I wake up with my nose tucked under my tail in a circular nest of blankets from the bed, bits of my disassembled gun strewn about the room- my freak out last night left me pretty tired, and I read through the manuals until I fell asleep. I suppose I can’t actually know if it has been a day or not, or if I fell asleep at night since the room has no clock, or windows. I promised myself last night that ‘tomorrow’- that is to say today I would go out and see the world beyond my room. Maybe try to find the presumably magical school I have apparently been enrolled in to hide as I figure things out?
‘Alice’ Teller… Right…
Uncurl myself from the nice warm sheets with a feeling of missing something in a blurry daze. Take off my shirt to spend five minutes attempting to put on my bra (harder than it sounds even when my bones don’t feel like they are made of lead). While I am at it I stand and try to kick the bits of the pistol into one spot. I grab some of the jerky off the desk with one hand- opened with the smaller of the two keys. There was not in fact C4 behind the skirting boards- there was a pack of razor blades. The one kilo brick of composition four plastic explosive was in the desk along with two empty notebooks, a thirty meter spool of thin red ‘primacord’ cable, blue ink, and some pens. I take the lot for school, and to make my own Grimoire look less suspicious by comparison with a block of plastic explosive.
The green sticky-note on the block says ‘Reminder- out of blasting caps’
I think my adoptive father may have very poor organization skills on top of apparently preparing for the inevitable apocalypse. Then again I may just be cranky.
Also the blasting caps- along with one of those walkie talkie style detonators shown in the manual for heavy ordinance were under the bed behind a truly fearsome herd of dust bunnies. Fortunately the little terrors had not located any ordinance compatible with it and the device remained inert.
Finally get the clasp and bite down on the jerky- salty but astonishingly tasty. I think it is supposed to be chewy, but my teeth make short work of it. I smile slightly as I count thirty five long sticks of jerky still in the bag and pull my shirt on again. I am just lucky that I was a part of the chemistry club- anyone who has had to deal with Brandon coming into contact with the contents of a chemical closet will quickly realize there is no use panicking over what you cannot change. That and why Brandon’s parents forced him to take a first aid class. I swear he causes a disaster every single time we go somewhere new.
It’s like his little sister eating kitchen sponges- inevitable, and yet somehow never bad enough to get him thrown out of anywhere outright.
Anyway… I am not exactly new to rolling with the punches of things, and while introducing me to Solomon may yet be the single biggest mess Brandon has caused, I am holding out hope that the coffee was just bad and this is some sort of terrible hallucination right?
Yah I don’t believe that either- and I’m the one reassembling an old service pistol in a pile of blankets while gnawing on a piece of jerky. I have to reach into the abode of the dusty horrors to grab the slide, I must have kicked it under there in my sleep? I don’t know my mind feels fuzzy.
Damn it all. After my freak out yesterday I thought I had mostly accepted my new situation but the unaccustomed difference in where weight is on my body as I bend over to grab the slide near the bedpost just throws it home.
I suppose I really AM a girl now huh… Why couldn’t I be one of those girls with a flat chest?
I suppose I may very well have been out for the past nine years. The thought makes my body feel cold and heavy- it’s an empty feeling.
Most of the military manuals are dated ‘2002’ anyway and mention sand a lot for some reason, so the hope that this is all a result of really bad coffee is a slim one. Last year I remember was 1996 and I was born in 1981.
Lady above I could use some coffee right now…
The note was presumably written in 2003, but if I was asleep for nine years without apparently leaving any trace of a feeding IV or anything who knows how much longer I may have slept right?
I put on my jacket in a mindless trance, strap on my belt, holster for the shotgun goes on the back of my waist to the right side, thigh holster hidden on the left. Pack my bag with my books, four grenades- two frag, two ‘flash bang’, C4 block and detonator setup with wire as well as some loose ammo in my jacket pockets. Slot a spare magazine into the pistol load and lock it, then the shotgun gets loaded up, check safeties on both then put the hand gun on my hip, keep the shotgun out. I can scout out the area, maybe locate the school and then hide behind my identity as a new student while I figure out what is going on before I let anyone know I’m here. Yah seems like a good plan.
But the empty cold feeling in my gut won’t go away as I fight back the urge to laugh again.
In absence of a mirror I look down and examine myself with tired eyes- my clothes are a bit wrinkled where I slept in them and I am armed for bear like a commando from a bad ecchi series- but I am probably prepared if anything beyond the door to this room is hostile. I walk to the door. One glance back at the bare bed hiding the domain of fluffy the terrible, my nice warm nest on the carpet that is somehow lacking something, the shelf filled with strange books on magic and military hardware I haven’t read yet, and at the desk piled with manuals I have read.
I walk over and grab my keys out of the desk lock then shove them in my bag.
The door is locked. I thumb the hammers on my shotgun back for whatever’s on the other side- if it isn’t just the vacuum of space or something.
Then I am probably screwed.
Fortunately the turning thing to lock it is on this side, and it opens onto a small very dark wood paneled hallway as I carefully aim my weapon around the door- nothing. I walk out, close the door behind me as quietly as I can and check the last key- yup it fits the door to the room. I lock the door behind me and glance at the second door.
The short hall may have no sign of any light source but the second door opens inwards onto the back row of a well-lit old style lecture hall with a vaulted ceiling, and dark paneled wood walls. I scan the room carefully from behind the insignificant cover the door frame provides. Five tiered rows of chairs with accompanying long desks overlook a dais with a podium, and a large blackboard at the front of the room. on one side there is a large set of polished wood double doors while on the left the wall is broken up by three enormous arched windows looking out on the ground level of a dark forest. There is a single enormous brass chandelier hanging from the ceiling, it’s candles unlit. The room’s two large double doors with shining brass handles sit opposite the first window on the left.
I step cautiously out into the room with my shotgun at the ready. There seems to be no one here?
I glance back- The door is still there behind me. Paranoid I know, but it’s worth checking.
I walk down the row of empty desks, running my free hand along them as I pass on my way down the steps.
All too aware that I am in plain view from the windows, though I can see no one there.
As I reach the bottom I examine my hand- not a speck of dust unlike my own room.
No sign of people either. Just neatly ordered desks and the silence after nightfall. The podium is empty of books or materials for a lecture, the blackboard clean of chalk.
The broad polished wooden double doors beckon. I step forwards carefully and pull gently on the brass handle and- The door knocks softly against the door frame.
I give the door a quick once over. Is it locked? The key hole is on this side of the door, but that means little. Could one of my keys work? I glance at the door before reaching into my bag.
I stop- Oh the hinges of the door are not on this side but a wooden triangle doorjamb sits by the door frame. I give the closest handle a gentle push and it swings open easily on well-oiled hinges revealing the tall arched corridor of some kind of tan stone beyond, lit by the moonlight streaming in through the row of tall windows across from the door. These leaves me feeling like a bit of an idiot. The corridor curves off into the distance in either direction with sets of double doors evenly spaced along the wall opposite a pair of windows roughly every thirty meters or so along, a window spaced every five meters on the opposite wall. Each set of doors has the same brass handles, and something shiny above each set. Glancing up I find the shiny marker plate in brass above the door to my classroom has the number ‘2-31‘ engraved deep into it’s surface.
Glancing to either side along the corridor as it slowly arches off into the distance and out of sight I try to memorize the numbers. 2-31 is the classroom with my room in the back. 2-31, 2-31, 2-31 I need to remember that. I am not going to find out anything waiting around so now I just need to decide if I am going left or right. The corridor smells faintly of people, but the scents are old and too faint to follow.
The corridor stretches off in a soft curve on both sides, rows of doors, and the soft alluring moonlight let in by windows overlooking a scrubby forest. The urge to curl up and nap in the soft spots of moonlight gently reflected in the cold stone floor is undeniable; but unfortunately I have things to do right now. I can’t give in to arbitrary instincts no matter how very tempting.
I let out a soft yawn cupping my mouth to keep from making noise and blinking away fatigue.
Why am I so tired?
Smaller numbers are usually closer to the front of buildings right? I’l go that way then.
I tuck my shotgun into it’s holster and sigh at an odd feeling of missed opportunity as I turn to the left and start padding along the cold stone floor. I move quietly along the left wall taking care to avoid walking in the tempting pools of cool moonlight as I pad softly along the cold stone tiles.
Walking in this body still feels weird, but it is frightening how quickly you get used to the change. I only stumble twice as I walk down the long corridor. I move from shadow to shadow, ducking behind the pillars that support the vaulted ceiling every ten meters or so along either side. The corridor is deadly silent though sometimes I swear I can hear something in the distance.
The corridor seems to go on forever as I walk for a time in the cool silence of the corridor. The rows of windows and doors monotony broken only by small round wooden doors leading out into the forest beyond the windows located roughly every ten classrooms along. I noticed the first door in place of a window directly across from room two-thirty, and there is one across from two-twenty as well. The curve of the corridor is not insignificant, cutting off view past the next seven doors down in either direction.
“sneeeeerk” I freeze halfway between 2-19, and 2-18, hand on my shotgun at the faint sound echoing along the corridor
I flick my ears to catch it as the sound repeats “sneeerk…*sniff*” The sound of someone snoring echoes along the corridor from somewhere further along.
I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding and take my hand off the weapon. It’s just someone snoring.Still- The snoring could be something non-human, though to be fair I am not human either. I softly walk along the edge of the corridor closer to the grating sound. Uncle Dayl used to snore- though no one but me noticed since Aunt and Uncle were deaf- I always likened the sound to a walrus clearing its throat- a low guttural snorting not unlike a cough. This snore is higher pitched and less drawn out then that, but would still make it impossible to sleep.
Though a nice pool of moonlight would likely help with that.
No- bad thought. I am scouting to try and figure out where I am, and maybe find out where Autumn University is. Not to find a nice place to curl up and sleep.
Even if my every instinct is screaming for me to do so.
As I pass 2-10 I can see the corridor ahead ends in a large open space?
I dash forwards breaking my attempt to remain concealed as I dash to the open space.
I walk through the east side of an enormous circular atrium spiraling up and up to an enormous blue dome far above the compass rose design on the floor. The east side and the west across from me are identical, both arching off in long corridors gently curving towards the north. At the north and south ends of the enormous sandstone brick room are two massive sets of carved doors, the full frames nearly ten meters across. Yet still the great doors are dwarfed by the massive scale of the room.
At the south end of the rose two massive elegantly carved doors of some shining black wood reach up towards the dome far above carved with the strange design of clouds surrounding a mountain at their center split in half by the great doors.
The massive set of silver wood doors set into the north are open to reveal a great hall of pale tan marble, and it is from this room that the snoring originates. Numerous pale white bedrolls have been lain out in rows across the floor of the enormous space. A high ceiling held up by enormous timbers clasped with iron to the six great pillars of the hall each wide enough that I could not even wrap my arms half way around. A space the size of a hockey rink slowly arcing to a raised semi-circle dais at the far end of the room lit by massive banks of those enormous arched windows that seem to be everywhere in this place.
The vast majority of the bedding is unoccupied, and my entrance is watched carefully by a short (but still taller than me to my chagrin), stocky girl with a sharply angled face, gorgeous blue eyes and a serious expression matching her long black wavy hair. The girl sits with her back to the far right wall of the great hall near the corner closest to the door not far from the long snoring mass underneath another set of blankets, and by one other occupied place in the corner itself. The snorer’s luggage is beside them, a large wheeled wooden trunk, while the silent bundle has several large green sacks beside them. The girl is wearing clean white sleeping clothes, and stares at me intently with two blue eyes warning.
I don’t need to catch the scent of wolf from the girl to silently take a spot in the other wall, just beside the soft inviting moonlight- Her luggage is enough to discourage me.
Not the small green cloth sack of clothes beside her- no that would be silly.
An massive halberd a full two meters long, its shining lacquered haft topped with a wicked looking curved axe blade and spear combo. Two circular indentations on the back heft of the shining black blade for catching an opponents weapon are carefully curved to protect the two bolts holding it on the haft. The halberd sits well within her reach, gleaming softly in the moonlight.
The light glints softly off the amber leaf-shaped pin beside her bag.
I take my place in silence returning the girl’s stare- I need to look like I belong here.
I place my bag under the blanket to serve as a pillow, and to prevent her- or anyone else – from searching it without waking me.
Then I ball up my bedding and roll it into the moonlight, then immediately follow it.
The moonlight is soft, and strangely warm now that I am paying attention to it, like stepping into a hot bath soothing every bone in my body. “ahhhh…” I let out a soft sigh of relief as I stretch out in the soft light of the waning crescent moon streaming in through the window. I didn’t realize how tired I was… How am I tired if I was asleep for nine years? “Mrrrrrt…” I bury my face in the soft tan blanket with a sigh as a fog of warmth engulfs my mind.
I take the grenades out, and wrestle the bag out unbuttoning it and putting in the grenades, and my two guns. button it back up? I think I did that?
I stare at the button and slit in the fabric. Did I do that?
Bury it in blanket to be sure.
Sleep in warm now, think later…
My muscles feel like they are turning to jelly in the warm moonlight as I carefully pace in a circle to make my ball-nest kicking the sides apart some, pull up shirt and remove bra, crawl in and tuck my nose under my tail…
I have only one thought before my mind fades into a haze of sleep- Perfect.