"Out. Need to warn him and the rest."
"Amy?" There is silence this time. "Amy-Leigh?"
"What's even the point?"
"Amy?" Clyden's voice flickers with panic, panic that she isn't here. That something has happened to her. But that is the whole point of this register, isn't it? They all think. To determine who is here or not. Not who is alive or dead. But the thought seems to surpass them subconsciously like they refuse the logic.
"Amy?" Clyden asks again, but quieter this time. No one speaks. Clyden continues.
"Kiera? Leonard? Paula? Adam? Katy? Dylan? Yasmine? David? Terry? Sarah? Jade? Henry? Henry? Addison? Josh? Lilly? Raji? Madaline? Tabitha? Daniel? Charlotte?"
"Charlotte. Charlotte!" Kiera's rusty voice leaps up. The class hears her move. "She's still in detention. She must be. We need to find her. And Amy. She hasn't responded. We need to find her. And we need to find Jerry and Terry and Daniel... Yasmine-"
"Keira!" David's shout trails into a weak whimper. "Amy was the one who screamed up there. I tried to grab her because I knew she was going to go back up to see if there was anyone else up and I knew it was her because I felt the cotton bracelet around her hand to which her twin sister also has. She told me in geography. Told me a whole story about it. Told me stories about her. We joked around and I told stories to her as well...you know, I've never talked to her much. Never thought to. But she taught me that people are people. They have dreams. They have wishes. They have hopes and likes and dislikes and have stories to tell of things they're proud of or things they did and places they went to and funny things like that. On the outside, all you see is Amy-Leigh Chan. But she's a person. Like a planet that you only see the surface of..." When Daniel trails off this time, he stays that way until Thomas speaks out.
"She's fine. They're all fine, ok. Honestly I don't even know-"
"Just don't, Thomas. You got us in here. You told us that there was someone there."
"Yeah...what happened? I was just sitting there..." Madaline starts, waiting blindly for an explanation.
"Thomas thought he saw someone."
"No. I felt something. I felt something really bad. Really strange and weird and...God, why don't you just believe me. I didn't scare the life out of you just because I thought I saw something."
"But it was an intuition."
"Then how the hell do you explain that scream, huh? How the hell do you explain that?"
"I don't know!" Keira shouts back so loudly that everyone freezes, swallowing the truth whole.
They stay in silence, so long in fact that they start to shift uncomfortably, their muscles aching in awkward positions.
"Oh, lets just get out of here." Dylan says suddenly. "I'll look for Amy. Someone needs to set off for Charlotte and someone else needs to set off to look for Jerry and all. Ok?" Dylan rises and stumbles his way carefully over to the door, pulling it open and climbing into the cold darkness above.
It's even colder than before, but he feels less lonely when the others clamber out quickly after him, and they all feel each other's support.
"Ok, but we're not splitting up. Not again. We all go together." Tabitha says firmly, and everyone nods silently in agreement.
"Amy...Amy?" Adam sets off, calling and feeling out to the dark, the others crowded around him. They nudge up so that they're touching each other, able to move against one another when they hear each other's steps.
"Amy? Amy, you out here?" The irresponsive silence starts to shut her out from them as they pull further and further away like a stretching piece of string, one of them lost on one side, the others searching on the other, and inbetween them is something. Something coming for both sides.
"Fuck! Oh, fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck." Henry is saying in breathless whines, gripping painfully against walls and reaching out for the fabric of his classmates' blazers.
"What?" Jade hushes in the same tone. He takes a while to respond.
"I can't. God, this is fucking bullshit, where are the fucking teachers? Jesus fucking Christ, where the hell are they, we've been here for hours! It must be hours by now, hours!"
"Yes, we all feel rather pissed that we aren't at home having our hot milk with our mummies and daddies, but no teachers have come. So we'll find them ourselves and we should be out by at least tomorrow."
The silence is hushed, the air is damp and musky.
"Maybe someone broke in, like a gang or something."
"Shut up, Henry." Lilly snaps softly as soon as he finishes pronouncing he g".
"Maybe the teachers all had this mass conspiracy to lock us all up in here so that they could all leave work hours early to give us a taste of their calpol," Someone sniggers and then starts to giggle horrendously at this. "And the parents could be involved in it so that they can have a saucy weekend to themselves."
"I'm gunna have nightmares now, not like we're already in one."
"You're telling me, staying in this dump all night? Or even just a few minutes after the deadline. Bullshit."
"Absolute bullshit!" Everyone choruses, except for one who says "shite" instead. They all go into a laughing fit, most of them not even aware on what they're laughing at, but it makes them feel less miserable.
But that's of course until they hear a scream. It's a terrible sound. Terribly stretched and strained and tortured.
Half the class is already dead.