In the mornings they played card games and braided each others’ hair. Some wrote letters or poems, many texted inappropriate conversations to friends on the outside. One girl, tenacious, sharpened a handful of paper clips, stole a set of drumsticks from a horrified freshman half her size, and with an obscene amount of masking tape created a rudimentary, Polynesian-style tattoo stick. She thought about practicing on the freshman.

It was their one hundred and forty-third day of being held hostage. No end in sight. The teachers were entrenched. Mr. Poole (Band) and Ms. Marino (Social Studies) were on the roof—snipers. The two gym teachers, Mr. Bosch and Mrs. Banazak, patrolled the halls, making sure no students were escaping or using the restroom without a pass. Mr. Banazak (English), Mr. Phelan (Social Studies), and Ms. Trung (Honors Math) were in charge of the library bunker, while Mrs. Allers-Austin (German), Mrs. Evigan (Art), Mr. Moretti (Honors English), and Mrs. Wu (Biology) rotated shifts in the gym where most of the student hostages slept.

In the computer lab, Mr. Garver’s room, Mrs. Thomasen (French) served as the primary negotiator. She was assisted by Mr. Garver and Dr. Grey, head of the Physics Department. They were revising their list of demands. Again.

“Hey Tam, let’s take a break,” Dr. Grey suggested. “It’s almost time for Assembly.”

Tam Thomasen sighed, rubbed her temples. “Okay,” she said donning her ammo belt. “Civics again tonight?” she asked, but the others were already halfway out the door.