A/N: So. Welcome back to After the Storm! I am revising every single word of this story. I got the prologue done a little while ago and didn't want to post it until I had the two chapters under my belt, but I couldn't wait any longer (Chapter 1 is done, though, so hopefully no long hiatuses again). If there is still anybody out there reading, I want to thank you for reading the craptastic version of the first chapter and prologue, and hope this one is a whole lot better for you guys.
You may have noticed I changed the category on this story from Mystery to Young Adult. The story will still have the elements of mystery I intended, it just doesn't have enough to make it the main genre.
Mrs. O'Reilly was a very normal person. She and her husband both had well-paying jobs and lived in the classy, stereotypical suburbs of Everbloom, Florida with their two children, Jenna and Todd. Both children mirrored their parents' successful lives, with numerous awards and Jenna had earned herself a few scholarships to good colleges already.
Normally, this family would not have anything "special" enough about themselves to make a book, or even a short story. But all of their lives would soon be thrown into chaos and thrust them into the epicenter—and that, my friends, is something worthy of a novel.
It was on a bright, shining early November morning that Mrs. O'Reilly just so happened to be sick with a cold that kept her from going to work at the bank where she offered her services. Only a few hours had passed from when she had watched her two children drive off to school in Jenna's clichéd red convertible, and she had since been lying down on her bed, watching TV. Finally, after getting herself to quit worrying about things like bills and dinner, she drifted off to sleep.
A few hours later, the sound of a newscast coming on woke the sick woman from her sleep. When she saw it was about Everbloom High School, the top-notch public school her teenagers went to, her heart clenched in her chest. It's probably just for something good, the mother thought to herself, trying to calm the irrational fear that had taken root in the pit of her stomach. The school has just won another prestigious award, and they want to present it on live television.
"Jeff Winters reporting live from Everbloom High School in Everbloom, Florida, a school with countless praise and admiration," the well-dressed man said solemnly. "But today is not a day for celebration, as a tragedy has just unfolded on campus. Two time bombs, placed in the hearts of the North Wing and South Wing, have gone off in succession to one another. Paramedics, police, and firefighters from all over the state have come to rescue the students and faculty from the aftermath. Though we do not have a confirmed death toll, the numbers are not going to be low."
The horrified woman abruptly shut off her TV and sprung out of bed. Sick or not, these were her children! She couldn't bear the thought of losing one of them, and now there was a possibility that two of the people she loved the most could die today.
Usually, Mrs. O'Reilly would take an hour or so to get ready in the morning, but on this day it only took fifteen minutes for her to become her normal, neat self before she peeled out of the driveway. She knew her husband, who was a firefighter, would already be there, trying to recover the students and adults. There were only two things she continuously prayed about in the car—keep them safe. Please, just let them be alive. The drive to the high school that felt short before seemed to drag on and on now. How many times had she made this commute with her kids when they were only in elementary school? She could still hear the voices of her children in the back seats as she drove, laughing and dreaming out loud of the day they would walk those halls.
Finally, to her relief, Mrs. O'Reilly arrived at the school. She ran the whole block from where she had to park to the building. Though a million different scenarios had ran freely through her mind only moments before, her brain was now in shock from the sight that lay before her eyes.
The spotless two-story high school that was once something the whole town was proud of now laid in black ruins, not one part of the school left standing. A pile of ash remained in its place, still smoldering from the explosion of the bombs. The fearful woman suddenly began to feel a little faint from the worrying and possibilities of walking away from the destruction childless.
"Mary!" a voice called to the left. Mrs. O'Reilly turned and saw Mrs. Trent hurrying towards her, looking like she tried to look decent but somewhat failed in her haste. As the woman got closer, Mary could see her makeup was a little smudged from the tears running down her cheeks.
"Beth, my goodness! Did they find any of our children yet?" Mary inquired. She feared that the tears making trails through her foundation were because one of their children had been discovered dead.
"That's what I'm worried about!" Beth cried. She was known amongst friends as someone who didn't handle bad things very well. "They aren't recovering many bodies, and the ones they have found are dead."
Mrs. O'Reilly refused to accept that Jenna and Todd could become a part of the death count. "Where are the others?" Mary asked, referring to their friends that also had kids in this high school.
"Please, show me where they are," Mary pleaded of her friend. Mrs. Trent took her right up to the caution tape, the farthest people were allowed to go and also where the other parents were standing.
It was so horrible, she almost had to look away. She could not only see the smoldering building from the angle she was viewing the crime scene, but she could also see the place the parents went to claim the bodies, weeping over the corpse of their dead offspring.
They had been waiting worriedly for what seemed like a million years when suddenly, a few firefighters emerged from the underground of black material. But they didn't come out alone.
Every parent whose young one had not been found sucked in a breath, hoping the sooty form was theirs—and was alive. Mary started to pray things similar to the things she had said earlier. Please, God, don't take them from me. I'll never ask for anything again.
Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself. You can't truly experience everything this story has to offer from the third-person view of Mary's side. Instead, let's look, first person, into the mind of a girl who found herself in the middle of the entire calamity. But brace yourselves for the horror, the tragedy, and the tiny flecks of hope that all make this tale on huge roller coaster of things you'd expect from something like this . . .
And some things you won't.