Morgan walked out of the dark auditorium into the bright light of the hallway. The last of the buses were rumbling out of the parking lot. Despite knowing that she was getting a ride with Aiden, she still had the urge to run after her bus. She hated waiting around for her mom to get out of work. Hoping she hadn’t made any outward sign, Morgan looked at Aiden out of the corner of her eye. Her heart started to beat a little faster. She tried to tell herself to calm down, that she was making too much of a ride home, but it was no use.
A strangled scream ripped through the crack in the auditorium door just as it swung all the way closed. The tortured sound echoed through the hall, bouncing off the glass doors looking out onto the school parking lot. Morgan was stunned for a moment, like the sound was a physical blow that made her head spin. The voice was distorted by terror, but after a moment she recognized it. Teri.
Grabbing the handle, Morgan threw the door open so hard it hit the wall with the sound of grinding stone. She ran down the middle aisle. Despite the long rectangle of light spilling into the dark room, Teri was nowhere to be seen. Her eyes refused to adjust to the thick gloom, so Morgan turned to her other senses. She heard a gurgling noise a few rows over. Vaulting over seats, she started racing towards the sound.
A dark blob started to get slightly more distinct as Morgan got closer. She quickly saw that it was really two blobs, and they were fighting each other. Teri was on the ground, wedged between the seats. The figure above her had their hands around Teri’s throat. The seats were a blur, the only thing Morgan could focus on was Teri and her attacker. Morgan couldn’t see a face, only a twisted nest of long, dark hair. A girl’s hair.
Morgan ran right into the attacker. Her body shuddered from the impact, but that was nothing compared to her target. The dark figure’s hands popped off Teri’s neck and her body flew through the air and was swallowed up by the darkness. There was a crash that sounded far away, but Morgan’s attention was elsewhere. Teri was gasping for breath. The wheezing, whistling sound scared Morgan more than anything.
Reaching down, she lifted Teri up and started heading back towards the main aisle. Her friend felt as light as a feather in her arms. By the time she was back in the rectangle of light, Aiden and Max were there to help her. They’d reacted fast, but it’d been slow compared to her own mad dash.
“Wow, you’re strong,” Aiden said as he helped Morgan set the now coughing Teri on her feet.
Morgan hadn’t really thought about it. She wasn’t that much bigger than Teri.
“Must’ve been adrenaline,” she said.
Max helped Teri sit and lean against the side of one of the seats. Aiden and Morgan looked at each other and then out into the darkness of the auditorium.