The rain poured down over the Lohmiller Theater one dark Friday night. The adjoining high school was completely dark; even the night custodians had gone home. The only lights on in the building were in the backstage area of the theater, a large rehearsal room that also stood as the choir room, a long, hallway-like room that served as a workshop, two dressing rooms, and a storage loft. Even though the lights were on, all of the tools abandoned, sitting on the floor, piled on the work benches. The large garage door leading to outside was wide open, despite the rain, and outside, five high-school stage crewers were dancing in the rain. Their shoes were piled by the open door, with their socks cast right and left.
As they danced, they knew that, once you had danced barefoot in the pouring rain with your face turned towards heaven, you truly knew what it was like to be free. There was Katie Barns, the all-around know-it-all and Little Miss Perfect. Aaron Penn was the sound technician and general math genius. Linette Vandergraff was the "pretty face of the group," and had no real skill; she just sat there and tried to make the boys drool over her, especially Peter Gallant. Peter was the all-around genius. Tall and thin, with whimsical, wiry hair, he was the guy that everyone wanted to be friends with. He was stage manager and lighting technician, and everyone loved him.
Finally, there was Sierra Lujayn. She specialized in various little tasks, like painting, but her main skill was foam sculpture. In the past couple of years she had created everything from stone-like moldings for the front of a set of steps to a giant golden harp and a replica of a statue of a Greek philosopher. Rather short and a little pudgy, she was the scapegoat of this group of veterans, because she generally worked alone. While revered by the freshmen of the crew, the only veteran that would even give her the time of day was Peter. She desperately wanted to get to know Peter better, and she despised Linette for constantly fawning over him.
When they came back inside, soaked from head-to-toe, they slipped their shoes and socks back on and went back to work. Sierra picked up her foam file and began smoothing the ornate moldings that she had been carving for Dracula's castle. She was smiling at her own folly, for they would only have to crumble the foam to age it, when the file dropped from her hand and landed on the ground with a clatter. Sierra followed it to the floor with a thud just as Peter looked back at her. He rushed over to her and cradled her head in his hands, shouting her name. When she didn't answer, he screamed for Aaron to call an ambulance.
He checked for a pulse and breathing, and found that they were extremely weak. As he checked her breathing, he discovered a set of black metal tags that hung on a chain around her neck, like dog tags. He quickly took out his cell phone and phoned the first number on the tag, her parents. He explained what had happened, and her parents bid him to call the next number on the tags. This one had no label. After only two rings, someone picked up. "Hello? What is your emergency?" answered a light, misty female voice on the other end.
"There's a girl here. Her name is Sierra, and she just collapsed. She has a pulse and is breathing, but she won't wake up, and they're really weak," he replied as calmly as he could.
"Thank you. Have you already called 911?'
"Yes. They said they're on their way."
"Sir, can I get your name?"
"It's Peter. Peter Gallant."
"Thank you, Peter. Help is on the way," and with that, the connection closed with a click. Confused, Peter realized that they hadn't even asked where they were. Hearing the ambulance, he turned to look out of the garage door just in time to be blinded by the flashing red and white lights of the ambulance. Two EMTs rushed in with the gurney. With just one glance a the black tags on Sierra's chest, they took a set of vitals as fast as they could, and loaded her onto the gurney. As they loaded her into the ambulance, Peter begged to go with, as she was considered his charge while she was backstage, but the EMTs slammed the doors behind them and sped away. Peter stood in the doorway feeling lost as he watched the flashing lights on the ambulance reflect back, distorted in the puddles that covered the rain-drenched parking lot.