I wasn’t free to leave. We were all locked from the inside. I had a sudden urge to escape, but I couldn’t. Fear engulfed me as my body refused to move a muscle, and for a moment I almost forgot to breathe. I've never come across a situation where even my instincts failed me. I just stood there, completely frozen.
My friends, Alyssa and Olivia, and I went to a hallway in school that nobody seemed to be aware of. We call it the “sharpie” because it’s near an eerie staircase full of drawings of distorted figures, along with small yet dark confessions. We wanted to work out near there, so I met them in the morning before class begun. We tossed everything across the hall and left our belongings behind to enter a room nearby. We finished our set of squats, and I reached out to open the door with my sweaty palm. I wrestled to crank the door open, but strangely, it wouldn’t budge. It was locked.
My heart stopped, and I felt my stomach drop. We all looked at each other, and I could see the pure anxiety painted on their faces. We instantly rush over to the door on the opposite side of the room. We pushed, and to our relief it opened, but I felt a frigid swift breeze hit me. We walked out and I realized that we were in a parking lot in the back of the school. Moments after, the door closed behind us and locked from the outside. There was no going back.
It was pitch black since we were up before the sun. We were all so tired. A few fragments of light scattered the parking lot since it only came from half-broken streetlights and car headlights. Right away, Olivia rushed into the parking lot and frantically looked around for another entrance into the school. Alyssa did the same, and her skin seemed pale and red from the cold.
We only had seven minutes until school started. I watched my breath leave me in small clouds through the crisp cold air as I was forced to run across the ice-slicked snow. Each step made my feet slightly numb more and more. They ran lazily, and breath rolled from them in short, fast puffs. The headlights of the cars glared on us. We kept running.
Six minutes. Every step I took was painful, going through the disgustingly slushed, wet dirty snow. In the distance, we saw set of doors. I let out a sigh of relief. We all ran toward it but we had to go through a flight of stairs that seemed impossible to encounter. My knees and joints were so constricted, and I struggled to keep moving.
Five minutes. Once we were up, Alyssa and I checked every single door. Locked, of course! We all stared through glass, dreading for the warmth that lingered inside. We didn’t want to be late, but there was nothing we could do. Our eyes lit up with excitement when we spotted what looked like a teacher walking up the same stairs we were on. She looked at us with pity, so she tried to find her ID to unlock the doors but it felt so slow since every second counted. Finally, we had access inside the school.
Four minutes. The moment I stepped into the room, I felt a weird pain in my feet. They were so cold it almost burned, and I was so out of breath. None of us knew where we were, and we had no time left to waste. We had to find a way to get our bags that we were forced to leave behind. I gambled on a direction and finally, for the first time, I was right and lucky. Once I knew where I was, I felt so relieved. We all sprinted towards our bags. I had to be careful of every step since my socks were soaked. I walked into my classroom, barely making it on time. Nobody knew what I just went through, and acted as if it was a normal day.