It had been drummed into us so many times, I remembered immediately.
Whatever happens, just carry on. Whatever you do, keep going.
So while others froze, gripped each other's arms as they jumped and uttered little squeals of shock, I kept moving to the spot marked clearly on the floor of the dark expanse of space. A few others had the same idea, and we stood ready. But the music we had heard so often we could've sung it upside down, never began, and someone grabbed my arm, dragging me forcefully from the stage and back into the wings.
"Are you an idiot?" shouted a familiar voice in the darkness. Suddenly being quiet was no longer an issue. Everyone was panicking as the bells rang incessantly. "Are you deaf?"
I said nothing, too confused to speak. I found myself moving with the crowd of the tiniest kids to huge burly men, still firmly attatched to whoever had dragged me back. Then, I found my voice.
"Hey, what's happening? Where's the fire?" I shouted over the din.
There was no answer. But we kept on moving, edging slowly behind the back curtain like gridlocked traffic, in what seemed to me to be completely the wrong direction. We were moving even further into the building, back up the stairs, to the dressing rooms.
"Where's the fire!" I repeated.
This time, I got an answer. The woman grabbing my hand to keep me close stopped and said urgently, "There isn't one," and kept moving.
"No fire? Then what's the siren for..." but my voice trailed off, completely lost in the commotion.