“OK, Akira, I want you to pick ten people to be your team. Start stacking up desks around the stair area to form a barricade. We won’t have much time. Hurry!” I said, excitedly.
“So are you in charge?” Yumi asked, giving me an odd look.
“Pretty much. He’s helping me. Please Shun!” Asakura said to reinforce it. She’s still hanging onto my arm.
“Fine, we’ll do it,” Yumi said.
That in turn made Akira follow suit. He’s a bit of a skirt chaser after all.
The others seem jealous. But they know its common sense that with the sounds of horror downstairs we have to do something.
Why are they so stubborn anyway?
I guess it’s partly because they want to be with Sensei Asakura.
I shrugged, and no one objected seeing how messy the axe blade looked.
“Eh? How will we know how much time we have before they get here? Is there some way to know for sure?” Akira responded with a lot of anxiety. He was already counting the people around us and looking at nearby classrooms. One of his friends he signaled to come over to him.
Everyone is panicking about the sounds of war down stairs. Some of them are screaming they don’t want to die. Others are pleading for someone to help them. But in the end only the ones that are stepping up are getting anywhere.
“Um, we need to do this,” I said nervously.
“Fine, we’ll help,” Akira said.
“This is tough work,” Yumi said while trying to move desks.
“That’s a hell of a good question. If they come over with our pants half down we’re really going to be fucked!” Yuta said.
“Huh…I didn’t think someone like Yuta could swear,” Yumi said a bit surprised.
Yuta’s lip twitched in response and he didn’t say anything back.
I paused thinking it over, “if I’m right any second a whole bunch of students will start flooding up the stairs once those things from outside reach their classrooms. That will be the signal that they are almost upon us. The monsters getting close to us should cause like a mob mentality to escape,” I responded.
We were both looking at the staircase. It had a nice guard rail that would help with barricading but it was a LOT of open space and open air to cover up. It made me really nervous. We’d need a lot of desks to cover up this area well enough to have a good fence.
“That’s probably true huh?” Asakura said.
“I think we should be ready just in case,” Akira said.
“That…sounds about like what would really happen,” Yumi sighed.
“So you’re saying we’ll know when they’re about to hit us if we watch for the right behaviors. That’s good enough for me, let’s get to work,” Akira confirmed. They were already moving stuff piece by piece.
“Right, but we won’t have much time to barricade the desks in over the stairs after the other students start pouring through,” I said.
Already we’re moving stuff but it takes a lot to get the morale going on people that don’t know what’s going on or that question authority.
“But won’t that mean some students will be trapped on the other side of the barricade?” Miss Asakura exclaimed tearfully. She’d hit on an area I hadn’t wanted to mention. It would be a sensitive issue to explain to them how to work this out…
“Yes Sensei. It’s inevitable we won’t be able to save everyone. But we’ll try to not be selfish and keep it open as long as we can and help everyone we can,” I explained.
“I don’t know Shun. How can I as a teacher leave someone behind? Someone will be trapped on the other side,” she protested.
“I agree that from the sound of things preparation is needed. It seems something like street warfare is going on below us,” Yumi said.
“You will have to steel your willpower Sensei. We won’t be able to save one at the expense of the many. When the time comes, Akira and I will have to have the barricade closed no matter who is on the other side. Even if it were me on the other side, or another of your students it will have to be closed and we will have to see someone die on the other side. It comes down to the one isn’t more important than the group. If we lose everyone because of that one trying to get through all will be lost if you don’t use your mental fortitude. So you’ll have to be tough. This isn’t a situation where everyone will be saved. There’s too much anarchy and chaos going on,” I explained.
She bit her lip, “you’re right. Let’s make it so.”
“I gotcha,” Akira nodded.
“Good, because at a certain point…it’s important that you understand that it’s inevitable someone will be caught on the other side. I don’t think you understand some people will be weak and want to keep it open too long. You will have to back me up and be tough to make sure it gets and stays closed even if its someone you like trapped there. We aren’t trying to be mean, but we have to have some point where the choke point closes,” I affirmed. I was worried they would feel sorry for someone and not shut it in time, so I made sure to reemphasize this point again.
“I…hadn’t thought about it that way,” Yumi choked a sob. “It’s so sad.”
“But necessary,” Akira put a hand on her shoulder. “This is like my brother became an alcoholic and would throw wild parties with his drug friends in my parents’ house and they could never have the guts to throw him out and it made the rest of us miserable too. It reminds me of that. We’re trying to keep out evil.”
“Wow. That’s awful, but that story does make you think,” Kenji echoed.
“Yeah, but sometimes people get too soft,” I said.
“Hmm, got it. We know what to do now,” Akira and Kenji both nodded. The students around me were really quiet as they realized people would die here.
“Also we need a volunteer to go down and start warning the other students and get as many as possible back up here so we can save as many as we can,” I barked.
“But going down there is where the danger is,” someone said. I could almost see that person pissing their own boots in fear. They were clearly shaken up. I hoped I didn’t look the same, but realistically we were all very, very afraid.
“Will the runner get locked out of the barricade? I’d think about it if I had some kind of guarantee I wouldn’t get locked out,” another worried.
“You aren’t staying down there, just go warn the classrooms nearest to the stairs and have them start moving up. You don’t have to go to all the trouble but just get someone else to go to the next one. Then have them also signal the next two classes over from them and repeat the pattern,” I encouraged.
“But those things…”
“…will kill you if you go next to them…” someone said.
“…shouldn’t have reached the second floor yet, but if you wait they will,” I interrupted. “And if there are less of us to defend the stairs, there will be a higher chance for you to get hurt. The more people we have the safer we’ll be because we’ll have a safety network,” I argued.
“That sort of makes sense,” someone said.
“Yeah but I still don’t want to go,” said a whiny kid.
“Buck up, and be a man,” his friend coached, hitting him in the arm.
“Ouch. You be a man, bastard.”
“Do I have to?” someone said.
“Oh my hell, stop bickering people. We don’t have time to fight over this! Work fast or die! It’s that simple!” Yumi slammed a fist down onto a desk and the others shut up pretty quickly.
“But isn’t this your chance to save some lives?” I protested.
There was a brief silence while they thought about that idea. In the end Yumi getting mad motivated them to action.
“I-I’ll go,” a kid said. He was a bit smaller than the others and had really thick eyebrows and glasses. I recognized him from writing composition. His name was Saito.
“OK, good. Now each classroom you hit, you can save time if you have them run someone to the next class over and so on. Don’t stay down there too long, but if you run fast, you might be able to get the whole second floor evacuated.”
“Wh-what about the first floor?!” he said worriedly.
“If what Zed saw is true, then the first floor is already being attacked and they will be there already. Don’t go to the first floor and I wouldn’t go close to the stairs going to the first floor either, since the enemy might have scouts hiding somewhere too. You won’t have much chance for getting back alive if you go down there,” Akira said.
“Oh you’re right. Jeez, I can’t believe I’m doing this. I feel so freaking scared as hell,” Saito said looking at his own hand. He used one hand to stop the other from shaking, but it wasn’t working very well. He was a bundle of nerves so scared I doubted he’d make it to the stair in plain sight of us. He took a few deep breaths, trying to get his courage.
“But isn’t that wrong to not try to get to the first floor?” someone asked.
“If we could, but we still might not make it out alive ourselves and we haven’t setup a defensive line and none of you have weapons yet. We have to start somewhere and it’s a given that not everyone is going to survive anyway,” Kenji argued. He shook his head at their stubbornness.
I was surprised he’d argue in my favor…and that he was so practical. Good.
“Got it. I’m off,” Saito said dashing as fast as he could, suddenly becoming a bad ass…a nerdy bad ass but still some of us admired him for showing guts. “Save me a spot!” he yelled back as he disappeared going down into the darkness.
“He’s… brave,” one of the girls said seriously.
“OK! The rest of us have to establish a perimeter! Let’s get to it folks!” Akira yelled.
Turns out Akira was a natural leader after we got him through the hump of his fear, and he was good at getting people to understand what he wanted. I tried to also compete with him, by both us trying to get our people animated while other students also were trying to get organized. The spear he’d taken with its elaborate feathers and runic designs seemed to also help in boosting his image as an authority figure. It may be partly that he was in one of the sports clubs but for the life of me I can’t remember which one.
Then he began picking through a few of his friends to join him and a few others. I also called out a few kids that I didn’t know the names of and put them in my group of ten.
“Eh? You really think they are coming? Those… things?” Yumi wondered aloud, clearly confused.
“I’m sure they are coming, Yumi. We need to be ready,” I said slowly.
Not to mention those things have still been throwing missiles at the windows when anyone would stick their head out.
“Well Zed and Hayashi’s deaths testify to the fact that those things are clearly coming here to carry us off,” Miss Asakura reaffirmed. “It’s terrifying to think about. But did you notice not once have they tried to parley with anyone or negotiate?” Her hands were shaking a bit.
“That’s….ugh…you are scaring me teacher,” some girl said.
“Life is scary sometimes,” a kid said.
“Ugh…you’re right. I knew that…it-it’s just…so hard to believe. I don’t even understand what my own eyes have seen,” Yumi cringed while holding onto Rina. Rina was leaning on her heavily, while sweating heavily from the feeling of malaise that was trying to overcome her body. I’d seen it before. She needed rest, but I felt bad not being able to give it to her.
“Yeah, I feel like my eyes are betraying me with things I’m not supposed to have seen. I became a teacher because I wanted a quiet life and a good family, not be a vigilante,” Miss Asakura sighed. Her eyes and posture suggest extreme stress.
“We’ll get through it, somehow,” Rina whispered weakly. Rina is practical after all. To her this is like the stress she lives with anyway but a different kind.
“Vigilante methods work for some things,” Akira said, raising an eyebrow as he worked. Nobody argued with him. He seemed to have some pretty open views I noticed…
Rina was always sick it seemed, since being a kid. She was a delicate fragile flower that seemed to somehow hang on. She was a bit too skinny for her age too, but had a nice face and good looking. It’s probably what had attracted that gangster onto her. Right now she looked pretty still, but she was sunk against one of the school’s support columns and looked like she’d collapse from exhaustion at any time.
I gave her a thumbs up, for encouragement, which she returned to acknowledge she’d seen my signal and was showing her support as best she could.
“What’s going on here?! Why are you guys making a mess of the school?” A new face appeared as we worked noisily. It was the haggard face of a middle aged teacher, Yamamoto Sensei. He was one of the shop teachers. He coached wood shop in the morning and metalworking classes in the afternoon. He was kind of thickset in build, and had a big bald spot on his head.
“School’s already a mess coach. Get with the program,” a girl said, which seemed to make him angrier. He also didn’t like that nobody was seeing him as an authority figure.
“Let’s stop that…” he started to say, but Miss Asakura was waving frantically at him, which confused him. I think he’s also puzzled by the sounds of what sounds like a war downstairs.
That was good that he showed up though, maybe someone with skills was just what we needed if we could get him to understand.
“Oh thank goodness you’re here,” Miss Asakura exclaimed. She smiled at him slyly…it was the smile of someone about to trap him into a scheme. I felt bad for him…
“Yumi, please help her explain the situation to him, while we start working,” I asked. It was a deflection tactic to have her slow him down from slowing us down. I couldn’t stop to explain everything all over to everyone for each step.
“Why is a student acting like they are in charge? And what the hell are you all doing with the desks?” he cringed while glaring at me. I just sighed and grabbed my team to start working. I’d forgotten how stubborn he was. He obviously picked up some things were happening but didn’t like what he saw.
“Got it,” she replied.
Briefly they started going over the situation, while he had his arms crossed over his chest and was looking furious.
“Yuta, Kenji, let’s work fast.” I also grabbed the others, signaling them all forward. They followed quickly, and were anxious noticing the danger.
It started to pick up pace then, and after that even a few students had formed their own teams even while our Sensei was explaining things to Yamamoto-san and a few others. But we also had to be careful of knocking into each other since there wasn’t much light to work with.
The students formed a long train of people handing off the desks to each other like a water pail fire brigade. We started sweating right away, while they would move the desks down the line, and any chairs they then kept as potential weapons.
Slowly each of the nearby classrooms was emptying and we had a huge pile of desks surrounding the stair area except for a small thin entrance, which we planned to close off. The pile of desks was starting to look like a stack of junk, and it was noisy the way they piled them on top of each other. Plus the higher we stacked them, the more time it took to get each into place and then trying to not fall on the legs sticking out the mess of metal was challenging too.
I briefly worried the noise of stacking desks in a mess like this would draw more attention.
Already a steady trickle of students was starting to pour through. Here and there one or two would come up and then a few more a few seconds later, with their cell phone lights helping them stumble through.
The other students were all yelling at once ordering them to help make a defense line now that they’d caught onto the idea and Akira and I didn’t have to explain anything anymore. But it was getting more and more excited and some of the students were really getting into it knowing their lives depended on it. That was also reinforced by more arrows, and stones, and projectiles punching through the big glass windows. Each time there was a chance that whatever it was that was down there wouldn’t be human. The risk was growing and everyone was sweating through it.
We then started to concentrate and have two lines of stacked desks after the initial pile of desks in case we needed more than one ‘fence’ surrounding the stairs and a fall back zone before leaving the stairs. Then the students were also working on making another fence area near the door to the roof which the teachers had finally unlocked.
Still, we lost a lot of time trying to get Yamamoto Sensei to face reality. It took Yumi, a whole stack of girls, and Miss Asakura a long time to explain and get him to even believe anything. In the end, he caved when he saw most of the girls crying with their whole faces a mess of melted makeup and tears going down to their chins. That made him see clearly something was going on, even if he didn’t understand what or why.
Things didn’t add up too, on why he didn’t understand anything and hadn’t seen anything. Had he been sleeping in his office the whole time? Why didn’t he understand something had happened? It puzzled me for a minute until Akira came close to me.
“Sensei smells of booze when you get close to him,” he whispered so only I could hear.
“Eh? So that’s why he’s totally unaware?!” I whispered back. “But, are you sure?”
That explains why he didn’t know what the hell was going on. Especially if he’d been napping in the nearby faculty room, which has no windows.
“I recognized the same smells and dopey look on my brother when he’d sneak in at night, after everyone had gone to bed. I’m surprised he’d be so bold to do it in a school though.” He shook his head, as he went back to work.
We rejoiced a few minutes later though when kids started to come up with baseball and softball equipment, and other sporting equipment. But there was new contention that sprung to life, once the kids started to fight over who was going to get the baseball bats. There was only about six or seven baseball bats of different sizes from both the boys and the girl’s teams, and the catcher’s padding. Each of those was a gold mine that the kids were ready to turn on each other for.
The new equipment was also hope to live. People were excited that they had something to work with, and I actually saw some of them smiling again.
But then they were distracted when Yamamoto Sensei came back to us, running with hammers, screwdrivers, knives, electrical and duct tape and all the brooms from the janitors’ closets and then began helping them make weapons using everything that could be salvaged from the wood shop. It turned out after seeing crying girls; he was becoming our best supporter.
In short anything that could be used to stab, hit, block, or smash was being snatched up. Some of them had broken up boards from cupboards and beams and some were just splintered long pieces of lumber from who knows where. Some of the students were also working on a way to take apart the desks and separate the wood panel top to make a plan to use them for shields and see if they could break of legs to use as clubs. They weren’t making much progress so far…
I was also surprised when two bigger students tried to sneak up from behind me to steal my fire axe. Rina staring at them and waving her hand at me freakishly tipped me off to them sneaking up behind me, and they shrunk back when I whirled around to face them with it.
Then I got another idea, seeing the weapons shortage. I looked up.
“Akira, I need the strongest people we can muster to rip down the emergency sprinkler pipes so we can break off sections to use as bats and spears,” I said excitedly. I liked this idea. It would get us probably another ten to twenty weapons for free, depending on how long we made the sectional pieces. They wouldn’t feel very good to use, from the ceiling foam being encased onto them, but it’d be better than being unarmed.
“But can we even break them?” he asked.
“If we have enough people stomping on the pipes together after ripping down yeah,” I said.
Both of our teams looked up at once. The fire sprinkler system wouldn’t be any good now anyway since it was already verified by a few students that there was no running water left in the school. But pulling it down would be dirty and messy.
“Hmm, will it work?” Yuta wondered aloud.
“It should, if we can get the pipes to snap off and not just bend,” Kenji answered, scratching his chin. “I like it! Let’s do this,” he added.
“Darn straight, like hell are we going to let Akira be the only one with a good weapon,” someone said.
“I want one!” Yuta said, after realizing the others might get one first.
“That means concentrating the muscle power of several people at once to bend them so we can break it up. I’m worried about that because we don’t have something to cut the pipes with,” Yumi said, twitching her lip.
“I think it’s worth a try,” I encouraged.
“Sweet! We’ll get a shit ton more weapons out of this, plus its metal!” Akira cheered. “Metal wins anytime over that shitty wood crap they have.”
The girls were also excited by this idea too. In seconds the students were as a team ripping the piping down in groups of five or more by standing on desks and putting their weight and gravity into their tugging. Still, it was dirty work, but they managed to get a whole bunch of piping down quickly. The only problem was in their rush to get the pipes down, they weren’t careful about the lengths of the breaks.
They kept working quickly, even though it made them really dirty by pulling debris from the ceiling.
“Eh, this one is kind of short,” someone said.
“It doesn’t matter, we just want to get everyone armed if we can,” I replied. “Every person with a weapon is better than one without. Just get them out as fast as you can. They could be up here any minute.”
“Wait, what about the kendo swords. There’s a whole room full of them!” someone said.
“Duh, have you forgotten that room is on the first floor! It’s already behind enemy lines,” Yumi replied.
“Ah fuck! You are right.”
There were more desperate groans and crying out in dismay from several people around us.
“Yeah they changed the room so the principal could keep an eye on the wilder boys who had taken an interest in it this year,” Yuta frowned.
“Wish it was a fire axe though,” someone said looking at my weapon enviously.
“You know I don’t remember there being a fire axe in this school,” Yumi said puzzled, seeing me carry it around.
“Me neither. Odd huh? Seems weird for it to be here,” Rina said in agreement.
“Well why don’t we just all barricade the roof and fight from the roof?” A girl said, trying to change the plan.
“You need to save that spot for a place to fall back too. Also that’s where we’re going to have to bring the wounded while the rest of us fight down here,” I said. “You probably don’t want your wounded friends here in the open next to the fighting.”
“But isn’t the roof more defensible?” she argued back.
“Do you think you can fit this many people on the roof? That roof isn’t that big anyway, it’s a section of roof with a fence enclosure and you can’t get up to the main roof because the wall is too high. So we wouldn’t be able to fit that many people up there. We’ll also need a tactical position to coordinate our defense and stuff like that,” Akira argued back, gesturing at the huge crowd of people that had gathered.
“Eh? You think there will be wounded?” a kid said.
“How could there not be wounded,” someone scoffed.
“Well, you don’t think everything will go just like we want do you? Things happen, people get hurt, sometimes bad things happen to good people,” I stated.
“That’s true,” she agreed, sighing. She walked off somewhere. Somehow I doubted she’d come back and was going to hide on the roof, but I still had to mobilize the others to get them ready.
“But surely we’re stronger than they are. We won’t have that many wounded,” someone said proudly.
I didn’t want to discourage his will to fight so I didn’t respond that he was being naive.
We’d be lucky to even live through this.