“We’re all gonna die!” Peter hollered from the ground as we all had to link arms to brace ourselves during the quake. Before I could dispute the negative connotation of his assertion, the tremor stopped as fast as it came, and Peter altered his opinion, “Oh, maybe not!”
Lisa asked, “What the F just happened?”
Brielle answered her, “It was an earthquake, which is kinda odd! Pennsylvania usually doesn’t get strong seismic activity! That’s one of the reasons I moved here from California!”
“Was that it?” I wondered. Ellie gave me a sharp stare, so I added, “I mean, it was scary and disruptive, but there weren’t any toppled buildings or cracked floors or anything! So, was that really the big plan to terrorize the prom?”
“Daddy!” Two blonde girls in scantily clad dresses ran up to Fletcher with wide eyes full of apprehension. One of them attempted to report something to him, “We were just outside and-!”
Fletcher puzzled, “What were you doing outside? And where are the gowns you left the house wearing?”
The other twin responded, “That’s not important! We-!”
“The heck it’s not! I spent a lot of money on those suckers!” Fletcher grumbled.
“Everyone, into the locker rooms!” Manuel stood at the doorway and commanded. “There’s a tornado coming!”
The twins gave Fletcher a reproachful look, clearly miffed since they were trying to relay that information to their father moments ago! Fletcher’s expression grew sheepish, and he barked, “We’ll talk about this later! We gotta move!”
Since there were two different locker rooms on either side of the gym, the crowd split into two as everyone ran for cover. Peter nearly followed us into the closest facility to our area, but he then objected, “I can’t go in there! That’s the girls’ locker room!”
“Get in there!” I physically ushered him into the closest safeguard. “This is for protection! No one’s taking off their clothes!”
“My dress!” Cricket bemoaned as she held her garment in a fashion that shielded her nudity. “The zipper snapped off!”
A bunch of male students whipped their heads around to check out this development, so Ellie snapped, “Is a naked lady really worth getting killed in a twister?” A couple of them heartily signaled that it was, so she yelled, “Don’t be stupid! Get in there!”
As we all huddled together in the showers, Peter opined, “I don’t think there’s really a tornado out there! It sounds more like a train!”
“It’s not a windstorm at all!” Ismeray declared in an ethereal tone. “The day of reckoning has come exactly as our dear leader foretold!”
“Your dear leader is a fraud!” I bellowed. Perhaps I hadn’t chosen the most tactful manner to break this news to her, but I certainly couldn’t permit her to make an already frightening situation even more terrifying for anyone who might believe her! Or annoying for those of us who didn’t! “He lied to you in order to trick you into joining a cult!”
Ismeray took exception to that accusation. “We’re not a cult! We’re simply a group that was brought together to worship unconventional ideals!” She heard the words coming out of her mouth and swiftly changed her tune, “Oh my god! We are a cult!”
The FAUK club members in the vicinity grew troubled at this realization, but no one else could discuss it further because the deafening sounds emitted by the cyclone reached its peak! We all ducked as low as we could with our hands covering the back of our heads, bracing ourselves for the worst, but a minute later, the atmosphere became completely quiet! “Is it over?” Cricket posed to all of the adults within earshot. “If it is, I’d like to go find some more clothing to put on!”
“We can loan you one of our dresses!” one of Fletcher’s twins volunteered, and they both winced as they espied their dad glaring at them.
“Everyone wait here! We’re gonna scope the building out to make sure the coast is clear,” Phoebe instructed. Most of the dance attendees assumed that she meant checking on damage from that abnormal weather pattern, but the six of us in the Ghost League knew that she really meant for us to study the periphery so we could discern what fear monger we would be facing next!”
When Phoebe, Fletcher, Aleck, Ginger, Ellie, and I re-entered the gymnasium, we were stunned to see everything was still completely intact! We sort of expected Damon to have had that gale destroy a section of the structure so that the festivities would come to a halt, but we didn’t see one iota of destruction in the joint! Not even a scratch! We also felt one hundred percent confident that some sort of monster or sinister obstacle would have been in there standing by to cause the next wave of chaos, but there weren’t any signs of anything out of the ordinary! The six of us gazed at each other in confusion until we heard a very audible gasp! We immediately craned our necks in that direction, but to our astonishment, the deejay held up some cash in the air and joyfully announced, “I found a twenty!”
Aleck inquired hushed enough so that only the Ghost League would hear, “This is some type of trap, isn’t it?”
“Seems like a lot of wasted effort!” Ginger remarked. “Like seriously, what was the point of that? To fool a selection of teenagers into holding hands with their teachers?”
“Hold on, we left dozens of people alone in an enclosed space…” Phoebe brought up. We all became alarmed and instantly ran back to the girls’ showers!
When we returned to the faction that we left behind, I truly anticipated discovering a menacing figure taking advantage of the opportune circumstances we inadvertently provided for them, but to my shock, there was nothing there but a myriad of bored juveniles! “Oh good, you’re all fine!” I breathed a sigh of relief.
Corvina addressed my comment, “Of course we are! Why wouldn’t we be?”
I couldn’t come up with a sufficient reply to her, but fortunately for me, cheery music blasted through the speakers, and Manuel got on a microphone and merrily invited everyone, “All is well, boys and girls! Come back out! Dance a few dances, laugh a few laughs! There’s even some free snacks at the refreshment table! Not a lot of vegetables left though! Wow, I had no idea that those would be so popular!”
Other than Aleck guiltily shuffling, no one made a move! I imagined that, much like the six of us in the Ghost League felt, they were leery about all being well when the scene was so catastrophic mere minutes ago! I hesitated to endorse Manuel’s suggestion initially because I had this sneaking suspicion that as soon as everyone set foot back into the gym that ruckus would ensure once more, but then I realized that I couldn’t make everyone stay in the locker room shower all night! That would have been insane! So, I reluctantly concluded, “You heard what he said! Go have fun!” Slowly, all of the prom attendees got up and warily returned to the dance floor, and as I watched them go, I crossed my fingers that we weren’t making a giant mistake!
Everyone but Phoebe and I stationed themselves in various parts of the region to keep an eye out for hints on Damon’s next step, and since my girlfriend and I were the only ones who didn’t have dates outside of our inner circle to entertain, we walked around the perimeter to investigate Damon’s whereabouts. We couldn’t navigate at the speed my anxiety would have preferred since we certainly didn’t want to encourage any child’s apprehension to flourish, nor did we relish trying to explain how something within this complex caused the natural oddities that we all previously experienced! None of us could work out what corner Damon hid himself in, but we had no doubts he lurked in there somewhere since Roxy still seemed pleased as punch. Everyone who knew about him sort of wished that he would get it over with- the prospect of a pending ambush was almost worse than the incidents themselves! Almost- the incidents were supremely awful!
“Maybe he ran out of fear mongers with that one,” Phoebe conversed softly enough so only I would detect what she told me. “Can one of those little monsters really create a whole freaking tornado?”
“It just took one of them to make that enormous dragon,” I pointed out. “I’m glad that these two went away on their own ‘cause I have no clue how we would have destroyed an earthquake!”
Right after I finished speaking, Ismeray tugged on my sleeve. “Mister Fenmore?”
Her abrupt appearance made me jump! Once it registered that she wasn’t a fear monger, I fretted that she may have overheard what we had been going over, and I couldn’t fathom what rational excuse I could have conjured for desiring to obliterate an earthly occurrence like that! I tentatively inquired, “What do you need, Ismeray?”
“Well, I’ve been wondering…” she anxiously replied to me, “Um, are all cults bad?”
“Hmm…” I was filled with alleviation that she started questioning the FAUK club’s purpose, and a part of me wanted to tell her that all cults had evil motives, but I couldn’t prove that! That is to say, I couldn’t come up with an example of a good one, but I was positive that there had be some. And if Corvina unearthed them, she might have accused me of lying and gone straight back to Blaise’s sham! Instead of conveying that to her, I spelled out to Ismeray, “I found out who the head FAUK-er is, and he’s a moronic, loudmouth boor who consistently eats a lethal amount of sugar and then clogs up the plumbing of wherever he completes the digestive cycle! Do you really wanna trust the judgment of a man like that?”
Ismeray gave that logic significant consideration, but before we could chat about it further, Phoebe nudged me and let me know, “It looks like we have a problem…”
My adrenaline immediately spiked upon hearing that pronouncement! I swiftly swiveled my line of sight to the locale she was referring to, ready to confront that petulant phantom or whatever asinine stunt he orchestrated, but then I beheld Corvina tiptoeing out of the men’s restroom! It seemed sort of funny that with a supernatural battle at hand, we still had to deal with ordinary youthful escapades! As Phoebe and I strolled over to that site, Hudd also emerged from that restroom, and both of them had messy hair and disheveled outfits! When we neared them, they both seemed very agitated, so clearly, they comprehended that they were busted! I wasn’t in the mood to severely punish anyone, especially since I wanted to hop right back into our paranormal search, and while I wouldn’t dare say this to Fletcher, but his twins’ behavior demonstrated that these two hadn’t been the only individuals up to indecent acts! It seemed unfair to reprimand this couple but not Fletcher’s girls or their partners, so I decided to gently rib them instead, “Listen, if you commit a crime in the future, could you at least pretend you’re innocent and do a better job of getting rid of the evidence?”
“Mister Fenmore, you don’t understand…” Hudd started to object.
“No, trust me, I do!” I sympathized with them. “It’s not like I haven’t been there! Well, not there! I wouldn’t do it in there, it’s filthy!”
Corvina concurred, “Yeah, it was kinda gross… Not that we did anything nasty ourselves…” Phoebe and I gazed at her skeptically, so she hastily included, “We weren’t alone in there!” Our faces instantly contorted into disturbed expressions at the assumption of these young ones partaking in kinky antics, so she clarified, “No! None of our classmates were in there! Someone we don’t recognize is in there, and he tried to hurt us!”
Her revelation hit us with a wave of shock, but then I acknowledged that I really shouldn’t have been so surprised- we already bargained for another spooky episode being in the cards! Phoebe gingerly queried, “When you say someone, you do mean a human, right? Not some kind of ghost or beast or whatever?”
“Of course! Why would a ghost or a beast be in the bathroom?” Hudd pondered, but after hearing his sentence out loud, he amended his stance, “Then again, why would a strange dude in all black be in there?”
“We’ll get to the bottom of it! Just do us a favor and make sure nobody but the other teachers go in there! But for the love of all things holy, do not say why!” They readily complied, so I turned to Phoebe and declared, “Let’s give the others a call! It’s go time!”