Spirit Page 87

“They lead to the boiler room,” said Michael. “And they run the full length of both schools, connecting under the auditorium. It’s pitch-black down there, full of pipes.”

“Water?” said Hunter.

Michael nodded. “And gas lines.”

“Holy crap,” whispered Becca. “She could blow up the schools.”

Hunter wanted to think that Calla didn’t have it in her—but he’d seen the carnage at the carnival. He’d walked into houses that she’d personally burned. “Can the tunnels be accessed from outside the school?” said Hunter.

“No,” said Michael. “There are access points in a few classrooms and at the back of the auditorium.”

“How do you know this?” said Nick.

“Maybe I occasionally used them. You guys aren’t the only ones who got crap in school, you know.”

“We can’t just go rushing in there,” said Hunter. “If we spook those kids, they could bring the place down on top of us.”

“They might not even be there now,” said Michael. “Why sit in the tunnels all weekend when they can just walk in the front door with everyone else and not arouse a bit of suspicion?”

“Noah and Calla are missing,” said Becca. “People would notice if they showed up for school.”

“I don’t know,” said Chris. “If they’re missing, people wouldn’t be looking for them to walk in the front doors of the middle school. They might not be noticed. Especially if they didn’t go to class.”

“So . . . what?” said Hunter. “We risk everyone at school by waiting for class to start?”

“No,” said Michael. “We’ll have the schools evacuated before first period begins.”

Hunter frowned. “How the hell are you going to do that?”

“Easy,” said Michael. “We’ll call in a bomb threat.”


Hunter couldn’t believe he was at school. He felt like he’d drunk an entire pot of coffee in one swig. His nerves were shot.

Actually, a pot of coffee didn’t sound like a bad idea.

He hadn’t slept at all last night.

Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Kate.

The arrows.

The blood.

The way she sank into the earth.


The first bell hadn’t rung yet, and the hallways were packed. Kids on cell phones, checking lockers, laughing, making out, arguing. Hundreds of kids. Thousands, if you counted the middle school.

Today they all had a target on their backs.

Sweat was collecting under his collar. He hung close to the auditorium doors, pretending to be texting.

Really, he was just running his fingers over the blank face of Kate’s phone.

The Merricks’ plan was thin. There was a chance they wouldn’t succeed, that Calla and her crew would blow this whole place to smithereens.

Actually, as a rescue mission, this whole plan kind of sucked. Too many variables.

Too many chances for the wrong people to escape, and for the good guys to get hurt. Again.

So Hunter had come up with his own plan.

He pressed the button to turn on the phone. He watched the little icons light up. Cell signal. WiFi.


Then he shoved the phone in his pocket. It would only be a matter of time before Silver showed up.

The fire alarms went off, and Hunter jumped a mile. The sound slammed into his head and caused an immediate pulsing headache.

Becca had carried out her part. The bomb threat had been made.

Students immediately started bunching around the exits.

He ducked through the auditorium doors. The alarms were louder in here, echoing because of the acoustics.

Now Hunter just needed to get the Merricks out, too.

They were stationed all over the school. Hunter pulled out the disposable phone Michael had given him. He’d lied to them so many times—would they trust him now? He dashed out a quick group text to all of them.

Found Calla & kids in aud! Bolted. Heading for strip mall. Need backup!

Their replies started coming in almost instantly. They were abandoning their posts to help him. The strip mall was at least half a mile down from the school.

And completely safe.

Hunter found the trap door to the tunnels without any difficulty, a heavy plank of steel secured with nothing more than a double-end snap and a chain. A ladder led the way into darkness. Hunter’s feet found one rung, then the next. The alarms caught the walls of this chamber and echoed, setting up a pulse in his head.

His pocket buzzed. Gabriel.

Don’t do anything stupid. Wait for us.

If only he knew.

Hunter had expected darkness, but once he moved past the square of light from the hatch, the tunnel swallowed him up. Hunter couldn’t see an inch in front of his face. His hands found pipes, concrete walls, rusted steel supports.

He opened his senses, looking for anything.

God, he’d kill for something to silence those damn alarms.

Water. Water everywhere, locked in pipes, dripping down the walls, puddling under his feet. And gas in these lines, enough explosive potential to level half the city. Sitting on the beach with Kate, he’d had access to a perfect circle of Elemental power, with the sand, the water, the fire, and the breeze. Although everything here was manufactured, this space was just as perfect.

Hunter turned a corner, and the alarms faded. The darkness somehow became more absolute, almost smothering. He could hear himself breathing. He could almost hear his own heartbeat.

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