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The World We Live In

I swear I can hear everyone’s hearts beating in the darkness around me. Maybe it’s just my imagination. Maybe I’m just imagining this whole thing. Maybe if I close my eyes and count backwards from 100 then when I open my eyes everything will be back to normal. Every fiber of my being wants this to be just some terrible nightmare that I’ll soon wake up from, but I know that this is all too real. The dried blood covering my body and clothes along with the stench of death that seems to be all around us is proof. Not to mention that whenever I close my eyes all the horrific scenes I’ve experienced since this all started flash behind my eyelids and make me want to throw up and pass out at the same time. So instead, I stare into the darkness around me, trying not to freak out. It’s only kind of working. It’s hard to see much of anything in the tiny cramped space we occupy, but I can just barely make out some of the faces of those around me due to the sliver of light streaming in from under the door. They look just as scared as I feel. I’m not sure if that makes me feel better or worse. I shiver even though I’m not cold and pull my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms tightly around them before resting my chin on top of my knees.
I have no idea how long we’ve been in here. It feels like hours. Days even. I remember the exact minute when all h--- broke loose. 9:33am. I had been watching the clock above my teacher’s head as the minutes ticked by for the last half an hour waiting for the bell to ring. It was taking forever. It was Friday and the weekend of Homecoming, so no students were really paying all that much attention in classes. Most teachers realized this fact, and used Friday as a catch-up day. Not Mrs. Thompson though. No, of course not. Instead, she took the chance to begin a new chapter in our lesson that day. Why? I have absolutely no idea, but it may be the reason why most students dread having her as a teacher. Just a thought though. She even said at the beginning of class that she would be reteaching all of this on Monday and that today was just to introduce the topic. I mean seriously, Mrs. Thompson, what was the point of that? My notes were open on my desk in front of me, but instead of writing down what she was talking about I instead filled the page with random doodles out of boredom. Eventually my trees turned into scribbles and I lost interest in doodling too. So I thus resorted to staring at the clock.
I remember seeing the little red hand slowly move from 10 to 11 and then 11 to twelve, and then all of the sudden there was a piercing scream from the back of the classroom and I nearly jumped out of my chair in surprise. I wasn’t the only one. The guy in the desk in front of me, Pete Walker, had been resting his head on his arms on top of his desk, assumedly sleeping. When the screaming occurred he literally fell out of his desk onto the floor, taking his desk with him. Everyone, including myself spun around to determine where the noise had come from. I wasn’t able to see what was happening at first because someone was blocking my view. I twisted in my seat trying to get a better look. A collective gasp circulated throughout the room followed by a moment of silence as time seemed to slow down and come to a stop right then and there. I leaned over to my other side and was finally able to see what had everyone so worked up. My eyes saw the scene in front of my but my brain didn’t seem to be able to comprehend the signals it was receiving and so it wasn’t processing the information. The class exploded around me as time caught back up. My peers started screaming and crying, some even cursing as they scrambled out of their desks. Others had turned completely white or even a little green as they emptied the contents of their breakfasts onto the floor next to them. A couple of people even ran for the door, pulling it open and disappearing out into the hallway in seconds. And then still there were a few stragglers like me who sat frozen in their desks, staring blankly, not able to believe their eyes.
I finally came to my senses enough to stand up, gripping my desk tightly for support. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the horrific scene taking place in the back corner of the classroom. What was wrong with me? Part of my brain was aware that I should probably not be doing so, but I found myself slowly walking in the direction of that direction, almost like in a daze. I was completely oblivious to my surroundings as I silently crept forward and paused just next to the two people sprawled out on the ground. Next to them a bookshelf was knocked over and desks were carelessly shoved out of the way. And then there was the blood. So much blood. I had never seen that much blood in my entire life. How was there that much blood? The white linoleum floor was already stained a dark crimson read beneath them, and it continued to slowly seep further and further out, eventually reaching the tips of my shoes. If I had been thinking rationally I probably would’ve stopped at this point and thought about what I was doing, but for some reason I can’t explain, I knelt down next to them, not even caring as the blood seeped through my the jeans and touched my skin. One person was straddling the other person across their legs, their head bent over above their stomach. At first he didn’t seem to be aware of my presence and continued greedily shoving unknown things greedily into his mouth, barely even pausing to chew. I finally understood what he was eating when he pulled a long pink tube-like item from her stomach. Her intestines. Oh. My. God.
I must’ve made a sound or something because his head snapped up and he bared his teeth at me like a wild animal, his eyes crazy. My brain was able to identify him as Carson Phillips, a senior and one of the school’s star athletes in not only Football, but Track and Basketball as well. Most girls had a huge crush on him, but honestly I didn’t really see the appeal. He was an --- and a total player. No thanks. It was hard to see much of that guy in the thing crouched in front of me. My eyes traveled over and met those of the other person on the floor, a girl named Anna. Anna and I were both juniors, but I didn’t know her very well because we tended to hang out in different social circles and activities. In that moment I felt bad that I didn’t know her better. Her sad eyes pleaded with me as blood spilled out of her mouth and ran down her chin and neck. She started coughing as she gagged on her own blood, unable to speak. She didn’t need to say anything, though, I knew what she was trying to tell me. I glanced around on the floor around me, finally seeing a pencil a few feet away with a decently sharp point. I peeked back towards the thing that used to be Carson as I slowly reached for the pencil. A low moan or growl escaped from his mouth and I knew I was in trouble.
Seeming to forget all about Anna he turned and focused his full attention on me and I barely had time to fall backwards in my attempt to avoid him as he lunged at me, jaws snapping at my neck. I tried to scramble backwards further but my hands and feet slipped in the blood and I barely moved at all. Upon my second try I managed to get some traction and shoved myself backwards, smacking into a wall behind me. Carson was inching towards me on his hands and feet and I frantically glanced around me for an escape route, but realizing that I had nowhere to go.  My hands made contact with something on the ground and I threw it in his direction. A hardback smacked him in the face but he didn’t even flinch. My fingers grasped around on the floor some more around me as it crept closer and closer, finally stopping just in front of my face, so close I could smell the stench of it’s mouth. Miraculously my fingers wrapped around a pen and I blindly brought my hand up, and somehow managed to gouge him in his left eye. He stumbled backwards and I took that opportunity to jump on top of him and push the pen deeper until he finally stopped struggling underneath me. I watched him for a few moments just to make sure he was dead before allowing myself to roll off of him and onto my back on the floor next to him. “What the h--- just happened?” I remember asking myself as I stared up at the ceiling and let out a shaky sigh of relief.
A head and then upper torso appeared in my vision off to my right and I cringed, expecting another attack. My eyes had snapped shut and I waited for the pain and suffering but it never came. Cautiously I opened one eye and then another, confused. The figure standing above me hadn’t made any move to attack me, but instead had one arm out, offering me his hand. Hesitating only for a second I reached up and grasped his hand, letting him help me to my feet. After I was upright I suddenly felt nervous, unsure of what I was supposed to do next. I glanced down at the bodies on the floor. Carson still wasn’t moving, which was a good sign, but neither was Anna. I made a move to go to her, but the guy was quicker and was already there kneeling next to her, two fingers on her neck. After a few seconds he got back up and met my eyes, shaking his head. She was dead. I continued to stare numbly at her corpse, feeling like I wanted to cry but no tears were coming. The guy shuffled anxiously next to me. “We need to go”, he told me, reaching out like he was going to touch my arm, but then thinking better of it. I nodded, but made to move to go anywhere. He had turned and was halfway to the door. “Jaylee,” he tried again. This time I turned around and faced him, surprised he knew my name. I knew he was the new kid, and had only moved here last week, but I couldn’t remember his name.
He nodded his head in the direction of the door and motioned for me to join him, which I did only after reaching down and snatching the pencil I had planned to get earlier off the floor. No-name seemed to consider my action and then located some of his own on a nearby desk, shoving the extras into his pocket. We both continued to the door, pausing once we reached it. I found myself looking back at the classroom behind us. It was then that I realized we were the only live ones left in there. Not even our teacher had stayed. Thanks for your help, Mrs. Thompson. So much had happened here in such a short amount of time. Where did we go from this? No-name cleared his throat and I turned back around towards him. His eyes asked a silent question. Was I ready? The answer was no, I wasn’t ready. I had no idea what lie outside that door and I knew that there was no way I would ever be ready for it. But I also knew that I had no other choice. So summoning up all the courage I had in me, I took a deep breath. “Let’s go.”




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