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       Zombie High, p.2

           Roger Laird
 
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  The Siege

  When they reached the main office of the school, they found that the secretary was out to lunch. Breanne barged through the door to the principal’s office and found Mr. Jenkins sitting behind his desk with his head down. He was snoring so loudly that he would have rivaled a fog horn. Breanne walked over and began shaking him to wake him up.

  Mr. Jenkins’ office also served as the nurse’s office and, indeed, he had often tended students when they were injured. Mrs. Canterbury took Mr. Stewart over to the first aid kit on the wall and started tending to his wound. After she had wrapped his arm adequately, she turned her attention to her own wounds. When Breanne was finally able to rouse Mr. Jenkins from his nap, she explained the situation. Mr. Jenkins looked at her as if she were crazy. He did not believe the source of the devastation until she forced him to look at the security monitors.

  When he saw the students were wreaking havoc, he was horrified for a moment. Then the horror passed. He came to the conclusion that he was dreaming. Mr. Jenkins activated the lockdown system. He figured that if he was dreaming it couldn’t do any harm. Mr. Stewart and Mrs. Canterbury came over and asked Mr. Jenkins to divulge the location of the controls that would deactivate the lockdown system.

  When the system had been installed by the military, it was set so there were several locations that it could be activated from. Deactivation could only be accomplished in one of the high clearance sectors in the building. The controls were in a hidden panic room in the basement. Being the highest official currently presiding in the building, and the washed up son of the military officer that previously commanded the old base, Mr. Jenkins knew the code required to enter the panic room.

  The four survivors turned to the security monitors again. Nearly all the classrooms had been overrun. Now groups of zombie teens were gathering in the hallways. When the school went into lock-down mode, it was divided into three zones on the ground floor. Each zone had an access point to the basement. Mr. Jenkins’ office was in zone one. The access point to the basement was just outside Mr. Jenkins’ office door. As they watched the security monitors, one of the students walked over and began motioning to the security camera. Another zombie caught his meaning and busted out the lens. Soon other zombies were following their example and every camera in zone one and zone two were black. Zone three seemed to be fully operational.

  As they now noticed, it was completely free of signs of infestation as well. In that zone, no signs of movement were present whatsoever. As the monitor scrolled to the next camera, Mr. Stewart shouted, “That’s my classroom.” It seemed that in the chaos, the wave of zombies had made their way out of the zone where the attack had begun. The survivors decided to make their way down to the panic room and see if there was any way to get out of their current situation.

  Before they left, Breanne picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1. She managed to inform the operator that there was an emergency at St. Peters High School, which the police already knew from the alarm that accompanied the lockdown system, before the line went dead. “The…the..they cut the phones,” she stammered.

  “Law enforcement wouldn’t be much help in this circumstance. Even the military would have a hard time breaking in here,” laughed Mr. Jenkins.

  The zombies had reached the hallway outside the office but had not come into the office yet. The students at St. Peters High School detested Mr. Jenkins. They couldn’t stand his militaristic style of discipline. He had also let himself go over the years. As a result, he was fat and smelly. That distaste had been strong enough to keep the zombie students from entering the offices.

  But when the four survivors came out of the office and opened the door to the basement, some of the zombified teens spotted them. A boy let out an unintelligible yell and the horde came running after them. Mrs. Canterbury was the last through the door and she slammed it behind her. They ran down the stairs as fast as they could. As the zombies slammed into the metal door behind them, the door gave way and a mass of zombies tumbled after the survivors.

  It was fortunate that the zombies had tumbled down the stairs in a mass because it took them some time to pull apart and get to their feet at the bottom. Many of the zombies were injured and that impaired their speed further. It was enough to allow the survivors the time they needed to reach the door into the panic room and enter the code without being caught. The door locked automatically behind them and the zombies began beating on the door with rhythmic thuds.

  It took several minutes for the main power that operated the panic room to come on automatically as it was intended and for the outdated lights to activate. Once they did, the room was filled with a bright light and none of the survivors could see any better than they had been able to in the darkness. After several panicked seconds, Breanne’s eyes adjusted to the light. Monitors lined the walls. Many of the screens were blank but there seemed to be some cameras that had not been displayed on the monitors in Mr. Jenkins office. Some of the cameras were still active in zone one and zone two. The survivors could see that the zombies had missed these cameras and that they were probably hidden in some way.

  The lights from the screens cast a greenish white glow into the room. Breanne was thankful for the fluorescent lights in the room because they lessened the grim glow from the monitors. There were two other doors in the room that led back out to the different zones. Each door had a plaque mounted above it with the name of the sector that it led out to. The fact that each sector had a separate entrance into the panic room meant that they would be able to escape into the abandoned third sector to retrieve whatever supplies they could find.

  Mr. Stewart and Mrs. Canterbury were discussing something intensely while Mr. Jenkins had found a chair, and to Breanne’s amazement, had fallen back asleep. Breanne moved closer to the teachers to join the conversation. As she did, she discovered that Mr. Stewart was insisting on going up into zone three to look for supplies. He also wanted to get into his lab to gather some ingredients to attempt to work on a cure.

  The only issue with finding a cure was that they weren’t sure how to test it. They could not open the door into the other sectors because they would be overwhelmed by the zombie students. If that happened the zombies could then figure out how to deactivate the lockdown system and then wreak havoc on the town. The survivors decided to solve that problem later and Breanne accompanied Mr. Stewart into the abandoned zone.

  Mr. Stewart and Breanne made their way through the empty halls. They entered classrooms and gathered any food and drinks that they could find in students’ backpacks. Breanne took a bat from a baseball player’s bag and held it out in front of her just in case. The search of the zone took them nearly an hour. The final room they entered was Mr. Stewart’s classroom and laboratory. They cautiously walked toward the back of the room to enter into the laboratory.

  Breanne led the way between the desks and the row of cabinets that lined the wall for storing lab supplies. Before they reached the door to the laboratory, it burst open. Miranda stood directly ahead of them. She was covered in blood and had a sad look in her eyes. She mumbled and gargled, but was unable to speak any words. Breanne hesitated. She knew she should kill or impair Miranda before she could attack them. If Breanne were bitten, she would become a zombie like the rest of the teenagers, but she could not just brutally attack someone that she saw on a daily basis.

  When Miranda finally did attack, Mr. Stewart shoved Breanne aside so hard that she tumbled over two rows of desks. When she regained her senses, she turned to help Mr. Stewart. In her frantic state, and Mr. Stewart’s peril, she overcame her reservations about harming Miranda. She ran forward hitting Miranda in the chest with the bat. Miranda tumbled backwards off of Mr. Stewart. As Miranda jumped back to her feet, Breanne advanced on her swiftly and smashed her in the leg with the bat, breaking the bone. Miranda collapsed to one knee with a blood curdling scream and then rose to her feet again, pushing herself up on the nearby desk. Breanne swung again, breaking Miranda’s
other leg. Miranda tried to rise to her feet again but was unsuccessful.

  Breanne ran back to her injured teacher. She grabbed his arms and heaved. In this manner, she dragged Mr. Stewart back down the hallway and down into the basement toward the panic room. Miranda crawled after them the entire way. Mrs. Canterbury screamed, frozen in terror when the door opened and she saw Miranda crawling along after them. Breanne yelled for her to come and help bring Mr. Stewart back into the room. They shut the door just before Miranda had crawled close enough to prevent it.

  Mrs. Canterbury immediately focused on bandaging Mr. Stewart’s new wounds. She worked slowly and in complete silence. When she finished, she asked Breanne what had happened. Breanne explained as best she could. Mr. Stewart was going into shock. His face was pale and his temperature was rising. They gave him some water that had been in the backpack Breanne was still carrying on her back. He coughed it out. He was in no condition to make another venture into zone three to attempt to find a cure.

  Breanne knew that she was the only one who stood a chance to correct the great wrong they had committed. When she finally set her mind to it, she decided not to let Mrs. Canterbury know of her plans. Breanne looked up at the monitors and saw the zombies trying to break down the doors to the panic room from zones one and two. Miranda was lying outside the door to zone three. To Breanne’s surprise she was not trying to claw her way in. Breanne turned her attention back to the other monitors. As she studied them, she noticed that the attempts of the other zombies had become increasingly systematic. Miranda must have known she would not be able to breach the room on her own.

 
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