Twelve Hours

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10:00 PM

The students ignored the confusion from the power outage as they ran toward the source of all the banging and shouting. Finally, they found a boy banging on a bathroom door.

“What are you doing?” Veronica asked him. Jackson slowly turned around, almost blinded by the light shining in his face. Soon enough, more students joined.

“Sorry,” Jackson said while scratching the back of his neck. “I–uh, I didn’t mean to freak anyone out...”

“Why are you trying to break down the door?” Matteo asked.

“Where’s Jordan?” Cristiana asked.

Jackson nodded toward the the door. “Jordan won’t come out of the bathroom. It’s been at least ten minutes, and I’m getting tired of waiting.”

“Let’s open the door then,” Colin suggested. “If he’s been in there that long something could be wrong. And after Elias....”

Eyes slowly turned to the door. Cristiana took a hesitant step forward. She placed a hand on the door handle and pulled something out of her pocket. After a few expert clicks and turns, the bathroom door swung open. Eyes widened and gasps are heard as flashlights scan over Jordan’s limp form propped up against the far wall. With his head hung low, his usually perfect light brown hair glistens with the same blood found staining his face.

No one says a word. At last, Riley steps forward with Colin silently following as they both go to lift the other boy’s unmoving body. Trailing behind like a funeral procession, the group shifts down the hallway to the art room where Jordan was laid beside Elias.

“You were supposed to be with him.” Cristiana’s words cut through the thick tension of the air as she voices everyone else’s thoughts toward Jackson.

With that, Jackson’s eyes immediately widen, and he holds up his hands. “I didn’t do anything. I just waited outside the bathroom.”

“Jackson wouldn’t hurt him,” Riley defends, stepping in front of his friend.

“Why did he even use a faculty bathroom?” Ashley wonders aloud.

Jackson shrugged nonchalantly. “He said he had to go badly. So he went there. I just followed.”

“You mean ‘followed him in and killed him’?” Nani accused.

Jackson took a calming breath before he spoke again. ”Fine. Let’s say that I did it-”

“Because you did. Seems like something you’d do.”

“Oh fuck off,” Jackson yells, turning his attention to her. “You’ve been here what two weeks? You don’t know anything about me,” he snaps. After a deep breath, he continues. ”If I did it, then how the hell did I lock the door from the inside?”

Cristiana pauses, thinking that over for a moment. “Yeah, those doors don’t open with a key. Strangely enough, they have more security than there should be for a bathroom.”

“So what now?” Colin asks. “Splitting up didn’t work. We need a new plan.”

“We all could just sit around and do nothing in one room,” Veronica suggests.

“No,” Matteo says, his voice firm as he shakes his head. “I want to know which of you murdered Elias and Jordan. I’m not stopping until I know.”

No one responded at first.

“We won’t stop,” Mickey decided. “We’ll keep looking. Nani, you’re now partners with Jackson.” Both share a glare but neither one protests.

“Do we even have to?” Colin asked. “Once Principal Lauer knows that the power is out, shouldn’t he come get us?”

“Well, we better find out who’s doing this before he gets here ’cause I don’t want to be hassled by cops for no reason,” Nani stated, turning and beginning to walk away as Jackson follows her. When the two were out of earshot, Nani cracked a smile as a sign to forget the two’s earlier dispute. “Who’s next?”

Jackson paused, racking his brain for the answer before looking at Nani in the dim light. “Me. We’re supposed to have about an hour to make me look as sketchy as all hell before I am found guilty and soon after ‘killed’. It’s gonna suck. Why did I have to be suspect again?”

“Oh, calm down; it’s only for an hour.”

“What’s even the point anymore now that power has gone out for real? Lauer can’t see the cameras now.”

“True,” Nani nodded. “but don’t you still want to scare everyone else shitless?”

Jackson sighed, “I guess. We’re already this far in. They’re gonna be pissed when they find out though.”

Nani shrugged. “Oh well.”

“I don’t think we’ll be getting out of here anytime soon,” Ashley said quietly.

“What makes you think that?” Colin asks her. Ashley beckoned him over to the window. Both watched the heavy snow fall.

Colin sighs. “Well, then I hope you’re wrong.” After a few seconds, he speaks again. “This is a school so shouldn’t there be some kind of an emergency thing?”


“We can head back toward the offices. Maybe we can find our phones too.”

Ashley nodded, “Sounds good.”

One of students felt a small buzz from inside their pocket. The student cursed under their breath.

“Hey, I know you’re gonna hate me for this, but I need a bathroom.” Together, the two headed for the bathroom, and once inside a stall, that same student pulled out the small phone and glanced at it. Their eyes widened at message. The student took in a shaky breath before putting the phone away and flushing the toilet they hadn’t used. Looks like they had work to do.

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