It was first period, and I was in Math class. It was really cold because our classroom was an unheated portable, just around the back of the school. It was early December, and everyone was wearing warm coats, scarves and hats. Some were even wearing gloves. We were working on algebra, when Ryan Fields raised his hand.

"Yes Ryan?" Ms. Wilson asked. She was young, funny, and really nice. She made math fun. All the students liked her.

"Umm, I don't understand question twenty three." He replied, quietly. Ryan was the quiet, shy type. He barely ever spoke up, even when he was having trouble. He was kind of geeky, with his big, round glasses and anti-social personality. Ryan didn't have many real friends --- except for chess club, haha --- but because of the way he dressed, I wouldnt think he would at a first glance.

"I'll help you at the end of class, okay Ryan? I am a bit busy at the moment." She said, helping Wei Chu, a new student, on his word problems.

I looked over to see Ryan frown, and continue to draw on his paper. He sat right next to me, so I glanced over at his page. He hadn't even started his work. Why did he say he needed help on question twenty three? He isn't even on question one yet! I thought, confused and irritated with my odd classmate. I looked over at his drawings. He was working like a dog on this one sketch. --- Oh, did I mention how wonderful his sketches are? --- Anyway, it was really detailed. It was of a female, probably in her mid twenties. Light skin, light hair. The face seemed familiar to me, but I had no idea who it could be. I really hate when that happens. You know you've seen someone or something before, but you can't remember where. I didn't want to frustrate myself, so I turned my atention to my work.

I was stuck on the last question, and the bell was soon to ring. I raised my hand, patiently waiting for Ms. Wilson to notice me. A moment later, she looked up from Wei's work to see my hand. Her eyes met mine, her expression was curious and she looked a bit tired. I knew who Ryan was sketching now; it was Ms. Wilson! She smiled and came over to my desk. I noticed Ryan shove the paper in his desk and pretend to work on math. I was really curious to know what Ryan really wanted, and had to act quick to tell her I wanted her help after class.

"Umm.. I don't understand question thirty, but I have some other stuff I have to do for English. Could you maybe explain it to me after class?" I smiled, the smile my friends always called the "Cute and Innocent Joanna Smile". I hoped they were right.

"Yes, sure Joanna. I need help taking down posters from the probability projects anyway. Maybe you and Ryan could help." Ryan was obviously listening-in on our conversation, because he answered her suggestion with a quiet "I'd love to help." (but it sounded more like a mouse's nervous "squeak".)

The bell rang and the class flooded out the door. I was in Ryan's English class next period, so we could just say we had to help Ms. Wilson. Mr. Larkin would understand.

Gotta get textbook out and open to page 267. I said, as I flipped through the hundreds of equation-filled pages. I ran up to Ms. W's desk while Ryan was packing away his sketches.

"This question," I said, pointing to the last one. "Number thirty."

"Oh, yes. It's a tough one." Ms. Wilson started to explain. As soon as she had answered my question, Ryan stumbled up to the desk. He flipped open his text book to the right page and watched Ms. Wilson's face closely --- freakishly, in my opinion --- as she read it to herself. Without looking up at Ryan, she started to explain. I was standing ner the door with my all my books in my arms. Hurry up, I thought. I don't want to be late!

"Okay Ryan. What you do for this is to simply add 7 onto each side, then---" The power went out. It was pitch black. I couldn't even see my own hands in front of me.

"Wha... What just happened?" I asked, nervously.

"Oh, don't you guys worry, it's just a power outage. Won't last too long I don't think." Ms. Wilson said, surprisingly calm. All of a sudden, I heard a big "crash" at the front of the class. I ran up and could barely --- but clearly enough --- see that Ryan was holding a knife to Ms. Wilson's head.

"Oh God! Oh God!" I screamed. I dropped my books on the ground and tried to turn on the intercom. Crap, power's out! I started to panic. What was I supposed to do? I reached over and grapped a metre stick.

"If you hit me, Ms. Wilson goes bye-bye..." I heard Ryan laugh. Was this Ryan Fielding? The same, nerdy kid who was embarassed to ask a question? The google-eyed, chess nerd? I couldn't beleive my ears.

"Please, Ryan, let me go." Ms. Wilson pleaded, still with a calm voice. How can she not panic? Her freaking life's in danger!

"Ryan..." I said, tears starting to flow from my eyes. "Please don't hurt her." I was really scared. Really, really scared.

"What is it? Huh? You wanna be next, you idiot? Go to English. Now. Tell Mr. Larkin I'm helping take down posters." He demanded. "If you tell anyone, you're next Joanna. Get out of here. I'm sure you'd hate to see your poor teacher suffer. Am I right?" He asked, harshly. I didn't want to respond to such a question.

"Are you retarded?" He asked, rudely. "Answer me or I'll dig this knife into her aorta: the major artery in her neck. See? Being smart helps. Especially iun a murder. Now get OUT!" I was freaked out. I collected my books and ran out the classroom door.