Children's Crusade
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2011 by carioca

The world's worst steel drum band played, and the boat rocked to the irregular beat. The passengers sang along, but they were so drunk they sounded like dull moans and the shrill screams of terrified children. Zoe's head pounded with the beat. Someone tugged at her arms, leading her out on the dance floor.

"Miss Simpkins, Miss Simpkins, wake up, please."

Zoe forced her eyes open. One of her kids looked down at her, His face was blurry and indistinct, but she recognized his voice. Billy Johnson, he lived on a small farm, but his parents weren't farmers. She was on the bus still, and it shook with a pounding noise. The noise in the background was horrid. Children screamed and cried, and what was that awful moaning? She was down in the stairwell, her back against the door. Someone pushed on it, rocking her back and forth. Zoe touched the back of her head, and pain lanced through her, followed by a wave of nausea. She held her fingers in front of her eyes, they were covered in blood, and danced as she tried to focus.

Billy and one of the fifth grade girls tugged at her, helped her crawl up the steps. A glance behind her showed awful faces and bloody fists pounding on the glass. A squeal of fear burst from her, but she wasn't sure if what she'd seen was real or a hallucination brought on by hitting her head. A wailing moan sounded behind her and the pounding on the door increased. "Now, fill it up." She couldn't tell who spoke, the voice was a hoarse croak. Kids tossed backpacks into the well, some landed on her legs then tumbled down, filling the space and preventing whoever was outside from opening the door.

Finally she reached the top of the stairs, dizzy, arms too weak to hold her up. She was vaguely aware of vomiting, before everything turned black.

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