For @cluudle’s prompt
The halls were dark. Something was howling in the distance. Something else was screaming.
Roanna was doing a decent job of holding it together. She’d grabbed the hand of the nearest classmate she could find, and they were moving calmly and meticulously through the darkness. Roanna had a flashlight in her free hand; Tamberlain had a long wooden stick in his off hand.
“Look, the stairs should be right around…” Suddenly, she couldn’t move. Panic, totally inexplicable terror, gripped her and wouldn’t let go.
“Ro? Ro? Shit, Ro, run!” Tamberlain, still gripping her hand, starting following his own advice, and, in the process, dragging her along.
Her frozen legs finally responded, and Roanna started running, too, as fast as she could. Something was wrong. Something was really, really wrong.
They saw the other two kids – Zuleyma and Merton, people they knew from class – running their way, but not in time to stop. They skidded, instead, heels dragging into the carpet.
Something hit their faces, first, and their outstretched free hands, something sticky and grabby. By the time they came to a full stop, their whole bodies were ensnared.
The panic released them as, behind them, someone started chuckling. “Panic trap. I love it.” A hand settled on Roanna’s shoulder. She couldn’t move her face to look, but she could see, in front of her, Zuleyma’s freaked-out expression. Her heart was still pounding, too, like it was trying to claw its way out of her chest.
“What?” The sticky stuff grabbed even at her lips, making speaking tricky.
“Panic trap. It makes you, well, panic.” There was another hand on her ass, very gently resting there. “And then, of course, my web. I hardly have to do any work at all.”
“You’ll see. Now, all of you, just say the magic words, and I’ll let you go. The web is acidic; it’s already trying to digest you, so I’d talk fast.
“Please?” Zuleyma tried.
“Not those words. ‘I belong to you, Segenam.’ Those words.” The voice was still chuckling. And Roanna’s face was starting to sting.
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