I almost screamed at the sudden thud. Cyrus threw open the little kitchen window and pushed me into the cupboard below the sink.
"What are you d—?"
"Shh," he said, shutting the cupboard. I heard some shuffling and another cupboard closing.
It was a long while before the thudding gave way to a horrible splintering sound like several femurs snapping, followed shortly by shouting and innumerable footsteps. I could see the feet of the monsters through the tiny gap between the cupboard's doors, and I held my breath, afraid it would give away my hiding place.
I heard them tear open the pantry, talking amongst themselves.
"That girl must have gutted these guys," said one of them disbelievingly, probably referring to the dead kitchen workers. He snickered. "Bitch."
"And then jumped, maybe," said another. The fridge door opened, the pantry, one of them turned on the sink presumably for a drink of water. Most of them left—as far as I could tell, there were a few lingering, picking through the room for whatever food they could find.
The first cupboard opened, then the second. Almost the third, where Cyrus hid. I rattled the doors of my cupboard gently. Whoever it was out there paused and was still, no rustling of clothes against skin or the thump of sneakers on tiles. They slowly opened the cupboard right next to mine, and presumably seeing nothing, straightened up and left.
Cyrus opened my cupboard. "They broke the door," he whispered.
"Is that what that noise was?"
"Yeah. Come on. It's not safe here."
Was it really safe anywhere? I wanted to say. We stepped over the remains of the door. The handle looked as if it had been bashed with something, and someone must have elected to use something heavy to just break the whole door open like balsa wood. I made a mental note to stay away from anyone carrying heavy things in case they would break me like balsa wood too.
The cafeteria was empty, and the hallway was no different, but we took a detour towards the lab on the second floor just in case.
Almost half of the lab had been torn away during the sleep. To my relief, the biology class's pet snake, Rob, was intact and sleeping in his tank, though it was a little too close to the edge for comfort. I pulled him out and draped him around my shoulders. He squirmed a little, but soon settled down and went back to sleep, his head somewhere in the vicinity of my jacket's hood. I observed the fog at the edge of the lab—I assumed the nothingness looped. I felt like if I jumped, I'd fall forever, occasionally seeing the school fly past me while tumbling through the air at terminal velocity, the bottom of the cliffs sort of dissolving into the fog at some point before the school appeared again. That was stupid, of course, we were still on Earth. If we weren't, we wouldn't be able to breathe.
"We are still on Earth," I said, turning to look at Cyrus, "aren't we?"
He just shrugged and scratched the back of his head with the switchblade.
"We'll find a way down, right?" I said. "We'll be okay?"
"I don't know."