Home > Turned (The Vampire Journals #1)(8)

Turned (The Vampire Journals #1)(8)
Author: Morgan Rice

A stern, older woman, the teacher glared down at Caitlin.

“What do you have to say for yourself?”

Caitlin hesitated.

“Sorry?”

“That’s not good enough. It may be acceptable to be late to class wherever you are from, but it’s certainly not acceptable here.”

“Unacceptable,” Caitlin said, and immediately regretted it.

An awkward silence covered the room.

“Excuse me?” the teacher asked, slowly.

“You said ‘not acceptable.’ You meant ‘unacceptable.’”

“OH—SHIT!” exclaimed a noisy boy from the back of the room, and the entire class erupted into laughter.

The teacher’s face turned bright red.

“You little brat. Report to the Principal’s office right now!”

The teacher marched over and opened the door beside Caitlin. She stood inches away, close enough so that Caitlin could smell her cheap perfume. “Out of my classroom!”

Normally Caitlin would have slinked quietly out of the room—in fact, she would have never corrected a teacher to begin with. But something had shifted within her, something she didn’t entirely understand, and she felt a defiance rising. She didn’t feel that she had to show respect to anyone. And she no longer felt afraid.

Instead, Caitlin stood where she was, ignoring the teacher, and slowly scanned the classroom, looking for Jonah. The room was packed, and she looked row to row. No sign of him.

“Ms. Paine! Did you not hear what I said!?”

Caitlin looked defiantly back. Then she turned and slowly walked out of the room.

She could feel the door slam behind her, and then heard the muffled clamor in the room, followed by, “Quiet down, class!”

Caitlin continued down the empty hallway, wandering, not really sure where she was going.

She heard footsteps. In the distance, a security guard appeared. He walked right for her.

“Pass!” he barked at her, still a good twenty feet away.

“What?” she answered.

He got closer.

“Where’s your hall pass? You’re supposed to hold it out visibly at all times.”

“What pass?”

He stopped and examined her. He was an ugly, mean-looking man, with a huge mole on his forehead.

“You can’t walk the halls without a signed pass. You know that. Where is it?”

“I didn’t know—”

He picked up his CB radio, and said into it, “Hall pass violation in wing 14. I’m bringing her to detention now.”

“Detention?” Caitlin asked, confused. “What are you—”

He grabbed her roughly by the arm and yanked her down the hall.

“Not another word out of you!” he snapped.

Caitlin didn’t like the feel of his fingers digging into her arm, leading her as if she were a child. She could feel the heat rising through her body. She felt the Rage coming on. She didn’t quite know how, or why, but she knew. And she knew that, in moments, she wouldn’t be able to control her anger—or her use of force.

She had to stop it before it was too late. She used every ounce of her will to make it stop. But as long as his fingers were on her, it would just not go away.

She flung her arm quickly, before the full power took over her, and watched as his hand went flying off of her, and as he stumbled several feet back.

He stared back at her, shocked that a girl her size could throw him several feet across the hall with just a slight jerk of her arm. He wavered between outrage and fear. She could see him debating whether to attack her or back off. He lowered his hand to his belt, on which hung a large can of pepper spray.

“Lay your hands on me again, young lady,” he said in a cold rage, “and I will mace you.”

“Then don’t put your hands on me,” she answered defiantly. She was shocked at the sound of her own voice. It had changed. It was deeper, more primal.

He slowly removed his hand from the spray. He gave in.

“Walk in front of me,” he said. “Down the hall and up those stairs.”

*

The security guard left her at the crowded entrance to the Principal’s office, and as he did, his radio went off, and he hurried off to another location. Before he did, he turned to her.

“Don’t let me see you in these hallways again,” he snapped.

Caitlin turned and saw fifteen kids, all ages, sitting, standing, all apparently waiting to see the principal. They all seemed like misfits. They were being processed, one student at a time. A guard stood watch, but lackadaisically, nodding off as he stood.

Caitlin didn’t feel like waiting half the day, and she certainly didn’t feel like meeting the Principal. She shouldn’t have been late to school, that’s true, but she didn’t deserve this. She’d had enough.

The hallway door opened and a security guard dragged in three more kids, fighting and shoving. Mayhem ensued in the small waiting area, which was completely packed. Then the bell rang, and beyond the glass doors, she could see the hallways filling up. It was now mayhem inside and out.

Caitlin saw her chance. As the door opened again, she ducked past another kid and slipped out into the hall.

She looked quickly over her shoulder, but didn’t see anyone notice. She quickly cut across the thick crowd of kids, making it to the other side, then around the corner. She checked again: still no one coming.

She was safe. Even if the guards noticed her absence—which she doubted, since she was never even processed—she was already too far away to catch. She hurried even faster down the hall, putting more distance between them, and headed towards the cafeteria. She had to find Jonah. She had to know if he was all right.

The cafeteria was packed, and she quickly walked up and down the aisles, looking for him. Nothing. She walked a second time, slowly scanning every table, and still couldn’t find him.

She regretted not going back to him, not checking on his wounds, not calling an ambulance. She wondered if he had been really hurt. Maybe he was in the hospital. Maybe he wouldn’t even come back to school.

Depressed, she grabbed a tray of food and found a table with a clear view of the door. She sat there, hardly eating, and watched every kid who came in, hoping for a sign of him each time the door swung open.

But he never came.

The bell rang, and the cafeteria emptied out. Still, she sat there waiting.

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