Everything plunged into a stillness so intense, it was eerie. The silence was deafening. Each of our heads were turned in the direction of the window, wondering if we had heard correctly. A small part of my mind questioned why I was so apprehensive about the banging; it could just have been some kids messing around, wanting to give us a scare. But it was shrouded out by the majority which was terrified. I had no idea why. Tendrils of fear crept along my spine, the fine hairs on the back of my neck stood on edge and my heart seemed to have picked up the pace, hammering against my chest.
Tom was the first to break the silence. 'What was that?' He repeated Ellis' earlier question with a lot more sobriety in his tone. He appeared to be feeling as keyed up as I was, only he was composing himself a lot better. He stood up and started to head towards the window.
I didn't even have time to stop him before the door crashed open and someone stumbled into the room. My scream caught in my throat, every muscle seemed paralyzed, until I saw who it was. My English teacher.
'Sorry about that, the door got jammed,' she muttered. She glanced up, saw our panic-stricken faces and started laughing. 'Did I scare you?'
It might have been funny for her, seeing five simultaneous horrified faces all staring at her, frozen in fear, but for me it felt like my heart was going to explode out of my body. I sagged against my chair, relieved.
'There's something outside,' Ellis said casually, taking a seat beside me.
The teacher barely heard him as she gathered her bits of paper and resumed her place at the desk. 'Oh?'
'Not something,' I shoot a look at Ellis. 'Someone. Probably just some kids mucking around.'
She seemed to notice I was there for the first time and reached into her bag to get my phone. 'Nice to see you turned up Alex.'
'Well, you know me. Never one to miss detention.'
'Because you're so eager to please aren't you?'
'I just want my phone back.'
'You can get it back. At half past five, when detention is over.'
'I have work tonight, I can't stay.'
'Well then you can collect it tomorrow.'
I frowned at my stubborn, pedantic teacher. She wasn't going to give in and I'd just look stupid if I carried on arguing with her. I heaved a sigh and leaned back in the chair, making myself comfortable.
'Not in a rush for work?' She looked amused at my blatant lie.
'Guess I got the wrong day,' I mumbled, folding my arms like a little kid. Ellis was sniggering beside me, Isobel had resumed her position of earphones in, bent over a book, and Tom and Zaire looked completely uninterested in anything that was going on. Normality had returned.
* * * *
The clock was ticking by so incredibly slowly. Each minute that passed seemed to drag on for hours and it was only when I was getting ready to rip my hair out from sheer and utter boredom that the teacher stood up again. She seemed willing to escape the torture that detention held herself by making coffee breaks every five minutes.
When she left the classroom for the third time in half an hour I let out an almighty groan.
'I'm so bored!!'
'Welcome to detention, Alex.'
'How can you stand to get so many? They'd make me suicidal.'
'You get used to it,' Ellis shrugged. There was a mischievous glint in his eye as he spotted something over my shoulder. I followed his line of vision and noticed my phone lying on the desk. Completely unattended. He did not have to tell me twice.
I grabbed my bag, slung it over my shoulder and strolled over to the desk. Snatching my phone, I waved goodbye at Ellis and headed straight for the door.
Another thud at the window reclaimed my attention.
'Not again,' Ellis sighed, more frustrated than scared this time. 'Those bloody kids. Don't they have anything better to do? Like playing with their Action Men?'
'Silly boy, children don't play with action men anymore. It's all about the video games.' I was feeling arrogant and overconfident from my recent theft with the phone and strode straight over to the window. Everyone was watching me and I was feeling a little proud and brave. Grabbing the edge of the blinds, I yanked it back.
I think I screamed so loud, I must have deafened everyone present in the room. Including myself.
Everyone jumped into action. Ellis sprung up from his seat, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back. Isobel practically fell out of her chair whilst Tom and Zaire were looking at me like I was mentally unstable.
But I couldn't wipe from my mind what I'd just witnessed. There was no chance it was going to happen. And right now I felt like everyone should get the hell out of there.
'What is it?' Ellis urged, trying to calm me down.
'There's...someone...out...there,' I was growing hysterical.
'Alex calm down,' he pulled me into a hug. 'It's probably just some kids messing about, what did you see?' He tried smoothing my hair down but I wriggled out of his grip.
'Ellis please listen to me, we have to leave. Now!'
'For God's sake,' Tom scoffed. He reached one long, brown arm out to the window, never having to leave his seat. I couldn't stop him in time.
I really couldn't.
I watched his face contort in horror as he witnessed the same thing as I had. He didn't scream, just instead making this half strangled-half moaning noise. His green eyes were wide and round, and every single piece of his cocky, brash big-lad facade crumbled away. He looked like a terrified little boy.
By now Isobel, Zaire and Ellis had begun to take us a little more seriously.
'For crying out loud! What is it?'
Tom seemed slightly more coherent than me so he was the one that answered. 'There's...people. Out there. Loads of them. Red eyes, red lips. Bloodied lips... We're surrounded.'
'People?' Zaire spoke for the first time.