by Lorna Woodward
Thump, thump. All I could hear was my heart pounding in my chest. Other than that, all I could hear was silence. A gaping, deafening silence. I should really have been in my English lesson, but I missed my old teacher and couldn’t face a lesson without her. I knew that they would come and look for me eventually, but for now, I had a few minutes to find somewhere to hide – somewhere that they would never think of looking.
All the classrooms here had glass doors so I would probably be seen by a teacher soon. When I was, they would want to know why I was out of class and when I had no answer there would be trouble.
Big, big trouble.
I looked around, searching desperately for inspiration. I was near the English department office. But that couldn’t help me, could it?
“Erm, hi. My English teacher sent me to get a few thesauruses for us because… we’re in an RS classroom? Would that be OK?”
I emerged a few minutes later, triumphant, staggering under a precarious stack of books. This was perfect! Nobody could challenge my right to be out of class now. I hurried down corridor after corridor, heading slowly but surely towards our deserted school hall.
It had been “undergoing maintenance” for years now. That was all that I had been told, all that anybody had been told. Even the teachers knew nothing, nothing more than those two words given by the head teacher.
I was sure now that this was no ordinary maintenance work. I had known for a long time, I guess, ever since I noticed that there were no builders, no equipment, not even any barriers. In fact, nothing to suggest that anything was wrong, except a single stripe of red tape across the entrance.
I stood shivering outside the heavy double doors. Being empty, unused, it would be the perfect place to hide. They knew that I knew that I wasn’t allowed in there. And they would NEVER consider me, Ava Bethany Mitchell, a rule breaker.
I started laughing. Then stopped, as one thought knocked away my hope and belief. As one thought chilled me to the bone.
It was empty, wasn’t it?
No, I can’t afford to think like that. There must be a perfectly innocent reason for the head teacher to pretend the hall was undergoing construction work when it wasn’t and for the fact that we never see her.
But it suddenly seems terribly unlikely.
Oh well, I can’t turn back now, so I take a deep breath and open the door…