Lisa looked up when she felt the disturbance in the air. She felt it in her chest, like a loud bass note booming in a car. It felt twisted and distorted, and simply wrong. Lisa did not have to wonder. She knew instinctively that the witch was active. She began to search around her desk, frantic for her phone.
“Here.” Ashish picked it up from beneath a pile of papers. It was set to vibrate and Lisa feared she may have missed something, but she could not worry about that just yet. She called Emily. Emily’s phone was off so she left a quick message and phoned home. She was not surprised when Libby answered.
“Bobby is the last one off the bus. They need to stay inside.”
“Right. We will be right there.” Ashish got ready. He swore he felt nothing. As they roared off to Lisa’s house, Lisa called Latasha before Latasha could call her.
“I didn’t know what it was.”
“You are much closer to the university. How is your family?”
“Fine,” Latasha said, before she realized what Lisa was asking and said, “Give me a minute.” She took more than a minute. “They are fine. I don’t think they even noticed anything.”
“Good. Whatever the effect of the spell, it must have had a limited range. We will be right there.” Lisa hung up and checked her missed message. She went pale. She tried Emily again, but still no answer.
“Heinrich,” Libby spoke up from the back seat as she got in the car
Lisa nodded, took a deep breath and called. He was at the airport and would be at least an hour getting back. “On his way,” Lisa reported and then she tried hard not to tell Ashish to hurry up. She looked in the back seat. Libby did not appear to be worried at all, but that only made it worse.
Ashish pulled up to the curb and Latasha jumped in the back with Libby. The university was not far, but Lisa was at a loss as to where to go. She did not know what was happening. They just sat there for several minutes until the phone finally rang.
“What is going on?” Lisa spouted.
“Hush. Just listen. I can’t talk long. Abby has cast a spell of some kind. She has the entire student body bewitched. They are hunting me. Come to the back of the library building. I will meet you there. Tell Ashish to stay away from the campus and keep the police away as well. I don’t know if the spell may still be active or have some residual effect.” She hung up.
Emily heard noises in the hallway. It was dark out, or nearly so. She hoped in a minute she could slip out that back door and slink through the shadows to the library. She did not know what else to do.
The voices got close, and Emily dared to peek. Bernie stood there, and he had an old style police revolver. Emily thought the idea of Bernie with a gun was frightening, but she did not blame him. The whole student body had gone crazy. Clearly, Bernie just wanted to defend himself. Emily got within a breath of showing herself when she heard two students come in the doors.
“The window is open in the old lab room. She may have come in and exited by the window.”
“Or it might be something to throw us off,” Bernie said. “I have others checking the basement and up the back stairs. We need to go up this way so she has no way of escape if she is here.”
Emily slammed her back to the wall and crouched down as low as she could. She heard their steps and Bernie’s shoe shuffle above her head as they climbed. Now she was worried. Apparently, Abby’s spell made no distinction between student and staff. Probably every human being within range had become her willing slave. Emily became afraid. She wondered how far the spell went and how many people that included.
When Ashish let the women out by the library, he really wanted to go but knew better. He said he could feel it a little even there on the street. He needed to back up to be safe, but he would wait for them. The women all stepped up on the library steps and they felt it much more. It was almost like walking through an invisible wall. The street was safe. The campus was Abby-land.
“I fought a witch once,” Libby said. “But never one like this.”
“Is this the back?” Latasha did not want to think about the witch too hard. She certainly did not want to hear about one. Lisa looked at the girl, and Latasha explained. “Because this is the side that faces the street. I would have called this the front.”
Lisa thought about it. “You may be right.”
Lisa led the way. It had turned fully dark by then, but she hoped to avoid an encounter with any students who might be near. She honestly did not know what to expect until a young woman saw them sneaking along the building and shouted.
“Intruders! Intruders!” A dozen young people came up and the women were going to have to fight their way to the other side of the building.