“Come on!” Grace said, pouting. I roll my eyes and crack a smile. “Fine,” I reply, giving up. We grab our backpacks from our lockers and are walking down the hallway when I stop. “Shit,” I mutter, searching my pockets. “What’s wrong?” Grace asks. I sigh. “I forgot my phone in class. I’ll be right back.” I reply, jogging back down the hallway.
I knock on the door to the science classroom and Mr. Bruno opens the door. “Can I help you, Farah?” He asks kindly. “I forgot my phone, can I grab it real quick?” I ask. “Of course, come in.” He replies, moving aside so I can walk in. I jog to the back where I had just been sitting and grab my phone from my desk. “Thanks, Mr. Bruno!” I say as I exit. “No problem Farah!” He replies with a smile.
I jog back down the hallway where Grace is waiting for me and we start walking again. “You are so lucky I drove my car to school today,” Grace says. “Why?” I ask. She gives me a look and replies, “Because if I hadn’t we’d be walking. I heard the busses leave just a few seconds ago.” My eyebrows scrunch together as I think. “But that doesn’t make any sense,” I say.
She looks confused and now it’s her turn to ask, “Why?” And I stop walking and look at the time on my phone then back at her. “Because the busses don’t leave until 3:40 p.m. It’s 3:29,” I reply. She gets a thoughtful look on her face as we continue walking towards the exit and then shrugs her shoulders and says, “Whatever.”
We’re about to reach the main exit when a voice comes over on the intercom. “All students and staff! Stay inside the building! This is not a drill! Stay away from the doors and windows and make your way to the gym on the second floor!” The intercom crackles as it shuts off. I recognize the voice as Ms. Kray, the principal.
Grace and look at each other as we begin jogging up the stairs. “What do you think is happening?” I ask worriedly. “I don’t know!” Grace replies, clearly freaking out. We make it to the gym and try to push the doors open but they’re locked. “Who’s there?” A voice asks from the other side. I recognize the voice of the vice principal, Ms. Jenkins. “Ms. Jenkins, it’s me, Farah. I’m here with Grace.” I say.
I hear the lock click and the doors open wide and Ms. Jenkins ushers me inside where I find about two hundred other high schoolers. In the center of the gym, I see Ms. Kray nod toward the staff standing at the doors to the gym. The staff and teachers leave their posts by the doors and instruct the students to stand in a circle surrounding Ms. Kray.
“What do you think is going on?” Grace asks a student standing in front of us. “I don’t know.” He replies. “If we are quiet and listen, Ms. Kray is probably about to explain,” I say, shutting them both up. Ms. Jenkins grabs a chair from the gym’s storage closet and brings it to Ms. Kray. Ms. Kray steps onto the chair and addresses the crowd.
“Students! We just received word from the police that people have begun to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease, Impulse disorder, and Cannibalism. The police are saying it’s spreading like an infection. If you get bitten, you develop the signs as well.” This caused students to start talking to each other and Grace and I looked at each other with wide eyes.
We learned about Alzheimer’s disease a few weeks ago when a medical expert came in to talk with us about it because cases have been rising recently in surrounding areas. She also said the Alzheimer’s disease isn’t infectious so it’s probably just because of how many old people live in our town.
The medical expert, Dr. Gwen, had said that Alzheimer’s disease caused memory loss, loss of problem-solving abilities, confusion, misplacing things, poor judgment, and, the most severe symptom, personality changes. I shuddered at the thought of Cannibalism. It’s when a human eats another human. And Impulse disorder is pretty much when you act without thinking.I shuddered when I imagined all those things together. Worst combination ever.
Ms. Kray quieted the students down and continued, “We will be camping out in the gym. We’ll keep the doors locked at all times and we will send teachers out to get food from the cafeteria. The gym has bathrooms and showers. The storage closet has unused gym uniforms for fresh clothes and some basketballs for entertainment-” She was suddenly interrupted by a guy speaking loudly.
“How long will we be here exactly?” He asked, speaking loud enough so everyone can hear, clearly trying to cause panic. Ms. Kray sighed and replied, “We are unsure of how long we’ll be here. A few days at most.” That’s when panic really erupted.
People were yelling about their families. I looked at the teachers and noticed they seemed to have no objections. In fact, they all looked weird. All of their faces were pale and sunken and their eyes seemed to convey terror. What’s more, some of them had ripped clothing. I pieced everything together.
“Everyone shut up!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. Everyone became quiet and turned to face me. Even Grace turned to look at me.
“Did you guys pay any attention to the teachers at all? Take a good look. Their faces are pale, their clothes are ripped. The teachers don’t usually leave the school until at least an hour after the students do. Do you all know what that means?” I shouted. There was quiet chatter here and there but they still clearly didn’t understand.
“It means, they haven’t set a foot outside of school and yet they look like this. There’s only one way that is possible. They are already here inside the school!”