CHAPTER ONE “And it equals…Catherine?” Ms. Caroline asks, pointing her pencil at someone in the front. She always does that, and never bothers to call on anyone in the back. My mom paid for me to sit in the back, because she didn’t want me to have to do so much thinking. She also didn’t want me to sit in those hard plastic brown chairs. As soon as she heard that I was sitting in them, just like everyone else, she sent a furious note to the principal, along with a five hundred dollar check. The next day I sat in a big purple couch with a long glass table in front of me, along with all my other friends. “Jade! Come on, school is over! Didn’t you here the bell?” Samantha asked, pulling my arm and dragging me to the door. I pushed open the heavy wooden door and walked outside. Lucas, the limo driver was waiting. He had on his normal black suit and shades. I’ve never seen his eyes before, since he wore his sunglasses everywhere, even inside. I looked at the window and saw my reflection. I had long brown hair, brilliant green eyes and tan skin. I was wearing a black shirt covered with a pink dyed leather vest-like jacket. I had on a black miniskirt, tights and silver boots. I smiled and turned around. Moet, Jasmine, and Rachel were all sitting down on a bench talking, while they waited for me. I walked up to them and they stood up to go, putting things back into their bags. I got into the limo and sat down, waiting for them to get ready. Finally the door closed and Lucas began to drive us to the mall. It was a super short ride, since the mall was on the same street as my house, and my house was just a block away from school. But riding in a limo was way better than walking in the humid June air. I opened the door and walked out, leaving my backpack in the limo. Instead, I took my purse. My friends got out, leaving their backpacks and bringing purses instead. The mall wasn’t a place for boring school backpacks, even if ours were the coolest and prettiest backpacks in the world. It was a place for cute five hundred dollar designer purses! The glass doors automatically opened, as we got close. We walked into the mall and sighed. The silver-star fashion plaza was the BEST mall in the world. Basement 1= Grocery store, hair salon, bowling alley, dentist First floor=Food court, arcade, fitness center, nail salon Second Floor=Forever 21, H&M, Claire’s, Macy’s, Swim California Third floor= Movie Theatre, swimming pool, Starbucks, Old Navy, Spa ♦ Fourth floor=Loft, Gap, Nike, Makeup 101 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
And it went on to floor eight… “What are you guys doing, just standing around? Come on!” Moet drags us over to the elevator, walks in and pushes the button that
says B1. I smiled as we started walking towards the elevator. I was rich…and I liked it. “We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.” 1 haircut, 10 nails painted, 3 dresses, 4 shirts, 2 skirts, 3 pants, 6 earrings, 1 necklace, 1 small vanilla Frappuccino, 2 pairs of high-heels, 2 swim suits, 1 pair of flip-flops, 2 packs of Makeup, 1 perfume, 2 purses, 1 hat and three headbands later, I’m dragging shopping bags into the limo, my wallet feeling extremely light. “Well that was exhausting!” Rachel announced, putting three more bags from Forever 21 down in the limo’s trunk. Moet and Jasmine finally came out of the mall, blowing on their nails to make them dry. I laughed, “Why didn’t you paint your nails first and then do all your shopping?” I asked them. “I don’t know,” Jasmine shrugged, “I never thought about that, but they’ll dry in the movie theater anyway. We’re going to the one across the street, right? That one is way bigger than the one in the mall, since the one here just opened up in April.” “ Yeah, we agreed on going to Gold Cinemas, not the one in the mall,” Moet said as she counted up all the money on the receipts she got. “Oh my gosh! I’m under one thousand dollars!” She announced suddenly, gasping as she showed us the calculator she was using. “Wow. You only spent eight hundred fifty two dollars! That’s a record!” Samantha told her. “That means you beat my nine hundred thirty seven dollar record from January!” Rachel said, staring at the calculator. We all get into the limo, laughing as we double-check the receipts. CHAPTER TWO “I can’t believe you actually think he is a good actor,” Jasmine says. “He is a good actor!” Samantha tells her. “No! He is NOT! Did you see his face when he was crying? It was so fake.” “No, it was alright, I mean, not many actors can cry without a reason.” “Yeah right.” We get back in the limo, talking about the movie. “Next stop Jade’s house!” Lucas announces and he drives us to my house, which only takes about ten seconds once the car is started. We all get out and walk inside. My mom is waiting for us, “Well hello girls! Coming for another pool party?” We nod and quickly change into swimsuits. A few minutes later and we’re outside, jumping into the pool. Its super refreshing, as it was a super hot day and the sun was burning our skin. My hair gets all ruined as I get it wet, since I just got it straitened in the hair salon. But it’s better to have to spend a few more minutes fixing your hair than miss the pool. We swim around a while then sit around and talk. “What time is it?” Moet asks. The sky had turned dark and black and stars glittered up above with the moon. “Nine twenty two,” Samantha answers, glancing through the window to a clock inside.
“Should we head over to your house now?” I ask her. “Sure,” Samantha yawns. “You aren’t tired, are you?” Jasmine asks her, getting up. “No, not really. Come on, let’s go,” Samantha leads us over to her house. We decided not to ride in the limo since by the time we were all sitting in it and the car had started, we could’ve already been there if we had walked. Samantha brings us out to the back, in her backyard. I look at the lazy river. It’s super cool to have a roundabout pool in your backyard. Next to the pool is the cabin. It isn’t exactly a cabin, but we don’t know what else to call it. It’s a big shelter, just one room, but it is awesome for sleepovers. CHAPTER THREE I walk inside, behind the others and glance around. The room is split up into a few different sections. Section one is the catwalk. There is a long red carpet and next to the wall are two small booths that we use as changing rooms. At the end of the carpet there is a big camera and we can take pictures of the “models” walking down in different outfits. Section two: The chatting room. On the floor here is a super soft, super fluffy, snow-white carpet. There is also a purple couch and three beanbags. Section three: Two king-sized beds together make one long bed. Yes, these are hardly ever used because most of the time we stay up all night. I smile and sit down on the couch. Moet and Jasmine sit down next to me, while Rachel goes to look at the clothes hanging in the changing room. Samantha went to go get soda, shutting the door quietly and slipping outside. “Isn’t she so lucky!” Moet says, “I wish I had one of these in my backyard!” “Yeah! I told my mom to buy one for me, she is going to get it in the summer,” Rachel replied. “That is really cool,” I tell her, “I mean, this place is totally awesome, but it was built almost thirty years ago, so its kind of old…” “But Samantha is going to change it. She was going to have them fix it up and paint it and make sure it was safer and everything, right? Except we were having a sleepover, so she is going to wait until Sunday,” Jasmine says. Just then Samantha opens the door and walks inside with a tray holding five glasses of soda. But as she is coming in, the door slams shut and she falls and spills them all. CHAPTER FOUR I gasp and look around in confusion. The whole place is shaking wildly. The lamps go out, then fall and crash on the floor. Glass shatters, everyone screams, the floor is moving. I fall to the floor as the lights go out. Everything is pitch black, I can’t see. I search blindly for the couch. I don’t know where I’m going. I crash into something small and wooden. I turn around. There is a loud sound from above. It's a huge groan and then a creak. I look up. Something is falling. Something big. Another scream. It’s coming closer. It’s like a big black blanket. It hits me. It’s hard. My head aches. I fall and it covers me. A big heavy blanket of darkness. I close my eyes.
I open my eyes slowly. Something is lying on top of me. I have a feeling that it was the roof. I push it out of the way. I look around, but its still dark. I can barely see. I crawl away from the caved in roof, and push myself into the corner. I slip on something soft and big. I look at it closely. It's a person. There is another one lying next to it on a ruined couch. The couch is purple and ripped. A broken lamp is lying next to it, and glass is everywhere. I look around for more people but the roof is in the way. It is creating a small wall that is separating me from the others. I hope they are okay. I sit down and sigh. That was the first earthquake in this city for almost two hundred years. None of the buildings here are built for earthquakes. I wonder what happened to the mall. I picture the glass doors shattered, the clothes ruined, the pool flooded and water spilling out into the hall. I picture the eighth floor falling and crushing the seventh floor, which would be the end of the sixth floor, which would smash the fifth floor, and it would go on until all that remained would be a pile of glass and cement and bricks and people crushed under the weight of the floors. “Samantha? Jasmine? Rachel? Jade?” A voice sounds from behind me, “Are you all okay?” I spin around and see Moet. Her face is covered in dust, her eyes are wide, and the bottom of her shirt is ripped and ruined. “Moet!” I say softly, “You’re alive!” “Of course I am, and Jasmine is too. She is over there,” she says pointing to the couch, “But I wouldn’t be surprised if today was Rachel or Samantha’s last day.” I sigh again and turn to face the wall in front of me. “I’m so glad you’re on this side,” I say and put my hands on the wall. I try and push the wall forward, then up, then to the side. But it won’t move. “Jade…are you okay?” Moet asks me. “Yeah, of course.” She hands me a small piece of glass from the floor. I look into it and see my reflection. On my cheek there is a small but deep red gash. I drop the piece of glass before I make another cut, this time in my hand. I lift my hand up and wipe my cheek. I look at my sleeve and find that it’s stained red. I shake my head and close my eyes. CHAPTER FIVE “Jade!” My eyes snap open and I jump up with excitement. I look around for Samantha’s voice, which I thought I heard. I shake my head as I realize that it was nothing and that I was probably imagining things. I sigh and put my head down again, but right after I close my eyes I hear it again. “Jade!” “Samantha?” I call, wondering where my friend could be. “Jade! Yes, I’m here!” “Where?” I ask. Her voice is coming from the center of the room, but the wall is in the way, blocking us. “Jade! Come and help me! I can’t get up,” she tells
me, “Something is on my feet! I think it’s a bookshelf, but I can’t tell. My legs are trapped under it. I’m stuck. If I can get up I might be able to escape and help you.” “Do you know where Rachel is? Moet and Jasmine are with me.” “Rachel…She was in the corner, but the bed flipped over and if she got stuck in the corner, she would have gotten crushed. If she escaped, she might be alive. If not…I don’t know where she is.” I freeze, and don’t know what to do. My eyes fill with tears that I quickly blink back. I swallow as a lump builds in my throat. I bite my lip. I squeeze my eyes shut and take a few deep breaths. When I open them again everything is blurry. I can’t see clearly. I shake my head and refuse to believe that she could be dead. Moet, Jasmine, Samantha and I aren’t dead…yet. But we’re trapped, hungry and unable to move. Samantha has lost feeling in her legs, Jasmine has been unconscious for three days and Moet…I looked around for her but couldn’t find her anywhere. She wasn’t in the corner were she was a few minutes before. I touched my cheek and felt the cut that Moet had pointed out. It stung when I touched it and I quickly pulled my hand away. I looked down at my feet. They were covered in bruises and scrapes and looked like two potatoes. I pulled some of my hair close to my eyes and saw that the pink streaks had turned an ugly brownish color. “Jade? Are you still there?” “Yeah.” “I can see a small hole hear, next to me. It goes down a few feet and then goes straight across to that side. The direction that you are… It might come out on your side. If you can find it and crawl through it, it’ll lead you around the house and through the middle, and when you reach this side, you can free me and we can go get help. That's the only way any of us will get out of this alive!” “OK, I’ll try my best,” I said but it only took me a few minutes to find the small hole. It was a small ventilation shafts that leads underground and around the house, then back inside. It was square and metal and if I got stuck, there was nobody there to save me. I bit my lip, trying to make an excuse not to go in, but I knew that I had to. As I lowered myself into the hole, I started to shake. I wiped sweat off my forehead, took a deep breath and… I couldn’t do it. It was too hard. I hated tight spaces and I hated underground places. And I would be all alone if I died. If I died up here I would die with all my friends. My thoughts drove me crazy. All the voices inside my head were screaming. You’re not going to die. Yes you are. Be quiet! What would make you die there? Ummm…it is so small and I could get stuck. Or I could not have enough air to breathe. Or— Just shut up and GO! I ducked down and began to crawl through the vent. It was hot and I was getting sweaty. I breathed long and shaky breaths. I closed my eyes once in a while to regain my calmness. It was so dirty and my face was covered in dirt. My hands were getting sticky. “Ewww…” I gasped.
I closed my eyed, breathed three times, opened my eyes and shrieked. A large brown rat had crawled onto my hand. I tried to shake it off. I began to scream and totally lose it. Tears pored out of my eyes and onto my hands. I panicked and banged into the wall. I heard a giant bang from behind me. I couldn’t turn around to see what it was. I glanced up ahead and my jaw dropped. In the earthquake, something had fallen and smashed the path. I was now blocked. I hung my head. I now had to go back to the room, tell everyone I had failed them and die. I turned a quarter of the way and hit the wall. That’s when I realized that the vent was too small for me to turn around. I was stuck here to die. CHAPTER SIX I tried to stay calm. But it was too hard. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I shook uncontrollably. That’s when I realized that I was being dumb. I rolled my eyes and started to back up, going backward, to try and escape. I did this for another five minutes, until I got to the end. I tried to get out, but I couldn’t. “Samantha!” I shouted, “I’m stuck.” No one answered. “Samantha!” I shrieked. A face appeared close to the hole. It was Moet. “Moet! Please, help me!” She grabbed my hands and pulled me up. “Thanks,” I say and wiped some dirt off my face. “Samantha!” I called softly, walking close to the wall. “Samantha?” No one answered. I waited a while. Finally, I heard someone, but it wasn’t Samantha. It was a man’s voice. “Jade? Is that you?” “Yeah…who is this?” “Its Lucas. Samantha is in her house. She is safe and you will soon be too.” I smiled and rushed over to Moet. “We’re going home!” “What…where am…what is…what?” a voice said. I turned around and saw Jasmine, sitting up on the couch. I smiled, but then quickly frowned. “Where is Rachel?” I wondered. “Oh, she is fine, don’t worry. She escaped by herself,” Lucas told me. I smiled again. “Yes! We’re going to be fine!” Lucas sighed. Then he took a deep breath and says, “Actually, well…you’re house broke down and caught on fire. And your mom…you won’t be seeing her again.”