CHAPTER 27

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"I'm not so sure I'm ready for this kind of action, Dakota," Briana said as she trailed behind Tom and me.

"Sure you are. You're stronger than you think, Bree. Come up here." I wrapped my arm around her shoulder as we navigated the deserted campus toward the office to see if anyone was there and to load up on weapons.

I glanced back, and most of the campus still lay blanketed in darkness. Man, I'd really knocked out the electricity. The sun would rise soon, according to the purple and pink streaks across the sky, but several of the buildings still lay dormant.

"I've only seen live action twice, D. What do I do?"

"Just follow your instincts. Remember combat 101 training, you did fantastic in that." I nudged her elbow.

"Little different in real-life," Briana said.

"Briana," Tom said. "I'm sure nothing will happen, but just stick to the shadows, help when you can. Everything-" Tom's eyebrow arched. "Someone's in there. The thoughts are muffled, though."

"Shifter?"

"Possible."

My heart shot up into my throat as I slid a blade out from my boot, then approached the commons door. The building was pitch-black thanks to my electrical outburst several hours earlier.

The metal handle felt like an icicle as I yanked the massive wooden door open. Any monster within a five-mile radius would have heard us because the hinges groaned with a wicked-loud creak. I secured Tom's hand in mine and led him forward, toward the maintenance door. My fingers squeezed around the handle of my knife. Thankfully, I always kept at least one tucked away in my dorm room.

"I don't see anyone," I whispered.

In the office.

The massive windows in the main sitting room to my right glowed a purple and pink tinted color from the start of the sunrise. We approached the maintenance door and found it cracked open.

"Shit," I whispered beneath my breath.

No one had reported in by text, email, or phone. But if they'd made it to the office, why wouldn't they have checked in? My stomach wrenched as I pulled the door open and peered in.

Darkness.

I charged my hand, and the light cast shadows on the standard-issue mops and buckets I'd seen every day for the last four years. The door toward the back was shut. I glanced at Tom.

Someone's in there.

"Can you tell who?" I whispered.

He shook his head.

"That means it could be a Shifter." I glanced back to Briana. "Bree, guard this door while me and Tom check out the office."

"Copy."

I felt a cool breeze wash over me as Briana geared down into her power. A light ice-blue color phased over her normally radiant, rust-colored eyes, then she turned and stood in the doorway.

Ice crept up her arms as she fisted her hands. She'd be fine.

I held my wrist in front of the keypad to the stairwell door that led to our office and held my breath until I heard the familiar click of the lock disengaging. A soft hum of a tone sounded, confirming my identity.

I pulled the door open a crack and brightened my glow. "Hello?"

My voice got lost in the darkness, and we made our way down the flight of stairs to the second door. After a quick swipe of my wrist, it clicked open and I stepped in, Tom directly behind me.

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