"Is she okay?"
"What's wrong with her?"
"Has somebody called an ambulance?"
"She's waking up!"
The crowd that had gathered around her limp body breathed a sigh of relief as a girl with light brown hair wearing jeans and a brown sweater slowly opened her eyes. She stared at the ceiling for a moment, apparently confused. The industrial fluorescent lights seemed to throb in her vision. Her ears were ringing. Then she frowned as she scanned the circle of concerned faces surrounding her.
Embarrassed, she sat up with a start, blood rushing to colour her pale cheeks.
"Are you okay?" Someone asked.
The girl on the floor nodded slowly, though she felt a bit lightheaded. Someone offered a hand to help her to her feet.
"I'm fine." She swayed a little, then caught her balance. Her voice sounded faint. She cleared her throat. "Really."
Some people hesitated, unconvinced, but eventually the group dispersed. Relieved, Katherine leaned against the cool brick wall, watching the students bustle past. They seemed to move too fast, like someone had hit fast forward. She couldn't explain it, but it felt like the whole planet was spinning out of control. Katherine thought she might be sick. She closed her eyes, willing herself not to vomit in the middle of the hallway. She had already embarrassed herself enough for one day.
With her eyes closed, the spinning stopped. The sounds of lockers slamming and shouting students faded into the background, until she couldn't hear them at all.
A boy who wasn't watching where he was going bumped into her and apologized, but Katherine's eyes remained closed - she showed no sign that she had noticed.
She recognized the unconscious, dream-like feeling. It brought back the dream she had been having when she'd fainted - the one with the phone in the office. It was strange, even for a dream, to be able to see perfect detail in a room that she had never seen before in her life. Suddenly the floor started to shudder beneath her.
She was underground. It was so hot, it felt like her skin was melting. Katherine screamed. The walls were shaking too. She didn't know where she was, but she knew she would be crushed.
When she opened her eyes she was back in school. Apparently the quake part of her dream had been noticed by everyone. Though it was over now, everyone watched the walls and floor nervously. A couple boys laughed and high-fived one another.
Katherine felt perfectly fine now. Without making eye contact with anyone, she quietly found her locker and collected her books.
She walked home quickly without stopping to look back.