By Isabella Marchese
   “The meeting is cancelled for today,” the voice on the announcements rang. My eyes widened, I wasn’t told that we were having a lockdown. Is this real? Regardless, I should probably instruct my class to the hiding spots. I looked at the class and pressed my finger to my lips, signifying for them to remain silent. They all looked up with large, confused eyes.

   “Children, grab your books and come over here. Stay quiet until I say so,” I instructed, my voice quivering a bit. One of the little girls, around the age of 10 stood up and walked over.

   “Miss, I have to go to the bathroom,” the little girl spoke quietly. I inhaled deeply and nodded slightly at the small figure in front of me. I walked slowly toward the door of the classroom which had a small, square-shaped window on it. I slowly peered out of the window to make sure that the hallway was clear of any intruders. The hallway was an eerie, vacant area, in which no one was to be found. I turned back to the little girl.

   “Ok, honey. What I want you to do is go straight to the bathroom and come straight back; no stopping even for a second. When you come back to this room, I want you to knock on the door twice and scratch twice so that I know it’s you. Can you do that?” I asked, taking the girl’s hands in mine. She nodded quickly and I slowly opened the door for her. She glided out of the door and tip-toed to the bathroom. I held my breath in fear that she might not be safe, I turned to watch the rest of the class and silently prayed that the girl would return back safely.

   The rest of the class was leaned against the bookshelf, adjacent to the door, reading their books silently and intently. The corner of my mouth tugged into a small smile as I have never seen them this focused on reading before. I was yanked out of my thoughts when I heard the pattern I taught the girl. Knock, knock, scratch, scratch. However, I was a bit hesitant to open the door, as the knocking did not sound like it came from the fist of a small child. Knock, knock, scratch, scratch. This time, the last scratch was slow and made a horrendous noise. I decided to check and see if it was, in fact, the girl that I let leave before. My heart was beating faster and faster as I neared closer to the door. My hand grasped the door handle, and I turned the knob slowly. When I opened the door, I was not prepared for what I was about to encounter.

It was not the girl.