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Sy Knight

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I miss schedules.

That’s a silly thing to miss considering everything I’ve lost, but I do. Schedules mean life. Things to do, people to see, meetings, days off to play, plans, hopes, dreams… I was what I once heard as refereed to as a trapper keeper girl. I had to have everything perfect, everything right. My whole life was planned out, even as a child I knew exactly what I was going to do every day. I had a map and I followed it. From school to college to grad school. I had a plan. But the only plan left was to try not to die.

So I miss schedules.

The day the outbreak reached our sleepy little town was a full day, a busy day. Up by 6:00 and at the school by 7:30. I had crossed off my morning jog from my schedule, because there was just too much to get done before day's end and every second counted. By 8:00, we were on the big yellow bus; me, my assistant teacher, 4 parent chaperons and 20 anxious and excited first graders. By 8:30, we were off the bus and lining up to go into the museum. By 8:45, we were walking through the dinosaur exhibit and I was already holding Billy Thornton’s hand to keep him from climbing on ancient artifacts.

At 9:20, we were taking all 20 to the bathroom, because for some reason if one student needed to go, suddenly all needed to go. By 9:25, I was walking the halls of the building with a security guard looking for Billy, because my assistant had taken her eyes off him. Which of course drove me crazy. It messed up my schedule.

By 9:45, I found him hiding behind a display case in the Egyptian exhibit. I knew something was wrong. The second he saw me he launched his little self in to my arms, sobbing and gripping me so tight I could barely breathe. That’s when I heard the commotion. He begged me to not leave him, crying and saying the monsters would eat him if I left, but when the screaming started I had to know.

Each exhibit was separated by big wooden doors, intricately carved and heavy. I pulled it open slowly, just a crack. It only took a second to know that door needed to stay closed. At the time my brain was to numb to really comprehend what I had just seen, I would time to deal with it later, but right then my instincts took over and I had to put put my freak out on hold.

By 9:50 two things occurred to me… I needed a weapon and I needed to get us out of this museum. Swirling around, I took in everything quickly before running to a display of beautifully crafted weapons, most likely crafted to protect an Egyptian pharaoh in the afterlife. Is that irony? It didn't matter at that moment. I just hoped they would still be usable. I grabbed a post from one of the display barriers and shattered the glass to grab a knife and what looked similar to an axe. The knife was crammed in to my satchel, Billy’s hand securely in mine and we were racing to find an exit, any exit.

There it was. The door that would lead us out. I pushed it slowly, letting my eyes adjust to the bright light in the alley. Peeking out and realizing it was empty, save the large metal trash bins, I pulled Billy along with me, making our way to the back of the building where the bus would be parked and hopefully waiting. The world we entered was not the world we had left when we entered the museum just a little while ago. Screams in the distance, cars parked at odd angles where they were abandoned, alarms blaring, running feet, smoke… nothing that was even familiar anymore.

I found the bus empty and sitting where we left it. I know I should have been wondering if my other students were ok or if anyone else had made it out, but the only thing my mind was screaming at the time was escape. And that meant getting the bus open and seeing if the driver had left behind the keys.

Billy screamed.

The monster with a man’s face was on him before I could blink. In a breath, without any thought, I was swinging my axe at the thing that was trying to bite the boy. The blade did little more than distract him and turn his attention to me.

Everything moved in slow motion and I knew we were going to die.

I blinked and it was over. That was the last moment of my life. Not because I died, but because I was saved by a man with a knife that would soon become my teacher. I saw the blade enter the monster’s head. I saw him stop moving, his mouth fall slack and his body crumble in a heap on the ground. I watched him die, and my life of lesson plans, classes, field trips, meetings, schedules… it was over.

April 3, 2015 at 11:15 am
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