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Principal Gail Fernhill walked in behind McKendrick. She didn't notice the revolver but heard the classroom screams and Penny's outburst. Her eyes also observed Sharon's angry red face.
"Excuse me!" Gail said in a tone reserved for disobedient pupils.
McKendrick swung around.
The principal's eyes turned cold. "Put the gun down," she said. "There is no need..."
"Move across by the other teacher," McKendrick snapped. "I will take my daughter and we'll leave."
Gail didn't move but her eyes never left the intruder. Very quietly but in a voice everyone heard, she gave an instruction. "Girls! Go to emergency positions. Now!"
The terrified pupils heard their principal and knew what she meant. Everyone dropped to the floor and cuddled under the laboratory benches. Andrea and Kirstine both placed their arms around Penny who was sobbing. Within ten seconds the only people remaining standing in the room were the adults.
The class's action with almost military like precision caught the gunman off guard. He glared at Gail, raised his revolver and fired.
The firecracker like explosion ricocheted around the room and was followed by hysterical screams as the girls cuddled into each other beneath the benches. A smell of hot smoke rent the air and Gail heard a distinct buzz past her ear and the tinkle of breaking glass. Behind her, glass in the door shattered. Nobody, though, was hurt.
"Next time, Miss Fernhill, it will be through you." The man's voice turned to ice. "Will you please tell my daughter to come here and nobody will be hurt."
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