First block had never dragged by more slowly. At one point during my geometry teacher’s lecture on corresponding angles versus vertical angles, I saw Abby walk past the room. She must be getting some recognition for all of her work decorating.
I barely registered the homework assignment as the bell finally rang. I practically ran to my second block to get the nod from my teacher before I raced down the hall to the gym. Of course, the doors were still closed, and I couldn’t see the stage.
Whoever was up there had everyone’s rapt attention, however.
The security guards asked us all to line up single file and have our student id’s ready. If they scanned our Id, and our name wasn’t on the guest list, we got sent back.
I knew my name was on it, but as the scanner got closer and closer to me, I felt anxiety rising in my chest.
“Jessica?” The guard asked with a half smile.
I bit my lip, trying to hold back the faint blush that I knew had to be spreading over my face.
“Please tell me that you don’t remember me,” I begged, almost under my breath.
He smiled. “How could I forget? I put my neck on the line to make sure that you didn’t get suspended for attacking your sister across a lunch table, and then I had to drag you away from your crazy, ex-con father, all in one day!”
“Yeah, I’m not sure if “ex-con” applies if he’s back in jail,” I mentioned, trying to get the attention off of me.
“He is? For what?” He asked.
Apparently his memory wasn’t so good after all.
“Um, forgery, trespassing, violation of a restraining order, assault, stalking, and impersonating an officer,” I quickly listed. So maybe a couple of them weren’t felonies, but the longer list sounded more impressive.
His eyes widened. “That’s quite a rap sheet there!”
“Yeah, considering it was his first day on parole for abduction of two minors, counterfeiting, treason, and attempted murder, the judge didn’t waste any time.” I smiled ruefully, reliving my second time in court testifying against the man I once called my father.
“That was a while ago, though,” I reminded him.
“It was somewhat unforgettable,” he grinned at me before continuing down the line.
I wasn’t sure whether I should be flattered or worried.
I chose worried. I mean, I was worrying anyway, right?
The line of underclassmen slowly began to show signs of nervousness as we were still denied access.
People began to shift back and forth and hope that it would be worth it.
A few of the security guards smirked and offered to send them back to class, reminding everyone that winter break started at the end of school tomorrow.
“I’m sure some of the seniors are just getting a little carried away with the time of their speeches,” the head of security assured us.
Of course, all of this would be much easier if he could actually see the stage and be able to tell us who was talking. By now, we all knew who was long winded in the senior class.
There was a movement of some sort in the gym, and then I thought I heard the beginning of a scream.
The way the security guards all ran to the doors immediately didn’t help the tension that suddenly overtook everyone.
Everything happened at once.
One of the administrators put the school on lockdown, and the gym doors suddenly couldn’t be opened.
The security guards were running around to all the doors trying to find a way in to help.
Someone yelled at us to go into the locker rooms and lock ourselves in there, and I heard the words “active shooter” being tossed around.
I stood frozen, staring through the window in the auditorium door in the midst of the sudden frenzy.
Suddenly, Chad’s face appeared at the window, and a short lived peace found its way into my heart.
That was when I looked behind him.
Any feelings of peace instantly disappeared, and my only thought was, “Jessica, if you’re dreaming, WAKE. UP. NOW!”