Alice lay still, dreaming away, oblivious to what was going on around her. She thought about all she’d done and how—
“I said get up!”
Alice fidgeted, similar to a child not wishing to go to school.
“Trainee! Get off your arse! We need you!”
She opened her eyes. Rolling onto her back she looked up at the stone ceiling. She could’ve sworn she’d heard a voice, but the corridor was empty.
Suddenly the world shook, flickered slightly and went black. Alice panicked, before remembering. Muttering, she reached up and took the helmet off, blinking in the relatively bright light of her surroundings. Slowly her eyes adjusted, and she felt herself being dragged to her feet. Wobbling slightly, she gained her footing and proceeded to remove the pressure vest. Several acolytes rushed to her aid and she felt the heavy gear lifted off of her. Still feeling a bit woozy, she stretched and rubbed her back. Turning she saw the face of her commander, Matthias.
“Trainee, what the hell was that?” his voice was stern, his face more so, although Alice couldn’t remember any situations where he hadn’t looked happy. The acolytes claimed he hadn’t smiled in years.
“What?” she drearily replied
“Damn it! Get a hold of yourself! You fell for the easiest trick in the book!” Matthias grabbed her shoulder and shook her roughly. Alice shook her head quickly, clearing her thoughts. “You’re lucky we’re running low on members, otherwise you would’ve been out of that door by now” he gestured vaguely at a door marked ‘EXIT’.
Matthias stared hard into Alice’s eyes for several seconds, before moving towards a console and typing on the keyboard. Alice followed him and gazed at the multiple screens. Each one showed a different location in the building, although she only recognized two of them; one that showed the room they were in, and another with a view of an upstairs room she’d visited once or twice. On the bed lay the slumbering form of Dark, the cat. She scanned the monitors out of habit from being an acolyte, before her eye caught something on one of the smaller monitors. A man in a suit, standing in one of the hallways. Acolytes passed by apparently without noticing him, engaged in their trivial conversations.
“Sir” she quietly whispered while pointing at the man. “Who is that?”
Matthias looked at the screen, his face scrunched up as he searched his memory.
“Him? Oh he’s one of the new acolytes, I can’t remember his name, you should ask Amelia about him, she handles the new recruits”
“No not him” Alice sighed, and pointed again. “The man in the suit”
Matthias turned to her, then looked back at the screen. He spoke slowly and carefully. “Uh… there is no man in a suit”
Alice stopped and stared. She could see him, he was right there. Her eyes grew wide and she stepped back from the monitor, unable to stop looking at him. The man on the screen stopped, and looked up, not at the camera but, to Alice’s horror, directly at her. A pain built up, she felt as if someone had shoved a blunt blade straight through her skull. Clutching her head in pain, she dropped to her knees and screamed. Acolytes ran to her assistance, but not one knew the cause or how to help. They stared wide-eyed at each other, looking for help or some kind of idea as to what they had to do. Matthias rushed to Alice’s aid, pushing Acolytes out of the way. He attempted to ask her what the problem was, but Alice could only hear the painful screeching, before she collapsed out of exhaustion. Acolytes rushed around her, calling for help and sending her to the medical room.
Alice lay still, her mind screaming out but her body refusing to comply. She wanted to weep, or at least tell the others how she was. Finding herself unable to contact anyone, she put her mind to trying to solve these problems. Who was the man? What had he done? What was he? Her body lay still and unresponsive. An acolyte sat by her side, tending to her day and night. When no one was around he sat chanting. Magic was outlawed in society, but right now the acolyte knew magic was the only thing that could save Alice.
The suited man, apparently satisfied with his work, adjusted his tie, and stepped back through the wall.