Set in Year 19 of the Addergoole School.
“As I told you all on your first day here, Addergoole is an experimental school.”
Urania had found herself a nice corner of the dining hall where she could see everyone. Today, she was sharing the table with a Sixteenth Cohort, Hroderich, an Seventeenth Cohort, Bracken, and two other nineteenth Cohorts, one of whom refused to give a name but was skinnier and hungrier than Urania and one of whom looked far too clean, far too smug, and far too well-fed and called himself Kameron. She hadn’t meant to share her table with any of them except the underfed feral one, but they just seemed to gravitate to her table.
She was trying to eat, without looking like she was stuffing her face – one of the advantages of having the feral one there was that he made her look tidy and well-fed by comparison – but the Director had decided it was a good day to start lecturing.
“…there will be a number of things that will seem very strange to you. Now that you’ve had a chance to settle in, things will be getting progressively stranger over the next week or two.”
Urania set down her drink and raised her eyebrows, not that she thought the director would actually notice.
“She means it,” Hroderich assured her.
“This is an underground facility in the middle of nowhere that just happens to have food and electricity.” Urania kept her voice low. Hroderich was sitting right next to her, way within her personal space, the way he seemed to like to. She barely needed to raise her voice at all. “It’s pretty freaking strange already.”
“It’s going to get stranger.”
“…don’t let anything you see or hear alarm you.”
“Hrod, I saw a demon from hell rip apart my jr. high. Do I really look like the sort of person who is going to be alarmed by…” She trailed off, shoving her chair back as far as it would go. “No. Oh, fuck, no.”
“Ninteenth Cohort, if you have any questions, please feel free to…”
Urania wasn’t listening anymore. She grabbed skinny kid’s shirt and pulled him backwards with him. She wasn’t sure if she was using him as a shield or getting him out of there, but both had merit.
Every single upperclassman, every teacher, even the freaking cafeteria lady. They were all monsters. Horns, tails, wings. She hadn’t seen this many of the creatures in one place since they burned down her school. Hell, even there there had only been twenty or thirty.
Someone’s hand landed on her shoulder. Urania pushed away. The door was right there, and it might be closed but closed doors hadn’t stopped her before. If it didn’t open, it could be made to open. She got a better grip on the skinny kid, who either didn’t feel inclined to argue or was just as intent on getting away as she was. “Ready?” she muttered. “On three. One, two…”
On three, there was a demon in the doorway, those wide, awful wings blocking the way. Urania ran straight for his left wing. Membranes, she had learned back in jr. high, tore quite easily.
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