I never expected anything to happen that Saturday morning. I woke up at 9:00, as usual. I was excited because it was spring break, which meant no school! My parent, who likes to be called Alex, was shopping. They’re all about that half-off-every-other-Saturday-sale at Goodwill. Their ex wasn't home because they left us when I was 3, 10 years ago. I don’t remember them at all. My first memory was when I was 5, playing my violin.
I’ve always loved playing music. I play three instruments. When I was three I started playing violin. In 1st grade I started playing clarinet. Then, in 6th grade I started trumpet. Now I’m in 7th grade. I still play violin, clarinet, and trumpet.
That Saturday morning I realized I forgot my trumpet at school. (I take trumpet lessons from my neighbor, but an instrument is required in 6th grade at my school, so I bring it to school three days a week.) I live in a small town (Glendo, Wyoming, to be specific), so we foster a sense of community. Glendo has a population of under 300 people. It’s one of the everyone-knows-everyone situations. Alex is also the principal of the school.
Alex was at Goodwill, and might easily be there for a few hours. I knew where the key was, and they knew I used it sometimes when I forgot my homework at school. They were fine with it.
I left a note on the counter in case they got back before me, which was highly unlikely. Then I grabbed the key, pulled my shoes on, and headed out the door. I biked to school, even though it was spring. It was pretty warm, and not that wet, but I wanted to get home and enjoy spring break. I was also faster at biking than walking. I have a crate on the back of my bike because I usually bike to school, and I wouldn't be able to carry my trumpet otherwise.
I got to Wheatland Middle School quickly, got inside quietly so no one would think I was breaking in, and headed to the band room. Our school is a two story building, it’s small, but cozy. The band room is in the basement, it has a couple windows for natural light, nothing much, though. Down in the basement, I heard some creaking. I assumed it was old pipes, but I would later learn I was wrong. Very very wrong.
I headed inside the band room. Our school has a very small band, so we keep the instruments inside the band room. We don't even have another storage room for band or orchestra. I spotted my trumpet, tucked away in the corner, next to another instrument.
Huh, I wondered, someone else must have forgotten their instrument. Oh, well.
I grabbed the trumpet, ready to leave. Then the door slammed shut. I spun around, only to reveal a person standing outside the door. I could see them through the window.
“I am going to lock you in this room with a tank of carbon monoxide. When I press this button,” -they held up a button, silver and round- “it will open the valve. The lethal gas will be in the air all around you. You will die. When you are dead I will come back with proper gear and dispose of all the evidence. It will look like an accident, like a leak in the school. No one will know I killed you, and I will go on to kill more innocent souls.”
They laughed an evil laugh, but it sounded more like “mahahahah” than “muahhahahaha”. They were not the best at being evil. It tricked me, nevertheless. I was terrified. As I was distracted with their pep-talk, they turned the lock on the door. They were outside, and put a rubber seal on the door to keep the gas from leaking. The windows were new, unlike the pipes and everything else in the school. They were smash proof windows, and the person put a tight rubber seal on them, too, before I came. No escaping now.
I was distracted by trying to find a way out, and there was nothing to use to climb up to get the tank. Plus, I was too short to reach it. I was 4’11”. The person pressed the button as I was contemplating what to do. The tank valve opened. I heard the hissing sound. I was doomed. There was no way out, and the deadly gas was filling up the air. How did I know? I didn't. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, but I could feel myself suffocating. I’ve never been in contact with carbon monoxide (like most people, hopefully), so it could easily be my imagination, my panicking. I felt the air leaving me, killing me.
I walked over to the corner, and slouched down. I thought I might as well spend my last minutes of my life in comfort…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
That same Saturday morning I woke up in my bed again, nice and comfy. My blanket was pulled up to my neck for maximum warmth and comfort. The sun was shining in through the window, it was a perfect day in Glendo, WY. I must have been dreaming, I thought.
It was then that I realized that I did forget my trumpet at school. What a pain, I thought. It’s spring break, so I will have to go get it. I had weird dreams all the time, so I wasn't worried about being trapped the band room. And I don’t believe in magic. Still, I couldn't help but get this tingly feeling inside me as I headed down stairs.
Before grabbing Alex’s key to the school and heading out the door, I grabbed an apple. I decided to walk to school today. I finished my apple by the time I got to school and tossed it in the school garden. I pulled out the key, unlocked the door, and headed down to the basement. On the way down I heard a sound, I assumed it was the pipes creaking. Inside the band room I found my trumpet sitting in the corner, right where it was in the dream.
Bizzare, I thought. I do believe in coincidences.
As I was picking up my trumpet, I heard a door slam shut behind me. I spun around in fright, to see a figure standing there. The same figure as in my dream.
Maybe magic is real, I think. I sure hope not.
“You should know what will happen. I will trap you in here, press button, carbon monoxide, blah, blah, blah,” the figure said. “It will look like an accident, like a leak in the school. No one will know I killed you, so I can go kill more innocent souls.” Again they gave out their “evil” laugh, only worse this time.
They left the room. And the lock clicked behind them. Again, I pushed on the windows, with no luck. I slouched down in the corner waiting for the tank to open. The tank was so high up, there was nothing I could do to get it down. I was still short. A minute later the tank valve opened, releasing the gas.
Here I come, death, I thought. I was going to die this time, I knew it.
But, before I passed out, I heard that person’s voice. “It will go until the escape,” I think it said, after all, I was dying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I woke up again. Bizarre, I thought to myself. There is no way that this could repeat itself, the logical side of my brain said. Magic must be real, the other half thought. Oh no, I thought. I think I did forget my trumpet at school. But wait, what was that the the person said when they opened the tank? It was something like “It will go until escape”. But what could that mean? I was confused by now, and a little annoyed, too. Could it mean I have to escape, like, I’ll keep waking up until make it out the door, or the building?
There was only one way to find out. I contemplated not going, since I knew it was going to happen, but I wanted my trumpet. Badly. It was only a week, but I had a solo piece I wanted to practice.
I headed downstairs, grabbed the key, unlocked the door to grab my bike, and headed out the garage door, being careful to close it behind me. I double checked I had the school key, the house key, my helmet, bungee cords (to keep the trumpet in the crate), and my flip phone (for emergencies). I triple checked the connection of the crate to my bike, threw everything in a backpack, and headed down the street.
I reached school and parked my bike outside the school. I propped it up against the wall so I could just hop on and pedal away. I carefully headed down stairs, looking for the person. In the band room I spotted my trumpet in the far corner, exactly where it was the two times before.
Just as I grabbed the trumpet and the door slammed shut, I realized something. I couldn’t just let them get away with this. If they really did get away like they said they would, they would never get caught. Someone needed to stop them.
Instead of escaping and ending this, I decided to let this go on one more time, so the police could get them. They came and gave their spiel, and I acted scared, so they wouldn't know I was on to them.
I wasn't scared this time, I was excited.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I woke up, suddenly. This is it, I thought. The person won’t be trapping me anytime soon. It would feel so great to have a normal Saturday, the whole day, not just the morning.
I ran downstairs, grabbed everything I did the last time, hoping my plan would work. The police station was close, just like everything else in the town. I just had to hope the police would believe me. Pedal faster, I thought. If the person knows I’ve come later than usual, the person might be on to me.
I dropped my bike on the lawn of the police station and dashed inside. “There’sapersonattheschooltryingtokillme!” I let it out all in one quick breath, as big as I could manage from biking here so quickly.
“Slow down, what’s going on?” the cop said.
“At school. There is a person. They are trying to kill me. With carbon monoxide,” I said it quite choppy this time, so the cop would understand me through all the panting.
“Carbon monoxide?” the cop said, with slight concern.
“Yes. It’s in a tank that the person can open by the press off a button. And I heard the person saying they wanted to kill more people.” I lied slightly about what happened, so the cop doesn't know this has happened a few times before.
“Ok. I’ll come check it out,” the cop said. They know Alex is the principal, so they weren't suspicious about me at school over spring break. That’s the great thing about a small town. There is a small police force, but not many crimes or dangerous situations. They also know almost everyone, so they trust me. I had been the most worried about that part.
“Great. The person is over at Wheatland Middle School.”
They let me ride in their car, it was pretty cool. “Can you go a little quicker? If I’m not there soon the person might get suspicious.” I’m pretty sure I only made the police officer more suspicious.
“What do you mean?”the cop asked. They sounded a lot more suspicious.
I explained parts of the story, trying to make it sound real, so leaving out the magical-sounding parts. Right then, I needed them to believe me. Now was not the time for them to give up and head back.
The cop went quicker, but kept the sirens off, so the person at school wouldn't hear them and bail. I led the way to the band room with the cop close behind. I warned them that the person at school had a button they could press at anytime. The cop said they would try to grab their button before anything else. I thanked them.
The cop told me to go into the band room, and wait. They would stay by the door and catch the crook, destroying the button first. The band room was eerily quiet, and it creeped me out. I slumped down in the far corner, right next to my trumpet and waited.
It was only two or three minutes, but it felt like forever. I heard the crunching of electronics, I was hoping that was the button. I also hoped the cop stopped it from working before utterly wrecking it. Then I heard the cop yell, “Gotcha!” I waited another minute or two, until the cop came into the room, holding parts of a broken button in one hand and a taser in the other. Yipee!, I thought.
“They were putting up a fight,” the cop explained, as if they knew I was wondering about the taser. “It’s just keeping them from fighting.” As if they knew I was worried about them. Yes, he tried to kill me (multiple times, may I add), but I’m generally a nice person.
“You’re my hero! Thank you so much!” I happily exclaimed. The cop really was my hero.
“No,” the cop said. “You’re the town’s hero.”