Jill stifled a yawn listening to their science teacher, Ms Caldwell bloviate about the epiglottis. She appeared to have learned the word as of last night and compensated with long exaggerated explanations that sounded like an aria sorely out of key. Robbie sat next to her at their workstation in a vegetative state. She nudged him and he turned a glazed smile her way. Shaking her head, she tried hard to listen to the teacher but all she wanted to do was cut the teacher's tongue from her mouth, epiglottis and all and sell it to a smokehouse as mystery meat. Ms Caldwell paused her droning when someone knocked on the door. She smiled. "Class, we have two guest speakers joining us today to discuss the very serious subject of drugs in school." She went to the door and ushered the guests in. "May I introduce to you Doctor Bernard Pendergast and former police officer, Billy Smith, who recently joined Dr. Pendergast in the private sector to help reduce drugs in our local school system."
The class clapped, relieved to have an interruption. Jill's body went rigid. She sucked in a gulp of air, her eyes wide in disbelief. She jumped when Robbie laid his hand on hers. "What's wrong?" he asked leaning in. Jill remained silent. Her eyes met Billy's arrogant smile as he spotted her in the back of the classroom. "I don't trust those guys," she whispered, finally finding her voice through the emotional hurricane boiling inside her. She listened to their canned drug statistics while the teacher politely sat at her desk, her Bible forever opened to the book of Psalms as if she read piously in her spare time. Jill never saw her turn the pages though.
"Let's demonstrate how we do a drug screening. We brought a model of the machine used to test blood samples. How about a volunteer?" Dr. Pendergast asked. No one raised their hand. Jill watched Officer Billy stroll down the aisle to her desk, his pace easy and even like he walked on a slow speed treadmill. "How about you, young lady? There's nothing to worry about. I'm sure it will show negative," he said. Jill looked wide eyed to the teacher for help only to be chided. "Jill! A good student like you afraid of a little pin prick? It'll be fine, just tickety-boo!" Jill shook her head emphatically and hid her hands below the desk. Billy raked her with a knowing look before he found another student to harass. She couldn't breathe until the class was over. She bolted from the room with Robbie close on her heels. He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the halls to the cafeteria and out into the courtyard. Jill sat outside and concentrated on the woods. Robbie sat close, holding her hand for support. "You want to tell me what that was all about?" he asked. She shook her head 'no' before she nearly squeezed the life from his hand.
"They're coming this way!" she hissed. She felt tears pricking the backs of her eyes and a soft sob escaped her lips. "Come with me," Robbie said as he pulled her up. He grabbed their backpacks and led her toward the woods. Jill hesitated. "We'll lose them in here and hide by the stream," he said as he guided her along. Jill followed Robbie moving quickly and quietly through the woods. They reached the stream with no way for Officer Billy to find them. Jill sighed with relief when Robbie came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She felt safe, finally calming down. "Thanks," she said. "Don't worry, Jill. They won't find you," he whispered.