“Maynard in a moron!” Emily griped about her professor and slammed her Earth Science book shut. She slouched down in her lounge chair and ran her hand through her hair. It was coming along nicely, but still in that awkward short but not too short stage. “I swear she just hates people, all people. I don’t take it personally.” Maria and Amina looked up from their studies, but only briefly.
Emily put out her hand. Jessica handed her the bag and Emily opened it easily, except one peanut shot across the room.
“Hey!” Jessica protested. “I am perfectly capable of spilling them myself.” Maria had her hand out. Jessica gave her a few. Amina lifted her hand and got a few as well. Emily just looked at her but Jessica shook her head and pointed. “Yours is over there.”
“I don’t need them,” Emily said with a pat on her stomach.
Amina tapped Emily’s arm and smiled. “I have seen you eat. You should be very fat.”
“High metabolism,” Maria said without looking up from her book.
“No, it’s those workouts with Heinrich and the sophomore ROTC class,” Emily said. She put her book back into her backpack, which was sitting on the empty chair between her and Jessica. Maria and Amina were on the couch.
“So no word from Detective Lisa?” Maria looked up then and wanted to talk.
Emily shook her head. “They have people searching as far away as the Philadelphia shipyards, but no sign of any lab.”
“Oh, thanks for reminding me about the zombies.” Jessica threw her pencil down and stared at Emily. It did not take much to turn her from her studies. “I just hope this semester I don’t have another teacher killed.”
“You passed art history,” Maria pointed out.
“Yeah, but I spent a whole semester buttering up Missus Farmer for an A. That was all wasted.”
Amina and Emily just looked at each other and shook their respective heads before Amina spoke. “Funny. The magic involved in making them was so very strong even if it only took a small spark to make it work. But you would think such a thing would be easy to find.”
“Easy for you, maybe,” Emily said, and Amina looked away.
“I imagine it is hidden on many levels,” Maria suggested.
“Please, magic?” Jessica started up again. “I mean, I know. I’m not stupid, but I’m still trying to get used to the idea of zombies.” None of the people on campus had any memory of their time as Abby worshipers.
“More like Frankenstein type monsters,” Emily used the term her sisters used.
“That is actually a very good description.” Maria had not been there when Emily and her sisters met and described them. Maria liked the description, but she did not have time to comment further. She fell silent as someone came in the door. It was Mindy from Daughters of the Amazon fame. Mindy came up, acknowledged them all by name, and turned to Maria.
“Do you mind? I heard you say you were having some trouble with Crocker’s class.” Mindy had her book and Amina scooted over so Mindy could sit between her and Maria.
“Actually, I would not mind some help,” Maria said. “Calc,” she said to the others. “Math,” she added for Jessica who pretended offence. They no sooner got settled when the door opened again. It was Connie and she had a girl on her heels that at first glance looked more like a football player than a female.
“Mindy.” Connie got ready to scold her roommate for some offence, but Emily interrupted.
“Homework. Math. Priority.” Connie just looked at Emily for a second before she introduced the group to her friend, Lilly.
“So you’re Emily,” Lilly said through a crooked grin that creased her face. Connie stepped back a half step to stand behind the couch. She was beaming. “I hear you think you’re pretty tough.”
“Me?” Emily widened her eyes. “No, I like people, unlike certain Earth Science professors.”
“Well, I think you should move over and give me your seat.” Lilly threatened without actually saying it out loud.
“No problem.” Emily got up, moved her backpack and took the empty seat. She pointed to her former seat as if inviting Lilly to sit. The girl sat, but Amina could not contain herself. She giggled. She tried to cover up with both of her hands. Lilly turned on her like a shark.
“What are you laughing at, shithead?”
Emily had to move fast. She caught Lilly’s fist before that fist touched Amina’s face. She also squeezed a little which had to hurt poor Lilly. She grabbed Lilly with her other hand on the girl’s shoulder and tossed the girl five feet down the hall. Lilly landed on her back and continued to slide another five feet before she stopped.
“Ow!” They heard Lilly say, but when Lilly looked up, Connie was already racing for the door. Lilly decided to go out the door at the other end of the hall, and Emily reclaimed her seat, after she picked it up.
“Sorry.” Emily spoke to the group, but she said it loud enough with the hope that Lilly might hear. They all looked at Mindy, but she seemed unfazed by it all, until they noticed a tear in Mindy’s eye. Amina was the first to speak.
“We are getting a suite next year in Brown. You could be my roommate.”
Mindy let her tears out and threw her arms around Amina. “Oh, thank you, thank you.” Then she turned on Maria. “Thank you.” Jessica got up with “what the heck,” and gave the girl a hug as well. Emily counted.
“But that only makes five. The housing office will assign a stranger.”
Maria raised her hand. “Melissa.”
“The Sybil has spoken,” Maria said. “Welcome to the club,” she added for Mindy.
Mindy smiled and picked up her math paper. She looked around, then looked seriously at her math while her mouth spoke. “So were we talking about the zombies or the witch?”