Chapter 3 (Rune)Mature

Rune

Rune Pipher found his room location on the map and headed in that general direction. There were butterflies whirling around in his stomach, and he wished for the umpteenth time that he was as emotionally strong as he was physically strong.

Rune's muscular, stocky appearance gave the impression that he was a generally very invincible person. Stupid physiognomy, he thought to himself. I wish people didn't always assume I'm as courageous as I look to be.

Sighing, Rune found his room and locked himself inside. Letting out a long breath, he fell back onto his bed and lay there for a long time before it registered in his mind that there was a bunk bed above him.

I'm sharing my room with someone else?

The thought was immediately distasteful to Rune, and he glanced around the room to see if he was alone. Yes, he was, but who knew how long that would last?

Rune heard a rattling at the door and looked over to see the doorknob turn. It took him a moment to remember he'd locked the door.

"Come in," Rune said as he unlocked and opened the door.

There stood a tall, blonde young man with huge hazel eyes. For a moment, Rune was lost in thought. Where had he seen this man before?

"Umm...are you going to let me in?"

Rune laughed. "Sorry," he apologized. "I just...why do I feel like I recognize you?"

"I'm Casady Conlin. Who are you?"

"Rune Pipher."

The man - no, Casady Conlin - set down his map and looked around the room. It was then that Rune realized they had no belongings with them. Puzzled, he strode over to a set of drawers and pulled one of the drawers open. Inside, several uniformish outfits had been perfectly folded and placed.

"Looks like we don't have any stuff of our own," Casady said, raising his eyebrows. "It's like we were kidnaped or something."

"Yeah," said Rune, chuckling nervously. "Maybe we were."

Though the words had been spoken in jest, both Rune and Casady grew silent. A chill snaked down Rune's spine, and he looked over to meet Casady's suddenly-suspicious eyes.

Then, Casady threw back his head and laughed. "Of course we weren't kidnaped!" he exclaimed, then let out a loud belly-laugh.

For some reason, Rune felt like belly-laughing, too. The fact that he'd wondered if they'd been kidnaped seemed suddenly hysterical, and he released a guffaw. The two stood in the room, laughing, because the idea that they'd been kidnaped seemed so utterly preposterous.

Rune didn't know why.

It just...did.

The End

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