wendy and I are on our way home to eat something, when a couple of younger kids, a blonde boy and girl, run up behind Wendy and , shouting my name.
“CORIN! CORIN! There is an alarm going off at the high school! Can’t you hear that?” It’s the blonde girl who addresses me, with a snotty tone in her voice…I immediately (by her posture and tone)realize that she thinks she is important.
The boy doesn’t say anything, letting the blonde girl take the lead. She walks in front of him and does all the talking for them both it seems… but I can see that he is staring at my cousin as they approach.
I know when someone is staring on purpose, having a bad habit of doing that same thing myself.
I dont like the way he is staring at her. She’s my cousin, and I look out for her. She’s my only family.
All this rushes quickly through my head as they close the last few yards between us. I look at Wendy and see her blushing. I’m immediately on the defensive, feeling suddenly overprotective and tense.
They come to a stop in front of us, out of breath from apparently running here from the school.
Listening now, I hear the sound.
“Whoa, slow down…yes I can hear that now…what’s happening?”
But I don’t wait to hear her reply.
I grab Wendy by the hand and push between the two kids, dragging Wendy with me back the way we came. She doesn’t protest, moving along with me. Once we get fully past, we both break into a run back towards the high school. I just hope that Wendy has her keys. That alarm might draw unwanted people to our town. We are isolated out here, and it’s better not to attract the attention of roaming gangs of kids. The worse The City gets, the more kids will come our way. We are not ready for that.
“DAMNIT!” I yell out and push myself to a faster pace, hoping that Wendy is keeping up with me. She is fast, but I can feel adrenaline moving me beyond my own normal speed.
<running towards the school>
Corin is running ahead of me, outdistancing me. I try to keep up, but he is tall and his stride is twice mine.
I can’t believe this! I should have just locked the gym! I berate myself, feeling that this is all my fault.
The two blondes are pretty far behind me now, jogging slowly. They are definitely back there though, following us to the school. I bet everyone in town is there by now.
The Sound of the alarm grows louder and the school comes into view.
Corin has stopped and is turning around to wait for me to catch up. I hear him ask me if I have the keys?
I nod that I do, out of breath and unable to reply verbally. I lean over breathing hard with my hands on my knees.
“then let’s get inside and turn off the alarm. I will watch your back. You lead.” Corin says.
He knows I explored most of the school already, and I know where the main breaker boxes are to the building due to my snooping.
I run ahead of him now, up to the school. Suddenly there are a bunch of kids around us, all talking at Corin. He stops, and I look back, he meets my eyes.“GO” he mouthed the word silently to me.
I slip away from the sudden crowd around Corin and enter the school quickly, barely opening the door enough to squeeze through.
This time I lock the door once I get inside.
“Sorry, Corin.” I say to the locked door. “You handle them…I’ve got this.”
I turn and head down the hall, not knowing who I might find in here.
I put my hand on the knife I found, drawing it from its little sheath. I hold it in front of me as I move further into the school…knowing it’s not very sharp, but that it does afford a small measure of protection.