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The Adjudicator's Institute for Heroics



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Mon Jan 08, 2024 3:43 pm
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Abcdefg1 says...



Evan stiffened when Thyme mentioned his sister's name. The teddy squirmed in his hand again, and he clutched it tight.

They're going to kill everyone, he realized. Recognization slowly dawned on his face as he looked at Thyme. She was much healthier-looking than before, but he thought...he thought he remembered her lying on a table in the Adjudicator's laboratory, lifeless and still. That revelation made his heart throb with anger. Dawn saved her from the Adjudicator's schemes, and now she's planning to kill her? Does nobody here have any sense of gratefulness?

Nobody seemed to notice when a knife disappeared from the napkin beside Jonathan.



In the Adjudicator's office, Avery sifted through the drawers on the desk while Dawn inspected the cabinets. Most of it was just normal things like pens and empty pads of paper, possibly for notes, but in the bottom drawer was something else.

"Hey, Dawn," Avery called, pulling a small file from beneath a stack of unopened letters. "Come look at this." she flipped it open and saw Sam's profile on top. "I think it's just what you're looking for."




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Fri Feb 16, 2024 5:27 am
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KocoCoko says...



Dawn rushed over to Avery's side, quickly skimming over the profile she had open. "Sam?" she mumbled, stilling as the redhead took her time to let her eyes wander over each word. Yet, in the end, Dawn could only grimace. "It's... It's nothing. Nothing! It just says they were taken to some 'facility.' What facility!? She... Mother never told me about another facility."

Dawn slowly set the the documentation down and rubbed her temples. "Just... Where are they? I just hope Sam's safe. That's all I can think. I can't..." Why did her head have to feel so heavy lately? It was like cement had been poured through the groves of her brain. "It's better than nothing," she said.


Thyme smiled. Her smile was sharp and cutting, enough to make even Powder feel slightly offput. "You scare me sometimes, you know?" Powder said, chuckling softly.

"Good," Thyme said. "I like leaving an impression."

Powder shook his head, cuddling Winifred just a bit closer. "So... what is our next course of action?" he asked, fiddling with the rim of his glasses nervously.

Thyme twirled her dark, glossy hair around her finger. "Well... why don't we focus in on one target? They've already lost the kid who almost set the whole school on fire. No doubt if they lose one more they'd completely fall apart."

Powder nodded along, squinting at the table during a pause to allow for thought. "Well, I suppose that's possible. Besides, with your powers, we can mix and match different outcomes, can't we?"

Thyme's gaze suddenly hardened. Her rested her chin on her intertwined hands, her stare never leaving the young, blonde boy in front of her. "Time is not so fickle, Powder. I can't go into the future. Once we go back in time, I cannot travel to this same moment," she explained. "Besides, the more I return to a certain point, the more others will feel deja vu. More people will catch on if we abuse the flow of time's arrow. So, let's narrow it down to a select few."

Powder, although clearly questioning how much Thyme knew about the workings of the universe, simply agreed with her. She was far more clever than him, after all. While he was a master of deceit, she was a master in perspective. "Hm... I've always wanted to see Dawn dead, though with her mother being gone, I doubt there would be anything large to gain from it. We'd be losing out on any information she may-"

"Oh, I like you're thinking," Thyme cut in, a wicked glint in her eyes. Her smile was twisted. "Kidnap and extort? Perhaps some torture? I could get down with that."

"What!? No! Well, I mean... Maybe..." Powder kneaded his lip between his teeth, unable to meet the sinsiter girl in front of him. All his puppeteered friends blinked and looked around for just a moment, then returned to a lifeless stance. A falter, Thyme thought, her grin morphing back into it's usual cunning stance, I can't believe I have to work with the likes of him.

"Duly noted. What about the other botani-kinetic? I've seen how that little resistance group is acting and, well... Sage is the lynch pin. She connects the goodie-two-shoes with Izzy. She makes sure Evan and Dawn don't have a nervous breakdown every three minutes. Without her, the alliance, friendships, so on so forth- it all crumbles."

Suddenly, Powder brightened. "That's... not a bad idea."

Thyme nodded, before quickly glancing to her side. "You know, I think Evan would be a good target, too," she said, eyes jetting to the napkin for a spilt second. "Cut off their main source of information and spying... That could kill them faster than the loss of Dawn, Avery, and Sage combined."
Thyme smiled.


"What is going on in here!?" Darcy screamed. There was no time to react. Dawn had just barely started sweeping through the files of her mother's off-campus facilites! The sound of the filing cabinent must've hid the sound of clacking heels. The guilt that stabbed Dawn in the heart was immersable. How stupid she was to not lock the door. Moronic!

Dawn stared at Ms. Lane with eyes as wide as saucers, color drained from her face faster than Evan could dream of doing. "Darcy! Darcy, I-"

"Save it!" Ms. Lane glanced the two up and down. Dawn, in her mother's long, wool, bloody caridgan, and Avery, her accomplice flipping through a vanilla folder. "I can't... I-I knew it was a tenuious relationship, but I never imagined you could-!"

Dawn froze in place. "I didn't kill her!"

"How did you know she was dead!?" Darcy's voice had never been so shrill. Dawn was awestruck by how different she was from before. A younger, dumber Dawn saw Darcy as a beacon of warmth compared to her mother's wrath, always lending a pitiful glance whenever a new scar was inflicted. Only contempt filled her eyes now. "Why do you wear her bloody clothing!?"

"I-"

"I don't even want to hear it!" Darcy approached the two quickly, grabbing each by the wrist and dragging them along. "And Avery Jones!" she announced while she tugged them through the hallway. The commotion brought more eyes and attention than Dawn could bare, already struggling to walk with her petrified, wooden limbs. "Are you her accomplice? How could you! And I thought you were one of the good ones!"

Darcy Lane ranted on and on, until her mad ramblings turned into pained and choked sobs. She only closed her mouth when she shoved them inside an empty classroom, the boards empty and the desk so perfectly aligned that it was evident no trace of life was ever here. "I-I don't have the evidence to convict you, or the nerve to kill you, s-so you just wait here and think about what you've done!" With her final shriek, she slammed and locked the door. A few scratches outside made it evident that she barricaded it as well.

Dawn was motionless. How could she be so stupid!?


Darcy rushed back to Dr. Emily with a red flush on her face, tears streaking her cheeks. When she noticed the accusatory look in his eyes and the identites of the teens in front of him, she suddenly barked: "Them, too! I just know it! I know it!"

Dr. Emily's eyes widened as he saw Darcy begin a tangent of how everyone Dawn and Avery were associated with were pure evil, devilspawn who did nothing but terrorize the people and raise anarchy wherever they go. Astrid gladly took it as a compliment, but refused to say anything that may drive the woman even more mad.

In the end, Darcy was panting and out of breath, clinging to herself as she repeated the same few phrases. "Them, I know it! It has to be... to be them! They- They conspired! Lock them up... Prison... Death! How could they murder Louise? Oh God, Louise... She can't be gone!"

Dr. Emily nervously looked at the group, then at Darcy. In fear of driving her further into hysteria, he hesitantly patted her shoulder. "Of course... We'll question all of them in a moment. You should rest."

A shared glance, before Darcy quickly left for the staff dorms, hugging herself tightly.

"As for you," he said, finally addressing himself to the group. Sage is who his gaze landed on first. Most cuttingly, as well. "Just... Follow me. For Darcy and her sanity's sake." It was a mystified parade to the locked and barricaded classroom. Izzy and Astrid, only handed out puzzled and frightened stares. The bravest gesture made was Izzy swirling her finger around the side of her head, glancing back nervously as if Darcy would appear in a maddened state once again.

Inside the classroom were Dawn and Avery, and soon the trio had joined them. "I apologize for... that," Dr. Emily said quietly, "I don't believe she's in her right made."

The door was closed and locked, the barricade in place once more. The silence seemed to linger for an eternity.
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Fri Feb 16, 2024 6:45 pm
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Abcdefg1 says...



"Well that went well," Sage said, her voice tight as she tried to crush the trembling out of it. She glanced at Avery and Dawn, scratching her vine-riddled neck. "Please tell me you guys found something good."

"Not...really." Avery was still clutching the heavy manilla folder from the Adjudicator's office. Darcy had been so caught up in her manic tirade that she hadn't taken the time to confiscate the file. Avery flipped it open, showing Sam's page to Sage. "We found this, but it's really vague on where they went. Not very helpful."

Sage glanced at the paper. Sure enough, all it said was Facility Relocation Successful in bold red letters. There was no address, no site number, nothing. Sage sighed.

"What do we do now?" she asked the others. "Sounds like the door's stuck shut. Should we wait for Evan and Winnie to come back?"

Avery's eyes flicked toward the exit. "Who knows how long that will take..."



Evan's grip tightened around the knife in his hand, glaring down at the back of the girl in front of him. Each word that came out of her mouth, every syllable that rolled off her silver tongue made him hate her more. She was dangerous, too dangerous, like a snake in a bird's nest. She'd swallow all the eggs slowly, one by one, unless she was exterminated first.

And that was exactly what he intended to do.

Without a second thought, Evan plunged the knife into the back of Thyme's neck as hard as he could. It was a dull steak knife, not very good for stabbing, but Evan was determined. He wouldn't let this girl hurt Avery, or Dawn, or even Sage. He would eliminate this weapon here and now, before anyone could do anything about it.

Warm blood gushed over his fingers. Somebody screamed.




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Wed Mar 06, 2024 2:53 am
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KocoCoko says...



Out of everyone in the group, surprisingly, Izzy was the one panicking. She paced around the room (though, really, she looked like a blur of dark skin and a blue hoodie swirling around the same few steps), biting the lace of her hoodie while her mind racked for something to do. She was starting to get used to this feeling of being powerless, but that didn't mean she liked it. "Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me. You've got to be kidding me! Damnit..." the speedster mumbled.

Dawn, thankfully(?), seemed much more... complacent. Sure, she held onto Avery's shoulder with a grip only comparable to rigor mortis, but otherwise, she simply stood there. She just stood there. Her brain had gone empty for a moment; the lights were on and yet nobody was home. This couldn't be it, right? All of this to be locked in a classroom? Dawn took a deep breath, before sharing a soft glance with Avery. For a moment, her lips curled up when she caught those familiar eyes, but they snapped back in record time. "We could... always try the window," she suggested, slowly, "We could just hide in the sewers until this blows over."

"Not to be a downer," Astrid cut in, nervously rubbing their elbow, "But I don't think this is 'blowing over.' We're kind of being accused of murder. Not kind of, actually. We are accused of murder!" she shouted, "Unless you all want to just live in sewer drain for the rest of our lives." Astrid crossed their arms, gazing out the window for a brief moment. It would be fun to smash through a window... but what next? Oh, God. When did Astrid ever think of what's next!? Death really does change people, huh? Astrid's eyebrows furrowed at the realization.

Suddenly, Izzy stopped. There a period where she didn't move at all, except for her shallow breathing. Shyly, she turned to stare at Sage. She tugged on one of the vines growing around her friend's fingers. She nodded at Sage, then looked to the others. "There... Um, how do I put this... There is actually a way out of here."

You could hear a pin drop.

"What?" Dawn spoke first. "Where? Wait- How long have you known?"

Izzy cringed, chuckling awkwardly. "It's, uh, down in those sewers I took you to. I've known for, um, about... a month or so?"

"A month!?" Astrid yelled. Dawn stilled entirely, her expression unreadable. All this time. All this time there was a way out.

"We could've been far away from here by now," Dawn whispered. "We... We wouldn't have had to deal with any of this! I wouldn't have had to see my mother dead on the floor! What is wrong with you!?"

Izzy was overwhelmed for a moment, glancing at Sage for help, before an indignant expression came on her face as the implications sunk on. "Are you serious? I thought you wanted to save Sam! Save everyone here! This is why I didn't tell you! I knew you'd freak out about it like this even though it makes no difference!"

"It makes a hell of a difference, Izzy!" Dawn shouted back. "It makes all the difference! We can only save Sam if we're not trapped in this shithole!"

Despite Astrid feeling slightly betrayed as well, she stood bewildered at the enraged expression on Dawn's face. She'd never seen her angry before. Upset, definitely, but never furious.

Dawn kept going, hate and spite in every word she spoke. "We could already be on our to find Sam if it weren't for you! I can't believe you! I could've been free if it-"

"Don't you mean we?" Izzy cut in, her stare scurtinizing the redhead. Dawn stopped short. "God, all you ever think about is you! You're just like Evan! Except you don't even want to save Sam, do you? At least Evan cares about them and Astrid! You don't care about anyone!"

"I-"

"And don't try to say you like Avery, because we all know that you only like her because she coddles you and makes you feel good about yourself!" Izzy went on, her hands on her hips. Dawn opened her mouth, but Izzy took a step forward. "Don't you dare say I don't care. At least I try to be a nice person, but you just don't care anymore! At least I can admit I'm a bad person! All this time, I've cared for Powder like a brother since I got here, and Winifred's like my little sister, and Sage is the only person in this group here that I can actually trust!"

As Izzy went on, Dawn's fist clenched tighter and tighter, until her knuckles turned white. Vines grew around her arms, giant and dangerous thorns jutting out between like spiked armor. "But you, you're just so selfish! You just want-" The same thorny vines crawled around Izzy's legs, locking her in place before her super-speed could kick in. "What the-"

Dawn slugged Izzy across the face. Thorns sliced opened the side of Izzy's cheek, the side that had been burned by the very kid she was now sticking up for. Izzy tumbled back, free of the spikes that had creeped up her legs, holding her cut as bleed ran down her chin. Izzy's eyes went straight to Sage, pleading for some sort of help.

Her chest was heaving as she stared at Izzy. That punch the max of her restraint.

Dawn had never looked so unlike herself. "Don't ever act as if you know me again." Her voice trembled under the weight of her words.

Just as the spikes on her arm receeded into her skin, there was a rummaging noise from outside the door...



Powder screamed. Loudly. Shock washed over him, so hard, in fact, that the table around him suddenly jolted to life, holding their heads and looking at each other with confusion.

Thyme, however, was silent. Her golden eyes were wide open, looking straight at Powder, who clung to a Winifred fighting his grasp, before a short smile feell on her face. Blood gushed from Thyme's wound, but... sick laughter filled the air. "Good trick, invisi-boy!" she said, swaying slightly as blood loss threatened to knock her over. "Good trick... good..." Just before her eyes closed, Thyme snapped her fingers.

Without a second thought, Evan plu-... Well, not this time. This time, Thyme slide out of the way just in time. Evan stabbed into the air. "Powder," Thyme ordered, a sly look in her eyes. Just a moment ago, she was laughing like a madman as the life drained from eyes... and now she simply grinned as deviously as she always did. "He's right there. Surely one your puppets can get him?"

With that, Jonathan stood up. A lance made from a lime green energy materalized in his hand, yet his listless expression never changed.

Despite Evan's invisibility, Thyme looked straight at him, tilting her head to the side as she lounged across the lunchroom table. "Oh, this is the part where you run, by the way."
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Wed Mar 06, 2024 5:33 am
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Abcdefg1 says...



CW: Strong Language

Shit. Where had this gone so wrong? One moment he was standing undetected, ready to make the killing blow, and then--

Evan didn't have time to think about it, though, because a second later a blade of green shot past his head, shattering into sparks on the wall behind him. There was smoke and the smell of burning hair, and suddenly he was visible again, standing in front of one of Powder's minions as a new weapon formed in his hand.

Evan took Thyme's advice, diving out of the way of a new green spear aimed for his torso. This one exploded on the floor, close enough that he could feel the heat on his back. He swerved around the table, snatching Winifred by the arm before sprinting flat-out toward the door. A trail of crimson drops followed him as he ran.



"Holy shit!" Sage cried when Izzy started yelling, and then again when Dawn struck her across the face. The vine-strung girl flung herself between the two, leaves bristling defensively in case either one tried to attack. Avery just stood in the corner, stunned.

"Usually I'm the one causing the fights," Sage muttered, her head turning between Dawn and Izzy. "And I've said some hurtful things, but goddamn, you two! Aren't we supposed to be on the same side?"

Avery's eyes were fixed on Izzy. "You can't just say things like that," she said quietly, reaching for Dawn's hand. But she pulled back before their fingers could touch. "Nobody knew what was going to happen. Nobody. But withholding information like that...information that could have let us out of here..." her expression hardened. "How dare you. How dare you!"

She took a step forward, pushing away Sage's outstretched arm as she stalked toward Izzy.

"You think you're so smart, don't you?" Avery growled. "You think you've got us all figured out, every emotion, motivation, everything! You think you know what makes us tick, why we do things, what we will do. And you use that against us whenever you're mad, displaying your assumptions so proudly, as if it's some sort of achievement." she sneered bitterly, an expression that looked completely out of place on her usually kind, pleasant face. "Well, Dawn's right. You don't know any of us at all; because if you did, you'd know that nobody wants to hear it. So shut your fucking mouth."




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KocoCoko says...



Izzy looked like a scared puppy dog pleading for help, staring up at Sage as she berated. "Now I don't think that-" she tried to cut in, only to flinch back as Avery approached.

Withholding information... Izzy looked up at Sage once again. 'You did, too, didn't you?' her eyes asked, 'You won't make me take the fall alone, will you?'

Izzy's chest swelled at Avery's final words. For a moment, it looked as if she were about to scream Sage knew, too! and God, how badly she wanted to. But... She couldn't bring herself to do it. Instead, her lips quivered and eventually she resigned herself to a sigh. "I'm sorry."

Astrid rubbed their temple, still gazing out the window. "I can't believe it... We can't even be in a room together anymore without fighting."

Izzy slowly stood up, wiping her bleeding cheek once more. She looked over Avery's shoulder to find the redhead staring at the wall behind her. Dawn used to look at Avery with such a tender gaze when she first stood up for her, but now she seemed... scared. Nervous. Anxious. Fidgeting with overall buckles while she faced away.

"Hello? I said I'm sorry," Izzy said, leaning to the side to see around Avery's shoulder. "Can you, like, maybe apologize for cutting my face open? That was a bit excessive, right?" A pause. Dawn's hand twitched. "Okay, fine! I was excessive, too! Any better?"

"Y-Yeah..." Dawn spoke softly, rubbing her shoulder uncomfortably. "You were right about some stuff, I-I shouldn't have done that."

Izzy's eyes widened. "Really? Huh. Well, someone's-" she sneered at Avery, "-gotta take back her words, huh?"

Deep down, she knew it, but she didn't like thinking that about herself; that she didn't really care for saving people. Izzy was wrong about her connection with Avery, but once she- right, sorry, they- escaped, she didn't want to look back. This was never her- sorry, their- problem in the first place. Well, maybe it was now. After all, expelling Sam was like a declaration of war. Dawn used to care, at some point, but something about realizing all the abuse, seeing her mother dead... it just made her snap. Or maybe she was always like this. Did that make it any easier for herself?

She wanted to cry I just want to go home so badly, but she didn't have a home. Maybe that was what hurt her more than coming to terms with her newfound selfishness.

Astrid sighed heavily, tapping the glass on the window repeatedly. "Once we regroup with Evan, you should probably take us to the exit."

"Yeah," Izzy sheepishly chuckled, "Probably should." Her eyes were glued to her shoes from then on. "Still didn't say sorry, though..." she mumbled.

The rummaging outside the door continued, as if someone were struggling to remove the barricades from outside. Astrid was the first to approached, but her lack of height made it impossible for them to see out the door window. Though, thankfully, the peak they did get told her that it was also a student. None of the staff here were the same height as her. "You're lucky your argument didn't get the teachers' attention. Next time, please fight at room volume! For the sake of not being caught, but also for me, personally. Ya know, blind and all." Astrid checked the door again. This time, their sight of the student(?) was blocked by a chair. "Should we... help them or what? I can't even see who it is... curse genetics for making me so stupidly short."



There was a brief chase, but Jonathan stopped halfway down the hallway. Powder appeared behind him and pat his back, signalling him to return to their dorm.

Thyme scoffed. "Why did you stop?"

"I-I lost sight of him."

Thyme laughed and pointed at the trail of blood. "Yeah, cute. He could've led us to the others, Powder. This all could've been done with! We had them!"

Power squinted at her, approaching with a newfound confidence that made their faces' just a few inches apart. "I didn't think that'd be as 'fun' for you."

Thyme couldn't help but giggle. "Fine, maybe so," she said, her gaze never leaving him. "But next time you lie, be a bit more creative. You really think I'd kill your sister, too?"

Powder didn't respond. He backed away, refusing to even glance in her direction.

Thyme could only sigh. At least he has good intuition. She skipped alongside him, back into the dining hall, which was eeriely quiet. At first it was filled with screams, but now everyone was just staring off into nothing.

"Aw... cute," Thyme said, poking one of the zombified student's cheeks.

Powder flinched. "Don't- Don't do that. I'm trying to focus."

Thyme sighed loudly, boredom claiming her in mere seconds.

Powder struggled for a moment, gritting his teeth together as he tried to manage the cacophony of voices in his mind, before finally breaking through and ordering his personal 'friends' to leave the lunch room. Once that was done, he let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. The lunch room only delved deeper into chaos as Powder released the strings and rubbed his head. To his dismay, Thyme soaked in the disorder with a gleeful grin.
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Abcdefg1 says...



Evan's body flickered as he pounded down the hallway, arms wrapped around a squirming Winifred. He could feel his own heartbeat throbbing in his throat as he kept running, waiting for the next searing spear to come flying after him. But it never did.

Slowing down a little, Evan risked a glance over his shoulder. The corridor was empty. There was no sign of Thyme or Powder or any of their friends. They'd just...stopped.

Evan set Winifred down as he continued to look around. The Institute was dead silent; he couldn't even hear any screams from the cafeteria.

Powder's reach must be expanding, he thought. He's got almost the entire school under his control now.

Evan shivered. He couldn't believe he'd discounted Powder before--the mind-controller might have looked small, but the amount of power he held was unprecedented. Evan didn't doubt it had something to do with the Adjudicator's experiments, but still...underestimating him was a big mistake.

"You okay?" Evan asked, turning to Winifred. She'd been completely quiet the whole time they'd been standing there. However, before he could get an answer, his attention was stolen by a hot flair of pain in his side. Pressing his hand to the area, Evan's eyes grew wide when it came back bloody.

Those spears got closer than I thought, he realized, remembering the burst of heat he felt when one of the weapons zipped by. Fear and adrenaline had numbed the pain until now.

I don't think I can go to the nurse's office, he thought, glancing around. I need to find the others. Maybe Avery can make me a bandage or something.

Scooping up Winifred again, Evan started down the hallway. He'd already been walking for a couple minutes when he recalled that the group hadn't made any plans for where to meet up again. He stopped, trying to ignore the pain in his side so he could think.

Well, they've gotta be around here somewhere, he decided eventually, shrugging. I guess I'll find them when I find them.



Sage pursed her lips. She knew what Izzy wanted, and maybe it was what she should do, but...Avery looked so angry. She'd never seen her this mad before, and honestly, it scared her. Everything scared her. It was all so messy and broken and she didn't know what to do. She could hardly believe it, but she really wished she could go back to her old delinquent's school. At least there she wouldn't have to deal with all this crazy freaky shit.

"I hate you all," she mumbled under her breath, running her fingers through hair that was more vine than anything else. Her hands were still trembling as she buried them in leaves. She really, really didn't want to do this anymore.

Avery just glared at Izzy, breathing heavily as she tried to take in everything that was just said. Her head was foggy and thick, and her eyes didn't seem to be registering faces anymore. It was all a blurry, fuzzy haze of anger and guilt and fear and sadness. The sharp sting of tears came to her eyes, and she sank back against the wall, head lowered.



It hurt to sigh. Evan learned that the hard way when he made yet another turn that lead to nothing, nobody. The whole school was a ghost town.

Where is everyone? he wondered. Did Powder get the staff, too? Seems like I should've seen at least one person by now...

But the Institute yielded nothing except cold, dead silence. Until...

Skrshhh.

Evan's head snapped up. At first he thought he was imagining it, but then the noise came again. It sounded like someone scraping a chair across the floor.

Evan's heart leaped in his chest. Finally, another person! But he didn't dare call out. Instead, he moved quietly toward the noise, color seeping across his skin until he was nearly indistinguishable from the walls.

Skrshhh.

The sounds were still coming as Evan rounded the corner, scanning for the source. His eyes landed on a door near the end of the hallway. It looked like it had been barricaded shut, with chairs propped against it to keep it closed. However, there was someone moving them, and it was someone he recognized.

"Sam?" he called, voice weak with incredulity. The person by the door stopped, looking up.

"Evan?"







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