The cold followed them into the school, but at least it felt good to get out of the wind. Teri didn’t go into the band room often, but she knew it well enough for her mind to fill in the blanks left by the darkness. The tiered steps where the students sat looking down on the conductor rose up above them. They’d entered at ground level, by the door. Even though the chairs were empty, all the music stands made it look like a crowd was watching them.
Teri turned back towards the door. Looking through the window, she could make out the vague outline of the hall, nothing more. No windows in the hallway. Morgan went over to the door and winced as the handle creaked when she turned it. Aiden moved to the door too, probably not wanting to look like he was afraid. Teri really didn’t mind looking scared at this point.
Nothing jumped out and attacked them, so Aiden and Morgan moved into the hallway. Teri had to follow them. It was either that or stay under the watchful eye of the music stands. Her eyes struggled to adjust to the deeper darkness. She could see enough to move around, but the details were washed away by shadows.
“Did you hear that?” Teri asked. It sounded like footsteps.
“I don’t hear anything,” Aiden said.
Then Teri heard it again. Except this time it was in front of them instead of behind.
“Come on,” she said. “You guys have to hear that.”
“I think I do hear something,” Morgan said. “I can’t tell where it’s coming from.”
Morgan was right. The footsteps were closer now, but back the other way where she’d heard them the first time.
“There’s someone else in here.”
“Yeah,” Aiden said. “Max is here.”
“I mean besides that,” Teri said. “I hear two sets of footsteps.”
Morgan and Aiden peered into the darkness behind Teri. She looked back at them and saw someone running down a perpendicular hall. The long hair threw her through a loops for a split second, but then she saw it was shorter in back and recognized it was Max.
Teri pushed past Aiden and Morgan. She reached the intersecting hall. There was nothing. She could see all the way down to the back doors of the school. There was enough light coming in to tell there wasn’t anyone in the hall. She couldn’t hear any footsteps either.
“What is it?” Morgan asked. She’d moved next to Teri.
“I saw Max,” she said. “But now he’s just gone.”
Footsteps echoed behind them. Teri reacted the fastest, turning around just in time to see Max running across the hall between two classrooms.
“There he is. How’d he…”
Teri trailed off as she ran towards the room Max had entered. Skidding across the floor, she grabbed the doorframe to come to a stop. Weak moonlight shone through the windows, exaggerating the shadows. Teri reached out and flipped on the lights just to be sure. The room was completely empty.