Everyday Average Ordinary
Dick had begun creeping forward in his bare feet. They were pale and clammy after having been trapped in the frigid rainwater from the bathroom. But they were silent, and that's what he cared most about. He crept down the staircases, until they had reached the first floor again. Dick breathed a sigh of relief when he knew they had successfully made the journey back downstairs without being given away.
"Back to the jan—" He began, but was interrupted by a sudden popping. The PA system.
"What time is it?" Kitten murmured from behind him. Dick looked down at his watch. His heart sank.
The PA system continued to pop and sputter, trying to find its voice.
"What time is it?" Kitten asked in a louder, harsher voice.
"Midnight." Dick choked back.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. The high-pitched, ringing squeal of the bell rang out through the hallways. It showered out of the PA system, unusually loud as it echoed through an empty hallway it wasn't used to.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" Kori let out a resounding wail as soon as she heard the bell. It made everyone double over, the tambour shaking their eardrums and shattering their stealth. Everyone turned and looked at her. Her eyes grew wide and she clapped her hands over her mouth, realizing what she had just done. Her knees shook slightly, and her stomach turned at the thought that she had revealed their spot.
The bell didn't turn off. Its shrill sound seemed to creep beneath the teeth of the students, making them cringe and cover their ears.
"What's happening?" Bea asked over the sound.
"Is a song going to play?" Gil's voice shook.
Lights began to flicker on and off. The hallway went from a few seconds in sterile, florescent light, and then dipped into a bath of darkness. Lights on…lights off…lights on…lights off.
"Is he in the principal's office doing this?" Victor asked.
"What do we do?" Matt roared.
"Go to the janitor's office!" Dick commanded. He began running down the hallway, not caring what his bare feet sounded like on the floor. Kori had already screamed. He knew where they were. He had heard it, even over the bell ringing. They were going to have to find some rope if they were going to get out of there. He didn't allow himself the thought of what they would have to do if they couldn't find any. He stumbled every few seconds, the shifting light and dark disrupting his pace.
"Ooof!" Dick heard something crash behind him. He turned. The lights flickered off.
"What happened?" He roared over the bell, frustrated by the sudden darkness.
"I fell!" Gar announced. "I slipped!" The lights turned back on. Gar was on his knees on the floor, wincing with a look of pain over his features.
"Are you all right?" Rae asked as she kneeled down.
"I think I twisted my ankle." He moaned. He reached forward and clasped his palm over it, letting out a cry of pain, retracting his hands immediately.
"Let me see it." Rae said, pulling his hand away. Already there was a blue bruise blooming above his foot, looking swollen and tender to the touch.
"Can you put any weight on it?" Dick asked impatiently. His eyes kept darting back and forth to either end of the hallway, just waiting for Wilson to show up, ready to finish them off. The lights turned off again. Dick felt himself grinding his teeth as he waited for Gar's response, unable to see for himself. They turned back on.
"I don't kno—AH!" Gar had tried to stand back up, but his knees buckled under him and he fell again onto the floor.
"Here, dude." Victor pushed his way past the rest of the students to offer Gar his shoulder. "Lean on me."
"I can't reach that high." Gar murmured, trying to lean on Rae, who pressed her lips together as she tried to support his full weight. She knew she wasn't going to be able to run forward supporting him.
"Then up you go." Before Gar could object, Victor had hauled him over his shoulder. "All right, keep moving." He announced. While under normal circumstances this would have been a comical and lighthearted sight for everyone, the necessity and urgency of the situation caused not even a second thought among any of them. They started down the hallway again, running in pulses timed with the moments of light. Dick practically kicked the door to the janitor's closet in when they reached it.
"Is there anything we can wrap his ankle in?" Gil asked, looking around.
"There! First aid kit!" Kitten pointed to a puffy pouch on a shelf.
"Great." Victor put Gar down on the desk, opening the first aid kit and grabbing an elastic and nylon wrap out of it. He expertly wound it around his ankle, having done the same thing to himself countless times over his years of football.
"How does that feel?" Victor asked. Gar hesitantly lowered himself off the desk, gently lowering his weight onto his ankle.
"Okay…I can stand on it this way." He announced.
"Good." Rae murmured, letting out a sigh of relief.
"What do we do though?" Bea asked. "I think…I think he knows we're in here."
"I'm so sorry!" Kori burst out, tears rolling down her cheeks. "He's going to find us and it's all my fault!"
"Yeah, good going, Anders." Rob hissed through his teeth, eyes narrowing and arms crossing over his chest.
"Hey!" Dick barked. "Don't talk to her like that! She didn't mean to do it!" His own chest was puffing out slightly, irate with the fowl attitude Rob had been sporting all night.
"Yeah, well, in case you haven't noticed, we've all been on our best behavior to avoid giving away our position since this is, oh, you know, a life and freaking death situation. She's the first one to screw up." Rob's voice was venomous.
"I'm so sorry!" Kori repeated, hunched over with tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
"He should be the one apologizing to you!" Dick growled at Rob.
"For what?" Rob spat. "I wasn't the one who screamed!"
"He's right!" Kori wailed, choking and sputtering. "It's my fault! I ruined everything!"
"No!" Dick roared over them both. "This is—"
"Shut up!" Rae hissed, pointing her finger towards the door. "SHUT UP!"
Rob and Dick both relaxed their postures as the turned to look through the fogged glass window of the janitor's door.
"Do you hear it?" Rae asked. Dick could hear his heart pounding angrily in his chest…Kori's shallow breathing as she tried to hold back her tears. And…footsteps.
"Lock the door!" Dick commanded. Matt, who was closest to the door, flung his hand at it and twisted the lock. "Hide!" Dick ordered. The group huddled into the nearest place they could find shelter. Dick's mind was racing. So Kori had given them away. Wilson knew where they were. He had probably followed them in there. It was midnight. There was nothing left they could do. They hadn't searched for rope. Even if they did, how would they get up several flights of stairs without Wilson seeing when he was right there? They were doomed.
Dick looked up at the glass. There was a silhouette, clearly of a man, with Wilson as the only choice. It stood, menacing and still, facing into the room. Dick didn't even dare breathe. Was there the possibility that he didn't know they were in there and he was trying to get to the secret passage? Surely he knew how to access it if he had hid it in the blueprints. He would be the only one who knew how to access it.
The doorknob started to rattle. Dick held his breath. Matt locked the door. They would be okay.
Click. The door swung open with a creak. Dick mentally began screaming at Matt. Had he not locked it? It couldn't have been that bad of a lock…
Wilson took a step into the room. He took a survey of it, looking at the mops, brooms, and buckets lining the shelves. He took another step, this time towards the entrance to the basement passageway. Dick tried to imagine the look on his face right now. Surprise? Anger? Relief?
Another footstep. Another step closer to the entryway. Another one. Dick could see his shoe now, moving gingerly towards the basement. Finally, he was standing right in front, gazing into the gaping darkness and haphazard staircase. He put his hands behind his back, just peering down, absorbed in thought. After what seemed like an eternity, his chin titled back up so he was looking straight ahead of him. He turned on his heel, facing some arbitrary location in the janitor's closet.
"I know you're all in here." He announced in a slithery, smooth voice.
Dick's heart stopped. He couldn't seem to get his body to move. He wanted to keep hiding there, believing that Wilson was bluffing.
"I said, I know you're all in here. Hiding. From me." Wilson's voice was regal and smooth, not showing the slightest hint of any emotion.
There was the sound of a wheel jerking. Rob had been hiding in one of the large trash cans and had made a move to spring out, but had fallen short and just moved the bin. It was all over. There was no continuing to hide now.
Wilson took a few quick strides over to the trash bin, his jaw tensing and mouth twisted and irate. He reached a swift, strong arm into the bin, as if he was going to pull Rob up by the collar.
"Hey!" Wilson's movement stopped as he turned. Gar popped up from his crouched position in one of the shelves. "Eat dirt, jerkface!" In a swift and fluid motion, Gar ripped open one of the bags of mulch that was sitting next to him on the shelf and hurled it in Wilson's face. Wilson let out a howl, ducking and wiping his eyes. "RUUNNNN!" Gar howled, leaping practically across the room and tearing out the door. The rest of the students followed suit, scurrying from their positions and out the door as Wilson howled, doubled over, plant fertilizer burning in his eyes and mouth.
The group had split up into several directions, spilling into the hallway without a plan.
"Follow me!" Dick called, sprinting as fast as he could. He could hear the rapid beating of footsteps behind him, slapping against the tile floor as they followed him to the staircase. Dick charged up it, skipping the stairs two or three at a time. Rob and Victor were surpassing him, rounding the landing to the next flight of stairs. They spilled out into the hallway, Victor turning around with a look of terror on his face and sweat dripping down his neck.
"Where do we go?" He asked.
"Is he behind us?" Rob asked. Matt turned down the hallway.
"No…" He panted. "Not yet…"
"Go to the cafeteria!" Dick commanded, sprinting again down the hallway towards the double doors that led to the cafeteria. Rob reached them first, shoving them open. They swung violently, and Victor paused to hold them open as the group scurried through them.
The lunch tables had been folded up and pushed to the sides of the rooms so that the janitors could mop the muddy footprints and food scraps from the floor. The windows were wide against the wall, revealing the raging storm outside. Raindrops were bursting against the glass, exploding with frigid fright and dieing in the flickering of lightning and the howling of thunder.
"Get in the kitchens!" Dick commanded. The group raced past the counters where the cash registers and condiments were housed. They spilled through the gates that led back into the kitchens. The stoves, ovens, dishwashers, and industrial sized refrigerators and freezers lined the walls. Ladels and spoons hung from the metallic walls.
"There's a panty back here." Gar announced. "It leads back into the hallway. The door is always locked from the outside."
"How do you know?" Kitten spat, panting and looking over her shoulder.
"I know this school inside and out. I've made it my business." The prankster spat back. "We can hide in there and watch for him in the hallway. When he leaves we can exit through the door and get out of here."
"Good. Let's—" Slam! Simultaneously, everyone in the group ducked swiftly out of view, collapsing onto their hands and knees. "Lead the way!" Dick hissed in a whisper at Gar. He nodded, and silently but quickly began crawling between the rows of countertops and sinks. Dick leaned his back against the serving counter, peeking to see where Wilson might be. He stood at the doors, looking at the rows of tables pressed against the far wall. Dick turned back towards the group.
"Only a few at a time." He whispered. "Be quiet." He flagged on the first group, hoping the smaller numbers would avoid any clamor of people being shoved into the ubiquitous metal in the school kitchen. Rae, Kitten, and Rob followed Gar on hands and knees through the narrow row between the countertops, scratched and still wet from leaky faucets. Dick turned back, holding his breath, to see what Wilson was doing. He was walking towards the tables, holding onto the first one and ripping it away from the group with a mighty grunt. Dick saw Kori jump up a little. She closed her eyes. Dick turned back to see Rob disappear from view.
"Go. Make sure you don't lose them." He whispered. Bea, Victor, Matt, and Allan then followed the group, Victor barely small enough to fit through the narrow passage.
"I SEE YOU MOVING BACK THERE!" Dick almost hit his head against the counter as he spun around to see Wilson, desperately flinging the tables behind him. "I HEARD YOU!" Dick's eyes were wide. What was Wilson talking about? He turned to see Allan, moving as slow as he could without making noise. It was taking too long. The others had been swifter. He had to get moving if Kori, Gil, and him were going to get out of here. He was barely halfway down there…
"SHOW YOURSELVES!" Wilson tossed another table out of the way. Dick heard squeaking as two terrified but hefty rats emerged from the darkness of the folded tables, scurrying past Wilson and making a mad dash towards the doors. So that's what he had heard…
Dick's heart stopped as Wilson let out a frustrated roar, doubling over and throwing another table out of his way. He turned, looking towards the kitchens.
"Go." Dick ordered sternly. Gil and Kori each started crawling as fast as they could between the counters. Allan had just rounded the corner, disappearing with the others.
Dick paused for a moment, hoping to hear what Wilson was doing. Footsteps. Fast. Moving towards them.
"Faster!" He hissed at Kori. She rounded the corner the others had disappeared behind, and saw Gil taking up the rear of the line as they headed past the rows of refrigerators into a door Gar was ushering everyone into. It was just within sight.
"Stop!" Dick commanded. He pushed Kori in the other direction the group was headed, and the two pressed their backs against the tall metallic counter. There was footsteps behind them. Wilson was there. Dick turned to look towards Gar, who had just gotten Gil through the door. Gar's green eyes were wide and frightened, waiting for a command from Dick. The appointed leader took a deep breath, and then flagged Gar away.
"Follow me." He said to Kori, knowing that they would have given away their path if Wilson saw them turning towards the closet. Kori had tears welling up at the bottom of her eyes, her makeup already caked on her cheeks from crying and now blurring further. She didn't object, though, and Dick started in the other direction, heading towards the far wall where the industrial sized dishwashers and racks of lunch trays were lined up. They reached the wall, and turned, pressing their backs against the counters once more. They both held their breath. Dick could hear Wilson approaching the other side of the counter. He could either move forward towards the walk-in freezer, turn left to the pantry everyone else was hiding in, or turn right and see Dick and Kori. He waited, trying to logic out what would happen…He needed to get Kori into that pantry. He couldn't do it with Wilson standing right there. They couldn't keep crawling around this kitchen. He would find them. Footsteps. A pull. The cold release of breath of a freezer opening.
"Go!" Dick said, crawling down the aisle and back towards the serving counters they had began at. He could hear Kori behind him, barely, as her palms hit the dirty linoleum floor. As quickly as he could, Dick took advantage of Wilson exploring the freezer and raced down the passageway. He could hear Wilson throwing things in the freezer. Finally, he reached the end of the row of counters and turned the corner, pressing his back against the end. Kori huddled up close to him, immediately closing her eyes and taking a deep, silent breath. They sat there in silence, feeling their hearts pounding in their chests. Click. The door closed. Feeling his mouth trembling, Dick turned to see where Wilson was heading. He took a right. He was coming towards them. He knew what he had to do.
"Go." He whispered at Kori, pointing her towards the first path they had taken, the one that would lead them to the pantry. They had made a full circle. Wilson would figure it out, he wouldn't just keep chasing them. They weren't going to both make it. Kori would have to go without him. She looked at him, darkened eyes wide and protesting. Dick pushed on her back, shoving her lightly in the direction of the path. He saw tears dripping from her eyes, but she started crawling forward, crying silently as she looked behind her at him. Dick waved his hand forward, wordlessly encouraging her forward faster. Tears dropped as Kori turned away from him, crawling as fast as she could. Dick could hear Wilson's footsteps matching her pace on the other side of the counter. With a deep breath, Dick timed them, until he knew he was close, and…Dick expertly stuck his foot in Wilson's direction, causing him to trip and fall. With a metallic clamor, Wilson collapsed into the serving countertop, utensils and deep trays falling all around him. Dick rolled to his side, jumping up onto his feet.
"GET BACK HERE!" Wilson roared, pushing himself up from the pile of metal he had fallen into. There was a gash on his cheek, trickling blood down onto his mouth and down the front of his neck. Dick raced forward, lunging towards the gate that would take him back into the eating area. He felt something grab at his leg. He fell on his face, feeling his nose smash into the floor as he hit the ground. Immediately, the warm surge of blood poured out of it, making him feel lightheaded and woozy. He scratched his fingernails forward, hoping to grab hold of something. When he realized nothing was there, he pushed his weight on his palms, trying to lift himself back onto his feet. He looked over his shoulder, blood dripping onto his shirt. Wilson was still trying to recover himself, doubled over on the counter. Dick got himself upright again, beginning to trot forward as best he could without getting too dizzy it causing him to feel a black, fuzzy tunnel encroaching on his vision. Wilson looked up, and saw Dick stumbling forward.
With a roar, Wilson propelled himself forward, racing after Dick. The boy turned just in time to see Wilson swinging a punch towards him. Dick ducked, but lost his balance and fell backwards, hitting his head against the oven. It sent another pulse of blood through his nostrils. He felt like he was going to throw up. He pushed himself off the ground, grabbing a baking sheet from the stovetop and hurling it in Wilson's direction. The older man dodged it, lunging forwards. He grabbed onto Dick's arm, twisting it. Dick roared as he was pulled into the counter, slamming his hip into the sharp, metallic edge, causing him to scream even louder as the pain seared through to his bone. He turned, throwing a punch in Wilson's direction. It hit him square on the jaw. Wilson howled, releasing Dick's arm. The punch had opened up the wound on his cheek a bit more. Dick took a deep breath, trying to head forward again towards the freezer. Wilson was right behind him, and grabbed a plastic crate that was used for storing lunch trays. He threw it, hitting Dick in the back of the neck and causing him to stumble. Wilson caught up to him, putting his hands around Dick's throat. He gagged, swinging his arms forward and grabbing at Wilson's hands. He was feeling hazy and couldn't pull on them with much strength. He managed to reach forward scrape his nails into Wilson's cheek, running it down his cut and seeing more blood pour out down his throat. Wilson howled again, releasing his grip. Dick rolled to his side on top of the countertop. He swung a punch in Wilson's direction, landing on his eye. He grabbed another one of the storage crates, swinging it towards his head. It hit Wilson directly again. The man was beginning to double over in pain. Dick started to move towards the freezer, hoping to round the corner and divert Wilson from the pantry in case everyone else was still taking refuge in it. As Dick stumbled around the corner, he felt Wilson's grip on his head, pulling his hair backwards. Dick slipped, collapsing to the ground. He saw Wilson hovering over him, a plastic tray in his hands. Dick twisted his hips and managed to kick Wilson in the knee, causing him to collapse forward. Dick rolled to the side to avoid the man landing on him. He scurried on his hands and knees, scrambling forward and clumsily pushing himself back onto his feet. He stumbled forward as quickly as he could, hearing Wilson get back on his feet behind him, collapsing his weight onto the metallic countertop.
He turned to check on Wilson. It was a mistake. He turned just in time for Wilson to slam the base of a blender onto Dick's head. It hit him right in the temple, and Dick collapsed in a heap in front of the row of ovens. His vision was black and fuzzy. He could see Wilson standing, wincing and grabbing his cheek. Dick could see that there was now a scarlet cascade of blood pouring out of it. But it didn't matter. Dick couldn't will his body to move anymore. He had landed heavily on his hip, and felt as if the very bones had been crushed. His nose was bleeding even faster, and little spots like distant stars were decorating the kitchen. His head was pounding like a bass line, throbbing and low. His neck was tilted to the side, and he could feel his eyes beginning to fade.
Smoke. Dick forced them open just enough to see Wilson, walking down the line of ovens, lighter in hand. His eyes forced themselves closed again. He could smell smoke. Fire. Wilson was lighting the kitchen on fire. He was rapidly going unconscious. He was going to die in here, burn to death. He fought hard to try to force his eyes open, force his legs to move upwards. He could feel his feet twitching, but no matter how hard he willed movement, it wouldn't happen past the twitching in his feet. Dick could smell the smoke even stronger now. His right eyelid barely released its grip, twittering open just long enough to see Wilson pushing past the gate that led into the kitchens and back towards the double doors leading to the cafeteria. The entire far wall was ablaze with black smoke and orange flames. Dick closed his eyes again. This was it. His whole head was ringing…then again, maybe that was the smoke alarm. He could hear its dingy blaring somewhere that felt far away in his throat. He could feel the reverberations in his Adam's apple. He felt it getting quieter and quieter as he dipped even further from consciousness. He tried his hardest to hold onto it, feeling the reverberations of his head, the smoke alarm, and then…the PA system.
A/N: Read and review please! (you know reviews are the bread and butter of my life here). Also, in your review, please let me know if you would be interested in reading another suspense story if I wrote one….Thanks! Peace and rock on,
Earth Blues Baby