Excerpt of Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
(Page 3 of 4)
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Rose faced the table. Amanda, she began, dialing back her tone,
you have to understand that teasing is bullying. Words can hurt as
much as a punch.
Youre not allowed to yell at me! Mrs. Douglas said!
Rose blinked, surprised. Shed be damned if shed be intimidated
by somebody in a Hannah Montana headband. Im not yelling at
you, she said calmly.
Im going to recess! Amanda jumped to her feet, startling Emily
Suddenly, something exploded in the kitchen. A searing white
light flashed in the kitchen doorway. Rose turned toward the earsplitting
boom! The kitchen wall flew apart, spraying shards of tile,
wood, and wallboard everywhere.
A shockwave knocked Rose off her feet. A fireball billowed into
Rose woke up lying on the floor against the wall. She opened her
eyes. Overhead sprinklers poured water, like cold rain. Acrid black
smoke clouded the air. She rolled over onto wet debris and broken
glass. Her head pounded. Her ears rang.
what happened what is going on
She propped herself up to a sitting position, in the water. Her face
hurt. She touched her cheek. Fresh blood covered her fingerpads.
Dust caked her polo shirt and khaki capris, getting drenched from
the sprinklers. Her legs splayed out in front of her, with a bloody cut
on her ankle. She shook her head to clear her brain. She couldnt
hear anything but the ringing in her ears.
She looked through the water and smoke. An inferno raged in the
kitchen. Fire blazed from its doors. Hot orange flames spread upward.
A jagged hole gaped in the kitchen wall. Rebar twisted from it
like black tentacles. Wood studs lay splintered and broken.
Rose couldnt process what she was seeing. The perfect suburban
cafeteria was a war zone. Acoustic tiles hung from the ceiling. Shattered
skylights rained glass shards. The air felt furnace- hot. A burning
smell filled her nostrils. Bits of flaming material blew around like
a nightmare blizzard.
Rose looked wildly around through the smoke. Amanda sat
stunned on the floor nearby, then got up stiffly. Her mouth formed a
terrified circle. Tears ran down her face. A cut bled on her arm. Emily
lay near the door, crying in a little heap on the floor, like dirty laundry.
Only Danielle was in motion, fleeing toward the door.
Suddenly, Rose could hear everything. Amanda was screaming.
Emily was sobbing. Alarm bells were ringing. Fire roaring, sprinklers
whirring, water whooshing. Flames billowed from the kitchen.
Whoever was in there would have been killed. She had to get the
kids out before they were, too.
Oh my God. Melly.
Rose stumbled to her feet, unsteady. Her knees buckled. Her
head thundered. The room whirled. She struggled to get back up.
The handicapped bathroom was across from the kitchen, where the
explosion had been. Fear gripped her heart. Melly could have been
killed in the blast.
Please God no.
Rose raced through the other possibilities. Melly could be trapped
in the bathroom. If she hadnt gotten out, no one would come to save
her. No one knew she was in the bathroom. Even if she got out of the
bathroom, she wouldnt know how to get out of the building.
Rose staggered to her feet, panicky. She didnt know what to do.
The smoke was getting thicker, the air hotter. Flames licked from the
kitchen doors into the cafeteria. A skylight popped, showering glass.
Amanda and Emily were slowly moving around. Screaming. Crying.
Stunned. They needed help. They were right in front of her.
They were just kids. They couldnt save themselves.
Melly was in the bathroom, far away. Out the opposite side of the
cafeteria and down the hall, at the very end.
Excerpted from Save Me
by Lisa Scottoline. Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Scottoline.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.