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Mar012009

Februart 29th, 20XII

It was fifth period and a Wednesday. Mael was strolling through the halls, as per usual, since he couldn't exactly 'eat' during his lunch period. Because of such, he had made it a habit to stop by Bianca's class midway through the period. It was almost as if a tradition had come to be once she begged him to, once she started going back to school. She told him it would be a big help and that him passing by would help refresh her for the rest of the period. Mael had offered to just tutor her but it wasn't a matter of her doing poorly in the class more than just her finding the teacher very 'dull and uninteresting.' So, Mael complied.

He was happy to see her smile. He was even happier to be the cause of it. Especially since it wasn't something that happened often since she lost her brother. Even now many had declared Michael Lamb and the other students that 'disappeared' that day, to simply be victims of the urban terrorist. It really hurt her, and Mael couldn't stand by and let his best friend wallow in despair without doing all that he could. It was because of that drive that he decided to change things up after the first few days. Instead of just passing by and waving he soon tried making funny signs and then eventually silly faces. He used a marker on Monday to make a really amazing face for himself that was so funny he got her to laugh out loud. Her teacher even noticed and that made his day. Since yesterday, he had begun trying the newest dance trends. Since he received a pretty good reaction the day before, he decided to pull out all the stops today. As he made his way to the second floor stairwell he gave a subtle acknowledgement to the custodial staff as they took care of some student's 'creative expression' in the bathroom and focused on the routine he was about to perform.

-----

10 minutes into the period and already Bianca was bored out of her mind. It's not as though she hated science but just that there was something about this teacher. Biology was actually kind of interesting to her. Especially given Mael's predicament. She didn't even really mind being bored so much as to what the boredom would always eventually lead to. Whenever her mind wasn't preoccupied with something else, it would find its way to being preoccupied with what happened to her brother. Not knowing whether he was dead or alive really disturbed her. And worse yet, their father's reaction to his disappearance was even worse.

Michael had been emancipated and lived on his own. He keep their mom's last name after she died and went on to live, alone. Their father and him never got along but they were a family after all. When he found out about what happened to his son, it was as if he didn't even care. How could he not care about his own child was all that would flow through her mind. She couldn't help but be utterly perplexed by the thoughts as well as just what actually happened to her brother in the first place. And not just her brother, but his best friend Matheui, and all the other students that vanished that same day. The questions were beginning to overwhelm her. But as she looked at the clock she saw that 20 minutes had past. and Just two more to go before Mael would show and cheer her up.

-----

It was 15 minutes before Mael would make his approach. He decided to take the scenic route since he wasn't supposed to be wandering the hallways in the first place. Each student was supposed to be in a faculty supervised area at all times as stipulated by the new rules instated since the first attacks. Though with a wave to a custodial worker transporting a ladder somewhere returned by a frightened look, Mael rationalized that such contact would be acceptable since the custodial staff are considered faculty. Mael made his way along until he found himself stopped. He started to contemplate about situation that just took place.

When he first got to the school he received plenty of scared and hateful looks but it'd been almost a month since he had started and it was very rarely that anyone still returned such glances. He then began to recall the faces of all the staff and students. Since he had been identified as having an eidetic memory, among other things, he was able to recall the incongruity. A fear rushed over his being. It wasn't fear towards Mael, but fear towards being caught. The conclusions were all the same. Mael had just crossed paths with the culprit of all the pain and suffering that had been spreading around since the dawn of the new year.

-----

It had been 40 minutes since the period began and Bianca was beginning to panic. Mael hadn't shown up, so she couldn't help but be fearful that he had been abducted just like her brother. She was scared and starting to have difficulty breathing. Using stress management techniques, she learned from mandatory grief counseling session the school provided, she was able to make it to the end of the period. By the end of the first bell she was already down the hall and on her way to Mael's sixth period class. She didn't even bother to take her things with her. She just had to know if he was okay or not. She couldn't bare to loose anyone else. Reaching the class she stood at the doorway too focused to pay mind to the perplexed looks. He wasn't in his class but there was still two minutes left till the second bell. She prayed. One minute left and still no Mael. Her heart was beating rapidly. The bell rang and Mael didn't show up to his own class either. She fell to her knees, tears welling in her eyes as she began to hyperventilate. Mael's teacher rushed to her aid as the other students, as few as there were, all tried to get a look at what was going on. Bianca was taken to the nurse's office as Mael's teacher had a custodian watch over her class till she returned.

-----

Mael, many times wished he wasn't born the way he was. Many times he'd find himself wishing he were normal. Average. Mundane. Mael couldn't help but hate his life. His circumstance. Himself. Mael Lehrer didn't have many friends. Not just because he was so smart, talented, gifted even, but because he was always right. Perhaps not truly always, but enough of the time to make people around him weary of being around him. It would be this time now that he would hate such a trait the most of all. He was right, and now he had only moments to act. Given everything he was able to dig up about the assailant, he knew the general routine in which she would perpetrate her attack. Having 'borrowed' his school's blueprints, Mael had a fairly good idea of where the pivotal points of attack would be. Given the crime scene reports he also 'borrowed,' he was able to decipher that time was in a factor of how long it would take the madwoman to get clear since her attacks seemed to be remotely executed. Perhaps done just so she could have a front row seat and a feeling of satisfaction holding such devastating power within her hands. There was no time to waste as spending time to vilify this woman who would commit such acts or attacking her directly would simply put lives in even more danger. Mael had to play this smart. And just as the bell signaling the end of fifth period rang, his plan was set and it was time for him to go into action.

-----

It was almost the end of sixth period and Bianca was passed out in the nurse's office. The nurse left her desk to check on her and upon returning found a message on her computer. It was from the main office and detailed an assembly that was going to be held during the next period that, everyone HAD to attend. She made a note of it but didn't take it too seriously. It would be five minutes before the end of the period when another message would appear on her monitor reminding her of the assembly. She thought it strange since she hadn't received notification sooner than that period and then because 'reminders' were never sent. So, being that she couldn't just leave a student all alone she sent a junior nurse to the office in her stead to get some answers. As it turned out, she wasn't the only one.

Once everyone had gotten to the office there was simply a note that read, "At Assembly In Gym. Meet There." With nothing else to be read and the office doors locked they all decided to just follow along. Teachers got the news from students they had sent to the office and the junior nurse reported the same to her superior. All went about gathering everyone together to go to the gym. Even the custodial staff was told to gather there as well. Everyone made their way, floor by floor--starting with the highest floor first, as directed by the assembly notifications. Everyone made their way to the gym aside from the senior nurse who opted to look after her passed out charge instead. As the last few classes were making their way there, it was the custodial staff that would mark the last group to enter. Upon entering however, they found that there was no one else there except for a kid wearing a bandanna around his nose and mouth; a large toothy smile graphic displayed on the front of it. A boy with what looked like explosives strapped to his chest.

-----

Mael Lehrer had spent the majority of his sixth period out of class. He knew it was wrong but felt his time best be utilized doing other things. Other things such as getting rid of the threat posed by a madwoman who had a thing for tormenting children and, in the aftermath, their families and the United States as a whole. Mael wasn't delusional enough to believe he could get every single explosive before the would-be destroyer got antsy, so he decided on the best course of action being to try and secure a large enough area of the school to fit everyone into and then to get them into it. The first part of the plan went off without much of a hitch. He was able to remove a number of key explosives from support frames both below and above the gymnasium. It had to become the safest place in the school if he was expecting to get his plan accomplished and thwart the woman who would try and extinguish so many lives.

The second part of Mael's plan was then to get everyone into the gym. Being that every classroom and office was fitted with a computer and all were networked, it just became a matter of making it to the main office and sending out a message that would get what he needed accomplished without causing a riot or alerting his adversary. It was easy to get the principal out of his office which, lucky for Mael, was isolated from the other areas of the main office but still had a doorway that led to the main office hallway as well as one leading to the rest of the main office. Once the principal was out, talking to one of his assistant principals about a student that 'mooned' him, Mael was able to slip in and send a message about an assembly. Upon sending the message he made his way to the gym equipped with some duct tape, the bombs he was able to remove, and the principal's favorite mug after leaving a note dictating that the mug would be where Mael needed him to be.

After high tailing it to the gymnasium Mael commandeered the gym office's computer to lock out the principal's computer, making it impossible to cancel the assembly notification. After that he knew he only had so much time before the teachers would return. The period was almost up and by the interim between periods everyone should receive the message, be on their way to the gym, or be on their way back to their offices.

With all the preparations in order Mael had only one more thing to accomplish before everything went down. He needed to disarm the bombs. They were definitely remote operated. They were also very crude. This wasn't some bomb expert he was dealing with. Just a fanatic. And one with no training whatsoever as evident by the sloppy way the devices were cobbled together. It wasn't like a movie. There were no dummy wires. It was all fairly simple. The only thing that made the explosives potent was their small size. With that understanding, he could only figure that the reason this madwoman was so successful was because her pattern hadn't been figured out yet. But that was going to change. Now, she was up against Mael Lehrer, prodigious savant.

-----

It was about 10 minutes before the end of sixth period and Bianca was finally regaining consciousness. It was apparent that her mind had blocked out the pain as she could not recall anything prior to her sitting in bio. But before she could attempt to remember she found herself startled by the nurse staring in her direction with a concerned look. She informed Bianca that she had been out for just over an hour and asked her a few questions to ascertain her health.

Bianca thought about her predicament briefly, contemplating feigning illness as to escape her next class but then at the rumble of her stomach and realization of the time--currently being her lunch period-- decided to let hunger take the wheel. She assured the nurse of her wellbeing unfortunately to find that the lunchroom would not be her destination and that an impromptu assembly would. Bummed out that she was going to miss lunch and the fact that it was too late to play sick, she complied, following the nurse to the gym.

Along the way she begged and pleaded but to no avail. Dragging her feet at the nurse's instruction to pick up her pace she stopped. Then looking towards her pseudo warden, she asked if there was a faint sound just then. The nurse looked at Bianca and shook her head. "I'm not falling for that one," she replied as she turned and continued to walk. Bianca let out a sigh and continued along behind her. They were about to turn the corner to the gym when all of a sudden a loud boom echoed down the hallways. It was an explosion. The school was under attack. Bianca turned to the direction of blast and looked onward as similar sounding explosions trumpeted around their location, growing closer and closer. The nurse began panicking while Bianca just stood there, awaiting her end in an emotionless daze. The nurse quickly grabbed her charge and dragged her toward the nearest set of doors just to find that they were locked--as per assembly protocol. She then tried to make her way toward the gym, with hopes that they may be able to find help there or at least escape. Escape from the destruction.

-----

The custodial staff glanced towards Mael and Mael glanced back at them. There's silence. The boy with no face stares intently. The custodial staff begin to inch away in fear. All except for one. She stands her ground and begins to walk toward Mael. It's her. Mael recognizes the face. She's the one. Mael feels a rage boil within him. She's a killer he tells himself. She'll kill him and everyone else in this place if she's not stopped. He puts his hand in his hoodie pocket as all the other custodians run for the doors. Mael scowls at the sick woman who simply continues to walk towards him. Mael stands a top the bleachers and watches her get ever closer. Upon reaching the the bleachers she looks up towards the child and begins to smile. Mael's eyes grow wide and removing his hand from his pocket reveals that he had a cellular phone in hand. In what seems an impossible speed she raises her hand to Mael. She's holding a detonator and as her tongue peeks under one of her canines, exposed by her devilish smile, their faces are like mirror images of each other. The only difference is Mael's smile doesn't include a tongue. He leaps for the woman but is too late. She pushes the button.

-----

Bianca had given up. She remembers as she's dragged by the nurse. She remembers it all. She remembers now how she got to the nurse's office. She remembers Mael being gone. Gone like her brother. She remembers and cries. The nurse pays little attention to the weeping. Her only goal is to get them to safety.

She wasn't old enough to die yet. She hadn't even settled down. She was 24 years old and made a living as a school nurse. It was appalling. Going out like this, here and now, would only make her life truly meaningless she felt. She had to save them both. Save them both or at least that child. She continued to pull her to the doors. Surprisingly the gym seemed to be safe. As everything around them was going up, it was as if that area was going to be spared.

Bianca, in a catatonic state, wasn't phased by the flashing lights. but as she felt her body enter past a door the light of the gymnasium shined brightly upon her. It was at that moment that she heard something. Something familiar. Something she never thought she'd hear again. She heard the nurse scream, "Mael."

She quickly snapped out of her trance and turned to see that it indeed was Mael. To see him fighting, wrestling with a custodian. Wrestling with what seemed like a bomb strapped to his chest. What was going on here is all that the two ladies could ponder. What was Mael doing? Was he the mad bomber the police had been looking for? Is that custodian the only one who tried to stop him? Did anyone else survive? Just what was happening? All questions and more raced through their heads along with a cold panic. The nurse watched as the custodian kicked Mael off of her and stood up. She watched along with Bianca as the crazed worker smiled taking something out of her pocket and tossing it to the ceiling above the young man. They both watched as she turned her back and began walking towards them. They continued to stare, statuesque, as the woman licked one of her canines while sporting a truly grim smile.

-----

Mael awoke, unsure of how long he'd been unconscious. He found himself unable to move so he waited for his vision to settle. Upon being reoriented he realized that he had been pinned under some rubble. With a bit of effort he was able to get one arm free but was unable to do much else. He preceded to survey the area for anything he could use to help get himself free. A lot of rubble, some larger stones and pieces of twisted metal. He figured perhaps he could make a lever but with one hand it would be a challenge. It was then that in the corner of his eye, he noticed something move. It was the door. Someone or something was coming through and he was a sitting duck. Things seemingly would only go from bad to worse now.

Mael was ready to give up all hope until he noticed it was Bianca who was coming through the door. She limped over to him holding her leg. Mael had a concerned look on his face so she explained to him that after the ceiling collapsed on him, her and Margrett tired to run. She told him about how the crazed woman turned after them, throwing timed explosives, which was how her leg was injured. She said they were able to make it to an area of the second floor that hadn't fallen but that the woman caught up. After those words she broke eye contact with Mael and told him how her and Margrett spilt up. How she made it to the stairwell. And finally how she heard an explosion and then just laughter. Mael noticed her crying and put his hand on hers. He couldn't say the words but she knew he was trying to comfort her. She wiped her eyes and stood up. Declaring that she'd try and find a working phone to get some help for him, she shuffled off towards a hole in the wall.

Mael was relieved that she was okay and happy to see she was getting out of there. He could be fine with dying if at least Bianca was okay. But all that steeled resolve soon faded when he felt something dark and ominous. He turned his head to see the madwoman stroll over to him. His eyes focused on her and then he turned to see if Bianca had made it out yet. The woman noticing his gaze, saw Bianca and decided it was time for some fun. She spoke a few simple words to him as she began to slowly make her way toward the injured female.

She had said to Mael that she hoped he'd enjoy watching his girlfriend die after messing up her plans. The gymnasium was in shambles and with only one free arm he couldn't do anything to stop her. He tried using all the strength he could muster but just couldn't get free. He was going to fail her. He was going to fail Bianca. He looked around for something, anything within reach that he could use till he heard a click. It was one of the timed explosives she'd used before. Time was running out for Bianca and there was nothing Mael could do, until he saw a way out.

Mael pick up a twisted piece of infrastructure and began to cut into the area in which his mouth should've been. The pain was excruciating but he bared with it. He would not let Bianca die in such a way. He continued on, clenching his jaw as to make sure no sound escaped out. He knew that his mouth would begin filling fast as soon as he tried to speak. He was done in seconds. Bianca was just outside the hole created by one of the explosions and the crazed woman was halfway between the two children. Then dropping the piece of metal to replace it for a stone, Mael prepared to throw.

As the woman got ready to toss her own little surprise she heard an odd noise and instinctively turned towards it. Before she could make eye contact she heard in an estranged voice, the words, "Think Fast" wailed in sort of a gargle. As her eyes shifted downward to the rubble in front of her she wasn't able to react fast enough to the stone that had come flying her way. Dropping the device in hand she looked down towards it and quickly tried to jump out of the way.

-----

Mael's mouth was filling with blood. He was getting light headed and wasn't sure he'd make it. He coughed a bit and hoped that what the doctors said would hold true.

He was told years ago that he indeed had a mouth or rather a jaw and teeth and even nostrils. He was told that the necessary passages were there and that his skull structure supported them, only that his skin had apparently grown over the surface of such oraficies--ears included. Gambling on being able to produce two syllables he tried his best to say what he could to get the woman's attention. After which he tossed the stone with all the strength he had left, hoping it would be enough. As he watched her turn and then drop the explosive he felt a sense of bliss and blacking out from the blood loss, was completely unconscious the explosion's carnage that followed.

-----

Bianca continued on, out of what was left of her school. She was unable to move terribly fast as she had to drag her injured leg. She had just made it outside when she thought she heard a sound. Figuring it best to just keep moving she tried to pick up her pace. So close to freedom she was a bit relieved until she heard something else. A voice. One that she hadn't heard before. One that still, for some reason, sounded familiar. She quickly turned to see that the psycho woman was facing Mael and had dropped something. Before she could even react, she watched as the woman tried to move only to be caught in an explosion. The force was so great that it knocked her down even as far as she was away from it. The gymnasium, already in shambles, began to crumble. Bianca with all the strength she had left tried to crawl to Mael only to succumb to the pain and black out.

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