The deep boom of the scaffold hitting the ground battled with the high-pitched scream of metal bending. Aiden, Max, and Teri half ran and half rolled away from the wreckage. Dust twisted through the air, thickening the shadows. The broken scaffold looked like a squished bug.
Teri was the first one to rush back to the rubble, followed quickly by Aiden and Max. They started lifting up splintered boards and shifting metal pipes out of the way.
“Morgan. Morgan. Can you hear me? Say something,” Teri said.
“Help me move this,” Aiden said to Max.
The scaffold hadn’t seemed so large when it was all in one piece. Now it was taking an eternity to search. Teri’s arms shook with effort and Max and Aiden were tiring as well. The weak lights from their phones cut dim lines in the darkness. Juggling the phones was slowing them down. Teri knew this, but she didn’t want to stop.
“Teri,” Max said. “Why don’t you hold both our phones?”
Teri was struggling to breathe between the dust and the strain, so much that Max had noticed. She resisted for a moment, but then Max pushed his phone into her hand and went back to helping Aiden. She didn’t have any choice.
Holding them as high as she could and out to either side, Teri lit the way through the rubble. The floor underneath was damaged, but it hadn’t collapsed. It was like Morgan had disappeared.
Out of the corner of her eye, Teri saw a grey hand crawling into their small circle of light. It was followed by an arm. She was about to scream, but then she saw Morgan’s face coming into view, grey with plaster dust.
Morgan crawled farther into the light. Her whole body ached. Her head and one ankle were the worst. Teri rushed to her. Aiden and Max took a moment to wonder where their light had suddenly gone, but then they were surrounding her as well.
“Ow,” Morgan said as Teri touched her shoulder.
“Are you okay?” Aiden asked.
“What happened?” Max asked.
“Slow down.” Morgan’s head pounded more with each question. The three of them helped her sit up against the wall. After a minute, she answered the second question first.
“I rolled out of the way when it collapsed. I think.”
“How did you hold that whole scaffold up?” Aiden asked. “With us all on it too.”
“I don’t know, adrenaline maybe.”
Morgan had heard stories of the things people could do while their adrenaline was pumping. But if anything, when she held up the scaffold her body had felt relaxed, even if her mind was racing. Now that her head was starting to clear, Morgan noticed Teri looked shaken. Max tried to ask another question but she spoke over him.
“We need to get out of here. They’re coming.”
“Who’s coming?” Morgan wasn’t in a doubting mood.
Before Teri could answer, the sound of doors crashing open filled the auditorium.