“Sorry, I came as quick as I could,” Teri said.
“We need to get going,” Morgan said. “Max isn’t responding.”
“Try calling him,” Aiden said.
Morgan dialed his number instead of texting, and when that didn’t work, Teri tried.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Morgan said.
“It’ll be okay,” Aiden said.
“How can you know?” Teri asked.
“I just do.”
Teri knew Aiden was trying to be comforting, but that didn’t really help. Teri’s brain wouldn’t stop pointing out that if he thought they needed reassurance, he was worried himself.
“Can’t we go any faster?” Teri asked.
“I don’t want to get pulled over. I’m already ten above the speed limit.”
“Would that be a bad thing at this point? Max might need help. We might need help.”
Aiden wasn’t buying it, but Morgan looked like she didn’t know anymore. Teri wasn’t sure herself, but if something was really going on with Max, she didn’t think they were his best chance. There wasn’t any more talk as they got closer to the school. Moonlight sparkled on the frost covered grass, making the ground sparkle as they drove by.
The school itself was mostly dark, only a few lights by some of the doors that were always left on. There were no headlights on the road in either direction. It was after midnight, getting closer to one o’clock. Aiden turned into the student parking lot, killing his lights and pulling into the darkest corner. The engine shuddered and whined as it died. It didn’t like the cold any more than Teri.
As soon as the heat stopped blowing, all warmth was stolen out of the car. Before they even opened the doors, Teri could see her breath starting to wisp and cloud under her nose. Shrugging her shoulders to try to pull her head deeper into her collar, Teri closed the car door and hugged herself.
“Where to?” she asked.
“Do you think he’s inside?” Morgan asked.
“I don’t know,” Aiden said. “We should look around. Should we split up?”
“Definitely not,” Morgan said. Teri was glad she’d spoken so forcefully.
The three of them trudged towards the nearest door. The blub above their heads wavered, like the filament was cold and shivering just like Teri. It was locked.
“I don’t think he got in the front door,” Teri said. “That’s always locked.”
“We can try the back,” Aiden said. “But that’s usually locked too.”
“Let’s give it a shot,” Morgan said.
A few minutes later they were again disappointed. Teri tried to think of alternate explanations.
“Maybe he just couldn’t get in and walked home.”
“I think we would’ve seen him walking along the side of the road,” Morgan said.
“Wait a minute,” Aiden said. “I think I know how he got in.”
Aiden’s brow was furrowed. “Well, do you know or not?” Teri asked. The suspense was killing her.
“Yeah,” Aiden said. “It’s gotta be the band window.”
“Huh?” Morgan asked.
Aiden was a drummer in the school band, it seemed Max was in the band as well. Teri and Morgan were more of chorus types.
“There’s a loose window in the band room. You can’t lock it, and if you hit it the right way you can pop it enough to pry it open with something. Some people use it to sneak into school late.”
The way he said it made Teri think he was one of those people sneaking in.
“Alright,” she said. “Let’s check it out.”
She was pretty sure this was a bad idea.