18. IVORY

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Palazzo Farnese: Carracci Gallery
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All Isaac could feel was cold. In fact, the amount of cold he felt was so much that it's turned him into a human vibrator. And, despite how sexy as the term sounded, almost anyone would find the sight of him unappealing. He trembled uncontrollably wrapped in a paper thin sheet, running hands over his piloerection—again, not sexy, that's just the fancy term for goosebumps. Basically, the moral of this story was that Isaac wasn't feeling too hot. He felt like shit.

     Besides what he could feel, his other senses—they weren't active. Isaac couldn't smell, taste, or see anything. Of course, that would make sense, given that he's currently lying in a bed half unconscious. His ability to hear, well, that came and went.

"I still can't believe you're making me go to a boarding school!"

    "Trust me, it's for your own good, Isaac."

     "I don't even understand how you can afford it! I know you have money, but this is-"

     "Would you just quit it, already? I have the funds just...just promise me you'll take care of yourself, okay?"

     Isaac woke up in a sweat to what he thought was the sound of William's voice. Only, he wasn't there. Staring at the bright white ceiling, he remembered the last real words his ears had heard. He's dead.

     He forced himself up.

     "Oh! You're finally awake."

     "Wha-?" he mumbled, eyes exploring his environment. "Where the hell am I?"

     "The infirmary." She must've been the nurse. "You've been out cold for three days."

     He tore the sheet off and swung legs off the edge of the bed. "I need to speak with the headmaster."

     The nurse panicked. "You can't yet! You need to rest."

     "I've been resting for seventy-two hours. I'm leaving." Trying his best to hide the fact that his surroundings were spinning, Isaac carefully made his way to the door. "Now."

He hurried out of the room and down the hall. It was already the weekend, something he could tell because there were no students present. Once he arrived at the office, he pounded fists against the oak. "Sir?" More pounding. "Sir, are you there? It's Isaac."

No answer.

He continued to knock impatiently, acting like it was secretly a spell to summon a headmaster. When he finally gave up, he started to leave, a variety emotions swelling in his chest. It was then he finally saw the man walking towards him holding a bag of what was likely his meal.

     "What are you doing here, kid? You were supposed to be resting."

     "I'm rested now." He didn't think the fake kindness could get anymore tiresome. It was obvious the man was trying to avoid him; he was scavenged through his pockets to find keys so he could lock himself in his office. "Tell me how William died."

     Now he was rushing to open the door. "That's a rather heavy topic, isn't it? I'm sure you'd much rather take some time to yourself-"

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