“Aaron, hey, I’m putting together a video for homecoming. Want to say a few words?” Zach asked, lifting his camera to back up his statement.
“Sure,” Aaron said, standing. Zach prepped the camera, switching it on and focusing on the boy in front of him. “Let me just start by saying what an awesome year this has been, and how gnarly—”
“Gnarly?” the girl seated on the ground said with a laugh. “Who says that anymore?”
“Hey, if you watch Jay and Silent Bob –” Aaron began to argue.
Smiling at their banter, it quickly changed to a frown as Zach saw something in the viewing screen just off to the right behind the tree that Aaron was standing in front of. Curious, Zach zoomed in on the object. The picture shook violently in his hands. But he was certain, it was a police car. And there was somebody getting out of it, heading for the main entrance of the school. Zach closed the screen on the camera and switched it off.
“Zach, man, what are you doing? I wasn’t finished!” Aaron protested.
“Mind my stuff,” Zach said, lowering his backpack and placing the camera down beside it.
Racing towards the hedges, keeping low so he wouldn’t be spotted, Zach headed towards the front pathway straining to overhear the conversation between the sheriff and the other uniformed man that accompanied him. They were looking for a cheerleader – one with Union Well High’s school uniform – who had been at the site of the train wreck. Claire. He had to warn her. And it was then that he remembered the tape.
Rushing back to his backpack he discovered that, although he had told Aaron and his girlfriend to watch it, they had long abandoned his gear at the sound of the bell. A little irritated, Zach glanced around quickly before picking up his belongings and racing towards the quadrangle. He placed his camera into his backpack, but the thought suddenly occurred to him that he still had Claire’s tape, or at least he thought he did. Rummaging through his bag as he rushed through the crowd of students, he became more fretful at the disappearance of the tape. He was so immersed in his search he ran into a fellow student, turning to round them as he continued to pat his bag down. Nothing. Glancing up he saw that the lockers were ahead of him. Dashing around the other students as if he were a skilled football player weaving between his opponents, Zach reached his locker and fumbled with the combination before yanking it open. He noticed he had passed Claire, but he wanted to find the tape before he bothered her about it. His hands flicked through the folders, papers and books that lined the top of his locker. It wasn’t hidden there. Time to panic. Unless Claire has it.
“Claire,” he said softly, rounding her and hoping maybe Jackie and Brody didn’t hear him. He waved a hand at her, indicating she should pull herself away from the others. “May I borrow your ear just for a minute?”