Teri felt something rush through her, hijacking her body. She turned back to the crowd and then up to the falling spotlight. She had no control over her movements, even though she could still see and feel everything. At least until her eyes closed. Her lids pressed together as she crouched back down. Then she straightened and opened them up again, watching sparks fly back up into the air. Strange noises echoed through her eardrums. They sounded like speech, only hopelessly distorted. Suddenly her body jerked into her own control again.
Mr. Oliver had just finished walking over to her backwards. He’d given her the exact same smile and said the exact same words that he had a minute ago when she’d managed to not stand like a lamp post. Looking around, Teri saw Emily giving her a dirty look and Morgan waving and trying to get her attention. When she heard the screech above her head, she looked up and started to move in the same instant.
The spotlight was breaking away from the metal frame that held all the lights up. It fell like a stone, sending off sparks just like it had the first time. Teri barely managed to get out of the way before it slammed into the stage. Wood splintered and metal bent and snapped. The boom overpowered the screams for a split second until they redoubled at the sight of the destruction. Teri stood like a statue next to the hole in the stage. Her feet were rooted by the turmoil going on in her brain. She was still staring when Morgan’s hands grabbed her shoulders.
“Oh my God, are you alright?”
When Teri didn’t respond, other people started talking.
“She might be in shock…”
“She reacted so fast, did you see…”
Mr. Oliver thrust his way into the crowd of students and led Morgan and Teri toward the stairs.
“All right, all right. Let’s give the poor girl some space.”
He seemed to know without Teri having to say anything that Morgan’s presence was comforting, so he didn’t make any attempt to separate them. Once he got them sitting down in the front row, he and Ms. Chandler, the assistant director, started herding the rest of the students off stage.
“Mr. Oliver, is the rehearsal over?” Emily asked.
Mr. Oliver just looked at her for a moment before turning away to get the last stragglers away from the fallen spotlight.
“The show is supposed to go on,” Emily told a few of her friends when it was obvious she couldn’t get the teachers’ attention.
Teri sat with Morgan as the students started to filter out into the hall, picking up their stuff as they went. Aiden, who’d been watching the rehearsal, walked in front of them a couple times like he wanted to say something. Teri was starting to come out of her daze, but Morgan gave her a few pokes to speed up the process.
“Just making sure you’re not in shock,” Morgan said.
“Does this answer your question?”
Teri gave Morgan a punch on the arm. Both girls seemed to realize at the same time that they weren’t acting very dignified. They put their hands in their laps and turned to Aiden. He reached up and scratched the back of his head.