Periodically they could hear the footsteps make their way past the door, echoing down the eerily silent halls, they bounced off the walls until they sounded like crashing drums played by an inexperienced drummer. With every step that was heard the teens would tense up, they were waiting for the door, waiting to be discovered.
“The SWAT team is empting the school. They’re going classroom, by classroom, but it’s slow since they don’t know where the shooter is.” Chris told everyone. He was quietly reading from his phone the news were all over this.
The Shooter that’s what they’ve been calling Alex’s dad. It was far easier to pretend that one of their own wasn’t the target if they didn’t name the threat outright.
“Dad said the police are working at securing the halls.” Tia said, reading the text her dad sent her “He told them that we’re hiding in a closet… so at the moment they’re trying to locate us.”
“Times almost up boy!” The shout came through the halls “I know the police are involved! You have to came out or I’ll start with them!”
Tia tightened her arm around Alex as the footsteps passes, both projecting and restraining the boy. Then, indescribably, they faded, the footsteps passed in their tracks before they came closer once again. Jasmine began to sob and Amber hugged her tightly, stroking her brown hair and muffling her sobs into her top while whispering kind words into her ears. Chris grabbed Scarlet’s arm, while her hand went over Joseph’s mouth just in case he got the ‘wise’ idea to give away they’re position in hopes of saving himself. Tia moved against the wall behind her, making sure to keep her grip on Alex, keeping the boy on her lap in case he got any ‘wise’ ideas about leaving the room and giving himself up. She also somehow doubted his shaking would ever stop.
The doorknob jiggled
“Kids?” came a soft, deep voice.
“Dad?” Chris whispered, taking a step towards the door.
“Chris?” said the deep voice so much like his dad from the other side of the door.
“Chris, don’t, it’s a trick.” Alex whispered, as Scarlet grabbed his arm from going any closer to the door.
“No… it’s my dad.” Chris said, trying to yank his arm out of Scarlet’s hold.
“No, Chris listen to me, please! The police wouldn’t of allowed Robert to enter the building, not when they didn’t know where the shooter was, it’s too risky.”
The blonde boy ignored him and took another step to the door reaching to unlock it.
“NO!” Alex screamed, Scarlet pulling Chris away from the door with so much force that he almost fall on the mousy haired girl.
“Boy!” Mr Foster screamed, banging on the door “I know you’re in there! I heard your voice!”
Amber was cursing in the corner making sure to keep Jasmine’s ears covered, don’t need her to repeat them, she was using words that Scarlet and Tia hadn’t heard or used before, to say that they were impressed by the usually calm was an understatement. Scarlet was looking for a way out, any way out would be perfect at the moment. She spotted one at the top right hand corner of the room, it was an air vent, a tight squeeze, but at the moment it looked better than being shoot.
“Nuh-uh!” Chris balked as first Jasmine, Amber and Joseph were boosted into the small opening “I don’t do small spaces.”
A gun shoot was heard in the hallway as Scarlet squeezed her black clad body in the metal casing.
“It’s not that small!” Chris said, changing his tone as he remembered what the situation was, hoping into his sister’s hands and jumping for it.
“You’re next.” Tia whispered, flinching as another shoot echoed through the hall.
“No, you won’t be able to make it up there without me.” Alex told her “Look, I’ll boost you up and then I’ll jump from the broken desk. I’m lighter, I can make it.”
The pride in Tia protested, insisting she let Alex go first, but the realist in her knew what Alex was saying was true, and the smartest and fastest way.
“You better come up.” Tia said, as she allowed him to take her weight as she went into the air vent.
“I will.” Alex told her. His voice was barely heard as she followed the tracks left in the dust by her friends, it was nothing like the spy movies the walls were close together and covered in grime, it was also darker than she thought possible. Still she continued until she felt a hand on her ankle.
Looking behind her, she saw that it was Alex. He was crawling behind her and put his hands on her ankles to show that he did up come up. It wasn’t long before Tia started to fall headlong out of a sudden opening.
“Whoa… slow down there cow girl.” Chris laughed, catching her by the shoulders and lowering her down to the ground, without grace of course he did have flip her around so she wasn’t on her head. They had somehow made their way into another closet.
“So many closets in one place.” Scarlet growled, wiping the dust off her black clothing.
“How on earth did we get in here?” Alex asked, sticking his head out of the hole in the ceiling.
“Slide out.” Tia said, motioning for him to fall into her and Chris’ waiting arms.
“It’s like a water slide without water.” Jasmine giggled.
Alex shrugging at Jasmine and shaking his head, pushed himself down and into his neighbour’s waiting arms. Once on solid ground again, Alex didn’t talk, in fact, none of them did, they stood listening. The echoes of shots could still be heard radiating from the air ducts.
“Now might be a good time to run for it.” Chris said, not really sure if they should leave or not.
“I’m going!” Joseph said, before anyone could stop him, he was out of the room and running down the hall, slamming the door behind him. The scooting stopped as screams filled the air. Chris locked the door behind him, knowing that moment was lost, and if they tried anything they’ll just be injured, thanks to one Joseph Austin Warren.
“Hahahahaha. Out of the frying pan and into the fire!” Jasmine laughed “I want bacon!”
“Sweetie you always want bacon, when we get out of this your brother’s getting a punch in the face.” Amber said.
When Jasmine said that, closet door burst opened, causing all everyone in the room to scream. Tia pulling Alex behind her, Amber pulling Jasmine behind her and Chris doing the same for Scarlet, the three forming a wall between their friends and the open door.
“Kids, come on.” The police officer said, motioning them to follow his team “It’s okay, we’re police officers, we’re here to get you out and it’s going to be alright.”
They looked at each other than at the officers, deciding that it was safer to follow them then to stay here, following them out, they become instantly surrounded by them, it was like a human shield of black clothes man.
Soon, they were out of the school building where medial stuff checked them over for injuries and they were questioned. Alex told them that it was his dad and he was deranged and in need of mental help.
“How old are you?” The officer in charged asked “Do you have a way of getting hold of your mother.”
“I’m seventeen.” Alex answered, a hand going through his dust and grim covered hair “My mum’s dead.”
“He’s staying with us.” Tia informed them, her arm going over Alex’s shoulder.
“Well sweetie, that’s all well and good, but I need his legal guardian or he has to go to social services.” The officer replied, he was tired and it was a long day… already.
“Tia! Chris!” Robert and Lily yelled, rushing over to embrace their children.
“Oh, Alex!” Lily cried, pulling Alex into the embrace as well “I’m so happy you kids aren’t hurt.”
“Dad… mum, they’re trying to take Alex away.” Chris said, tugging on his dad sleeve while he pointed to the officer in question.
“I can’t release him to, but his legal guardian.” The officer restated rubbing his eyes.
“We’re just waiting on the official papers.” Robert assured the man in his deep reassuring voice that was always a bit too loud “However, since it’s his father in question and he is of the age of consent, Alex can technically be released if he can prove that he will be looked after by legal adults. We’re the legal adults in question.”
“Whatever” The officer said “I have other things I need to be doing other than babysitting. I don’t care, take him.”
Lily hugged Alex again when the officer walked away.
“I hope that okay with sweetie.” Lily said, taking a step back as Tia stood next to Alex putting her arm back over his shoulder “We were going to ask you before anything become final, and Robert was lying, we haven’t cleared any papers… yet.”
“But… you want to become my guardians?” Alex asked he started to lean into Tia’s side unconsciously searching for some form of comfort and stability.
“If you let us, then yes we would.” Lily said a shy smile on her face.
“We’ll talk about it another time.” Robert said sensing that Alex was quickly becoming overwhelmed “It’s been an emotional and mentally exhausting day… how about we all just go home?”
Everyone was in agreement, wounding their way through the sea of people, finally making it to Lily’s grey sedan. Alex, Tia and Chris sat in the back, Alex in the middle, who stared at his hands for the whole drive.
When they did get to the Peterson’s house, Alex went to his room, took a shower and changed into baggy sweats and a green hoody, leaving his hair to dry in the wind. Now knowing what to do and really needing to think, he went outside and climbed up to his tree house.