When Sedgwick and Hammer got back to their room, the power was out.
“It must be something to do with the dragon,” said Sedgwick. He looked around. “Candles,” he said.
He pulled two out of a drawer where Hammer glimpsed various other articles of seduction, set them on the small coffee table in between the two beds, and lit them. He opened the door to the fridge and retrieved two beers from the dark interior.
“What I know,” said Sedgwick. “Not much. It started last night.”
Sedgwick left the party in room 308 early. Samantha was texting him relentlessly. He made it back to his dorm room and tried to call her, but he couldn’t get through.
He went outside to get a breath of fresh air.
The whole thing with Sammy had begun as a summer fling a year ago. Did he love her? No. He couldn’t.
But there had been moments. Her rubbing sunscreen on his back before tubing the river. Exhausted afterwards. Her looking into his eyes.
“What am I going to do when you leave?”
He shrugged it off like it was nothing.
Maybe there was something there. Something worth preserving.
But no. Now was now. He typed out the text on his phone: “Sammy, we need to talk when I get back. I’m not sure if this is working.” Hit send.
It was then that he noticed the hooded figure along the periphery of the compound, inside the fence. He wore a ratty grey trenchcoat. His face was swathed in shadow. He was fingering a small, glowing box, like an illuminated rubiks cube.
“He was muttering something,” Sedgwick told Hammer, in their candlelit dorm.
“I don’t know! ‘Blah, blah, blah, I’m muttering something.’”
“Never mind. What happened next?”
“He saw me and dropped the cube. It sort of shattered on the ground and there was a rumbling, like something was angered. A glow, like, emanated from all of the pieces, and formed itself into a ball. It darted inside. I followed it.”
“So there it was, this glowing orb, just hanging out in the hallway of the dorm. I was just standing there, like, aghast. Then other people started to come out.
“At first they didn’t know what to do. Then they brought out their phones and started taking pictures.
With each picture they took, the light seemed to gain more and more form. First it separated into two glowing eyes. Then a head started to appear, long and snakelike, with flared nostrils. Then a long body.
“That’s about where you came in,” said Sedgwick.
Hammer woke up early in the morning after sleeping poorly. He had dreamed of a golden dragon soaring through the clouds.
The sky was just getting light. Suddenly the speakers around the dormitory blared, and a dry voice intoned: “all assemble for an emergency meeting! Meet in educational building two in five minutes.”
Follow Ed at @edjamesking