Chapter 3: Stand
That morning was pretty normal. Woke up, got ready, bickered with my brothers, went to the Kardigans, ate breakfast, gawked at Austin, went to school, ect. ect.
Everything was average. . . unill History. History was better desrcibed as extrodinary then ordinary. I didn't try to have a conversation with Austin; he was in one of his moods. After he broke up with his girlfriends he was always irritable for a few days. Until he found a new one, which never took long. Austin sat next to me, with a look of strain and frustration on his face
When Ms. Maket told Donnie to get the textbooks for everyone, Austin got up to sharpen his pencil. It was hard to stare at him from the back of the room, but I managed.
Which is why I was able to see everything that happened. Austin was sharpening his pencil apathetically. And Donnie was getting the books.
The next, seemingly insignificant, event caused my life to spiral out of control.
Donnie picked up the books for the class, too many. There was no way he could carry them all at once. As predicted, Donnie took a few steps n then the books slipped, crashing to the floor. A few people snickered. Pain and desolation flashed across Donnie's face, so much that it startled me. Then, in a lightning quick movement, Donnie pulled a gun out of his jacket.
"You think this is funny!" he demanded, madness shining in his eyes.
Everyone's heads swiveled around to face him. And they were all consumed by pure fear, even Austin looked shocked. Everyone was silent.
"On your knees!" Donnie commanded, hands shaking, "On your knees!"
Everyone obeyed. They all slipped out of there desks and slowly onto their knees. I did too. Everyone but Austin of course. He stood, anger and worry masking his face.
"You too, Blondie!" Donnie snapped, pointing the gun at Austin, who was a mere few feet away from him.
Austin made a strange angry noise in the back of his throat, something like a growl. His silver eyes briefly darted over to look at me and I begged him to cooperate with my eyes. He sighed, but slowly sank to his knees. Although, he didn't put his hands over his head like mostly everyone else.
Nearly everyone seemed terrified; I mean, the kid had obviously lost his god damn mind. I mean, I knew he got picked on a lot but I never thought it was so bad that he would bring a gun to school. This was insanity; I had to get help. So, while Donnie was giving his 'never again' speech, I slipped out my cellphone behind my back. Texting by looking out of the corner of my eye: Kate help! a kid brought a gun 2 school! Call the cops ASAP!
"Hey you!" I looked up, Donnie was staring daggers at me. I froze as he pointed the gun at me
"You think you can outsmart me!" he demanded.
"Yes," I said haughtily, "Yes I do." In retrospect, it probably wasn't the smartest thing to say, but I didn't care. This crazy guy was going to decided whether or not to kill me on his own, and nothing I said or did would change it. And if he decided to kill me, I didn't want to die groveling.
"We'll see about that," he said, smiling sadistically.
"I guess we will," I said with eerie calm that even I found unsettling. I slowly rose to my feet; I was not going to die on my knees. Once I was up I didn't move, I didn't breath, I didn't even think. Because if I let my mind function I would of realized I was going to die. I braced myself.
"Put the gun down," Austin ordered. I looked over to Austin to see that he was back on his feet and was glaring daggers at Donnie.
"You can't tell me what to do! You think just because you're the star football player and get straight A's means you get to call all the shots? Well, now I'm calling the shots" Donnie shouted.
"Just stop, Donnie," Austin growled "You don't want to do this. You're not the killing type."
"You don't think I'm capable of that? I'll show you!" Donnie shouted, aiming the gun at Austin.
Then he fired.
Some people screamed, and I was sure whether or not I was one of them. I wasn't paying attention to anything my body was doing. I was too deathly afraid for Austin. All I could do was
watch in horror, as the bullet collided with Austin's arm. But there was no screaming, no blood, no death.
Because the bullet had bounced neatly off of Austin's arm.
My shocked thoughts were even more wordless then "Oh my God!"
They were more like:
Just wordless alarm. I watched as Austin bolted towards Donnie, knocking the gun out of his hand; it slid across the floor. Austin pulled Donnie's arms behind his back, and then pinned him to the wall. Donnie struggled relentlessly, but Austin didn't budge.
A few other guys got up and went to help Austin restrain Donnie, but I had a feeling he didn't need any help. Two of Austin's buddies, football players, grabbed Donnie's arms from Austin and slammed him into the wall. Austin took a step back, staring at Donnie expressionlessly.
Everyone was dead silent for a minute for a few minutes. Mrs. Maket seemed frozen for a little while, but when she finally unthawed she went first to Austin.
"My God are you alright?" she asked, examining his arm. My guess was that she had probably seen the bullet hit him but had assumed she'd seen wrong when he didn't start rolling on the floor in pain.
"I'm fine," he muttered, pulling away, "He missed."
"Thank God," she said, "I should call the police."
"Don't bother," I said, standing up, "They're already on their way." Just as I said that a bunch of teachers, all male, burst into the room. Two of them, the gym teacher and the Biology teacher, grabbed Donnie from the football players. The others swarmed around, talking to Mrs. Maket and asking what happened. One of them picked up the gun off the floor and placed it gently on the counter. I noticed Kate peering in from the doorway. A moment later, cops arrived on the scene. I could hear them taking Donnie away outside. The others went around questioning everyone and one put the gun in an evidence bag.
The room filled with activity.
Police officers began to question everyone. Girls pushed past the cops questioning Austin. They all clung to his side, thanking him for saving their lives and commenting on how he was so brave and they would just have to make it up to him. I snorted at them as Kate slipped inside and ran over to me.
"Oh my God are you alright!" she asked.
"I'm fine" I said.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Donnie brought a gun to school and he was waving it around and ranting about how he was in charge now and bla bla bla. So, I texted you and asked for your help. But he saw me. He was about to shoot me too but then Austin started provoking him, and he fired at Austin. But, luckily it missed him." The last part was a lie.
I purposely left out the part about me speculating that Austin was bulletproof.
"He stood up to a gunman!" Kate demanded. She didn't sound worried or admiring. She sounds furious.
"Uh yeah?" I said, confused.
She just glared at Austin.
After being interrogated by the police school was dismissed early. The parking lot was madness. All my friends swarmed around me asking me if I was alright and what happended. Austin's football buddies approached him, congratulating him in a partially teasing way. And at least four girls were literally hanging all over him. Me, and Kate were about to go in car, but we had to wait for Austin.
While we waited outside the Mercedes (not sitting on it) I listened to the girls clinging to Austin.
"Wow, that was sooo brave of you," Sarah gushed.
"Yeah, you like saved our lives," Tasha cooed.
"There has to be someway we can repay you," Dana purred, batting her eyelashes.
Kate was growing impatient.
She tapped her foot irately.
"'Ey lover boy!' Kate snapped sarcastically "I know you have lots of admiring girls to flirt with but we have to go home."
"Go to hell," he told her.
"Seriously," she hissed, "We have to go. Besides, mommy's favorite is going to have some explaining to do when we get home."
"First off, you're just jealous because mom likes me better," he said, "Secondly, you're a bitch. And lastly, fine, just give me a sec."
We waited while Austin said goodbye to his friends and detached himself from his admirers. Once he was finished, we all got in the car.
"Why are you in trouble?" I asked Austin.
"Uh, umm," he stammered, "Cause I got a scratch on her car"
"Why where you taking her car?" I wondered, suspicious.
"Well, um my Dad took the Mercedes," Austin said.
"Oh okay," I said, pretending to buy it. The rest of the ride was unusually quiet. Kate was glaring daggers at Austin, but he just stared ahead and pretended not to notice.
When we got to the Kardigans, Mrs. Kardigan was reading in the living room.
"Children?" she said suprised "What are you doing home?"
Kate fielded that one. "There was a school shooting and Austin stood up to the gunman," she said with disgust.
Mrs. Kardigan gasped but regained herself quickly. "Becca, would you excuse us for a moment," she asked smoothly.
"Sure," I said.
Then all three of them disappeared into Mr. Kardigan's study. I waited a little while but finally curiosity won over and I just had to find out what they were talking about. I tiptoed over to the door and pressed my ear to it I heard four hushed voices; Mr. Kardigan must have been home early.
"What were you thinking!" Kate hissed.
"I was thinking that if he shot someone then there would be blood all over the place," Austin snapped.
"But Austin, doing something that bold could tip off the humans," Mrs. Kardigan whispered.
"I know, Mom," Austin sighed, "But I broke up with Julie yesterday so I was insanely thirsty"
"Well . . ." Mr. Kardigan mused.
"Did Austin mention he got shot," Kate added cryptically.
"You what!" there parents demanded.
"Nobody noticed it hit me," Austin muttered. Ha! I knew it! So I wasn't crazy!
"You better hope not," Kate snapped.
"What's your problem?" Austin demanded.
"My problem is that you could of exposed us all," Kate hissed, "And then the Council would find us!"
"I was saving your best friend!" Austin snapped ,"I thought you'd be grateful!"
"Well," Kate sniffed, "Some people would think you did it for selfish reasons."
"Like what!" Austin demanded.
"Well I don't know but, going out of your way to please me isn't exactly in your nature," Kate said coldly.
"Neither is saving lives," Austin growled, "And I did that today too! So there's a first time for everything!"
"Children! We'll continue this discussion later," Mr. Kardigan said tightly.
"I'm stil not sold," Kate muttered, "There's something going on with you. . ."
I ran back over to the couch as fast as I could. The Kardigans came out a half a second later; all wearing different expressions. Mrs. Kardigan was smiling calmly and Mr. Kardigan's expression was carefully blank. Austin looked royally pissed and Kate looked annoyed.
Austin angrily snatched his keys from the coffee table.
"Where are you going?" Mrs. Kardigan asked politely.
"The school," Austin spoke in clipped angry sentences, "I have football practice. Be back later."
Then he stormed out.
"Sorry 'bout that," Kate apologized, plopping down on the couch, "Mom was mad that Austin scratched the car"
"It's fine," I said, pretending to believe her story.
"So what do you wanna do?" Kate asked.
"Actually, I have to go umm take care of some things. I'll be back later," I said.
"Sure," she said, turning on the t.v.
I left the Kardigans quickly and headed to the school. I didn't know why but I felt this weird compulsion to go see what Austin was doing. As if it would explain the confusing context I had overheard. The context of their conversation made no sense to me, but I did understand one thing.
The Kardigans were not human, not at all.
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