Chapter 1: The Door

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The hallway was filled completely with people, all of them rushing past rooms, opening and slamming doors, making unbearable noise... Everything Cass hated was in this hallway.

I'm really loving Northwood so far, Cass thought to herself sourly.

"I don't think I can do this." She muttered to her sister, taking a step back. Her twin put a hand on her back and pushed her forward again.

"Shut up and walk."

"No!" Cass exclaimed. "I'm not ready yet!"

"C'mon, we signed up for this! You're the one who told me to choose a university!" Rin hissed exasperatedly through gritted teeth. "Well, welcome to Northwood," she gestured to the rows of rooms before them. "Now go to your dorm!"

Cass turned to face Rin. "I never chose anything. I was just following you- and I never thought you'd actually go with Northwood!" Whining, she grabbed a strap from her twin's backpack. "Rin, I really don't like this place! There's so many... people."

"God, Cass. You hate every place with people. Just suck it up and go."

Cass looked at Rin doubtfully. "I can't."

"Jeez, sister-sister. Is it that hard?" Rin straightened up and strode out, head held high, tearing the backpack strap out from Cass' hand. She took a few large steps, stopped to turn back and give Cass a confident smile, then quickly disappeared in a sea of people, all carrying identical boxes of cardboard. They made Cass think of a snail army with brown cubes for shells.

"Rin. Rin!" Cass stumbled a few steps after her, but the people just pushed her back out of the crowd, like a monster spitting out something unwanted. She watched nervously as her last glimpse of Rin's head disappeared from her view. "Don't go..." she muttered under her breath. Cass was alone. Figures, she thought to herself, leave it to Rin to ditch me.

Heading towards her dormroom, Cass covered her face with her papers and walked past everyone unnoticed. Room number 309, was it? Or 305? Cass looked back down to the sheet the campus director had given her. Damn, it was in number 539, and that was almost at the end of the hallway. Just great.

She tried really hard to not bump into anyone, or do anything stupid that would draw attention to herself. She tried really, hard. Really, really, hard. Thankfully, her prayers to God seemed to be answered. She slowly made her way down the precarious hallway, one hand cradling the precious box with her belongings, the other gripping her papers tightly.

"Hey, freshman!" someone opened one of the doors and yelled out, right in Cass' ear, causing her to jump.

A girl laughed and bumped jokingly into a friend on purpose. "Northwood, Northwood! Get yourself a boyfriend, boyfriend!" They chanted together, thinking it was hilarious.

"Give it back!" A sock sailed over the crowd's heads, narrowly missing Cass' face. "Oh my god, Sarah! You almost hit her!"

Cass managed to smile back weakly in the general direction of the person's voice. She was just about to open the door to room 539, when it caved inwards unexpectedly. Cass fell forward, expecting the door to be there.


Her box fell to the ground, its contents spilling out all over the hallway floor. Cass rubbed her forehead with a fist and bit her lip to keep from screaming in frustration.

"Argh! My box!" she grumbled, got down on her knees, and slowly started to pick up her things.

"Hey, I'm so sorry," someone said.

Probably the person who had yanked open the door. The git.

Despite her previous resolve to remain brave and unnoticed, Cass felt tears welling up in her eyes. She hadn't expected to cry so early. Hell, she hadn't even been in this place for ten frick frackin' minutes. The floor swam in front of her, and she blinked back tears. People didn't usually pay any attention to her, but now those passing by were eying her curiously, some even kicking her belongings away carelessly.

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