Chapter 4

5.5K 116 14

Spending hours running for my life and cutting down gigantic mushrooms with a borrowed sword (first years aren’t allowed their own) on the quad was not my idea of a good time.  Nope.  Not at all.  I didn’t understand why the rest of the student body had to clean up the Alchemy Club’s mess and was beyond pissed that they’d left it for the rest of the student body to clean up. To make matters worse, I heard that they didn’t even get into trouble for their out of control fungal experiment. 

                  One enterprising young man tried to eat through one of the mushrooms before getting sick and breaking out with large purple, pustule looking hives.  A couple of the Alchemy Club members tossed him on a stretcher and carried him away. I was sure he was going to be all right, especially since the Dean had prohibited the club from doing research and experiments on any of the student body.  They shouted at us to cover our faces and not get in the way of the bursting spores as they ran away to hide like cowards.

                  We quickly figured out the why of that particular warning, as my peers got facefulls of the spores they started to lurch around with wide vacant eyes moaning and groaning just like zombies. I actually might have laughed if I hadn’t seen one girl jump on a guy trying to help her and try to bite his ear off. That was legitimately terrifying, especially after we all started to realize, with horror, what had transpired around us.  The spores were making people go nuts, actually crazy and filling them with cannibalistic tendencies when they were inhaled.

I was lucky.    When the spores were launched by the mushrooms, I thankfully was knocked to the ground.  The spore missiles missed me altogether. I had Rose to thank for that, or at least I think it was her who knocked me out of the way.

                  I must’ve hit my head when I fell though, because I blacked out.  It was only for a minute or two I think, everything seemed to be relatively in the same place when I came to.  I was struggling to get to my feet when some random Zeta handed me an axe and told me to start hacking the stems of the mushrooms.  From the looks of it, most of Crowley Hall was out on the quad with axes and other instruments of destruction.  From across the quad, I could see Danny Lawrence and the rest of the Summer Society systematically moving from mushroom to mushroom, their faces covered, hacking away at the stems with swords and axes.  She seemed so angry, attacking the stems before her, even at a distance.  I had to say, there was a lot of rage in that girl.

                  A quick glance around provided a possible reason.  Laura and Carmilla were about three mushrooms down from her hacking at another giant fungus together.  Even I could see from where I stood, that Carmilla was spending more time staring at Laura and less time actually trying to dispel our fungal deaths.  Goddess above, the mooning over Laura Hollis was as plain as the nose on her face.  It was frankly a little gross, and I could see Danny’s lip curl in disgust.

Jealousy was never a good look on anyone.

Things got even more interesting during the second hour of chopping down mushrooms.  The spore affected students, the ones acting like zombies?  Well, they got real ambitious. 

Instead of jumping on people and attempting to bite their faces off, they somehow got their hands on some gasoline (or other accelerant, I don’t trust the alchemy club to not leave that stuff lying around) and headed off towards the Lustig Theatre, intent on reenacting some sort of horrible circle of Dante’s hell.  I cowered behind a tree, not wanting to potentially get my face eaten,  and watched as three guys, clearly Zetas as they were wearing fraternity t-shirts, ran by with torches.  They were chanting strange words in a language that I didn’t recognize, which was weird, even for an international school like Silas.

One of them stopped to ask if I had a light. I told him no, as I didn’t smoke and I usually used matches to light the incense I burned in my room to help with my nerves, so he kept on running.  I think finally one of them must’ve found a lighter or matches because after a lot of yelling and shouting and even more ominous chanting, I could see fire in the distance. 

Thankfully, though, campus security showed up not long after that with fire extinguishers.  The flames were doused and the culprits apprehended.

                  I’d heard they’d been taken to ‘the room’.  I wasn’t certain exactly what ‘the room’ was, exactly, but I had always pictured it as a cross between the detention center on the Death Star and the plastic and glass prison that Magneto was held in.  There hadn’t been any definitive reports on it though since no one that had ever gone to ‘the room’ had ever come back. There were just rumors whispered in the wind. Whispers of unmentionable horrors.  I didn’t think any of those were true though. I mean this was a place of learning not a prison, after all.

                  Many hours later, once all the mushrooms were eradicated, I returned to my dorm room to shower.  I had mushroom bits and flakes stuck to my skin and encrusted in my hair.  I also smelled like a pizza joint and not in a good way.  It was not a pleasant experience and one I wanted to scrub from my mind with as much hot water as my body could stand.

                  After I showered I considered having a nap since it was quiet in the dorm.  It was a thing of beauty and not one I wanted to squander, an absolute rarity.  I put on my fluffiest socks, a pair of yoga pants and my Silas U sweatshirt and crawled into bed.

                  The quiet didn’t last long though. I heard Laura, Carmilla and the rest of her gaggle of gingers stomping down the hallway to Laura’s room.  I heard the door open and then slam shut.  I sighed and rolled over.  So much for my peaceful evening.

                  I got up and wandered over to my desk where the scrabble board was still set up and the letter tiles were scattered haphazardly on the game board.

Bored, and unable to get any more rest, I wondered if Rose was up for a chit chat.  I wanted to thank her for saving me from the spore attack.  A few of the letters I needed were on the floor, so I picked them up and placed them on the board to spell out THANK YOU.  I knew she could hear me when I spoke out loud but I liked communicating with her in her own way.  It made me feel closer to her.

While I waited for her reply, I made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Before I could finish the sandwich making process, the other tiles began to slide around.  I munched on my sandwich as three words came together on the board. 


“Oh you are so sweet,” I blurted out loud, forgetting myself.

I sensed that maybe she was smiling now.  I didn’t know how I knew but I just did. It was a feeling, and I saw her aura, it was warm and glowing a comforting yellow. Or at least I hoped that was what the yellow meant.

I spelled out, YES. Then took those letter tiles and made a new question.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.  I wished I had a question mark tile because the sentence didn’t feel complete without it and I felt like my English professor would be angry at me for being so grammatically lazy.

The tiles slid around on the table.   At first it was slow but then it was like a tsunami of the ABCs.  The letters went around and around until two words emerged.  DEAN and VAMP.  I stared at those two words, pondering them.  What did they mean?

I finished my sandwich, licked my fingers, and then stood.  I guess another library excursion was in order. Thankfully I still another hour or two of daylight to safely trek there.  I needed to know what this person named Dean Vamp had to do with the ruckus going on next door and what exactly I could do about it.

Silas ConfidentialWhere stories live. Discover now