Chapter 1

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  • Dedicated to The Creampuffs

When I was accepted at Silas University, my mother was so proud of me.  She attended Silas, as did my grandmother and my great-grandmother. She was a student over eighty years ago and still spoke fondly of her days at university.  I was a legacy; it was my duty to uphold the tradition of the Wingwold women.  I had to be the best.  There was no room for second place in my academic plan.  I would do my family proud.

I was finding it hard to adjust to university life, but I liked the university itself quite a bit.  They had a good journalism program. I had wanted to be a crime reporter since I was a kid, and I was totally loving the odd happenings of Silas from a journalistic and investigatory perspective.  There was something mystical about the weird at Silas though. I mean, weird stuff did happen.  The chemical engineers had an ongoing, even ancient, rivalry with the alchemy club.  It got so intense that sometimes there would be strange fogs wafting around campus that made you feel woozy or forget the color blue.  The brothers of Zeta Omega Mu sacrificed a goat every year before homecoming. There was definitely something off about the lunch ladies in the cafeteria, they were just so creepy and gave you the worst stink-eye if you questioned if the eyeballs in the monkey ball soup were actually eyeballs. 

And if that wasn’t enough, the piece de resistance was definitely the rumor that the library was either haunted or just super dangerous after dark. I never could get the rumor straight, I’d heard the dire warnings form the hall dons and professors so many times.  I’d never had a problem in the library, however, because I followed the rules and never went after dark.  Mostly, I just chalked that up to the typical university quirks.  Because every university’s a little bit supernatural? Right?

Maybe I was just sensitive to it.  I’ve always been attracted to the odd and the supernatural, anyway.    I had a bit of the ‘touch,’ according to my grandmother. It meant that I was attuned to the mystical and the spiritual.  I could read auras, or rather, that was what I liked to tell myself.  Mostly I just saw a bunch of pretty colors hovering around people and had no idea what they meant. Still, they were nice to look at, even if most of the Silas student body skewed towards the angry red and violently purple sides of the spectrum.

A loud bang echoed through the walls of my dorm room and I jumped, startled from my distracted thoughts.  Bang. Bang.  I slammed my history of medieval wars and crusades closed with a groan.  This had been going on for over an hour now and I had a quiz tomorrow on the socio-political impact of the rise of Vlad the Impaler to power in the House of Basarab.  I couldn’t concentrate with all the racket next door. 

From my vantage point, behind a supposedly-soundproofed wall, it sounded as though the girl next door was throwing something large and heavy against the wall.  Maybe herself, she certainly ate enough sugar to send any normal person into some sort of fit. Or maybe it was a rage. A sugar rage. I’d heard that could happen.

The girl next door’s name was Laura.  She and I shared a wall and a journalism class and I was pretty sick of her in both locations.  Her aura was all greys and whites and blacks, with some splashes of red mixed in.  I’d never seen someone with quite so colorful an aura before, and I was intrigued by it until I realized that learning more about it would mean – ugh – interacting with her.  She was obnoxious, impossible in class, and horrible to live next door from. 

Whatever that girl was up to in her room, it was keeping me awake at night. Banging and thumping at all hours of the day and night.  Loud shrieks, moaning, that sort of super obnoxious thing.  She was probably up to something awful in there. The worst part was that not only was it interfering with my studying, I was also getting frown lines on my forehead. And I hate frown lines.

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