“Okay, I have to admit that was fun.” Samaya glanced back at their History classroom and then looked over at Reggie with a hopeful smile.
“Mmm. Fun.” He was definitely not smiling.
“What do you think they’ll do next?” she tried.
Reg – who she’d met yesterday at orientation – was so far less enamored of Felis U’s idiosyncrasies than Samaya was.
Then again – They’re willing to give you a full ride, and they’re accredited and they’re decently known. You know we can’t afford to pay for college for you, not with your father being ill…
Samaya had just been glad it hadn’t turned out to be some sort of thin veneer over a work camp or something even worse. But she sort of wanted someone else to be enthusiastic with her.
“Mm. Maybe a dog?” Reggie shrugged, still unimpressed. How he could be unimpressed was beyond her, but maybe he was made of rock.
When they’d walked into their Intro to History class to find a big sunshine Siamese cat sitting on the teacher’s desk, Samaya hadn’t been worried anymore. Anyplace that had cats was likely to be okay.
When she’d noticed that the board said Curiosity Taught the Cat History, she thought it was interesting. A little clever, even.
When the cat had miawed demandingly at them and slapped the laptop keyboard until a PowerPoint presentation had popped up, Samaya had not been the only one making the Aww, how cute noises (Reg, sitting next to her, had refrained somehow).
And when the cat had miawed its way through answering questions by pushing buttons on the laptop, she’d spent a little time trying to puzzle out how it was done and more time just asking the cat questions.
According to the last slide, their homework for Tuesday was to read Chapter 1 in their textbook and come up with 12 questions on the Battle of Harmondane.
“Notice that nothing in the history class was anything we’d learned anywhere else?” Reg asked, finally getting up the energy for a full sentence. Maybe he was just not a morning person.
“I…” Samaya considered this. “Oh, hrrm, you’re right! I wonder if it’s advanced history or-“
“Some sort of hoax. Class taught by a cat. Ha. My parents said this place was good.” He shook his head. “Fifth kid, I figure they just liked the scholarship offer.”
“Mine, too,” Samaya offered. “But, maybe, uh. They googled it? They said it was a pretty good school?” She shrugged a bit. “It has a decent reputation.”
“Reputation does shit if we’re learning random BS though. They ought to be teaching us, you know, shit we’ll need in the real world.”
Samaya looked around at the stone walls and the huge wooden beams. There was probably no point arguing with him and, besides, she hardly knew the guy. “What do you have next?”
“Something called Defense. I dunno, it was one of the three required classes.” He scoffed. “I might just skip. Why do I care if I fail something I didn’t even want to take?”
“Well, ’cause then you’ll have to take it again? That’s what I’ve got, too,” she added. “I think it’s down this way.”
“As long as it’s not taught by a dog,” Reg muttered. “I want to get some actual learning out of something.”
“What, you didn’t like the slides? I thought they were clever.”
“Clever, sure. Clever -” He was cut off by a scream coming from the stairway in front of them.
He looked at her, then back at the stairway, and then, in a move that seemed completely out of character, although admittedly, she’d only known him for a day, Reg started running towards the screams – the first one followed by another and then a third, even more high-pitched.
In a move she knew was out of character for her, Samaya followed.
They pushed passed several people running up the stairs to come to a screeching halt in the doorway of a big room – something like a gymnasium.
In the middle of this gymnasium space was a tiger, wearing what was obviously a whistle around its neck.
“Fuck me,” Reg muttered.
Samaya was forced to agree with that assessment.