| She stopped humming in the middle of a phrase. “Ssh, what was that noise?”
The girls listened. Sure enough, they heard voices and laughter.
“Who would be in the rink at this hour?” Samah’s dark eyes were wide.
“Lamar and Jems?” said Ella Rose.
“That doesn’t sound like Lamar and Jems,” whispered Robin.
“Let’s go see.” Ella Rose put her finger to her lips. “It’s probably just a night
watchman or something.”
As the three girls tiptoed out of the office, the door shut with a whooshing noise.
“Oh, no.” whispered Samah. “We forgot to prop it open.”
“Dang, my cell phone!” said Ella Rose. “It’s in my bag.”
The girls looked at the locked office door and shook their heads. “Well, at least I still
have my phone,” whispered Robin.
“So do I,” whispered Samah. “Do you hear the voices?”
“I think I hear something over by the Weight Room.” Ella Rose crouched low. “Let’s
sneak up onto the Observation Balcony and see if anyone’s there.”
When the girls entered the Observation Balcony and looked down into the Weight
Room, they stifled gasps when they saw a small group of people. They couldn’t see
who was speaking and they didn’t recognize the harsh voice that screamed out the
words of hate.
“His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Second Corinthians 12:9. The time
for weakness has ended and the time for His perfect strength has come. First Peter
4:11. Let the world know that God has made Him Lord, Him whom the Jews
crucified. Acts 2:36. They shall look upon Him who they pierced. Zechariah 12: 10.
There are six things the Lord hates, haughty eyes, a false witness, a lying tongue,
hands that shed the blood of the innocents, feet that do evil among the true brethren,
one who devises wicked plans and spreads contamination among the true brothers
and sisters. Proverbs 6: 16-19. Go and do thou likewise. Luke 10:37.”
The group applauded enthusiastically and the speaker continued. “Brothers and
sisters, I have proved from the very Word of God that we must continue to reach out
and spread our teaching, to convert others who are like-minded, who are called to
cleanse the earth of wickedness. We are the ones chosen by the Glorious Leader to
rule forever along with Him. We are children of the Angel of God. The Angel goes
before us, guarding us, guiding us. The Angel assures us that victory is ours. The
Angel is with us always.”
Ella Rose’s eyes were wild with fear as she pantomimed putting a cell phone to her
ear and then pointed to the exit. The girls were about to sneak out, when they heard
two new voices.
Ella Rose closed her eyes and whispered, “Oh, no. Jems and Lamar.”
The girls heard Jems’ musical voice. “What’s going on in here? C’mon Lamar, we’d
As the door opened and Lamar and Jems stepped into the Weight Room, several
men grabbed them. Jems screamed, and the girls in the balcony nearly collapsed
“What do you think you’re doing?” Lamar struggled to free himself from the grip of
three men. “Let go of us.”
Two of the men tore tape from a roll of white hockey tape and roughly wrapped it
around Jems’ and Lamar’s mouths. Lamar lurched and wriggled in an attempt to
escape from his captors, until one of the men picked up a hockey stick.
“That’s enough, boy,” he said, as he swung the hockey stick at Lamar’s head. The
stick hit with a loud “thwack,” and the young man groaned and crumpled to the
ground, his head bleeding. Jems moaned through her tape gag.
“What should we do with them?” said one of the men. “Let’s make fudgsicles out of
‘em,” said another man. “Spray ‘em with water and leave ‘em outside to freeze.”
Ella Rose gestured for the girls to sneak out. As the girls tiptoed to the balcony door,
they heard the person who had been making the speech say, “Brothers and sisters,
it is the Angel who has led these two beasts to us. I’ll call the Angel and ask for
Ella Rose, Samah, and Robin looked at each other and Ella Rose whispered, “Call
At that moment Robin gasped as her cell phone fell out of her loose warm-up
pocket and clattered down the steps of the balcony.
The voice hissed like a snake. “Who’s up there?”
Ella Rose stared at her friends. Then she whispered, “Run. Get out of here. Get out
the side door by Jems’ office. Use Samah’s cell phone to call Karina or Officer
Zander. I’ll stay here and talk my way out of it.”
“But…” said Samah.
“Hurry!” Ella Rose shoved her friends toward the door. “I’ll distract them so they won’
t come after you.” She smiled bravely. “I’ve talked my way out of worse jams at
Samah and Robin gave Ella Rose one last look before they let themselves out of
the balcony door and ran down the corridor to the side exit. When they opened the
door and ran outside into the night, the blistering wind nearly knocked them down.
“Let’s get to the woods and call,” said Samah, sobbing. “There’s a clearing in the
The girls ran across the parking lot.
“Wait.” Robin stopped and coughed as she inhaled great breaths of the freezing air.
“There’s Ella Rose’s car. She has a survival kit. Let’s get it.”
They struggled to open the back gate of the Colt and Robin grabbed the bulky
parcel. “Now run,” said Samah through her tears. “Run!”
The girls pulled each other along, trying to get as far away as possible from the
MRC. They entered the clearing and ran into the woods, fighting their way through
underbrush and pushing past giant white pines that seemed to reach out with
spiked hands to grab at their faces and hair. Samah cried out when she tripped and
fell full-length onto the frozen ground. Robin dragged her friend to her feet.
“Ouch!” cried Samah. “My hair is caught.”
“Just yank it,” said Robin, as she grasped Samah’s hand. “Hurry!”
Finally they stopped when they saw a spreading evergreen bush. Panting with
exhaustion and fear, they crawled underneath the dense branches and collapsed.
“Are you OK, Samah?” asked Robin, holding her side as she gasped for breath.
“Did you hurt yourself when you fell?”
“No,” said Samah. “But my hands are all scratched up. I must have fallen on a bed
of pine cones or something.”
She held up her bleeding hands.
“I’m sorry,” said Robin. “Let’s call someone. Here, give me your phone and I’ll call
“I don’t have his number. And my phone is probably dead by now. Dead…dead…”
Samah’s voice rose hysterically and she rocked back and forth. “Robin, they’ll find
the three skate bags in Coach Jems’ office and know we’re out here. They’ll come for
us and do…what they did to Lamar…or worse. After all, we’re both minorities, too.”
Samah shivered so hard that her teeth chattered. Robin found a blanket in the
survival kit and wrapped it around her friend and herself. “C’mon, Samah, never give
up. I can’t remember Officer Zander’s number either. Just give me your phone and I’ll
Samah handed over the phone, and Robin punched in 911. She told the dispatcher
to send the police to the Milani Research Complex. “The hate group is here. Our
friend is in it. They hit Lamar. They’re probably going to kill him, and our coach and
our friend, too.”
“Your name, please?” said the pleasant voice. “I need your name, please, miss.”
The voice cut off as the cell phone died.
“We don’t have time for a lot of questions!” Robin shook the phone, hoping to keep
the connection. “They’re going to kill Coach Jems and Ella Rose. Ma’am, just send
The phone made a beeping noise, and Robin looked bleakly at Samah as she
said, “The battery’s dead…out of power. I hope that operator took me seriously.”
Samah had stopped rocking, but her dark eyes were wild and her voice shook.
“They’ll probably just send one puny Barney Fyfe-type out here. How will he ever be
able to rescue Jems and Lamar and Ella Rose from those horrible people?"