It got dark enough. Emily dared not wait any longer. She knew the door would give her away and might even set off the fire alarm, but that could not be helped. She also knew there were bushes nearby. She once shoved her friends into those bushes. She would have to improvise.
It turned out no alarm sounded, at least no audible alarm, but the door made plenty of noise on its own. Fortunately, it felt dark enough for her to blend into the landscape. Being a student of the right age, and being dressed like every other student, suggested she might blend in with the crowd. She imagined passing herself off as one of the hunters rather than the hunted. She was mistaken. The first student that saw her shouted, “She’s here!” Emily cursed and wondered how that student could see her and so clearly, while she could hardly make out if the student was male or female before he shouted.
She ran, straight for the front of the library. A crowd began to gather on the path to block her way, but when they bunched up, she veered at the last minute and bypassed them. They followed, of course, but they were a bit slow to react. Emily thought it might be a side effect of the spell, or at least she hoped so.
She got almost to the street when she found her way blocked by three young men who were watching the street and something across the street. They stood by the corner of the building and turned toward her as she approached. One made a grab for her, but Emily ducked so he missed. The second got the palm of her hand in his chest, which knocked him to the ground. The third took a swing at her, but again she ducked and the blow glanced off her shoulder. It was probably as hard as the young man could punch, but she shrugged it off and quickly got to the back steps that lead to the street. Lisa was not there.
A car pulled out from a lot across the street and screeched to a halt in the road. Emily recognized Lisa’s car and dashed for it while Ashish rolled down the window.
“I can’t come closer,” he yelled as Emily passed through the invisible wall. She slowed at the sensation, but then perked up. Ashish pointed. “They just headed down that side of the building.” Emily cursed. If she had veered right instead of left, she would have run right into them. Then she looked up as she began to run again. The three young men had arrived, but stayed behind the wall. Fortunately, these also reacted slowly and she got on the library path before they reached her.
There were students scattered all along the path, most getting back to their feet, at least those that could. Emily did not stay to play. She wove a pretty pattern to get through their ranks without hitting them or being hit. By the time she got to the front of the library, she saw Lisa, Libby and Latasha coming in her direction. The thirty or so that bunched up to prevent her from entering the library were on their heels. Emily prepared to turn around again. She felt a dozen already banged up students might be easier to get by than thirty fresh bodies. She waited only a second for the others to catch up to her. Then no one moved at all.
Abby was on the library steps, laughing, and she shouted. “Everyone stop and stay right where you are!” The power that emanated from her was incredible.