It took me a while to process what my friends had just old me. someone had broken into the house and ate Ian? That was insane. They were just kidding, right? Some sort of sick, cruel joke, right? There was no way cannibals had just happened into Margareta's house during a crisis. Or maybe they were the crisis? Kris pulled herself off the bed, turned off the music and looked at the door. A second later there was a knock, so I hurried over to open it, slipping the key out of my pocket yet again with wildly shaking hands. Margareta and Magenta stood still, watching the door with worried expressions.
Our dorm door swung open, revealing Mrs. Walsh. Behind her, students walked past her, heading for the common room. "Girls, the principal wants to see you in the auditorium."
She turned to leave without an explanation, so I grabbed her arm, annoyed. "Mrs. Walsh! What's going on? C'mon, Margareta just listened to her family dying on her cell phone. What's out there?"
Mrs. Walsh looked at Margareta, surprise obvious on her face. Margareta, reminded of her family's demise, broke out in more fitful sobs. "You ought to come with me, Margareta, and explain this all too principal Pointer."
"Mrs. Walsh," Magenta said slowly. "I was there as well when she made the phone call. I believe Margareta is too distressed right now to explain it again, so may I come along as well?" Kris walked over to my side then.
Our teacher nodded, a pained look plastered on her face. "Yes, of course. Margareta doesn't have to be alone." She allowed Margareta and Magenta to walk past her and wait in the hallway, Magenta's arm over Margareta's shoulder comfortingly. "As for you two," She said, eyes on Kris and me. "You two hafta go to the auditorium, pronto. The principal will explain everything there."
I nodded and watched as she led Margareta and Magenta away, one hand on each of their shoulder. I turned on Kris then. "Kris! You know something, I know you do. You were acting strangely all morning and then I found you on the wall and you told me you were freaking watching the end of the world begin. What the hell is that about?" I wanted answers and I just knew Kris had some. I stared at her, my lips a thin, angry line on my face.
Kris said nothing for what seemed like forever. She slowly edged back over to her bed, took her IPod off her dock and attached it to her headphones. She put her headphones over her neck so that they circled it and tucked her IPod into her blouse pocket. Then she reached for her shoulder bag and threw it over her shoulders. Finally, she turned back to me and said, "Truthfully? I really don't know anything." She walked past me, careful not to skim my shoulder with hers. When she was a few feet out into the hallway, she looked back and called, "Are you coming? You want answers, right? Let's go find them."
Sighing, I nodded and followed her, taking nothing with me. I didn't need anything. We followed a long line of girls that merged with a trail of boys halfway to the auditorium. Someone poked me on the shoulder and I whirled, surprised. Loki, my cousin, looked at my fearful expression and laughed. He stepped up to walk side-by-side with me. "What's wrong, Anna? Afraid the bogey man will getcha?"
I shook my head, annoyed. All around me I heard tearful and scared voices, so why wasn't Loki scared or afraid? Hell if I knew. That was just Loki. He liked to play the macho man who never got scared. Knowing him, he thought that this entire scenario was just a game or something. "Not the bogey man, idiot." I frowned. "I haven't been scared of him since second grade." Leave it to Loki to hold this fear against me.
He bumped my shoulder playfully and I literally almost fell down. He caught me, laughing and asked, "a little jumpy, Annabel?" I wanted to punch him at that moment. I was terrified and Loki wasn't making it any better. I saw Kris look worriedly over her shoulder at me and I knew what she was thinking. Loki always made fun of me and usually Kris would get in the way. Kris slowed down so that she was then walking on my other side, giving my cousin the stink eye. He noticed her and gritted his teeth in frustration. "Hello, Kristen." He chirped with a forced smile and a fake tone.
"Loki," Kris replied coldly. Kris hated my cousin. He was entirely to annoying for her tastes and he got on her nerves. Not to mention, he had broke her IPod four years ago at my house when he was visiting. She had to buy a new one with her own allowance after that incident.
We soon reached the auditorium and stepped inside its air-conditioned walls. Kris led me and the tailing Loki down the aisles and into the fifth row of seats. She let me pass her and I sat next to a fifth grade boy with her on my other side. She sat between me and my brat of a cousin. After a couple of minutes of waiting, the principal stood up on stage, whacking his microphone a couple of times to get our attention. Soon, everyone was silent, waiting for answers. "I know this may come as an enormous shock to some of you, but we are under attack."
Under attack? From enemy countries? What did "under attack" mean exactly? I heard dozens of voices yell for more information and cry out. Kris sat still beside me, hand on her bag. She was watching some of the people who were sitting behind the principal on stage. With a shock, I realized they were nearly all injured. There were seven of them, all sitting in a row of foldable chairs. There were five boys and two girls. One of the guys had a series of cuts and bruises along his face, actually, all of them had many cuts and bruises. One had his arm in a sling. The sling was dyed partially red and I jumped when I realized he was bleeding heavily. A girl had a similar sling that was also a glossy red color from her blood. They were all hurt and injured. One seemed to have a broken leg and another with a bleeding profusely one. It was horrifying.
The principal was a balding, brunette with small, black eyes and a huge nose. His name was Marshal Wheters. He wore a suit and his shoes were sharp-toed and brown. He got the attention of his students again by whacking his microphone which made a horrible ringing noise throughout the auditorium. "Quiet! Quiet!" he yelled into his amplifier. I had to cover my ears from the pain his voice caused and a lot of others seemed to do so as well. I could see Loki cringing and Kris sitting serenely out of the corner of my eyes. "I will now hand this off to a Mr. Fern Fejet who was there when the… enemy… attacked and managed to escape to our school."
As he said he would, principal Wheters handed the microphone off to a man behind him, the one with the bleeding arm in the sling. He was blonde, but it was hard to tell from all the blood and grime in it. He wore a torn t-shirt and shorts and had sneakers with no socks on. "Hello, kids," His voice reverberated through the auditorium. "Now, don't be alarmed, but we are under attack by something. What, we do no know yet. Nor do we know why or even how. What we do know is that we are safe here because they cannot get in."
That confused me. If we were being attacked by normal people, they could easily scale the walls or break down the mechanical gate that was the entrance to the school grounds.
"What we are being attacked by are things I can only hope to describe. They are cannibalistic monsters." He held up his bleeding arm. "They literally took a fucking chunk out of my arm with their teeth." He paused, letting his words sink in. students screamed and covered their eyes. I looked at Kris, my eyes wide. She looked back at me calmly. "Now, you must think I'm crazy, but I'm not. The six people behind me are also survivors."
Someone raised their hand and called out, "How are we safe in here? It's easy to get in." I looked for the speaker. It was a boy who looked to be a couple years older than I was.
"The ones attacking us are not human," Mr. Fejet said calmly. "They are humanoid but do not seem to be capably of rational thought. They are too stupid to be able to climb into the grounds and they are not near here yet. They are a couple miles away in my town. As we speak, the people in town are being evacuated to this school."
"What town are you from?" someone asked nervously.
"Sugarcoat." Mr. Fejet answered. I paled. That was where Margareta came from. I looked around at the fearful faces in the crowded auditorium. I was surprised there wasn't a ruckus. How could they be so calm? Maybe they were like me, to afraid to act. Wanting to pretend everything was still okay… because that was what I was doing. My subconscious had not yet accepted the fact that something was going on.