The Third Night
Three days. Three long days they had been confined inside this office. Three days ago, it had been their sanctuary, their place of escape, where they had always been safe.
Now, they were confined by it.
Darkness closed in upon them, the four girls and the one boy. They had no light. They had no heat. All of the lay on the cold tile flooring, curled up against one another, gaining little from the shared body heat. All, save one, were asleep. Their rest was fleeting, light and troubled, but it was rest nonetheless.
The one who wasn't asleep, the youngest of them all as a freshman in the school where they were confined, hadn't slept in days. Every night-or perhaps it was day, they couldn't be sure- she lay awake between the boy and the short, ash blonde junior.
Paranoia had gotten to her. They had no news for three days. They had used their cell phones for as long as they lasted, and the computers until the electricity gave out, along with the heat. They had no news, save for the fact that the entire town had been shut down. The government had called in the military, but they couldn't even enter the town, let alone save it.
So, every night, she lay awake, her eyes scanning the inky darkness.
She jerked as she heard a disturbance out side one of the doors into the office. A hand rapped against the glass three yards in front of her head. She looked up, but it was no use. The percussion instruments that had been stored in the room were pushed up against the door, preventing any sight of the thing behind it. The small pane of glass that had served as their window to the world was now taped over with Spongebob Squarepants wrapping paper.
After a few minutes, the rapping gave way, and she heard the person outside walk down the other door and try that one. Soon, he left, and the girl settled her head carefully against the boy's stomach, and tried, in vain, to sleep.
The first day
The date was February 13th. It had started like any other day at the public high school. Snow was falling in sheets of palest white, but the students merely piled on an extra sweater, knowing that it would eventually stop.
The day went on. Friends were seen, early St. Valentine's wishes (among other things) were exchanged, and when the bells rang, pupils poured out of the classrooms and into the corridors to make their way to their next classes. No one played any mind to the falling snow. After all, this was the northeast. Snow was as much a part of life here as was weekly trips to the grocery store and annoying younger brothers. Not necessarily something you wanted every day, but something you put up with nonetheless.
But, right before the final bell rang, an announcement came on over the loudspeaker. The gravelly voice of the principal told them that all were to report to the auditorium, and that attendance would be taken.
As every student slowly made their way to the second floor, one girl, a freshman with straight brown hair, separated herself from the group as soon as they reached the auditorium. Chaos was already ensuing, and pandemonium and confusion ruled. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a friend waving her over.
"What's going on?" she whispered to the tall Latina opposite her. "I'm not sure," she replied, "But Tony said to see him in the auditorium stairwell."
Making sure their teachers were preoccupied with their other students, the two quietly removed themselves from the fray and made their way east to the stairway.
Off to the edge, walled in with doors on either end, the Music Wing stairs were one of the perfect places to hold a mid-class rendezvous. Banging on the lock so as to let the door open, the Latina opened the door and the quickly closed it behind them.
The boy, Antonio, was already inside the small room, along with four other girls. They all were leaning against the black metal banisters or sitting on the burgundy tiled stairs. Tony didn't wait a second after the last two girls entered before launching into his speech.
The exact words were jumbled and quick, but the simple gist of them was that entire school was snowed in. The school had tried anything and everything: plows, snow blowers, mechanical bobcats, building machines, but the snow was simply falling to fast, getting too high. Besides, he told them, even if they could plow away the snow well enough for cars to go on the roads, the visibility was poor and the ice beneath the snow still posed a threat.
So, the school had decided, that since they couldn't leave, all students were to remain in the school overnight in the auditorium and the gymnasium. They didn't have enough blankets for the three thousand plus student body, but they reasoned that the student's coats, the available heat and electricity, and the 'Tenacity, willpower, and imagination of the students' were enough to keep them warm for the night.
Not a second after he had finished, the girls began to speak.
"That's insane." Whispered a curly haired senior, her back leaned against the wall. "There are too many people, not enough teachers."
"They can barely keep track of a class with thirty students, and they expect them to be able to control One thousand, two thousand?" said the Latina.
The boy's older sister said "Not all of us are going to fit. The gym's crowded when there's only 500 people in it, and they expect to sqeeze four or five hundred in the auditorium? What about all the other people?"
The boy sighed, and then said, "That's my point. There simply isn't going to be enough room so…so we have to find our own place." They all looked uneasily at one another before he started again. "Looked, I talked to Mrs. Scaramella, the choir teacher. She said that she and five other students can stay in the office. That means that the remaining two will have to stay somewhere."
Once again, they all looked at one another. Not only were they snowed into a school where the lunatics who ran it thought that they could squeeze it's population into two rooms, but they were going to not only going to be breaking the rules, but they would be separated while doing it..
One of the girls, one with light blonde hair, asked him if he had told anyone else.
A few others knew, he said. A junior had nicked a set of keys off of her Math B instructor, and was planning to set up camp in a locked up bathroom on the second floor. It was drafty, but large, and a good place for others to seek shelter if they needed it. Another group of kids were planning on staying in the library, sleeping on the couches and chairs that were scattered around it.
"But," he said, "I got Pleascia, the drama teacher to give me his keys for the rehersal space downstairs. It's warm, and impossible to get to or break into unless you have the keys. And I," he said while taking the keys out of his pocket, "Have the only set."