Chapter 2

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The library was vacant bright and early in the morning, which wasn’t that surprising. I’d heard there had been a party at the Zeta Omega Mu frat house the last night for a pre-Halloween bash. I hadn’t been invited, but even if I had I probably wouldn’t have gone.  Partying with a bunch of Zetas was not my idea of a good time. I had the entire library to myself, except, for Helga, Olga, and Igor Frankfurter, the librarians.  They were siblings and ancient, all looking like they were over a hundred years old. They smelled like a mixture of decay, dust and Aqua Velva. It wasn’t the best aroma to run into when entering the library on a quiet, weekday morning after a fitful sleep.

                  The library was a large cavernous building that had the air of a place that had once held a thousand scrolls rolled into long tubes and were arranged in cubicles in the walls.  Now, it was a two story feat of architecture with a thousand shelves and hundreds of thousands of books artfully arranged.  It was a place where your voice echoed upon entering and visited you again on the second floor ten minutes later.

                  I settled at one of the round mahogany tables in the Mythology section nook.    It was one of the warmer places in the library. No one really knew why.  There was a rumor about a small fire breathing dragon residing on the shelf where all the Welsh mythology books sat, but that was surely just a rumor.  There was no way that the rest of it could be true. People said he was waiting for Merlin’s return and his tears were made of fire and that was why it was so warm.  Poppycock.

I had investigated that rumor once.  I didn’t find the dragon but I had found a tiny red scale.  When I’d shown it to my journalism professor, she said it looked an awful like a red sequin from someone’s top.  Seriously?  Who wore red sequined tops?  I was surprised she even knew what a sequin was considering all she wore were these long puffy-sleeved dresses and that hideous hound’s-tooth jacket and hat every day.  I didn’t argue with her though. She scared me a little with her cold calculated stare out of those wide vacant eyes.  I really didn’t want to get on her bad side. Although I suspected she only had bad sides.

Once I was settled; my jacket hanging on the back of the chair, my stack of notebooks on the table right beside my tablet, I set out to find a copy of the university charter.  I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to locate. It was the charter after all. A document like that should be readily available to all students who needed it. Right?

Turns out, I was wrong. It was nowhere that I could find it, and eventually I had to throw in the towel and ask for help. When I went to speak to Igor at the front desk,  he grunted and pointed to the far corner of the second floor without so much as my prompting him with what I needed, staring all the while with his one bulging, bulbous eye.

I climbed the steps of the spiral staircase, each one creaking with age and disuse.  The second level was like an abyss, and I thought the ground floor had been empty.  It was eerily quiet and should’ve given me the creeps, but I found the bleakness kind of peaceful and relaxing. Venturing deeper into the silent stacks, I wondered if anyone would notice if I moved my dorm room up here. The idea of getting away from all the noise of Crowley Hall and Laura Hollis had its appeal.

The situation had intensified in the dorm.   At least it sounded that way from my side of the thin wall that did little to prevent noise of next door from drifting in and disrupting my sleep and study time every day.  Laura hadn’t been in class either.  At first I had blamed her near-constant disruption of the peace on all the disgusting sugary things she’d been ingesting, but now I wasn’t so sure it was a sugar-induced rage that had her banging and shouting all the time.   I’d seen a couple of the Zetas going into and coming out of her room lately. The Zetas had decided that they were now the official protectors of the female students because of a few strange disappearances of a couple of girls.   I wasn’t buying it though.  Guys in a girl’s dorm room could mean only one thing—Laura was running an underground gambling ring.

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