Enid grabbed a girl by her hair and threw a hard knee to her throat. Glancing behind her, she could see that several Big Mesa students had breached the gym. Her first thought was for Elizabeth’s safety.
“I’ve got to get back into the gym,” Enid said, throwing an elbow to a large girl to her right. “Do you guys think you can manage this?”
Todd nodded and punched two guys at once as if to prove his point.
Enid ran back toward the gym, cutting a bitch or two on the way. Only about four or five Big Mesa students had made it into the gym, and Enid was confident she could take them all down. She stalked up behind one of the boys and placed both hands on his head, twisting it quickly. With a satisfying crack, he slumped to the floor, his neck broken.
Casting a quick glance around the gym before stabbing two Big Mesa girls, Enid saw Elizabeth all the way across the gym, crouched over Jessica’s body. And behind Elizabeth was a very large guy from Big Mesa!
“Elizabeth!” Enid yelled. “Look out!”
Elizabeth looked behind her and rolled out of the way just before he kicked out with a forceful blow that would have caught her in the face. Enid jumped over laboring girl after laboring girl, trying her best to get to her friend as quickly as she possibly could. Elizabeth lay on her back, paralyzed with fear and anticipating another blow.
Enid tripped over Penny’s leg, which sent her sprawling. Picking herself up and trying to ignore the almost unbearable pain in her left wrist, Enid ran through the crowd, jumping and picking her way through a sea of screaming bodies. She drew up behind the guy and prepared to stab him with Elizabeth’s barrette, but instead cried out in surprise as she was thrown backwards on top of a screaming Olivia.
“I wanted an all-natural home birth in a pool of water, and this is what I fucking get?” Olivia said angrily. “Get the hell off of me!”
“Sorry,” Enid said, scrambling to get back on her feet. She ran headfirst into the boy from Big Mesa, headbutting him against the wall with such force it knocked the wind out of him. A few swift kicks to a choice part of the male anatomy and the boy was down for the count.
“Elizabeth, are you OK?” Enid said breathlessly, kneeling at her friend’s side.
Elizabeth nodded. “I think so,” she said. “But Enid, I think the baby’s about to come out!”
* * *
Mr. Collins was trying his best to deliver as many babies as possible, but the droning guitar and keyboard sounds that kept coming from the stage were proving to be a distraction. He clamped and cut the umbilical cord of a baby dangling from between Dee Dee Gordon’s legs and threw the newborn baby boy, still covered in blood and gore, into his mother’s arms.
“Dana, please, please, please shut the hell up!” Mr. Collins yelled, storming the stage. “The Droids really don’t need to be playing right now.”
Dana shot him a dirty look. “Everyone loves The Droids,” she said evenly. “We play at every single event in Sweet Valley.”
“Well, not births,” Mr. Collins snapped, unplugging some type of cord from one of the speakers. Max Dellon’s guitar fell silent.
“Hey!” Dana yelled, throwing down her microphone. “You can’t do that!”
“Oh, yes, I can,” Mr. Collins said, pulling on yet another cord and interrupting Guy Chesney’s raging keyboard solo.
A loud scream cut though the air, a scream Mr. Collins would recognize anywhere. “It’s Elizabeth!” he cried, jumping off the stage and running toward where Elizabeth was lying on the floor, her head cradled in Enid’s lap.
He kicked Jessica’s unconscious form aside so he could kneel down beside his star student. “It’s all right, Elizabeth,” he said soothingly, stroking her hair. “I’m right here.”
“Mr. Collins,” Elizabeth gasped. “This is getting way too fucking weird.”
“Don’t worry, I have excellent working knowledge of the female reproductive system,” he said. “I’ve already delivered 50 babies tonight. I can help you.”
“Mr. Collins, don’t worry about me,” Elizabeth said selflessly. “Just make sure everyone gets out of the gym as soon as possible!”
“But, Elizabeth, the parking lot is mobbed with kids from Big Mesa,” Enid told her. “You can’t imagine the carnage out there.”
“Enid’s right,” Mr. Collins said firmly. “This is the safest place to be right now. And lord knows we can’t depend on the SVPD for help.”
Elizabeth grasped wildly for Mr. Collins’ shirt collar, bringing his face close to hers. “You’ve got to listen to me. This place is going to blow in the next ten minutes!”
“Blow?” Enid asked frantically, searching for her next fix. “Where? Who’s got coke up in here?”
“She’s not talking about cocaine,” Mr. Collins said, shaking his head. “She’s talking about blow jobs.”
“I’m talking about a bomb!” Elizabeth cried, her voice rising into a primal scream. “Randy Mason is trying to disarm the last one right now, but I’m not sure if he’s been able to.”
“A bomb in the gym? Hasn’t this plot device already been used?” Mr. Collins asked thoughtfully. “As an English teacher, I’m really disappointed, Elizabeth.”
“Of course it’s been used,” Elizabeth snapped. “Do you think any of these ghostwriters read any of their predecessors’ work?”
“Probably not,” Mr. Collins conceded. “But still, I’d consider it a slight step above plagiarism.”
“We’ve covered that plot point, too,” Elizabeth reminded him, punctuating her statement with a scream. “Please, Mr. Collins, get everyone out of here. Make sure Jessica gets out!”
“Oh, no way,” Mr. Collins said. “If I can only save one Wakefield twin, it sure as hell won’t be Jessica.”
Swimming up through a sea of blackness, Jessica forced her eyelids open. She couldn’t figure out where she was or why she was in so much pain. She was dimly aware of other people around her. They were talking, but she couldn’t quite understand what they were saying.
Squeezing her eyes shut again in an effort to dull the ache that was coursing through her body, Jessica tried to recall the last thing she remembered before darkness overtook her, but the strange dream she had just experienced consumed her every thought.
She was at the prom, dancing with every boy in sight – but only the attractive ones. Jessica’s stomach was nice and flat, as it had always been up until two weeks ago. She was wearing the crown, and it was intact and sparkling and larger than it had ever been in real life.
And then, right in the middle of a romantic slow dance with Ken – who was decidedly not gay, judging by the firm grasp he had on her ass – the dance floor opened up, a large, jagged crack appearing right between them. Jessica jumped back, startled. She watched in horror as Sara Eastborne was sucked into the dark chasm.
A terrifying figure loomed out of the hole, slowly elevating upward until he was looking down on Jessica, who cowered in fear before him.
“Elizabeth Wakefield!” the figure yelled loudly, his eyes flashing yellow.
Jessica shook her head. “You’re looking for my sister,” she said, laughing nervously. “We’re identical twins. We get mixed up all the time.”
“Are you defying me?” the figure snarled.
“No,” Jessica said. “We’re twins, honest.”
“Well, then, I have a message for your twin,” he said. “From Satan.”
Jessica tried not to stare at the horns on his head or the hooves where his feet should have been. “I love your dresses,” she cooed, trying to soothe the beast. “It’s, like, my favorite material.”
“Satan, not satin, you idiot!” he thundered. “The devil? No, nothing? Really?”
Jessica shook her head. “I guess you’re famous, though, right?” She flashed him a huge grin. “I have a really great resume: Winner of the Miss Teen Sweet Valley competition, several acting gigs – including a guest spot on ‘The Young and the Beautiful’ – several prom queen titles, interpretive dance–”
“Silence!” Satan roared. “I will not be mocked!”
“All right, all right,” Jessica grumbled under her breath. “Some people just don’t know talent when they see it!”
“Give Elizabeth my regards,” Satan said. “And thank her for not putting an end to the war between Sweet Valley and Big Mesa. She has allowed me to rise again!”
Jessica took a deep breath and opened her eyes. The dream was a message of some sort, she finally realized. But what could it be telling me? she wondered. Oh, well. I’m sure it’s not really important, anyway.