Lauer awkwardly coughed bringing attention to himself. “I had locked their phones in a safe to promote them to talk to one another.”

“But who did it?” A man- Nick, Jackson’s adoptive father questioned.

Elias shook his head. “All I know is that Ashley was part of it-”

“What she wouldn’t!” Her mother interrupted.

“I’m sorry,” Elias said tears starting down her face. “She killed herself... And left a note... She said she did it cause Mickey’s life was in danger... And then there is someone else. I didn’t get to see who pulled the trigger. But the only ones left who could’ve done it are Cristiana, Duke or Riley...”

Parents started to question and yell at the hysterical teen again when police siren blared. A few moments later half of a dozen police cars sped up the school. An officer jogged up. “Can someone tell me what happened?”

Elias opened his mouth to once again recount the horror show of the night when a shot rang out and scream sounded throughout the school.

“Cristi what the fuck!”

Eyes turned to see as someone climbed in through the window.

The gun slipped from Cristiana’s hands and fell to the floor. “J-Jared? W-what are you doing here?”

Jared pulled his phone out his pocket and held up it up for her to see before pressing the hang up button. “You called me almost two hours ago. I’ve heard everything. Why are you doing this?”

Cristiana grabbed him in a hug tears pouring down her face. Jared pulled back from their hug to look her in the eye as she spoke. Cristiana changed her gaze to look at the phoenix tattoo on his neck. “They wanted me to do it! They came to me and said that if I did it then they’d let you out.”

Jared cursed and massaged his temples.

“You guys need to run,” Duke said from behind them. Jared looked past his younger sister at him. “Go,” Duke said breathing heavily. “G-Get out before the cops come.”

Jared swallowed nodded he opened his mouth to say something when the faint buzzing of a phone could be heard. Slowly Cristiana pulled out her small cell phone and answered it.

“Put it on speaker.”

Cristiana did as she was asked..

“Hello Jared, Cristiana,” the voice greeted. “Hello to the rest of you too!” The voice said sounding eerily carefree. “I certainly hope you all enjoyed tonight’s event! Anyway, to cut to the chase the cops are here they’ll be up there soon enough. Tsk. Tsk. Cristiana you failed in killing all the required students. Both Duke Jensen and Jackson Andrix are still breathing. Also I have already cleared out myself. Oh, and despite your failure, your brother has been granted his freedom.”

Cristiana gave her brother a small smile. “You’re free Jared! You’re-” she cut herself off with a scream as blood hit her in face. Her eyes were trained on her brother hit Jared only fell over on top of her and both fell to the floor “Jared?” She asked pushing him off of her. Cristiana scrambled back only to scream again when she saw the bullet hole in the back of his head. “Jared!” She screamed as her body began to wrack with sobs.

“I hope he enjoys his freedom,” Came the voice this time from the phone and the fire escape. Cristiana looked up to the window where a masked person stood holding a gun and a phone. The hung up the phone and put in their pocket before stepping into the mess of a classroom. The masked person stepped over to Cristiana and grabbed her, dragging her away annoying her tears, screams, and cried of apology. Despite his condition Duke stood to try and help but the person put the gun to Cristiana’s head. Duke froze only watching with one good eye as the person dragged the girl across the glass and out onto to fire escape and disappearing from sight, leaving the silent Spanish room behind them.

Outside the room Elias led the cops through the traps that had been built before stopping at the Spanish room door. He went to open it before a cop pulled him back and opened the door guns out.

They stopped at sight of crying and wounded students around them. The cops rushed to help and EMTs soon came in and joined them.

Soon enough the students were loaded into ambulances and coroner trucks while worried parents had no choice but to watch and to wait.

With the tick of a clock twelve hours started

And with many screams and shouts

Twelve hours and seven souls departed.

It was supposed to be harmless

There was supposed to laughter

There wasn’t supposed to be such a bloody mess

For someone to clean up after

But that all changed thanks to a lie

It was all just a prank.

No one was actually supposed to die.

But nothing goes as planned at Crestwell High.

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