Leave all your love and your longing behind,
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.
Chatter filled the hallways, echoes of fading excitement running through Aer’s ears. She lugged her dark suitcases around, steeling herself for the impact she knew Idillit School would stamp on her. Fix her right.
Reform school, Aer thought wearily, examining her suddenly very interesting feet.
She wasn’t stupid, obviously Idiot School was just another place to lock her up. It would have been more clear for her parents to scream it in her face.
She wasn’t wanted.
Her grip tightened when she felt her wheels fly off course and hit the nearby wall. Her luggage seemed to insist on causing even more torment as one zipper went flying open with a mocking whee! She stared in horror as piles of illegal junk food escaped. Stifling the shout of anger, she whirled around to find the source of disturbance, ready to launch a series of turbulent clamor.
“Ah, sorry,” said a blonde boy apologetically, his foot tangled with her luggage. God, he was cute, Aer thought blankly.
“Hey, you’re freshmen!” he said exuberantly, shaking his foot away, as if Aer did not know this herself. She gave a small snort of indignation but otherwise nodded.
“Yeah,” she said suspiciously, pushing away the girly giggle she knew would escape eventually.
He bent down to scoop up the crinkled chip bags and soda bottles. “Sorry about that. Do you need me to show you to your hallway?”
“It would be nice,” she said grudgingly, folding her arms and turning red upon admitting she needed help.
“This stuff is banned, you know.” he said, repacking the various candies and snacks and zipping up her trunk.
“So?” Aer shot back, obviously unconcerned by this piece of information.
He grinned. “I like you.”
No, not so much the fact that her lungs felt like someone had set a razing fire upon them (but yes, that bothered her too), but really, it wasn’t ideal to sprint across the freezing pavement in her bare feet. Oh, and on top of that, she was being chased by raving mad dog things!
She cursed her own stupidity for leaving even a small pair of flip flops in her dorm. But really, how could she have expected to be hunted by several feathered hounds that she thought were dormant before tonight?
“Join the depths of a peaceful darkness!” one crowed as Eve stumbled into a wall with no where to run, though several trees scattered the concrete area. “We promise it won’t be too painful!”
She scaled an oak quickly, her feet scrabbling at the painful bark, but she kept her mouth shut until she knew there was really no where else to hide, lest for the less than shady leaves.
“So much pain! So much despair! Run away from it all, Eve Regal, run from your doomed fate! Die!” they screeched as one, features becoming sharp just as their voices had. She shrunk into several branches, her face scrunching up from annoyance.
“Yeah,” panted Eve, trying to seem as if the offer was enticing. “Yeah, sounds great, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to refuse.”
“Ooh, so sad! Too bad!” they chanted, swooping towards her. She had just enough time to duck, but not quite enough to keep her grip on the tree.
The ground spun up to meet her at an accelerating speed.
The ground pressed under her feet softly, as if she could be consumed by the earth in a quick pitfall any moment. Her breath was consumed by her lungs, and her eyes blazed with a quick determination. Walk, walk, walk.
She finally allowed herself to inhale the clear and glistening air, her lips parting in a relieved smile. She stopped to catch her breath and take in the fresh breeze that rustled a ringing and melodious song of leaves swaying.
But there were no trees.
There was no greenery in sight.
“Your room, mademoiselle,” smiled the blonde boy. He gestured towards a pink, seemingly plastic door with peeling numbers that Aer assumed had once been a shining gold. She could just make out the 403.
“Thanks, uh…” She paused sheepishly, realizing she hadn’t asked for the name of the boy she had been chatting with so easily just a a few seconds ago.
“Able,” he clarified.
“Able,” she nodded. She liked the name Able.
The girl felt her scream quickly catch in her throat. The air supply she had been so desperate to cut off, then inhale, had suddenly disappeared as if never there. No sound was displayed, though she flailed around desperately, deeply wishing for some form of escape from the prison she was encased in, both her mental state and the red expanse of land she trekked upon.
Her eyes flickered to a silvery object she had never seen before. For several seconds, lack of oxygen no longer crossed her mind.
It was spheroid and smooth, and though the desert like area she seemed to be trapped in had no other light but for the shadows without casters that stretched around, it cast off brilliant rays of an attracting aura.
She reached forward. Now she knew what she really wanted. She didn’t need to leave this confining jail, she didn’t need a form to breathe, all she had to do was touch it. Touch it, grab it, pick it up, and then it’d all be over.
Alex woke up.
Because I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I’ll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind
The startled girl whipped around, still slightly miffed from the abrupt awakening.
“Yeah?” she said cautiously, carefully disguising her disgruntlement.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she said, realizing how repetitive she sounded. She gave a low cough to stifle the awkward note. “When did I fall asleep?”
“As soon as you set all your luggage down,” her new roommate said slowly, weighing her down with a careful stare.
“Oh,” Alex mumbled, kicking away both the covers off her feet and the images of the strange silver ball. “Gee, great. Sorry, I was just exhausted from moving in and…” she faltered as glanced out of the window at the dusky evening sky, clouds slowly growing less clear against the mellow shades of pale cerulean. She hoped it wasn’t too late, which would disrupt the small plan forming in the folds of her mind.
Millie cleared her throat. “Yes, well, it is still around 7 post meridian, so I was uncertain whether or not to awaken you as you seemed rather fatigued earlier. I was unsure of malnourishment, or simply…”
“Yeah,” Alex interrupted, crossing over to her freshly tidied clothes pile to rummage for her student ID and open house packet.
Millie peered over curiously, adjusting her tightly pulled back ponytail. “And where are you heading?” she asked crossly as Alex pocketed her ID and looked over the library schedule. “I still need your opinion on my very exemplary presentation.”
“Very nice,” said Alex dismissively as she shut the dorm door.
Alex strolled into the library as casually as she could, knowing that the woman she had met at open house would attack her with a stampede of questions. She shut the door as quietly as possible, but sure enough, the librarian, a tall bore with an attachment to ugly sweaters, seemingly teleported in front of her.
“The library closes in 10 minutes. What are you doing here?”
“Er,” Alex skimmed the large room with her eyes, searching desperately for an excuse. “I thought I’d take a look for some research.”
“During student orientation?” asked the librarian accusingly, her eyes dubious.
“Yeah, well, no, see, my roommate, Millie Santaros, she wants this…book.” Alex finished lamely.
The librarian (Mrs. Alton? thought Alex) gave a single distrusting sniff before nodding. “Fine, but I expect you to be gone within 8 minutes!”
Alex’s face brightened considerably. “Great! I don’t suppose you could lead me to a section with references to supernatural stuff?” Her fingers laced uncomfortably, knowing this seemed suspicous for someone like Millie, who was all about science.
Mrs. Alton (or, Elton, whatever) tilted her head to the side, making Alex’s thoughts sidle to comparing her to a nosy bird with a crude taste in jumpers. “Why does everyone seem to be so interested in that dusty pile of books? I suppose your roommate has recruited several others to find this book for her?” the librarian shook her head, as if not daring to reveal any more of her distaste. “Well, if you knew the simple Dewey Decimal system, you’d be able to find it yourself. I’ll be at the front desk, and I’ll be watching!” she tapped her equally tacky watch for emphasis.
The poor girl was left with a vast library and little chance of finding what she was looking for in such a period of time. Luckily, she caught sight of the only other occupant, a frail looking girl clutching a book as if it were her lifeline.
“Excuse me, do you know where I could find books on topics like dreams or omens? Or is there a computer in this library?” Alex asked when she had reached the girl, who glanced up from her book, although reluctantly.
The girl made a face as if she would rather be anywhere than talking to Alex. “Well, there are no electronics allowed in this school and that is strictly enforced.” Her lips turned upward in a thin smile. “Though, haven’t you heard the rumors? They say this library holds almost all the secrets. Just like whatever Google can give you, if not better. They say there’s a strange magical air around here.” The stranger’s pale eyes had widened with excitement, uncannily distracting from her ghostlike appearance.
“Oh,” Alex said politely, though she privately felt the girl was a nutcase and it was all a bit of absurdity. “Well, if that’s the case, then a book would be lovely.”
“Well, this is a bit awkward, isn’t it,” said the girl with a light laugh. “I’m actually about to check out all the books the library has on dreams, and physic abilities, but I’m sure I could spare…”
Their heads swung towards the right as the loud banging of the door made it clear there was another visitor, this time a boy with bold blue eyes. Alex grimaced, watching him have a seemingly heated discussion with their stubborn librarian. Finally, Mrs. Alton threw her hands in the air, clearly losing her patience. “Dreams?! Goodness gracious, I don’t care what kind of dreams you or anyone else is having, we are about to close, boy!”
The newcomer shook her off, walking very hurriedly to the bookshelf Alex and the other girl occupied. His eyes darted towards the book pile the other had stockpiled, and sighed. “Sorry, are you checking out all those?”
“I don’t see why everyone wants these types of books now,” said the girl as she handed a book to each. “This place is usually such a graveyard.”
“It’s just these stupid dreams I’m having, Ilene,” said the boy, rubbing his temple. “They aren’t like any other.”
Alex gave a slight jolt before coughing very with a very faked distraction. “Gee, thanks for the book, erm, Ilene.”
She hurriedly ran to the front desk.
The ground had stopped heading towards her eyes, though Eve still felt slightly woozy.
“Ugh,” she groaned, trying to keep the steadily blurring ground away from her vision.
That’s strange, thought Eve weakly. Why am I spinning?
Her head thumped with a hollow ache, as if someone had taken her by the shoulders and shaken her with all their might. It was an unpleasant feeling.
She slumped her head and clenched her eyes shut in an effort to close out the world and background.
There was a peculiar feeling as the pitch black darkness of her eyelids swirled around as if she had suddenly been lurched forward. The stars floating above had transformed into something more sinister, and she could feel her body in an awkward position, as if she had been caught from falling into a wormhole.
She felt their nails digging into her skin and holding her with a death grip. She heaved a gasp, and quickly struck her invisible assailant. Upon being let go and being jarred by the force of hitting solid ground, instincts kicked in and she rolled over on the dull concrete, pieces of tiny cement scraps and rocks scraping at her skin, though she ignored this minor distraction.
She blinked and skimmed the area. Maroon feathers scattered somewhere. Several wooden tables. Trees, all most likely the same kind. Brick walls that enclosed the strange court, save for six bright pink doors. And what seemed like miles upon miles of the same, gray, cement, every so often mulch and dirt ground together holding foliage and vegetation, like a set grid pattern. She had ignored her surroundings previously, considering she was being chased by several murderous demons.
The courtyard was strange, but boring. What kind of corrupt kidnapper would lurk around here?
She heaved herself up, spitting out several leaves that wound up in her mouth and tasted like monkey poo. Her nails dug at her tongue, searching for any remaining bits.
“Who…?” she croaked, reaching forward to grab the hovering leg in front of her. She took a breath in disdain when it shot backwards.
A pair of blue eyes blinked. They drifted several inches above her own.
“What are you?” she asked harshly. She took in another gulp of air, still having to catch her breath. Her voice did not come out as quite intimidating as she had hoped, though she sneered in an effort to hide her current raggedy demeanor.
“Your savior, which is a remarkable term considering that mighty slap you just delivered.”
She ignored his outstretched hand and heaved herself up. “Savior? What, did you scare them away with your face?” It wasn’t her best retort, but if she was completely honest with herself, she’d say that the mysterious boy was pretty cute– even more than pretty cute. But Eve wasn’t going to be honest with herself now.
“Very funny,” she echoed scathingly. She watched as he paced the courtyard, doubtful curiosity coursing through her veins, despite her seething scorn. A mortal wouldn’t be able to chase off several vicious flying hounds.
No, she finally decided. He’d be a shish kebab right now.
Her hands scraped off the little blood, shaking with an ill will she could not identify. Her fingers gripped at the bitter cold handle of the knife she always carried as she advanced on the stranger with his back turned.
Sucker! she thought contemptuously. Never turn your back on Eve Regal!
“Okay,” she said, loud enough for her to sound commanding, though low as to not attract any unwanted witnesses. “I want to know which demon division you’re from.” Her blade tip, shining and deadly, poked into his back. The stranger didn’t even flinch, which unsettled Eve. In fact, he began to chuckle, his laugh perplexing yet bloodcurdling, sending shivers down her spine.
There was a high pitched squeal as her dagger clattered to the floor and gave a rowdy clang. The handsome boy had disappeared, and Eve, despite her powerful 5 senses, could not detect his path. He was not invisible, nor hiding behind anything– he had teleported. She clenched her teeth in hatred, ready to give up when his familiar voice echoed. “That wasn’t very nice.”
Eve could not help her cry, as she fumbled toward the ground, scooping up her dagger and wielding it defensively in front of her. It swirled through the air in the vicinity around her, but caught nothing but a teasing whirl. If she could not sense him, and he had not removed his essence from the area, then this was no standard, run-of-the-mill evil spirit.
“Crap,” she said, though the word she really used was a bit more nasty than ‘crap’, and to repeat it would be unnecessary. She was dealing with something too dangerous, and she knew every slight move would count towards her survival, which was certainly a very nice reassurance.
End of Part II
To be continued.