Margaret walked to the table and knelt close to Dominic’s ear. “I’m going for help, okay?” she whispered. “I’ll be back really soon.”
“No, don’t leave me,” begged Dominic, “please. Don’t leave me with them.”
Margaret stood and crept toward the window. She was startled by noise behind her and turned to see Dominic struggling, trying to free himself from the restraints.
“Dominic, stop it,” she said.
“You can’t leave me here!” Dominic cried. One of his feet broke free of the table and he started kicking against the wall. “Margaret!”
Running footsteps echoed through the empty hallway. Margaret climbed through the windowsill as someone fumbled with a set of keys on the other side of the door, which swung open as she jumped out onto the hood of Dominic’s car.
“There she is!” she heard Sybill shout from inside the classroom. She grabbed the driver’s side door handle of Dominic’s car.
Margaret sprinted past the open doorway as someone heavy landed on the hood of the car behind her. As she ran past her suitcase she wished that she could stop to pick it up, but the two loud pops behind helped quicken her steps.
When she reached Amanda’s car she slid in through the still-open driver’s door. The car started Margaret looked behind her and shifting the gears into reverse. Looking at the gate, she realized that she had no idea whether the car could crash through. It always worked in the movies, but in real life?
As she turned back toward the windshield she saw something that the car would crash through effortlessly. Margaret shifted the car into drive.
Elvis stopped running and lifted his handgun. She was in his sights.
The car suddenly lurched forward as Margaret pressed the pedal to the floor, making him hesitate for less than a second.
That was all she needed.
The car plowed into Elvis, sending his body across the hood and his face smashing through the glass. Margaret didn’t let up on the gas until the car slammed into the school building throwing Margaret into an airbag and Elvis against a brick wall.
Margaret didn’t know how long she had been unconscious, or if she had been out at all. A terrible headache was stealing her ability to focus and when she tried to move her shoulder burned. It took a moment, but she realized where she was and staggered out of the car.
Elvis was in a crumpled heap on the hood of the car. A bloody splatter on the side of the school made Margaret confident that he wasn’t going to be getting up. She looked behind the car and saw his gun lying on the ground about thirty feet back. She picked up the gun and kept it pointed in front of her as she entered the school. Moving slowly and deliberately, she soon arrived at the door where Dominic was being held.
Sybill was leaning out of the window. Margaret kept her in the gun’s sights as she approached, and when she was close enough to touch she saw that Sybill’s skull had been cleaved open from behind.
“Margaret,” a weak voice said from behind her. She turned to see Dominic sitting against one of the broken desks, the butcher knife on the floor beside him. The tourniquet had slipped partially and blood was oozing from the stump. “I got her.”
Margaret took Dominic’s remaining hand and tried to help him up. “No,” he said, “there’s another one. Her brother.”
“He’s done,” she said as she dragged him to his feet.
Dominic smiled. “We make a good team,” he said as the pair stumbled forward and out of the classroom.
* * *
By the end of the summer, requests for interviews were finally starting to die down. Margaret was happy to have a few days of rest before returning to Savannah in her own car.
“I’d better not hear about you picking up any hitchhikers on your way to school,” her father said, “or this car is going back to the dealership.”
“Aside from Dominic, I’m not looking for company,” she replied.
It had taken a couple of months but Dominic had begun to accept life with one hand. He and Margaret kept in close contact, especially when the national news channels descended, asking for their sides of the bizarre story. They had decided early on to present a united front and only interviewed together.
Amanda hadn’t spoken to the press, or anyone else, since Jacksonville. Margaret had found her in a classroom down the hall, frozen in place with her hands over her mouth. The state of the couple that she had stumbled upon was horrifying and had forced Amanda into contemplative silence. She would not be making the trip back to Savannah anytime soon.
Margaret’s phone rang. “Have you gotten the chance to read my new post?” Dominic asked.
“I told you,” Margaret replied, “I’m not reading your blog anymore.”
“You need to!” Dominic said. “It’s all about how amazing you are!”
“I’ll pick you up in thirty minutes,” she said, ignoring his pleas. “Make sure you’re ready.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you then,” Dominic said, sounding deflated. Margaret hung up and her parents helped her finish loading her car. She pulled out of her driveway thinking of the days ahead, days that would be spent bringing drawings to life on the light table that was waiting for her at school. She had years of ideas in her sketchbook, and although some of the drawings had been ruined by a couple of bullet holes, she wasn’t concerned about a shortage of material.
Her nightmares provided plenty of inspiration.