Tensions were clearly high, mine included… it was a scary situation. Not because of the creatures necessarily, but because… of us. We were all scared, so scared we shouted everything, disagreed and agreed with anything.
I especially felt awful for mistreating Carson and Hannah… despite my true feelings for him, now was not the time to act childish…
I walked over to the bench Carson was residing at and sat next to him. He didn’t notice; he was too busy saying something to Hannah, who rested her head on his shoulder.
“Uh… hey,” I began innocently. His head snapped towards me as though I just caught him shoplifting.
“Need something?” he asked, business-like, practically devoid of emotion.
I sighed. This was hard to do, given our history. “I… I am sorry, Carson. I shouldn’t have exploded on you.”
For once in our lives, he smiled at something I said. “It’s fine. No need to host a rivalry when zombies are after us. Am I right?”
I nodded, then stood up to leave. Beforehand, Carson leaned in and whispered, “Just stay the hell away from us. Clear?” He seemed to enjoy using the word.
All I could do was laugh and utter a simple “So much for no rivalry.” I went back to my corner of the room, where Trent sat on a bench, staring at a wall of lockers. I sat next to him and looked at his face, which appeared thoughtful.
He was shy. He never really liked that many people, and people really didn’t like him. I wasn’t sure what was going through his head, but I guessed it was the fact that he was thrown into a group-work situation he wasn’t accustomed to.
“Is it wrong,” he suddenly said, “for me to hope this whole scenario ends up making my parents resolve their differences because their child almost died? Is that… selfish of me?”
It was as though a personal blow had struck me. He was such an innocent teenager… just like the rest of us, in the grand scheme of things. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I just embraced the silence that followed.
“No homework at least,” Steven said, giving off a little laugh. Nobody else reacted.
Finally, I heard Maria of all people speak up.
“I say we make a pact now… that we are a group. That we look after each other and we stay together. We don’t betray or abandon.”
It was an important statement, and the gravity of her words began to sink in. We were in a survivor situation… we were possibly the only ones left. We were a group of lucky soldiers that avoided getting killed by the enemy.
“Dang zombies won’t take all of us!” Michael stated suddenly. “I’m in!”
Carson glanced at me. “We’re probably all that’s left. I’m in.”
“I’m in,” Hannah said.
The rest of the group murmured their agreements afterwards, creating a newfound air of optimism and determination. It was nothing but a symbolic gesture, but it felt good to say it; it brought forth a strong sense of comradery.
“Union of the Damned, huh. Guess we’re stuck together,” Harry nodded.
“So long as we get a good plan going,” Burt commented.
“Well… what is that plan?” Hannah asked.
“Get survivors or look after ourselves,” Steven replied, nodding.
“There’s too many of them and too few of us. I see no problem with trying to get others.” Carson said.
Hannah looked at me as though she was waiting for me to object. I didn’t match her gaze and remained silent. I allowed the rest of the group to make the decision.
“There’s a back door in the janitor’s closet up the hall,” Burt said. “If we go through there, we can loop around outside and reenter the school using the entrance to the chorus room in the secondary entrance to the school.”
“Wait, wait, wait, hold up,” Michael protested. “If we can get outside, let’s make a break for it then!”
“No,” Trent said. “There might be other students still inside here. We’ve got to try.”
“What happened to looking after our own?!” Michael countered, getting into hysterics. “Let’s not forget that those things are lethal! Why don’t we go and get firepower or something, call in the military, something?”
Maria scoffed. “I see you’re looking for government help now, Mr. Conspiracy.”
“Don’t start anything,” Geoff glared at her.
“No, it’s fine, let the bitch go on and say what she—“
“You insult my sister again and I won’t let you get away with it,” Geoff said coldly, standing as still as a statue.
“Michael’s right!” Steven responded, backing up his friend. “They can bring in actual support. We’re high schoolers. We don’t have training with weaponry, nor do we have the means to get any other than that.”
“Zombies are science fiction!” Geoff rebuked. “Therein lies the issue. If we do manage to make a call to the local police or the United States military, would they believe us? Do we even know if our phones are working?”
“We do now,” Rachel said, holding up her phone. There was no signal. “I tested it. We’re on our own.”
This recent development hurt moral further. With communications severed, there was truly no outside help to be gained in this scenario. For the time being, at least, the beings around me were the only contacts left in the school.
Michael walked towards the exit of the football lockers. “Well. I suggest we go. You guys go ahead and look for other survivors… but I’m sorry, I cannot stand this. We are surrounded by the INFECTED! The LIVING DEAD!” He gave off a nervous laugh. “And they said it was only for video games.”
“Come with us,” Hannah said. “We’ll go to the janitor’s room. You can feel free to leave. But before that time you stick with us.”
“Come on, Michael,” Steven pleaded with him. “Rachel showed us. We’re on our own.”
For a time, that was the scene; everyone standing up lopsided circle with Michael hanging out by the door.
“Fine,” he finally said. “We’ll go.”
“Yeah!” Steven roared. With everyone’s minds set, he ran to the door and opened it and raced out of the boy’s locker room. The rest of us tailed behind, no longer desiring to rest now that momentum was on our side
We quickly remembered the situation we were in and slowed down, making our footsteps quiet. Steven, at the front of the pack currently, peaked his head around the corner.
“Nothing,” he said, motioning for us to come out.
It was a relief to see the zombies hadn’t reached the gym or the locker rooms yet. We continued on without trouble.
Burt ran ahead and yanked open a door near the end of the hall. “Through here,” he said, motioning for everyone to head inside. At the end of the room was a door leading outside as Burt had said.
“Here we are. This takes us to the side lot. Take a right, and we enter the chorus room,” he stated. He looked behind at the rest of us. “Now can we agree to be civil and remain as a unit?” From then on, it seemed as though Burt was the group leader; being a quarterback, he seemed to fit the position like a glove.
Maria stepped forward. “I’m sorry… I’m just—“
“We all are,” Rachel said simply, guessing Maria’s words. For now, the inter-party conflicts had ended.
Michael gestured to the door. “Why don’t you do us the honors,” he said, a small smile on his face.
Maria continued to the door as our muscles tensed in anticipation. Then… everything came tumbling down.
“This thing,” she said while trying to pry the door open, “won’t open up.”
“Maybe it’s just stuck, try harder,” I said.
“Let me try,” Carson said. He pulled as hard as he could, but even for someone of his strength the door wouldn’t give in.
“How?” Carson said breathlessly.
Geoff walked over to the door and pointed at something. “There’s some sort of white substance holding this door together from the outside,” he said.
“We’re boxed in!?” Michael shouted.
Burt pounded his fist on the wall. “Damnit!” he said. “The only other way to the band room would be through-“
“The cafeteria,” I muttered, cutting him off.
Harry shook his head. “No way are we going through there” he said. “It’s zombie central!”
“Could they already be outside of the building?” Maria exclaimed, visibly alarmed. Her cry went unnoticed.
“Then what do we do now?” I asked. “If this door is blocked…all of the other exits might be as well. Maybe even the windows.”
“Let’s try the other door at the other end of the hall,” Steven said, racing out of the room with us following behind. Burt tried to open the door, but this one refused to open as well.
“There’s more slime on here,” he said. “Damn it!”
“Help me!” Rachel called out. She was trying to grab the handle of the only window in the gym area. Harry ran over and gave her a boost. She got hold of the handle, but was unable to open the window. “The windows are sealed too…” she whispered, defeat in her voice.
“That’s not possible!” Geoff cried.
“The windows are sealed, the doors are sealed!” Michael shouted.
“We’re trapped,” Hannah said.