A few moments of silence followed in which I swear the beating of my heart could be heard by everyone in the room. It was broken off suddenly by Ellis' laughter. I could only stare at him with a bewildered expression that roughly matched Tom's.
'Monsters?' he scoffed. 'Are you all high? It's probably just a drunken homeless guy.'
'Ellis you idiot,' Tom hissed. 'There were about half a dozen. And they were broken.'
'Broken?' Zaire raised an eyebrow.
'Yes, broken. Are you fucking delinquent?'
'Hey,' I murmured, casting a furtive glance at Zaire. 'Don't talk to him like that. I saw the same thing you did. I wouldn't say broken so much as...injured. Or seriously ill. Do you think we should call an ambulance?' I had calmed down now and was beginning to feel embarrassed at my hysterical outburst.
'Or Alcoholics Anonymous?' Ellis shrugged.
'This isn't the time for jokes,' I said. 'This is serious. Where the hell is that woman anyway? I'm pretty sure she should have gotten her coffee by now.'
'Maybe she got taken by the mysterious homeless guys.'
'Ellis do you wanna see for yourself?' Despite the fact that I had tried so hard to prevent Tom from taking a look outside, I now wanted Ellis to, just so he would see how serious the situation was.
'Okay,' he said nonchalantly. In one fluid motion he grabbed the corner of the blind and jerked it upwards, exposing us all.
I braced myself for the horrors of what I had seen.
'There's no one there,' Tom cried out.
'Yeah thanks for the update.' Ellis rolled his eyes.
I stumbled forward, grabbing the windowsill and pressing my forehead close to the pane. The darkness out in the courtyard was almost overwhelmingly terrifying; any moment I was expecting one of the faces to materialize and attack us all. But the shadows remained desolate, devoid of any creatures.
'Where have they gone?' I whispered, my stomach dropping as I already figured out answer.
A strangled scream from the hallway confirmed my suspicions.
'LOCK THE DOOR!' Isobel yelled.
The shock of hearing Isobel cry out like that froze us all for a few short seconds, until I forced my legs to work and flung myself against the door just as it began to creak open. A slow, methodic thumping ensued immediately and the most empty, haunted groan I had ever heard sounded in the hallway. Something was forcing itself against the wooden door, each pound seemed to vibrate throughout my body, clenching an ice-cold fist of pure terror deep in my stomach.
'A little help wouldn't go amiss,' I gasped desperately. Everybody moved into action as I planted my feet and hands firmly on the ground, my spine digging into the door with the pressure I was exerting.
'What the HELL is going on?' For the first time, Ellis looked scared.
'Who do you think screamed like that?' Tom questioned, the muscles in his arms flexing as he helped barricade the door.
'I don't want to say, but I think it may have been our beloved detention teacher,' Ellis replied with trembling lips.
'Shouldn't we go help her?'
'There's no helping her now,' Zaire said quietly, his eyes fixed at some point across the room. He sank to the floor beside me. 'She's already gone.'