Emma’s feet dug further into the snowy ground on the way to the Science Lab. Damn all this snow, she thought angrily. Can’t a girl just go to a Science Lab in peace? Strolling side by side with her was Briar, who tried leaping in every pile of snow she walked past.
'Snow, glorious snow!' She grinned.
'Glorious snow, indeed.' Emma muttered, annoyed by all this rubbish. 'Let’s just get there before we freeze into ice cubes.’ Briar snorted at her words. ‘I can’t feel my toes,’ Complained Emma grouchily. Briar smiled at her sweetly and cocked her head.
‘Precious!’ She rolled her eyes cheekily. ‘Hold on, that can’t be true -’ She bent down and touched Emma’s toes ‘- because I can certainly feel them.’ Briar grinned.
A wave of heat warmed them as they pushed open the door to the Science Lab. Ms. Thorn glared at them as they strolled inside, a line of snow trailing them.
‘And I hope you have a very good reason for being late?” Ms. Thorn growled. Briar and Emma glanced at each other.
‘Oh yes, we were playing in the snow.’ Briar grinned defiantly. Ms. Thorn shot them a glance, trying to find out if it was the truth or if they were trying to muck around. Emma glanced at Briar cautiously, as if to tell her that she had gone to far. As they sat down next to Sophia and Kat, Ms. Thorn continued talking to the class about making play dough. They settled down to begin, and Briar picked up a vial containing red liquid.
‘Food colouring!’ She grinned, rolling the vial around her fingers in delight.
‘I don't think you should add that in-” Emma began.
‘What harm can a little Food Colouring do?” Briar smiled sweetly.
‘We have other ingredients in the bowl, we probably shouldn't add it in-’ But before she could finish, Briar added the whole thing into her bowl. ‘We should tell the teacher…’ Emma trembled.
‘And what should you tell the teacher?’ A stern voice came from behind them. They turned around slowly, staring into the grey eyes of Ms. Thorn. ‘Oh my- Briar, what an extraordinary looking playdough!’ She exclaimed. ‘Let me just add the last ingredient-’ Ms. Thorn added a drop of yellow liquid, and the bowl shattered. They all leapt back in astonishment, watching a red lump wriggle and steam on the floor.
‘What the-’ Emma took an uncertain step forwards, reaching out to touch the lump. It exploded, causing holes in the roof and them to be thrown backwards with extreme force. As Briar landed, the wind was knocked out of her and she struggled for breath.
‘Come on everyone, outside.’ Huffed Ms. Thorn desperately.
‘Briar?’ A nervous voice came from the left. Briar sat up and looked at the building around her. Shattered walls, broken glass, torn ceilings. Where the lump sat, there was a huge hole in the ceiling above. The carpet was burnt to a crisp and someone tugged on Briars hand, willing her to get out. ‘Briar? BRIAR!’ A voice shrieked. Briar pushed herself to her feet, and was half lead and half carried out of the building to her other classmates. One girl had a shard of glass sticking out her leg. She glared at Briar and Emma as they passed.
‘Why did you add that in?’ She snarled. Emma bit her lip, searching for an answer. A loud ringing comes from behind us, and the Science Lab was engulfed in flames and smoke.
‘Come on everyone, the fire alarm's gone off…’ Ms. Thorn sighed, pushing us through the snow towards the field. The ambulance rolled into the car park, singing it's alarming song. The girl with the shard of glass in her leg is rolled inside and Briar was soon loaded in as well. She caught Emma's final wave through the glass before she blacked out.
Emma sighed as she ploughed through the snow with the rest of her classmates. Nobody had dared say a word. And yet she wished that Briar was there, jumping through the snow and laughing. Nothing could make her sad. Not even the Science Lab being blown to pieces. But, then, that was her doing. Not anybody else's. Kat and Sophia slowly joined her, but still nobody talked. Their homeroom teacher, Miss Norris, took the roll as the snow slipped from the grey sky. Ms. Thorn looked at the floor, her hands by her sides and yet Emma could see her regret-filled eyes.
She rolled the pencil around in her fingers, the way Briar had done earlier that day with the vial of red liquid. Where has the lump gone? Emma thought sadly. But the lump was of no use in the first place, just a red object that steamed up and exploded. It was probably set in a million different shards by then.
The bus pulled up at the stop, and Emma reluctantly handed over the money so she could get home to her city penthouse. She curled up into a ball in her seat, wrapping her arms around her legs and closing her eyes. Just this morning Briar had been leaping into the snow, laughing and had stuck up for Emma in class. Where are you? She cried inside her head. Suddenly the bus halted to a stop and she went flying into the seat in front. As she glanced out the window, orange specks of light fell into view, crashing into the earth and exploding.
‘What…’ She muttered, half taken by surprise. Smoke filled the bus fast as fire exploded through the roof and into the driver's seat. The scent of singed flesh and smoke made her choke. Emma burst through the glass, landing on the hard concrete road. She felt something snap in her arm and she forced herself to the side path, watching the fire rain from the sky. It fades into small droplets of lava, she noticed, as she hauled herself under a tin shelter in someone's backyard. Emma watched the lava rain burn holes in people's homes and listened to the shrieks and cries of the victims. She curled up into a small ball and drifted to sleep.
Briar woke with a start. She was on life support, she knew that, but why? Her life wasn't in any real danger. Well, from what she knew anyway. Was there something the doctors refused to tell her? It was likely. As she tried to stretch, bones clicked in her arms and breath puffed out of her mouth and fogged up the plastic. Briar ripped the life support machine off and reached for the door. She twisted it open and nearly stepped into empty air. She gasped and walked backwards. She was on the top story, and the rest of the hospital was rubble and burning plastic. How was she going to escape from this place? How was she not dead? Suddenly Briar had an idea, and she ripped the sheets off the bed and began tying them to each other.
‘This should do it…’ She muttered under her breath. She tied it to the metal handle on the door and slipped down the mattress. Briar landed with an unsturdy thud and cut her knee on a piece of loose glass buried under the rubble. ‘Ouch!’ She exclaimed as the blood began streaming down her leg. This couldn't distract her though, since she narrowly missed being blown to pieces by a fireball. What the hell is going on? She wondered as she slipped between layers of rubble and small fires.
Suddenly something jumped out at Briar. It was a pink monster-like thing with a bow. It looked terrified. ‘Did someone say Hell?’ it asked.
Briar was too scared to move or say anything. What is this thing? She wondered.
‘What am I?’ asked the monster. ‘I am a llama.’
‘No you’re not,’ said Briar, finally finding her voice. ‘You’re a pink… Something... And you can read minds, can’t you?’ She added hastily.
‘A pink something? Sorry, I’m actually a llama, that’s just my scary self, when I’m scared. I heard you think hell and I hated Hell. I’ve been there. It’s awful.’ She turned into a llama
‘Where do you come from?’ Briar asked, feeling sorry for this thing which claimed it was a llama. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Um, I don’t know,’ said the llama. ‘Let’s make one up … how about Um?’
‘No, that’s just silly, how about … Llama?’
‘No, I am a llama, my name isn’t Llama. What about Ding Dong?’
‘Ding Dong?’ said Briar, shaking with laughter. ‘Where’d that come from? That’s so random! Ding Dong it is.’ A sudden thought came to Briar. Where was Emma? Had she lived?
Emma woke with a start, rain pattering on the tin roof. There was a fluffy ball curled up at her feet, and she leaned over to find a scrawny mud-brown cat with three legs. It's fur was set in awkward directions, and it was riddled with fleas. Emma sighed. She couldn't just leave the cat here. As she scooped it up, it hissed furiously and dug its claws into her. Emma flinched; she wasn't used to an angry kitty cat. Back home, she had a cat called Fluffball. He was friendly, fat and dozy. The opposite of this cat. She sighed again, and her thoughts wandered back to Briar.
‘Come on, Mr. Fuzzy.’ She muttered. ‘We have to find an old friend of mine. Briar.’
Mr Fuzzy meowed. Then quite unexpectedly, he gazed up at her and said ‘What the heck is a Briar?’
Emma dropped him and shrieked, ‘Talking CAT?’
‘Yaaaaass I get hit by something sticky and blobby and I think what is that? and then I can speak! I now understand your dopey lanwidge!’
‘Talking cat…’ Emma breathed.
‘Yass I has a voice now's!’ Mr. Fuzzy stuck out his tongue and began dancing.
‘Talking cat…’ She choked.
‘Yass, I has told you zat already!’
‘WILL YOU STOP ZAYING DAT?!?!’ He shrieked, tapping his foot at the ground. ‘I is a TALKING CAT, get over it, will ya?’ He rolled his eyes.
Briar tripped over the rubble that had once been a city. Beside her, Ding Dong was singing something about a sloth eating a banana. Then when he had run out of lyrics, he started singing about leopards eating cheeseballs. She sighed. Ding Dong was all she had for company; she missed Emma. Out of the darkening skies, the pink llama flicked his tiny tail towards something.
‘What is that?’ He goggled.
‘That's a firefly… in the middle of the city…’ She pulled a face. Whatever it was, it was glowing and something blue was flying towards them-
Briar leaped out the way just in time, as the wall shattered into a million pieces.