Thursday, 11/28/2250 – By Kayla Salmon.
The Headmaster, Rodney Murdoch, usually stayed on campus for some of the major family holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and while most of the Murdoch family who was not in attendance at the Academy would come to see him during Winter Break, Thanksgiving was usually more up in the air. Will was very close with the older man and as such almost always stayed over the extended weekend while his cousins went home to see the rest of the family. Most of them lived in Chicago, but a few lived in the towns close by, or in the suburban areas outside of the city.
And Thanksgiving at the campus wasn’t such a bad thing. A decent amount of students stayed at the school during the extended weekend, not wanting to travel home, only to have to travel out again a few weeks later when the end of the semester came. And the dining hall always gave them a grand dinner, just as good as any home cooked meal, as always.
Will didn’t know why his eyes opened when they did, but the common room of his suite was dark, the kitchen light the only one still on. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and slowly sat up. He yawned and debated about rolling back over and sleeping some more, still feeling lethargic from the large dinner and his nap. The boys in their suite rarely locked their bedroom doors, just usually the door to the common room, and he could see that Ian and Tamarin were both out, doing whatever. Carter’s door was shut, but that was because he’d gone home. He recalled that they’d mentioned heading to the pub in town, the Headless Horseman, so they were probably there.
A shiver ran through him and he realized how cold it was getting in the room, and he stepped over to the thermostat to turn the air up some more. He couldn’t even see out of the main window in the common room, it was dark and flat, like the snow was coming down hard.
Unlike the Academy dormitories, the University dormitories were made up of suites, with four single bedrooms attached to a common room, two bathrooms and a kitchen, so each student had their own private room. He stepped into his suite’s kitchen and as he opened the cabinets to grab a mug, he realized he could hear voices from down the hall. He assumed it was Ian and Tamarin, maybe even a couple other people coming back in from the blizzard outside and making their way to their rooms. Only the sounds didn’t come closer or disappear, in fact they started to sound more… aggressive.
Curiosity got the better of the vampire and he poked his head out of the suite door. He could hear the voices coming from the Billiards Room just around the other hallway and it sounded like they were arguing. He shut the door quietly behind him and walked up the hall towards the voices, debating whether he should interfere or just head back to his room.
“Just relax, deep breaths,” He heard one of the voices say, but the other voice was growling and Will paused, debating back and forth with himself about going around the corner and getting involved with whatever was going on.
“Damn it Reid, listen to me… oh fuck-” The voice continued, but a loud snarl tore through the air and Will blinked before finally looking around the corner at the voices.
While Will had never seen a werewolf transform in person, he’d seen the documentaries and video clips that they had to watch in their Species Anatomy classes in his Academy years, and it most certainly looked like a werewolf transforming. He blinked in confusion, wondering why he, the werewolf, wasn’t in the basement, where they had padded steel enforced rooms to trap the cursed shapeshifters in.
The other man seemed to finally notice Will and he turned and looked at him, cursing again. “Shit, shit, what are you waiting for? Run!” He snapped, gesturing with his hands for Will to get a move on. He wondered for a moment if he should run. Well, he obviously should for self preservation reasons. He was a vampire and a mage, but that didn’t mean he had the physical strength to take on a werewolf. But that didn’t mean he should leave the other guy there helpless, right?
But it didn’t look like he was helpless, as the other student was turning to face the werewolf, who was still writhing on the floor, in pain from the transformation. The older transformed quickly and painlessly into a bear, taking his clothes with him in the transformation process. It meant he was likely a skinwalker and Will paused for only a moment before he finally turned and ran back towards the fitness room. A bear could handle a werewolf, right?
Just in case, he was heading towards the fitness room, which was filled with machines and weights, which he knew he could pile against the door. He slipped inside, not bothering to be quiet. A werewolf would be able to pick up his scent so the sounds didn’t really matter much, and quickly shut and locked the door behind him. He grabbed the smallest set of weights first and set them by the door, then quickly began rolling the larger sets to build a barricade.
A lot of noise was coming from the direction of the foyer in the front hall. They’d probably moved from the small room out into the main area in their brawl, but Will was not eager to find out one way or another. He continued piling as many weights in front of the door as possible, but he hit a snag. There were more machines than there were free weights and he didn’t have the muscle strength, or the magical capability, to lift the machines by himself. Fuck. The noises from down the hall went silent and Will felt guilty for a moment. What if the skinwalker was dead? The werewolf would be heading his way and he didn’t have near enough support to keep the door shut through the night. He bit his lip as he looked around.
His eyes landed on the locker room and he took a deep breath as he realized something. Each of the bathrooms in the dormitories had ventilation shafts in them to keep warm wet air from saturating the room, which could cause mold. He was pretty sure all the shafts were connected together, and that meant there had to be one in the locker room.
Abandoning his barricade, Will made a break for the locker room just as he heard the first slam of the werewolf against the fitness room door. It startled him, but he kept going. Sure enough in the shower area there was a vent. He hurried back into the fitness area to try and find something to give him a boost up. He grabbed one of the small chairs, hauling it in and positioning it under the vent as he tried to not let the slamming of the werewolf against the door rattle him. He fished a pocket knife out of his back pocket and went to work unscrewing the vent. It clattered to the ground, but he didn’t really care and instead reached up began hoisting himself up into the shaft. It wasn’t too tight of a fit, luckily, but definitely too small for a werewolf. He used his forearms and knees to push himself along, farther away from the opening.
Once he was far enough away from the opening, he allowed himself to calm down some. Luckily, his phone was also in his pocket, however the screen told him he had no service. Which made sense given he was literally stuck in between the ceiling of the first floor and the floor of the second. However, given each of the suites all had their own WiFi receptors, he had plenty of internet.
Apparently he wasn’t the only one having werewolf problems. Which made sense, he knew that there was at least one werewolf on the staff, Professor Vander.
Guys I’m trapped in the A/C vent system in the uni dorms with a werewolf, send reinforcements, he wrote on the social media site, before scrolling through the previous feeds. He grimaced. Apparently some of the Academy students were trapped with not only Vander, but another werewolf as well. He could hear pacing from the fitness room below, and the growls and confusion of the werewolf, the ventilation shaft carrying his scent to different places. If he kept quiet, the wolf might not be able to even pinpoint his location, and he’d be able to ride it out. Another pang of guilt hit him as he remembered the other man, the skinwalker, who was at best knocked out cold, or at worst dead. Will knew he’d have to try and keep the werewolf’s attention so he wouldn’t head back and kill or even try to eat the skinwalker.
He sat in silence and listened to the werewolf, who let out a loud howl and seemed to move closer to the locker room. He winced as his phone dinged a response and the wolf began throwing his weight around in the locker room. The vampire scooted a little further away from where he had come up and pulled his phone back out. He glared at the screen, and one of his fellow student’s snarky response. He held up his phone and took a picture of the shaft and sent it along with the text, I’m serious, he’s trying to get in, fuck your video game references.
Doubting that he’d get any help from outside, what with the chaos over at the Primary Building, he shoved his phone back into his pocket and tried to think of a plan.
Luckily, it didn’t sound like there was anyone else in the university, but that seemed to be the only bright side as he moved along the vent. He reached another shaft and could see down into the inside of another room. It looked like one of the bathrooms in the suites and he unscrewed the corners before quietly lifting the hatch. He paused as the metal of the hatch scraped against the metal of the vent, listening for the werewolf. But he was only met with silence. Swallowing, he slipped down, putting his feet on the counter before lowering himself to the floor. He wasn’t sure whose room he’d come out in, certainly not his own, but a glance at the window in the common room got him thinking. He was a mage, he’d taken magic classes all throughout the Academy and even some of the college ones in more recent years. He wasn’t great like a witch or wizard with pulling magic from themselves, but he was pretty good with elemental magic. And that snowstorm outside was giving him plenty to work with. He walked slowly over to the window, listening for sounds of the werewolf as he did, and then slowly unlocked the window and tugged the glass panes upwards.
He was met with wind and freezing snow, and even a little bit of hail, almost immediately. He turned, waiting despite the freezing wind at his back, listening for any sound or movement. He didn’t really want to move from the room, but if the wolf didn’t find him soon, he was going to have to hunt him down, especially if that skinwalker was still alive.
Clicking of claws on the tile outside came slowly, like the wolf was prowling for him and Will reached behind him and gripped the edge of the windowsill. Maybe he could end up just jumping out and making a break for it? He could try and lead it somewhere, maybe trap it into the locker rooms over at the University building. However, he really didn’t like the idea of the werewolf possibly getting over somewhere else, like one of the Academy dorms or even to the town. A loud slam came as the wolf threw itself against the door to the common room. Will winced and took a deep breath trying to steady himself.
It took only a few more lunges before the door, which didn’t even appear to be locked, gave way, letting the brown wolf into the room. It shook its head and folded its ears back before curling its lips back in a loud snarl. Will pulled snow into the room with his magic, unleashing a furious swirl of snow and ice on the canine. He dodged, ducking and rolling across the ground. He sprinted back towards the bathroom only to feint to the side at the last moment. It didn’t leave the wolf on his tail a chance to stop though, and the creature slammed hard into the counter in the bathroom, shaking its head as it readjusted.
Will didn’t give it time to get its bearings and instead slammed the door to the bathroom shut, pulling in more and more snow and freezing it in front of the door. The wolf didn’t have the room in the small bathroom it needed to ram the door with the ferocity it required to break through not only the door, but the ice that was reinforcing the door.
The mage panted and leaned against the couch, before sliding it, and the rest of the furniture in the room to barricade the door. He pulled more snow in, freezing all the furniture and connecting it to the frozen door.
Once he was sure the wolf wasn’t getting out, he turned down the thermostat in the room so the ice wouldn’t defrost as quickly. He’d have to come back in periodically to check to make sure it was still frozen solid, but it only needed to last till daybreak. It gave him plenty of time to go and check on the skinwalker and help him in whatever way he could.