The next day was better. With school being out there was no reason to get up early and so Silence slept in. Or at least he tried to. He had gone to bed early the day before and therefore had woken up at midnight and wasn’t able to get back to sleep.
After lying in bed and picturing the patterns of the paint on the ceiling into shapes, he slid out of bed and crept down the stairs, hobbling along and trying not to put too much pressure on his leg as well as being careful to not wake his aunt and uncle.
He headed down into the kitchen and flicked on the light. As long as he was quiet his aunt and uncle need never know he was awake and downstairs in the kitchen. His aunt would not be particularly pleased to see him in her kitchen, especially as he was going through her fridge and finding food to eat.
Perhaps he should have agreed to have that lunch his uncle had offered him the day before, but he hadn’t felt hungry then, and now he was.
He pulled some cut ham from the fridge and some pieces of bread from the bag and proceeded to make a couple of ham sandwiches.
When he was done he pulled out a bottle of juice and crept back up to his room. As he walked past his aunt and uncles bedroom there was suddenly a noise of movement from inside, the sound of bed springs creaking and another noise that sounded like sheets being pulled back. Silence froze in his walking’s like a thief caught stealing. His uncle had told him he could go down to the kitchen if he got hungry, but even so, Silence was afraid of him coming out and spotting him.
He could hear his heart beat as he counted the seconds under his breath. He was only counting them to see how long he stood, and if another noise happened then he would know the time between the noises.
After a minute of counting and no other sounds, he decided that it was safe to continue and crept on. Reaching his room he closed the door and turned the light on. He walked over to the other side of his room and placed his food and the bottle of juice down on to his desk and sat down.
Putting his foot up onto his bed he turned on his computer. It took five minutes to boot up, by which time he’d finished his sandwiches and was contemplating heading down for more.
The moment his computer was up and running his MSN chat popped up and he started to scroll through the messages. It didn’t surprise him that so many people were on; with the school blown up there was no reason to go to bed early.
The chat was full of people from school who were busy talking about it. There were a couple of people saying how they knew what had happened, but didn’t know if they should say or not. They were only feeding off the attention the others were giving them; Silence didn’t believe a word they said about knowing what happened.
He posted a quick message asking if anybody knew when school would start up again and immediately received a bunch of replies. A few were the same, and all the others were random off the subject replies. One or two of his friends asked about him and the girl.
Silence replied back that he was well, and that as far as he knew for the moment the girl was fine as well.
The few he knew continued to chat with him while the others continued in the rumours and gossip that were spreading.
Finally at about three o’clock Silence started to become bored with reading the unbelievable things his fellow students were saying and signed off and returned to bed.
No one seemed to know much besides what they had been told on the news, even though most of them would have been there and seen what was going on. Silence found he had actually been one of the people caught on camera. He hadn’t even noticed a news crew filming, but then, he’d only started to regain consciousness as he was being lifted into the ambulance.
The police had arrived on the scene along with everyone else, and apparently the fire crews had only been able to put out the fire later that night. That would mean a whole day where so much could have been discovered that he didn’t know.
He resolved in his mind that he would see the school in the morning. He’d head off and see what he could discover. He knew he had heard and saw a bomb, but he was curious to know if anything more about it had been discovered, or if it would just be a mystery.
Sunlight streamed once again through the crack between the curtains and down onto his bed. The curtains were just too short to overlap each other which caused the sunlight to enter. But other than that the curtains were dark enough for nothing else to enter in.
Silence rolled over so that he faced the door instead of the curtains and squeezed his eyes shut and tried to enter back into his dream. He couldn’t really remember what it was but knew it had been interesting; to enter back into it would have been nice.
His attempt to go back to sleep was disturbed by a loud knocking on the front door. Silence opened his eyes and rolled over again and looked at his clock. It was 9:43, his aunt and uncle would have already left for work. They trusted him enough to leave him alone at home. Well, his aunt complained but his uncle always had the final word.
He rose from bed and quickly got dressed. This took him a little longer than usual because of his leg, and then hurried downstairs as fast as he dared and answered the door.
Joe stood at the doorstep, gazing around at the other house on the block. He spun round when the door opened.
‘There you are!’ he exclaimed upon seeing Silence peaking blearily out into the morning sun. ‘Come on, we gotta go; stuff’s going down at the school. Mom said she’ll drop us off on her way to work!’ He waved a hand behind him at the black car parked on the side of the road.
I haven’t had breakfast yet. Wrote Silence.
‘I’ll get you breakfast later, come on, mom wants to go!’
Despite wanting to head back into the house and freshen up, Silence allowed himself to be dragged by his friend down to the car -after grabbing a crutch- and be pushed into the backseat where Joe’s younger sister sat drawing with crayons in a book. She looked up at him as he entered and he smiled. She gave him one back and then returned to colouring in her book.
So what’s going down at the school? Silence wrote, and then passed the note to Joe as soon as he was buckled and the car started to move.
‘I’m good thanks, Silence, and you’re welcome for letting me drop you and Joe off at the school on my way to work,’ spoke Joe’s mother, Trish, from the driver’s seat after seeing the note be passed to her son.
Silence wrote another note and passed it again to Joe, who read it out loud. ‘He says thanks, mom,’ Joe told her.
‘You’re welcome,’ she replied with a smile.
Joe looked back at Silence and rolled his eyes and Silence smiled, then he repeated his question of asking what was going on at the school.
‘That’s the thing,’ Joe spoke, ‘there are a bunch of cops and there is also a group of people investigating a suspected bombing... I’ve no idea what they are doing there but we gotta go and check it out!’
When I was in there, I heard a clicking, and then there was another explosion. I don’t think it was a chemistry accident.
‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! You saw a bomb?’
Trish looked at Silence in the rear-view mirror in surprise.
‘You saw a bomb in the school?’
Silence nodded his head. I think so. I heard a strange clicking and turned round and saw this bomb strapped to one of the desks. I don’t know how it got there, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.
He leaned forwards and handed the new note to Joe who read it with a fast eye.
‘Who do you think put them there?’ asked Joe, wide eyed at the thought of someone wanting to bomb the school.
Silence shrugged. Some people do crazy things, we should just be lucky that despite three explosions no one died. That’s basically a miracle.
That was what it was. It had been a miracle, for no one to have died in the whole day, especially those who had been near the explosion; it could be called nothing else. Silence was in awe of it. He could think of no reason how it could have happened like that.
‘Well whatever it was I want both you boys to be careful out there today. You especially, Silence,’ spoke up Trish from the front after Joe had finished reading out Silence’s last note. ‘You’ve got a broken ankle to watch out for. You make sure he doesn’t exert himself, you hear, Joey?’
Silence nodded and Joe assured her that they’d both take care of themselves while they were out. Ten minutes later Trish’s car pulled up next to the school.
The boys hopped out the car and waved goodbye to Joe’s mum and then turned to face the broken school.
Police tape had been placed up around the perimeter of the school and a small crowd had gathered around and was watching the police and the other squad of people on the other side who were all moving around the broken building.
‘See anything interesting?’ Joe asked as they pushed their way to a section along the tape.
Silence shook his head. All he could see was a bunch of policemen standing around; a couple of firemen sorting through rubble, and the bomb squad were hanging around their van.
Should I tell them what I know? He asked, handing the note to Joe. He couldn’t make up his mind whether they should call someone over or not.
‘You probably should if you haven’t already,’ Joe replied after reading the note. ‘But what would they be doing here if they didn’t already think a bomb had been used?’ he asked.
Silence shrugged. They might not know where it started. I do.
‘In that case you’d better tell them.’ Joe started waving his arms wildly to attract the attention of the cops and started calling for them to come over.
A few gave him a strange look and ignored him, but a young man separated from the rest of them and wandered over.
‘I’m Officer Scot,’ he introduced himself when he reached where they stood. ‘You from this school?’
They both nodded and Joe spoke up. ‘My friend here rescued the girl from in here the other day, he tells me he heard a timer clicking down when he was in the...‘ Joe paused, frowning he turned to Silence. ‘Where’d you find the girl?’
The chemistry room on the second floor, it’s run by Mr Wilkins, though I haven’t seen him in a while. It was just as I was leaving. I heard the noise, and then a moment later I was blown over by another explosion.
‘You sure about that?’ Officer Scot questioned, lifting up his shoulder mic.
‘Okay, we got information from a kid that was inside at the time of the third explosion, it came from the chemistry room on the second floor. Which room, kid?’ he asked, turning to Silence.
Silence shook his head. It could be room five. It was along Corridor C.
‘Right, Corridor C. Mmhm,’ the officer murmured in reply to a voice coming through the speaker. ‘Okay.’ He dropped his hand and Silence and Joe could see the other people next to the school standing to attention and starting to head off into the building.
‘Any idea when we can get back to school?’ Joe asked as Officer Scot was about to head over and return to his group.
‘Sorry, no idea, but I heard they were thinking of moving the students from here to Stateside High. I went there; it was a fairly good school. But you’ll have to contact your principle or your teachers for anything sure. Thanks for your help, though, I gotta get back.’ He gave them a quick nod and rushed back across the lawn.
‘Do you want to stay around, see if anything new happens?’ Joe asked as he turned to Silence who was quietly watching the bomb squad assemble.
Silence pulled his pad out of his pocket again and wrote: I haven’t had breakfast yet, let’s go. I don’t think we’ll see anything new.
He tore the piece of paper out and handed it to Joe before walking away from the crowd which was still hanging about.
‘I can call my sister to come and pick us up if you don’t want to walk?’ suggested Joe when he caught up with Silence who was standing next to the street waiting to cross.
He shook his head. I can walk. He wrote, and handed the note to Joe. They both crossed the road and proceeded back to Silence’s house.
Where’s our next class? Silence asked Joe a week later. As Officer Scot had said, the students had been moved to Stateside High, which was turning out to be an okay school so far.
The time of when they’d be able to return to their old school was uncertain. It had been completely razed to the ground and was planning to be rebuilt, but who knew how long that would take.
All news of what had caused the explosion was still uncertain, but from a few things people had said on the television it had been bombs that had caused the destruction. No one was sure of how they had got in there though, or of who had placed them, or why. Silence didn’t really care when he thought about it. He was safe, and no-one had died.
The other students at the new school they were going to were a bit hesitant about sharing classes with a bunch of newbies, but that was to be expected. Already though Joe had made a couple of friends, this meant that Silence didn’t need to go out and find new friends himself because Joe brought his over to meet him at lunch.
Now they were sitting in the large cafeteria room pouring over their schedules for the afternoon. Each student that had travelled from St Gillip -Silence’s old school- had received a map of Stateside, which they were also examining. Both Silence and Joe had got lost on the way to their second class and were determined for that to not happen again.
‘I got English History at one,’ Joe murmured through a mouthful of sandwich. ‘You got the same as me,’ he swallowed, ‘that’s on the second floor-‘ he stopped as he looked up at four girls who were slowly walking over and then stopped before their table. Joe cast a questioning look at Silence who just gave a slight shrug.
One of the girls hesitantly took a step forward and cleared her throat before speaking to Silence. ‘You’re the boy that saved our friend, aren’t you?’ she asked nervously.
Silence nodded and rose from his seat, Joe rising from his as well.
‘We, we want to thank you, for risking your life to save Susan...when no-one else did,’ the girl took another step forward and gave Silence a hug.
She broke it off after a second and then returned to the rest of the girls, who thanked him and then they all turned and hurried off, casting quick looks behind them.
Silence sat down again with a thoughtful expression on his face, and then he picked up his pen and wrote Joe a note.
Joe read it and then shook his head slowly. ‘I haven’t seen the girl since you brought her out of the school and broke your ankle. I didn’t even know her name till now.’
You haven’t seen her since then? She hasn’t shown up anywhere, been to look at the school? No nothing?
Joe shook his head again. ‘Sorry, Sy, I don’t think she was even on the bus.’ He glanced at his watch and then jumped to his feet. ‘We got a class! Come on, boy! We’ll be late!’ He started grabbing his rubbish and bag and rushed over to the bin on the other side of the room. ‘Come on, Silence!’
Silence grabbed his empty tray and bag and rushed over to join his friend. The cafeteria had rapidly drained and was now only full of Silence, Joe, and a few others.
Casting a final look around the large room for any glimpse of Susan, and finding no luck, he slung his bag over his shoulder and joined his friend in rushing to their next class.