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The War Alone Day One: Art Class part 2 of 3

Part 2

Just before she reached the art room the door banged open and two children fell out, clearly in the middle of what people affectionately still called a scrap. It didn’t look that affectionate in person. Alex (quite a good painter actually) was on top and Marie (terrible painter, might one day be alright at writing her own name). Angela shouted at them to stop just as Alex slashed down with his lino cutter, straight across Marie’s face.

“Jesus Alex, what the hell are you doing?”

War Alone_Art Class

Angela could swear he actually growled at her before returning his attention to Marie who shrieked and writhed under him. It surprised her so much that she slipped and fell, landing hard on her hip. The paper fell and smoothly fanned itself across the hall. Alex stabbed down again at Marie’s throat – blood geysered up into the air, coating the boy’s face and hair. Angela shuffled backwards, shocked. The boy continued to ram the lino cutter into the girl’s neck and chest until she fell still and her blood simply pooled instead of spurting out. The knife stuck into the girl’s collar bone and quivered there. Alex turned his red-stained face to Angela and snatched up the knife again.

Two of her other students stalked out of the classroom behind Alex. She was about to call out ot them when she noticed the spatters of blood over their arms and shirts. She’d seen the kids slouch, mooch and every other indolent step – occasionally run, but never stalk. The taller of the pair, James (a nice eye for perspective) tracked red footprints into the hall. Angela was afraid that it wasn’t paint, although another part of her admired how clean the print was. The smaller, Jenifer (she blamed the misspelling on her parents) was holding Angela’s fabric shears and turned immediately towards Angela.

They were suddenly knocked aside by a tight knot of terrified teenagers who ran bleeding and crying into the corridor. Half of them immediately tripped over Alex and Marie. They were pursued out of the classroom by another three children holding scissors and craft knives. The chaos of falling bodies distracted the – what – killer kids? Ridiculous, though Angela. Whatever had gotten into them they were clearly dangerous. Her own phone was safely in her desk drawer, but she needed help and fast. The fire alarm buttons were on every wall throughout the school. Angela slammed her fist through the fragile glass and the familiar wail of the fire alarm rose to fill the school.

Angela dove into the mass of kids scrabbling on the floor. She ducked the swinging fists and used her own hard boots to make headway. She took a slash to the face from Jenifer’s blades before thrusting the girl off balance. It was difficult to tell the violent kids apart from the others, but Angela grabbed at two of the unarmed children and hauled them out of the bloody heap. The ringing alarm had drowned out the noise of shouting and running so it was only when Angela looked up, and wiped her blood out of her eyes that she saw the tide of students come crashing around the corner from the rest of the school. Alex appeared to have been knocked unconscious, but the others were swinging their knives over and over into their fellow students.

There was nothing Angela could do to help. The two she’d pulled out were shaking and bleeding, like everyone else. She pulled them with her and started to run for the fire exit at the end of the outstretched leg of the school. They turned the corner and the fire exit was briefly in sight before it was wrenched open from outside. The headmaster, Adam Daniels and his secretary June filled the doorway. A steel bar rested in the head’s arms and June carried the wicked butterfly knife that had been confiscated from a student last term. Angela slid to a halt, the two students that she had by the hand skidded with her. It didn’t look like they were going to get any help from the management team.

The crowd behind them was growing. Angela’s options were few. They could try to get past the headmaster but Angela didn’t fancy their chances. They couldn’t go back the way they’d come. She’d never seen anything like it. All those normal kids who were a pain in the arse and the ones who weren’t – this wasn’t some school fight, or a new drug – how could it be? There was no time to think about this, she had Toby and Sunita and no way to get them to safety (she didn’t want to think about the other twenty four kids who had been in her class). They were right next to the art cupboard with its cheery sign. Angela sighed in frustration and let go of Sunita so she could pull the keys out of her pocket. The girl just stood there, stiff and shaking while Angela fumbled with the lock.

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