Chapter Two - A Blackout, a Breakout and a Fallout

~*~

8:23 P.M.

By the time Cailin had finished the spaghetti, all nine other teenagers (with the exception of Christien, the only pre-teen) had congregated in the kitchen. The grumbling of stomachs in unison could have been heard halfway across the house. The group had formed a line in front of the counter as the girl poured the pot of noodles and water into a strainer coolly, then put the pot down and turned to the line of teenagers.

"Alright, ladies first - no, Brian, that does NOT apply to YOU." She scowled at the boy, who shrugged and scootched to the back of the line.

"But he's close enough!" Kevin protested, grinning at Drill Sergeant Caitlin, who shook her head and threatened him with her wooden spoon. The rest of the group laughed at the look on Kevin's face, then each began to serve themselves out of the spaghetti supply.

Suddenly, the room went completely black. Everyone froze where they were, almost afraid to move.

Aaron's voice groaned from an indefinite area of the room. "Great."

"Where are the candles?" Christien's voice asked.

"I'll get some," Efad volunteered.

Caitlin squealed in Efad's ear, causing the girl to jump. "OOH! IwannaplaywidaFIIIRE!" Her zeal often slurred her enunciation.

"NO," the room chorused.

~*~

8:33 P.M.

While everyone was merrily eating their dinner by candle-light, Christien had found a small two-way radio and had begun to fiddle around with it. Lizzy peeked over his shoulder, curious as to what bizarre device he had.

"What's that?"

He shrugged. "It's one of Efad's two-ways - I just found it. Actually, I sat on it, but..."

Efad laughed. "Yeah, I somehow manage to leave my stuff everywhere."

Christien pushed a couple of buttons, hesitated for a moment, then held it up to his ear. "Whoa, cool..." His eyes suddenly grew wide with apprehension. "Um, Efad...do you have the other one nearby...?"

"No, why?"

He turned the volume to its near maximum. "Listen to this..." All nine other teenagers crowded around him to hear what was making the boy so anxious.

"'There has been a report of an escape from the Downtown Prattville Prison. The terrorist Mike Hardware, who had been apprehended three months ago in the Wal-Mart parking lot, has broken out of his cell and is on the loose.

'Anyone in the downtown Prattville area should be aware of the current situation, and should take the appropriate precautions necessary.'"

"This is BAD," Suzanne whispered. "That prison is two blocks away from here..."

Caitlin's eyes near bugged out of their sockets. "...Efad, did you lock the doors...?"

Efad gluped. "Sure thing..." She ran through the kitchen and into the hallway (slipping for the fourth time that night), locked the front door, and dashed back into the living room. "Man, this isn't what I'd planned for..."

Meanwhile, in a corner of the room somewhere, Justin and Brian were arguing with each other.

"NO WAY!"

"I dare you!"

"Nothin' doin'," Justin stated firmly, crossing his arms.

Brian grinned. "You're chicken."

"I AM NOT!" The older boy yelled. "Fine. But only if you go with me."

"Alright, I will." The two stood and headed for the back door, but stopped as ET called after them.

"Hey, where are y'all going?"

Brian shrugged. "Up on the roof."

"WHAAAT?!" Eight out of ten teens screeched. In their shock, they had all managed to pronounce a word with three 'A's by some bizare feat.

"What in the world are you thinking?!" Caitlin shouted.

Suzanne crossed her arms. "They want to see how well the human body conducts electricity by acting as lightning rods, I guess. Should be an interesting sight to behold. I wanna watch!" She exclaimed, jumping up and down in place and clapping her hands giddily.

Lizzy made a face. "Eeew... me too! Let's watch!" She said with a grin.

Efad glared at Suzanne, Lizzy, and then at Brian and Justin. "NO. No one's leaving this house until tomorrow morning when our parents get back. I'm not taking a chance on anyone's life! What if something happens? Y'all's parents will have a fit, and probably kill me, too!"

Justin rolled his eyes. "Oh please. We're not THAT careless. It's not like we're gonna fall or anything."

"Oh sure. Like we're actually going to believe the Dynamic Duo?" Kevin snapped. "I'm siding with Efad - don't do it."

Aaron grinned. "C'mon, what's the worst that could happen? Let's let'em try at least."

"Hmm..." Suzanne looked lost in thought. "I wonder what fried human looks like...?"

"Probably like burnt toast," ET chided. "I see that a lot when I'm cooking."

"Which is why they let ME cook," Caitlin commented.

Kevin glared at her. "But you threw me out when I tried to help."

"You aren't much help anyway...!"

Efad rolled her eyes at the argument forming between the two, but upon glancing around, noticed that their number had suddenly decreased by two. "Oh no... oh no, oh no! Where are they?!"

"Um..." Christien glanced around and sighed. "On the roof would be a good guess."

Caitlin frowned and started for the door. "I'M going to get them down."

Suddenly, muffled screams were heard from the backyard as two dark figures fell past one of the windows. A moment of silence fell over the room, until Kevin muttered, "Looks like they got down themselves." ET screamed and hid behind Lizzy while Efad led herself, Suzanne, Caitlin and Aaron out the door and around into the backyard. Brian and Justin lay on the ground, completely still. A horrible twinge of fear crept its way up and down Efad's spine as she fell to her knees beside Brian.

"Bri, can you hear me? Brian, c'mon, this isn't funny." She tried to shake the limp boy, as Suzanne stopped and bent down next to Justin.

The boy flinched from Suzanne as she squatted down. "I-it's not our fault," he whispered hoarsely.

"What do you mean?" Aaron asked, bending down on the boy's other side.

Justin looked up and pointed towards the roof shakily. "...we were pushed..." He shuddered and closed his eyes, letting his entire body go limp. Caitlin, who was squatting next to Brian, reached over and felt for a pulse on the boy's neck, but none met her touch. She sighed and stood slowly, as did Aaron and Suzanne, and tried to coax Efad to go back inside.

The girl looked up at them and shook her head. "We have to take them back inside, too, don't we? I mean, we can't just leave them out here in the rain until the Paramedics get here..."

Suzanne knelt down beside her and put her arm around her friend's shoulders. "Efad... c'mon, let's just go back in."

"No, they're going to be alright! We need to call for help, guys..." She began sobbing as Suzanne embraced her.

"It's no use, Dearest... they're dead."