A middle aged, gruff looking, gentleman cleared his throat rather loudly. Still Ester kept her pace.
"Miss Douglas, I'm locking the room now." No response.
"I insist you leave!" he demanded, at that moment Ann Rhys appeared in the doorway.
"Sorry Mr. Hayworth," Ann said without any real sense of regret as she walled past him, "I'll get her."
"Its Doctor Hayworth," he retorted bluntly.
Ann snapped Ester out of her working daze by packing her things for her. "Honestly Ester, everyone else was dying for Spring Break and you're still here studying?" she faked her surprise. Ester was always studious, a full blown nerd queen. As the girls were leaving Dr. Hayworth reminded Ester that she had an essay to complete over the break.
"Actually Dr. Hayworth I submitted my essay two days ago, I guess you haven't had a chance to check your inbox." She replied with a smile. Ester although the ideal student was not Dr. Hayworth's favorite. Her work was turned in early each week, she read ahead in class, asked questions appropriate to the day's lesson though, but she had no need for educators as she taught herself and that is what got under Dr. Hayworth's skin. She was a student who didn't need instruction and was only going through the motions of attending school for her degree. He had always prided himself on helping his students grow but Ester always beat him to it. She had an appetite for knowledge that he couldn't help fill, not in the traditional settings of a college lecture hall. If he could ever get her attention for a moment he would offer her an internship abroad.
The two girls waited in the plaza by the fountain for Ester's twin, Mason to finish his lessons for the day when an unexpected storm started rolling in. The sky darkened as thunder was heard miles away, lightening cracked across the sky while students all over campus ran to their cars or previously empty buildings, hardly anyone had an umbrella to keep dry. It hardly ever rained in Hillston, but when it did rain, it rained hard. As a thick fog added to the chaos the girls fumbled until they found an unlocked door and slipped inside for safety. Both and Ann and Ester tried calling and texting Mason to let him know where they could be found. At the moment they attempted every phone in the building sparked and ultimately fried, the sound of panic rose when the students dropped their ruined phones and the power shut off.
A single student assistant in the building called out for everyone to remain calm and to stay where they were until the breaker could be tested or for an alternate light source to illuminate the darkness. Only a handful of students and workers were prepared with miniature flashlights on their key chains. These few left one light within the most crowded room and the others went in search of extra flashlights and candles from office cubical. Ann being one of the prepared students took Ester by the hand and began searching with the others.
The other floors already had a volunteer for each so the girls headed to the basement. Like that isn't creepy at all, Ester thought to herself. "Honestly Ester it's fine no mastermind caused this freak storm so no one's waiting to murder us down here." Ann always picked up on Ester's feelings especially in unusual situations. The stairs were awkward to navigate but they reached the bottom safely and started their search in one of the storage rooms.
This storage room was half janitorial supply closet and half damaged classroom furniture equipment. A slight moldy yet heavily dust covered scent assaulted their noses. Towards the back of the room there was an old crate with cylindrical looking objects that the two assumed had to be candles. Ready to leave the stench they hurried to the crate, but as luck would have it Ester tripped and went head first into damaged chalkboard behind the crate, still holding on to Ann she was taken down too.
The blunt force trauma pain didn't set in on Ester, with her eyes closed expecting it any moment she heard Ann curse under her breath. Then the thud came, a wave of pain not only washed over her but seeped deeply into every bone of her body.
Ann slipped something from her boot, that as the last thing Ester saw before blacking out. When she came to Ester first felt the warmth of a fire but the chill of the night. Remembering that they were in a storage room at the university before falling into the chalkboard Ester first thought that she was at home in front of the fireplace until a breeze brushed her her cheeks. She attempted to act upon her second thought, that the school had caught fire, but found she could not move. Her eyes were shut, her chest heavy, and her voice silent. She gasped for air as the weight proved to be too much as more was added. She heard chanting, wailing, protesting, and condemnation before losing consciousness once again.
Ann waited, in the thicket until the crazed mob's torches could no longer be seen. Once the last family's torch dispersed from the clearing she rushed to the pile of rocks, casting them aside with ease through the assistance of her magic, a magic that Ester never knew about. If luck was on her side, Ester would not wake knowing about this place or the magic that saved her.