Chapter 27: Security
“Keep holding him, Edie,” Corrie said. Dawn couldn’t completely see what they were doing, since there was practically a wall of water between them, and it was taking all her strength just to keep enough water flowing to keep Paul down and confused. She just hoped that they were going to get the knife away from Paul soon.
She didn’t know why he had attacked her, but she had a sinking feeling she knew what was behind it. The knife was definitely magic. She wasn’t sure how bad the cut on her shoulder was, in large part because she couldn’t feel it. She’d felt a line of burning when it sliced her, and she could see and feel the blood dripping from it, but there was absolutely no sensation in the wound itself. Thankfully, she could still use her arm, but she didn’t know how long that would last.
And that had been no ordinary knife, either. It was clearly made of stone. And who but a faerie would have a reason to use a stone knife? Paul wasn’t a faerie… or didn’t appear to be. It was all so confusing.
Before she could come close to figuring anything out, though, there was a strange explosion of lightless heat, making her cough. Corrie fell backwards and didn’t movie.
Edie and Dawn both screamed. Dawn lost her concentration long enough for the water to die down. Thankfully, though, before Paul could stand up, the security guards arrived—two of them. One she recognized, Mark Gossett, who’d given Gilkey the announcements at the beginning of the year. Knowing it was someone she’d met before made her feel a little better.
The other security guard, an iron-haired, square-jawed woman, bent down to Paul and grabbed him by the shoulders. “This is the stalker?”
“That’s him,” Dawn said breathlessly.
“What on earth happened here?” Mr. Gossett asked, looking around. “Which one of you called me?”
“I’m not sure,” said Dawn.
“I called you,” said Edie. “I don’t know what happened but I think Corrie’s unconscious.”
“Right, we’d better get all of you to the hospital.” Gossett bent down and pressed his fingers to Corrie’s neck while the female security guard finished locking Paul’s arms into handcuffs. “She’s unconscious, your other friend is injured, and the rest of you are soaked.” He straightened up and picked up a radio at his belt. “Yeah, we do need real police and a couple of ambulances here. As soon as possible. Yeah, we can get them to the gate.” He glanced at the female guard. “You’ve got control of him, right?”
“Yeah, we’re fine here,” she said, rattling Paul’s handcuffs. He grimaced but didn’t speak. His very silence made Dawn’s stomach churn.
Gossett sighed, bent down, and lifted Corrie, whose head lolled alarmingly. He looked at Dawn. “Are you okay to walk? Any other injuries?”
“No, I’m fine.” She gingerly lifted her right hand and touched the wound. It felt sticky, but there was still no pain. It was starting to worry her. “Can we look for Professor Lal before we head to the gate?”
He frowned. “You’ve got a big slice in your shoulder and you want to talk about grades? Is that why you were here?”
“She’s our magic teacher,” Dawn said, slightly annoyed. She knew the security force knew about magic, though maybe they didn’t understand it. “There’s definitely some magic going on here—I mean, besides what I used for the water. I think the knife is magic. She’ll know what’s going on.”
“There’s no knife here,” said the female security guard.
Dawn looked around, then down at the ground where Corrie had been. She had no idea what had happened to the knife, and that worried her even more. “I guess it disappeared or something. We really need to get Professor Lal to help with that.”
“We need to get you two to the hospital,” Gossett said. “It’s freezing out here and your friend might have a concussion. Why don’t you just explain what happened as we walk?”
He didn’t give her a chance to turn back to the magic building, but started walking toward the front of campus. The female security guard marched Paul in front of her. Edie and Dawn had to hurry a bit to keep up. While Edie started to explain what they were doing out there, Dawn fished her phone out of her pocket. Her left arm was starting to tingle, and she didn’t want to move it. After staring at the phone blankly for a minute, she decided that Roe would be her best bet. The phone rang several times, and she was afraid Roe wouldn’t pick up, but at the last minute there was a breathless “Hello?”
“Roe? It’s Dawn. Listen, it’s a long story, and I swear we’ll tell you everything when we can, but Corrie, Edie and I are on our way to the hospital.”
“Oh my god!” Roe cried. “Uh, what can I do?”
“There’s definitely magic. I don’t think the hospital is going to be able to help me necessarily. Can you find Professor Lal? Or any of the magic professors… and if you can’t find any of them, go to the north end of campus, into the woods, and call for Tom.”
“Okay. Got it. I’ll call you back.”
“No, I’ll probably be in the hospital.” Dawn remembered from Lorelei’s curse how close the hospital was to campus. “I’ll call you when I can.”