Chapter 26: Alone

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        Fiona’s tears were interrupted by the sound of something thumping against the ground behind her. She jerked her head up and turned to stare. She couldn’t see much with the curtain in the way, but she did notice the feet sticking out, their owner clearly collapsed on the ground. “Dr. Volkov!” she called, jumping up.

            She hurried over, ignoring her still wet cheeks. Once she rounded the edge of the curtain, she felt her stomach drop. His eyes closed like he was only sleeping, it was Chay lying on the ground. “Oh my god,” Fiona whispered feeling worry creep into her veins.

            Fiona knelt beside him, checking his pulse and feeling a touch of relief that he wasn’t dead. She shook his shoulder, “Chay, hey Chay,” she called, trying to get him to open his eyes, to wake up.

            But he remained the same and the worry that had wormed its way inside of her exploded into panic well seasoned with fear. “No, no, no, no!” she said, scooting away from his prone form. “No, not you too! I-I can’t-” Tears began to flow back down her face as she shook her head.

            She gulped and stood up. As much as she might want to break down right now, she needed to get Chay help first. “Dr. Volkov!” she called again, running to the back room where he’d disappeared to when she’d arrived.

            Fiona ripped the door of the tiny room open. The shelves of jars holding various pills, medicines, plants, and ointments filled most of the square stone box. The only other furniture was a small table and chair. Not that Fiona saw any of it. Her eyes were drawn to the prone figure stretched out on the floor.

            “Dr. Volkov!” she cried, checking him the same way she had Chay. He too had a slow, steady pulse, his breathing even, like he was asleep. Except Fiona knew he wasn’t. Her eyes widened, the panic inside of her whirling around like a tornado, sweeping up all the other emotions it came into contact with and intensifying them.

            Fiona swallowed hard as the maelstrom threatened to consume her. She bit her lip hard enough that she almost broke the skin. The pain helped her keep her head, helped her shove everything down enough that she could think. She owed it to Chay and Dr. Volkov to get them looked after.

            Her breathing was ragged and her hands trembled, but Fiona was able to function. The first thing she did was grab pillows from two of the empty beds and put them under Chay and the doctor’s heads. She knew it probably wasn’t doing anything, but the action made her feel better and she needed that more than anything else at the moment.

            She rubbed sweat wet hands against her jeans as she considered what to do next. Dr. Volkov joining the fallen was something that the faculty needed to know, and needed to know soon. Fiona had no idea where the staff room was, but she did know where the principal’s office was. She just prayed that Mr. Bishara was finally back. Mr. Rana had said he’d be back before the weekend the last time she’d seen him, but he hadn’t given her an actual day.

            Fiona raced through the halls, seeing and hearing no one as she passed through the endless paths of white stone. It felt almost like she was in some kind of haunted house, like something was going to jump out at her at any moment. Or, with the way her luck had been going, they’d jump out and try to kill her.

            The emptiness didn’t help her feel any more secure as she finally reached the entrance hall. It was like everyone had disappeared and she was left all alone on the island to fend for herself. Fiona shoved the thought back down, knowing it was anything but helpful.

            She flew up the stairs, taking them two at a time. She swung herself around the corner with one hand, not slowing as she hurtled towards the door of the principal’s office. She banged rapidly on the door and then yanked it open. She didn’t care if Mr. Rana was there again and got mad, this was an emergency.

            But the room was empty. Fiona frowned, ignoring the rise in the panic she’d shoved past her stomach. The lights were on, but she couldn’t see anyone. “Mr. Bishara?” she called, in case he was invisible or something. “Mr. Rana?”

            No one answered. Fiona shivered. This wasn’t good, one of them was always in here, just in case of emergencies. Mr. Bishara had told her that himself. She crept over to the desk, looking around for some sign of where they’d gotten to. Maybe there was even a note telling her where they were.

            Then Fiona caught sight of the sprawled out form on the ground. Dark hair half covering his glasses, Mr. Rana was in the same state as the other two.

            Fiona’s heart began to pound in her ears and she dug her fingers into her palms, trying to keep herself under control. It was hard though, way too hard. Everyone she tried to see, everyone she talked to seemed to have fallen. She was alone. Completely alone, with no one to help, no one to turn to.

            She began hyperventilating. Fiona sank into the carpet and just shuddered. This was too much, too much for to deal with all at once. What could she do? Feeling tears begin to prickle her eyes, Fiona fought back. She pounded her fists into her thighs before she bit her lip again. This time she did break the skin, but she also broke out of the panicked morass that were her emotions. She could have a meltdown later. Finding someone to take charge of everyone else was a higher priority.

            Fiona left the principal’s office, leaving Mr. Rana on the floor. She stopped in the hallway and looked in both directions, praying that one of her teachers was in their office. Someone had to be! If they weren’t….

            She shook that thought away, looking again. She blinked as she turned back towards the left. There was a blue glow coming from that direction. Fiona let out a shuddering breath and headed straight towards the only sign of life she’d seen, hoping someone really was there.

            As she raced down the hall, the light grew brighter until she finally stopped outside the door it was seeping out from. Fiona stared up at the sign that said Mme. Fontaine before she pushed the door open.

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