Twelve Hours

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11:00 PM

Ashley and Colin found their way to the front office in the darkness. Unfortunately, everything was locked.

“Well it was worth a shot, I guess,” Ashley sighed.

Meanwhile Colin frowned. “I just don’t get it. Who is doing this? Why? What sick person enjoys this! Two people are dead! And-” He stopped mid yell when he registered the shock on his girlfriend’s face. Slowly, he reached out and pulled her in a hug. “Sorry,” he apologized. “I just have no clue what is happening, and I really wish I knew. But it’s alright. We’ll be okay. Everyone. All we need to do is get someone to pick the lock on the door. So let’s go talk to the others and then come back.”

Ashley only nodded in his arms.

“This was a terrible idea,” Veronica stated.

“What? Splitting up?” Cristiana asked shining her flashlight on the other girl.

Veronica held up an arm to the light but nodded. “There’s someone killing people so wouldn’t it make more sense to stay together rather than continuously split up and people keep dying?”

Cristiana paused. “You think I’m the killer?”

“No,” Veronica said quickly. “I know you Cristi. You wouldn’t- couldn’t. But I don’t know what is going through everyone else’s heads...”

Riley and Matteo had opted for a short break and sat down against some lockers to talk. When Riley finished an embarrassing story about Jackson, Matteo laughed. Riley smiled; since everything was currently shit right now, a laugh was a step in the right direction.

“I guess I’ll have to get along with Jackson to hear his side of the story,” Matteo smiled.

“My side of the story is the only one which matters,” Riley said. “Oh you should hang with us fifth period. I usually skip math then.”

Matteo rolled his eyes with a small smile. “I know. I’m in your math class.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah you would know if you came to class.”

“Huh. Who knew? Anyway if I don’t go, then I don’t have to deal with math homework.”

“True, but you’re a senior so don’t you need to study for college? Like, what do you want to do?”

“Uh... Stuff?”

“Wow. You certainly have a bright future. I can see it now. Riley Simmons graduate of Stuff University.”

Riley rolled his eyes. “Shut up. You sound like Jackson. And I don’t really know what I want to do, but I’ll figure it out. What about you?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I like water and swimming. Swimming is my favorite thing to do. But my younger brother is on the swim team here, and I really don’t want to deal with that.”

“Well... Maybe you could swim on a team. It doesn’t have to be the school one. You could probably join a city one.”

“Hadn’t thought of that actually,” Matteo admitted. “But I’m not sure... Daniel, he isn’t the only reason I don’t swim...”

Riley blinked, clearly surprised. “Well, then why-”

Matteo stood and began to rub his clothed arms almost painfully. “Come on,” he said starting down the hall. “Let’s keep looking.”

Riley stood and followed. “Doesn’t that hurt your arms?”

Matteo surprised stopped. “I just um...”


Matteo said nothing and kept walking, leaving a more than confused Riley in his wake.

Nani stopped walking next a locker.

“What are you doing?” Jackson asked her.

“We need you to look sketchy for the plan. We all need to be in a group for that so...” Nani immediately began to shout and bang on the lockers next to her.

It wasn’t long before everyone gathered.

“What’s all the yelling for?” Jackson asked.

No one had answer.

“What are we even supposed to be looking for?” Mickey asked.

“Anything that proves that I didn’t do it,” Jackson responded.

“Or did,” Nani mumbled. Jackson shot her a glare which was promptly ignored.

“Why can’t you consider the possibility that someone else did it?”

“You were with him.”

“There’s no way I was in the room with him! That door only locks from the inside!”

“Enough!” Veronica shouted. “Arguing like this gets us nowhere. What if there’s some other person we didn’t even know was here with us? I say we investigate everything and see if there is any evidence of another person being here.”

“Ashley and I had the idea for trying to get into the offices and get our phones,” Colin put in.

“We can separate differently then,” Cristiana suggested walking forward. “Nani, Jackson, Riley, Colin, Mickey and I head for office. While Ashley, Matteo, Veronica and Duke look for more clues. Any objections?” None were voiced. “Great let’s go.”

As everyone dispersed Cristiana paused and grabbed Ashley’s hand and pulled her away from the group. Reading the situation others rounded the corner to let the two talk.

“What?” Ashley asked her annoyed.

“Since I know you will be mad about this, I separated Colin and Mickey from you for a reason,” Cristiana told the other girl.

“I don’t care what you do.”

Cristiana didn’t respond and both girls separated walking back to their respective groups.

The group looking for clues split into pairs once again as they searched. Unfortunately both pairs no longer had working flashlights. Each pair wandered in the darkness until the pairs dissolved as each person lost their partner in the darkness. One student had finally spotted another walking. They ran forward and reached out for the other student’s shoulder. Freaked out and scared the other student reacted and threw a punch and shoved the other person before running off. Had the student stayed they would’ve noticed that the other student had fallen down the stairs banging their head and breaking bones as they went.

The student’s legs pointed up the stairs while the head lay backwards at the bottom a pool of blood surrounding their head. Had there been light they would be able to see their own blood going all the way up the stairs.

Breathing was shallow and slow as eyes stared headed wishing for the ability to call out for help.

Minute after minute after minute passed before breathing stopped entirely.

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