Survival? Maybe not... (part 1)

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“DO IT NOW OR YOU AREN’T LEAVING THIS HOUSE!” yells my mother.

“No! I need to go to school before it starts raining!” I scream back

“WELL TOO BAD! DO YOUR DANG CHORES OR YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY AGAIN!” she threatens.

“Fine!” I yell. I did my stupid chores. Thanks to my stupid mother, I had to WALK to school, in the RAIN! She ruins my life!

“NOW GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” she screamed at me. “YOU BETTER BRING UP YOUR GRADES OR YOU ARE GROUNDED FROM EVERYTHING!”

“UGH! I HATE YOU!” I said. And with that I stormed out the door.

Man, I hate my mom. She always does this. She threatens to ground me from sports, friends, enjoyment, and life itself. She keeps me from it anyway; she’s already taken my life away from me. My mother does nothing but go on and on about my grades and about how I make her look bad. She only cares about herself. I hate her so much!

Well, now I have to sit in desks all day dripping wet because my mom made me walk to school, which, by the way, is a little less than a mile from my house and the only shortcut is through a now muddy field. So my shoes are muddy and squeaky and my clothes are dripping wet; I was going to be late on top of all that. My mom didn’t even offer me a ride. She just kicked me out. At least it didn’t start to lightning and thunder until I was already inside the building.

I sat through my first 6 classes with everyone, including the teachers, asking why I was so wet. I refused to tell them. It pained me that my teachers cared more about me than my own mother. My classmates were just trying to torment me; I hate them too. Seventh hour was the same as my first six, but a lot drearier. And I mean outside.

The weather had worsened. The sky was a greenish color and I could hear hail on the window. I didn’t expect hail. It’s mid April, almost the end of it actually. Then I started to hear the tornado siren. So did the office apparently because they set off the school tornado siren.

Suddenly, the classroom was complete and utter chaos. People were running to get to the door and out into the hallway to a safe place. Mr. Howard, the science teacher, attempted to keep everyone orderly; but his efforts were wasted. We all rushed to the locker room and got down into the safe position.

Then I felt the building shake. The tornado must’ve been right on top of the school. We were all shaken and tossed everywhere. I heard glass break, and then I felt a shard of it go into my leg. I was pained and absolutely no one could help me. Right now, if anyone got out of the safe position, they would be killed by falling debris. I felt plenty of rocks and ruble land on my legs. They felt broken and buried. I could do nothing but wait this out. I heard more screams and more pained and bruised people.

The tornado stopped. The building stopped shaking and was let out of the sky violently. After about five or so minutes I heard the ambulance outside. It was close by, but no one came inside.

Someone, I think it was a teacher, came and unburied my legs and pulled me out from under a bench. “Thank you,” I said. It was Ms. York. She went and got me help. One of the two nurses came and bandaged up my leg. Nothing was broken, she said. She told me I may need a wheelchair though. The nurse got me one and helped me into it. I rolled over to where my best friend Abigail was sitting with her arm propped up on a locker.

“What happened to you?” she asked me.

“Piece of glass in my leg and my legs are badly bruised,” I answer. “You?”

“Piece of ceiling landed on my arm and broke it,” Abby says. “If my arm weren’t in the way, that rock could’ve killed me.”

“Oh,” I reply, completely shocked.

“You know what, Gabriella?” Abby asked.

“No, what?” I question.

“I hear we’re trapped in here,” she tells me. “The ambulances tried to get in, but every single aspect of the building, including the ceiling, is blocked off by trees, rubble, and debris. They tried best they could, but the paramedics themselves weren’t able to get in.”

I gasped. I didn’t want to be trapped in here like a monkey. “You mean I may never be able to see my mom again?”

“Probably, once they get all the rubble out of the way,” Abigail tries to comfort. It doesn’t work. “That may take days or even weeks.”

“No!” I yell. “I have to get home and see my mom to make sure she’s ok.” To think the last words I said to her were “I hate you.” Those may just be my very last words to her. I may never see her again. I could try to call her. I rolled in my wheelchair over to Ms. York.

“May I go to my locker? I need to go call my mother,” I tell her.

“No,” she replies sternly. Then she loosened her voice. “Someone’s already tried to call. There’s no reception under all this rubble. Don’t worry though. I’m sure your mom’s fine.” She bent down and gave me a hug. That may be the only comfort I have for a while. Ms. York was my favorite teacher and I was her teacher’s pet. I couldn’t believe it. I was trapped in here and without my mother.

“Thanks,” I say softly. Then I went to go over by Abigail again. I was upset.

“It’s ok, we’ll get out,” Abigail said. “It’ll only take a few days.” A few days? I couldn’t even last a few minutes! There’s no sunshine, no parents, and no electronics.

“That doesn’t comfort me at all!” I yell. I didn’t mean to. I was just distressed. Abby didn’t seem to mind though. “Ow!” I scream.

“What?” Abigail asked.

“Something just pricked my leg,” I respond. Then I see that some boy who isn’t too terribly injured was laughing. I think he threw it at me. But then, I noticed something I hadn’t before. Apparently I had a thinking look on my face because Abby asked what I was thinking about.

“If we don’t make it out of here soon, we’ll miss graduation and the graduation dance and we won’t go to high school!” I point out.

“We’ll get out of here before then,” Abby responds. “Even if we don’t, the teachers will still teach and we’ll still learn and we can still have this graduation.”

“And the Six Flags trip?” I remind her. I think she forgot that little detail because she started freaking out.

“If we don’t get out of here right now, we’ll never go to Six Flags!” she exclaims. Earth to Abigail, you’re just now realizing that?

“Really?” I say sarcastically. “I didn’t know that!” The trip is tomorrow. She was completely right. If we didn’t leave now and didn’t get out of here within the next 20 minutes, we weren’t going to Six Flags this year. Even if we did, none of us would be going because we’d be sitting in a hospital bed; we were so badly injured.

All of the sudden, I heard weeping. It was Julia Sanders.

“Julia,” I say. “What’s wrong?”

“My brother,” she replies softly.

“What about him?” Abigail asks.

She just pointed to a spot of crowded people- mainly teachers. I and Abby walked over there. I now see why Julia was weeping so hard. On a bench in the center of the teacher circle lay the dead body of Juan Sanders.

“What happened?” I gasp.

“Piece of glass got wedged into his back,” Mr. Howard said. “We tried to ease it out, and it was perfectly safe so says the nurse. It was a small piece, you see. But then another piece of ceiling fell right on top of him and punctured his lung and heart. He died almost instantly.”

“Aw,” Abby says. “That’s so sad.”

“Yeah,” Mrs. Dawn chimes in. “I hear a few more are in pretty critical condition. They have a good chance at survival, but maybe not. We all may die of starvation. I think we may be trapped in her for days. There’s just way too much rubble out there blocking all the entrances. There’s no way out or in.”

“NO!” I shouted. “I need to get home! Or to a hospital or something.” Then in a hushed whisper, I added, “I need to tell my mother I'm sorry.” I walked away. I ended up going to lay down on a bench when some one ask why I didn’t just get one of the mats on the stage to lay down on. I never thought of that. I just figured we were all trapped in the locker room. I wasn’t thinking, I was panicking.

So I went to got get a gymnastics mat and lay down. I tried not to get one with either glass, blood, or other people on it. Too bad for me; Abigail came and sat next to me. Right when she sat down, I decided to turn over and take a nap. I had a long day.


I woke up about 5 or 6 hours later. It seemed like it was already tomorrow; I willed it to be. Mrs. Amber woke me up. It was time to take a dinner from the cafeteria. I got a PopTart and a banana. I guess no one could cook, since the power was out and all.

This time, I used the school’s crutches to get from one place to the other. Sitting in a wheelchair felt demeaning. This time in a school building with smelly people that I didn’t like and teachers who would teach no matter what the situation. This was not going to be fun; not going to be fun at all.

The next day went just as I thought it would. It was dark so all the teachers borrowed some candles from Mr. Howard (no one knows why he keeps candles). The teachers still taught, and it was harder because there was nothing to take notes on; we had to do it all by hearing what the teachers were saying. We still had all four tests today, like normally planned. It was awful.


After a while, all hope was lost. We had been trapped in the building for over two weeks now. Everyone lost their will to do anything. The teachers lost their will to teach, the bullies lost their will to bully, and some even lost the will to eat. We were running out of food and people didn’t have any energy to fight others off for their daily meals. People looked as if they were about to perish from starvation. I always got my meals, since people brought it to me because my leg was getting worse and worse by the day. One person, Joshua Yale, died from starvation. He was one of those who lost the will to try and survive. We all grieve for him; even me, who hated him so deeply. I was angry with myself for never trying to get to know him.

There was now nothing to do. Even the library (I enjoy reading) had nothing else to read. I could hear it raining very hard outside. Looks as if the weather is at it again. Then something landed on the ceiling. It pierced through, just down the hall from where everyone was congregated. It was another tornado.

We all ran for shelter. After the tornado touched the floor of the school, we all heard the siren through the big hole in the roof. The tornado was moving fast. We- much less everyone with something wrong with their legs- could barely get into a locker or under something. We all ended up making it to a safe place, though.

The tornado tore it’s way through the school. I could hear people being sucked up in it because I heard their screams dampen as they went up. I felt strong winds. I was sure the tornado was going to take me as well. I clung to the table I was under for dear life. I made it. It didn’t suck me up; it sucked the whole school up instead.

I could feel the school being torn from its foundation. We were shaken side to side. The entire side of the school had a gaping hole in it, I could see. I now knew that if I didn’t hold onto this table bolted in the floor, I was going to die. The school itself was on its side. I saw one person fall out. It was Brianna Tibit. I didn’t really like her. She always bullied me. I wasn’t sad to see her go. She had several other people falling and dying with her.

This felt like it went on for hours. It in fact did. The tornado carried us and the school with it for a whole hour. I knew we were miles away from home. I didn’t, however, know how far. I just know I could hear the sea water. The tornado was going to dump us all in the ocean! We were going to die.

When I heard the tornado splash into the water, I knew this was it. Tornadoes can't survive in water. But we didn’t die. We landed hard, but we didn’t die. I could still breathe. We weren’t under water. I stayed in the safe position for another five minutes after we landed, just to make sure it was safe. Abigail came and pulled me up.

“It’s ok,” she says to me. “We made it alive!”

“Where are we?” I question.

“Some kind of island,” she explained. “We don’t know where, but it has really soft land. We are all lucky to have survived the landing. When I saw you on the ground like that, I thought you may have died upon impact.”

“A lot of people did die,” I point out. “I saw some fall out the side of the school. Others were sucked up in the tornado. And some may have died on impact.”

“I guess you haven't quite been told the death toll yet,” she guesses.

“No,” I admit. I’d been sitting there the whole time.

“Nineteen,” Abby says glumly. “Two died on impact; the others were reported missing. We can only assume they died.”

I felt terrible. So many people are dead and missing. I’m really lucky to have survived that whole thing, both tornadoes. I’m really happy that Abigail survived it with me. I’d be devastated if she didn’t.

“Wow,” I finally say.

“Yeah.” Abby sat next to me. “The sad part is four of those nineteen were teachers. One of the two dead on impact was Mr. Howard.”

I gasped. I was in complete shock. I loved my teachers. Well, all except for two. Even those two I had a newfound sympathy for. I realized one of them was still alive. I knew I couldn’t hate her anymore. From this moment on, we were all in this together.


I didn’t know what to do. I paced around on my crutches. Now I would only get worse. We were surely going to die. We had no medical supplies to take care of the sick and injured. We had no food, no water, no shelter. We were trapped on a deserted island. I found this ironic because before the first tornado, we were all talking about what we’d do if we were stranded on a deserted island. But now it was completely serious. What were we going to do? I just knew I’d never see my mother again. I would die right here on this island.

There were only twenty- one of us left. We had only four teachers/ adults out of the eighteen we started with. There were only seventeen students left out of the two hundred that came to school the day of the tornado that started it all. It was depressing. Seventy students died of starvation back when we were trapped in the school. Seventy- five died because of injuries from the first tornado. Sixteen got sick and died because we ran out of medicine to cure them. Twenty- one died from this tornado. One was on his death bed about to die from a broken back. The tornadoes did nothing but ruin our lives.

Later that day, Ms. York (thank goodness she survived along with three other teachers) sent out a hunting party. Mrs. Dawn sent people to gather fire wood; and Mrs. Trinity sent people to fish. Mrs. Carmi sent a patrol to gather materials to make a shelter. They put me on the fishing team with Abigail and Ms. Trinity because of my leg. We were still going to attempt survival, although at this point it seemed impossible.

After all the search/ hunting/ shelter finding/ fishing parties were back, we built everything and made a campfire. We cooked our fish and evaporated the salt out of our water. But right before all these parties came back, I heard Joseph died. He was the one with the broken back. We were going to sit a vigil for him before we went to bed tonight. When we sat his vigil, I felt like all hope would be lost.

Before we sat Joe’s vigil, though, the surviving teachers had a fireside chat with us.

“We know it may seem impossible to live,” began Ms. York. “But right now, of all times, we have to stay together. No more fighting. No more arguing. No more apartness. We need to stand together as one if we want to live to see tomorrow and the day after that and the days after that.

“Many have perished,” Mrs. Trinity continues. “That doesn’t mean we all can’t survive. I know we’ve all had our problems and differences, but right now, in the face of death and starvation, we have to set all that aside. We aren't a school anymore. We’re a team, a family if you so will.”

“There are only twenty- one of us left,” Mrs. Dawn finishes. “We may or may not make it, but either way this goes, let’s spend the rest of this situation working as one big family. Mrs. Trinity is right, we aren't a school. There are no more bullies. There are no more differences. There are no more arguments over little things because we’re all the same now. We have to survive off this land. We also need to make our shelter rain proof. We have half of a school building and some logs. Let’s make our little huts even better.”

And we did. That night, we made an infirmary, three huts (two for girls, one for boys), and a makeshift lunchroom. We got so much accomplished. I’ve never seen anyone work as well together as we had that night. It really was as if we were one big family. We sat and did Joseph’s vigil and literally sung Kumbaya. They wanted me to then sleep in the infirmary, but I decided to lay with Abigail tonight and celebrate making it this far.

For the next few weeks, we had a routine schedule. I always went with Abby and Ms. York to go fishing (I don’t know why Mrs. Trinity and Ms. York switched jobs). We always went on a dawn trip and a dusk trip. We were always the ones who brought back water to be evaporated into fresh water we could drink. Ms. York, Abby, and I always had a good time together, just the three of us. The groups were split into three, four, four, and five. One person, Hannah, stayed in the infirmary. Her leg and arm had an infection. Mrs. Dawn found some herbs that helped some, and Ms. York always had some Advil in her pocket. It helped, but Hannah looked as if she weren’t even going to make it through the rest of the week. Poor Hannah. I was shocked we made it for two weeks and no one died.





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