The Event is a novel where the world ends. All in a moment, natural disasters take over the world and destroy all of human life and much of animal life. But, Death's game wasn't complete yet. At Lorbeer Middle School, around 40 kids survive and fight each other for survival in the newer, tech-savvy world while realizing who they truly are and who they can trust. Death is playing with them all and having fun seeing past, present, and future collide in the lives of teenagers.
“We want this to be a fair game, and I hope you understand the rules.” said Mr. Blair. We were going through the regular routine in Period 6, about to play dodge ball in the rusted bricks of the gym. I was sitting on the bleachers against the wall, legs spread out in front of me, day-dreaming. I was still in my gym shorts, not even close to guessing what was about to happen. I smelled the faint scent of a mix of sweat and perfume, and it was nauseating. It was a major reason why I wasn’t the social butterfly I usually am, the headache was simply destroying my sense to think and try to act normal. The gym was never the most attractive place, and I felt restricted in the array of messy, rusted bricks covered with old gum. The ceiling was the most interesting part of the gym, I noted. There were bars in odd positions like abstract art.
My mind drifted onto what would happen if an earthquake was to happen with this interesting display of unorganized poles. A memory of something Mr. Blair had said a while ago popped into my head. It wasn't a quote, but something along the lines of what he said, since I take what people say into my own understanding. He said that if the earthquake was to occur, the gym would be one of the most unsafe places to be in the school, and I could guess why. I wondered how we would all get out if we followed the organized procedure full of waiting patiently in a line. My mind secluded that thought, not wanting to think about getting buried by an earthquake that would probably destroy and bury me, never to be alive seeing the blue skies again.
Suddenly, a rumble ripped through the ground and I felt myself vibrating up and down on the bleachers, causing pain and I wasn't ready for the impact. I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. Throughout all of the disaster drills I’ve been through and goofed around in, I was lost because I never believed in them.
"Down! Down!" I heard Mr. Nickels shout. The bleachers started to collapse and I ran off before I was to be buried from the drastic falling of the bleachers. I ran and jumped for my life. At this moment, I didn't care if I received a detention or not because of my running away from danger. I didn't care about the trouble I was going to get into, but I was scared. I had to get out and get my writing equipment, or suffer a claustrophobic death. Lots of the people on the bleachers were panicking by screaming and running around, unsure of what to do. The teachers continued to yell for the students to get down. The world seemed to blur around me and I knew I had a target to reach. I had to get out, if I died trying.
I ran for it, silent as a mouse, probably the only person in the room with a clear goal in mind. My mind thought at warp speed, and through my peripheral vision, I saw the various numbers of people trying to do something about the earthquake and the rumbling ground causing the world to seem like it's ending. I ran towards the locker rooms, knowing I had to get my stuff. I didn't dare to open my locker and get my better pair of shoes, but luckily, I had my uniforms in my backpack because it was Monday, and I rarely changed back into uniforms on Monday, trying to save time.
The building was starting to collapse and my geometry book was heaving me down. I didn't have enough time to stop and get the geometry book out, so I kept running. The stairs felt shaky, and the roof above was about to collapse on me. My only goal right now was to make it up the stairs, but then it collapsed, losing me a couple of valuable seconds. I scrambled up the stairs, and tripped down, landing on my butt, but safe.
The earthquake was over. I sat for a few minutes, breathing, and thinking about how dumb I was risking my own life for my stuff. I had my favorite pen, my cell phone, my most important writing, and books full of useless junk. I lived for my writing, and I don't think I would be able to live without it. I was scolding myself for being so irrational, but the realization I was alive hit me.
Still at school in my comfort zone, I talked to myself again. "Oh well, I'm still alive. That's all that matters." I tried to stand, but was knocked back by my backpack. I took it off and examined the problem. The strap was stuck under the rubble of the remains of the overhead. I tried to yank it out, but the pressure from the rock was too intense to pull out. I ruined my perfect backpack, and got out my scissors. There was no other option that was reasonable, and cutting off a part of my backpack wasn't that bad. I could guess what my family would say about cutting off a part of my backpack. They would say how dumb I was at the time to want to cut off a part of my backpack to get it out, but would include nothing about the near-death situation I had.
I got up, and realized how heavy my pack was. I emptied out the useless contents of the backpack, not caring what the school would say to careless stripping of items. I just wanted to find someone and know that no one was hurt. My backpack felt light and unnatural with only my writing notebooks and utensils within. I grabbed my phone out of my contact and was going to call 911, when it said I had no service. I walked around a bit, and still nothing. Lorbeer had always had great service, and I guessed the tower had been damaged in the effect of the most massive earthquake I've been through. I guessed the core was nearby, maybe even a mile away. I was devastated at the thought I would have to survive a couple of weeks, maybe even months without my cell phone service.
I shoved the phone back into my backpack and finally thought about looking at my surroundings for the effect of the earthquake. The ground was tattered and made peculiar crunching noises. It was ripped apart and chopped into little, uneven pieces, leaving instability and the chance to sink in and become bloody. I took more cautious steps, and heard a sinking sound behind me. I hurriedly stepped behind and saw my geometry book sinking beneath the rubble, and ran away, scared. I looked for a sanctuary from the dangers of the unstable ground. But with every step I took, the crunching noises continued. I finally decided to stand in place and continue with the task I was with before. I saw the sky, surprisingly gray contrasting the blue from this morning, almost as if the sun were scared and hiding like I was through the scared and jagged movements. A horrendous smell of blood entered my nose and I wondered if that was mine. I hadn't even looked over myself since the start of the earthquake! I touched my face and felt a stinging sensation and yelped with pain. It wasn't a bad injury as if I would die from it, but it hurt when my dirty hand touched it. The rush of adrenaline started to fade and the pain from my head was felt with the beat of my heart. It was bearable, so I ignored it.
My eyes drifted to the gym, my hands on my knees in a resting position. The sky lightly thundered as if it was looking for who was alive, like me. The thundering clouds became a companion to have company with. "Hello up there!" I said, trying to find some sanity within this. I speculated the gym with the clouds. The ceiling had been pushed in, except or a little part in the corner which stood like a tower against the scene. The sides had been pushed out and created a crude, climvable, and incomplete pyramid.
I jogged over, hoping to see some trails of where the class had gone, hoping not to get in trouble for leaving the pack. My tattered shoes weren't very effective when the world beneath me could rip my skin apart like piranhas just waiting to eat me, but I'd have to deal with them because my newer shoes lay underneath the rubble I came out of a couple minutes ago. I clumsily climbed up the pyramids and jumped to the edge of what was left in the main component of the gym. My fingers scraped agains the dry concrete, but I was able to pull myself up until my elbows were being scraped instead and my view of the horrible scene was better.
I was shocked by the disaster of the scene. What was the roof and ceiling fell worse than I thought. If you had been under those remains, you might be alive, but there was no chance of escape with the caving in and numerous layers of rock between you and sunlight. There were already bools of blood, and I wondered how many people got out and how many were left behind.
Then, I saw Sofia and Alexia huddled in the corner, below the standing tower. I wanted so badly to tell them to run anywhere due to the probability of the tower collapsing at any second and squishing them like bugs, but my voice failed. Seconds later, I took up the courage to belt it out and I shrieked at them to run, my voice cracking, but at the same time, the sky thundered along with me. The clouds were a dangerous companion, causing the tower of broken bricks to waver. They heard me and looked towards me, trying to figure out what I was saying, but they were a second too slow. The tower stopped wavering and gave up, falling on Sofia and Alexia. Their faces looked up at the noise, and that was the last I saw of them. The top of the tower, the only piece of ceiling still holding up, fell on them too. The impact it made with the ground caused it to split it in half, as if the lids of their coffins. The fresh blood trickled through the crack, and my elbows gave way. I held onto the edge of the weak wall with the tips of my fingers and tried to gracefully land on the uneven rubble, but failed the task. I had to wail my arms around to regain balance and carefully stepped down.
My thoughts were fogged with the realism of the death that occurred in front of me. The pessimist inside of me wanted to know who had died, other than the two I saw. I felt like we were on a reality TV show, and this was all a lie and I was putting on a fake show. I wanted it to so badly seem true, but the essence of it was too unrealistic to hope for.
Still in my gym shorts though a sharp wind pushed against me, I paced in the open. The crunching noises continued under my feet, and I gave up and got used to it. My mind looked back to the emergency drill we had a month ago. We walked to the field, I recalled. I looked towards the field, but all I saw was tattered ground and a small hill made by a wave from the earthquake. If there was nobody there, what was I supposed to think?
My thought was interrupted by a coughing a bit further away in the basketball courts. I jogged over, expecting to see the entire school or at least 6th Period P.E. But instead, there was an estimate of twenty kids, all in gym shorts except for one girl in sweats and bright, white Elite Runner shirt.
I sprinted towards the group, starting to recognize the faces of people I knew and often spoke to. There were fifteen faces in total, even less than my estimate with faces like Joseph, Megan, Kaitlyn, Ngoc, and more. The fact they were all my friends was oddly peculiar.
I ran to them, breathless. "Where is the rest of P.E.?"
"I don't know." said Kaitlyn, first.
"They probably went out through the front entrance," said Jacob.
"But there's no one at the field." I said.
"No. That's impossible," said Megan, lifting her head. "But we've been here for over ten minutes!" She was in disbelief like the rest of the group.
"What happened to the school then?" posed Ngoc, slowly.
"Firstly, why are you guys here?" I asked, confused.
"Well, let me explain." said Kylie. "Megan saw you run out and she followed you, but went out through the wrong entrance. With her came a lot of us, and then the rest of us just followed each other, lost you, and waited here."
I nodded, thinking about how weird that was. They ditched the earthquake to see me? A loud cackle sounding like a fire lifted in my ears. "Do you hear that...?" I asked, turning my head in the direction of the noise.
"What's happening?" asked Gillian.
"I don't know, but I think we should find out." said McKenna, sprinting towards the direction of the fire. We followed her, leading towards the back of the main building and the portables. The portables were on fire! The fire was spreading quickly, and I didn't know what to do.
"I don't have service." said Megan. "Does anyone have service?!"
I quickly shook my head and looked at the others. Nothing at all was coming from numerous carriers. I bit my lip, thinking about what we should do. "We can't call the cops, we have no idea where the rest of the school is, could this get any worse?!" I stepped away from the group, scratching my head. Someone else had to be in the school. I couldn't be the only one who ditched the crowd from being so scared.
"We need to get somewhere safe and wait for others." said Joseph.
"Shouldn't we look around the school some more?" asked Danielle.
"I don't know who to agree with. You're both right in your own ways. Let's take a vote." I said. "Raise your hand if you want to wait for survivors when someone could need our help." A few people raised their hands cautiously, not wanting to be the odd one out.
"Okay... Raise your hand if you want to go see if we can find survivors, risking our own lives." I said. The majority of the group raised their hands in this case, not hesitating a bit. I could tell they didn't think anything bad was going to happen, but they didn't see Sofia and Alexia die right before their eyes.
"Come on!" said Megan, dragging me into the flames. I was scared out of my mind and tried to pull her back, but she wouldn't budge. We quickly split up and took a row for each group. I regretted to get the row where both of my math teachers were, scared of what was going to happen. Megan buzzed in each of the three rooms, scared at the amount of blood from the remains. The building wasn't standing, but since Megan and I were skinny, we could squeeze in to see anything.
We were the first ones out of the flame, sweating like crazy and dusting the ash off of our clothes. Within minutes, the rest of the groups came back, but the last group back, nearly 10 minutes later, only came with one person.
"What happened?!" I asked quickly, wondering where McKenna was.
"She...” started Jacob, ”She's gone. She went into the flames to find out what happened to someone she loved, and got engulfed when the ceiling fell. I tried to help her, but I would die myself so I came back." He was hesitant about his answer sounding overwhelmed with a death occurring right under his nose. I knew how he felt, so I gulped and let the topic get lost through the wind.
"We need to get away from the fire. There's no way we can stop it. Hopefully, someone will see and alert the fire department, but we have to check the building." I said.
"There's not much to check in there..." said Kylie, taking down the fact that McKenna was gone too.
"We have to try. We should check the quad entrance first. Music has the highest chance of getting out. If we can help, we'd better hurry." said Isobel, jogging up the broken hill. We followed her and I was one of the first to go inside of the remains of the building. The earthquake had a huge effect on the hill, making it flat and hard to climb. Tirelessly, I tried. The adrenaline of my friends within the building pushed me to go on, though I could barely do anything with my lack of athletic ability, logic, or leadership skills.
Clumsiness entered my nerves and I started to trip at every step. It took so much longer than it would have to reach the top. I envied those who got up early, but at the same time, was scared about what we'd find.
Finally reaching the top of the hill, we examined the remains of the building. The horrid sight scared me. The top floor had crashed into the bottom floor, making it impossible for anyone who was in the bottom to get out unless you got out very early. Either way, even with the bricks grinding against each other and making very white and ashy smoke, we had to go try and save people.
A crude cylinder was an easy entrance to reach, but I moaned, knowing I would hurt myself even more. I allowed others with more bravery, like Megan, to head on in first. I couldn't hold it off any longer and slid in, yelling about the pain and instantly having a coughing spasm with the lack of air inside of here.
"Come on! The music room may have some people who need help!" said Pablo. Some of us followed while some of the braver ones went on deeper. I worried intensely for them, but cowardly as I was, I couldn't bring myself to honorably go with them.
Walking blindly into the music room, I tried not to step on anything that seemed... fragile. It couldn't be helped, and I think I broke a couple of bones on already dead bodies. Suddenly hit by a backpack and hearing the voice of Jordan murmur something like, "Sorry; We're on a rescue mission. Onwards!" I was knocked back. I heard a small squeak and I realized I was sitting on someone.
Quickly, I got up to help whoever it was and apologize, when I saw the face. Alyssa was looking sooty and dark. Her glasses were broken and barely on. Then again, we were talking about Alyssa. I merely kicked the cellos off of her, pulled her up and walked away. I couldn't have a conversation with her, not now.
For the next hour or so until my coughing got so bad, I felt like giving up on life itself, I checked for life in people (which I was thankfully moderately successful in) and showed them the way out. Those who had ventured down had not come back yet, not that I could do anything about it but worry.
Feeling like death was causing my pain with mucus coming out of my throat, I don't know how I got up the cylinder, but I did successfully. We'd gained many lives to add to the survival, but the rate of the dead to the living was too high for me to want to calculate.
Sitting on the edge of some kind of ruins, I heard something in the distance. Almost as if it was the only sound in the world, it was loud to my ears. Somebody was running this way.
Then, the first aftershock happened.