Friday, September 1
Edie walked a little bit ahead of Dawn and Corrie as they entered the Mary Thomas dorm, looking around. She’d been in here a couple times now, but she was still trying to rid it of the association it had picked up last year, since Elrath had lived here. She was trying to learn to like it now that people she liked—Annie and Roe—lived here. And it did have interesting Victorian architecture. It was pretty in some ways, though that big staircase leading up to the second floor still seemed intimidating.
Annie was the reason they were here; they were picking her up to go have dinner together in the dining hall. And there she was, approaching the top of the stairs from the hallway, covering her mouth in a yawn.
“Are you okay?” Corrie asked Annie as she came close. “It’s not even seven o’clock, you can’t be tired yet.”
Annie shook her head, grimacing and rubbing her mouth. “I just got up from a nap. Sorry if I kept you waiting. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“We weren’t waiting,” Edie assured her. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t really know.” Annie stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked up, back the way she’d come. “I feel like I keep being woken up by sounds or touches, but nothing is there when I open my eyes. Maybe I’m just having bad dreams.” She rubbed her eye with one knuckle. “Considering who is apparently teaching us Ritual Magic, it makes a lot of sense. I used to have dreams about them… well, when I got rid of the poster, the dreams went away, but still.”
“Do you think we should talk to the other magic professors? Or the administration?” Edie had a hard time accepting that Mardalan was allowed to teach a magic class. Even if she was safe, what about the people she’d tried to kidnap—specifically, Annie and herself?
“I talked to Professor Lal a little already,” Corrie said. “She was pretty clear about trusting Mardalan and wanting her in place as a teacher. I don’t know if talking to anyone else would do any good.”
“No, I don’t think so either,” Annie said. “I’ll be okay. She does seem pretty much harmless now that I’ve had a few classes with her. I think I can get used to it.”
“If you ever get enough sleep,” Dawn said.
Annie smiled. “I’ll sleep all weekend. We don’t have much homework yet.”
“That’s a good plan,” Edie said, laughing. “Well, let’s go get dinner so you can fuel all that sleeping.”
They turned toward the door, but before they could leave, Troy walked in with a guy Edie didn’t know, watching him with wide eyes. Edie immediately wondered if the two of them were flirting, but then Troy noticed the four girls and gestured them over with one arm. “Hey, guys! You have to hear this! Sam was just about to tell me about the ghost here.”
“Ghost?” Corrie asked, immediately interested. Sam frowned at all of them. Maybe he had been trying to flirt.
“There’s a ghost in this dorm?” Annie stepped closer.
Sam sighed and rubbed the back of his head, glancing at Troy and then at the rest of them. “Yeah, well, there’s supposed to be. It’s a story I heard last year. I don’t know if there’s really any such thing as ghosts…”
“You went to the protection class, didn’t you?” Dawn asked. “Ginny mentioned them, though she only talked about them for like thirty seconds.”
“Yeah, well…” Sam shrugged. “I guess the teachers wouldn’t say they exist if they don’t really, but Professor Cantrell said there weren’t any on campus.”
Edie frowned. “That’s what Professor Rook said, too. I don’t think they’d lie to us.”
“But I’m still curious about the story,” Corrie said.
“Yeah,” Troy said. “Please tell us the story!”
Sam’s mouth twitched into half a smile. “Sure, yeah. Okay, well, nobody knows her name, or at least I’ve never heard anyone mention it. But she was a student at Chatoyant College like a hundred years ago, before most people, especially girls, went to college. Usually it was only rich people, but she was from a poor family and here on a scholarship. She was going to learn magic and use it to make life better for her family. She had these big plans—she knew what she was going to do.” He was getting into his story. “She met another student in class, a man, and they fell in love. But he was from a really rich family, maybe the kind of family that she would have worked for if she’d ever graduated. Even though they loved each other, he refused to marry her because her status was so much lower than his. She was heartbroken and killed herself. She lived in the Mary Thomas dorm, and she’s haunted the building ever since.”