That meant cayenne brownies had to happen. And then school had to happen. The new restrictions were likely to stay in place for a while, but at least nobody was going to get hurt. I left my phone at home and I’d already cleared everything remotely strange out of my locker.
Squeaky Clean Jane for a while, I’d decided. Especially given they had, in the first locker sweep, found four students with assorted drugs and suspended all of them. Mind you, one of them had over the counter allergy drugs, which shouldn’t have counted.
But. Yeah. The rest of us were being careful and the atmosphere was subdued. Quiet. I didn’t like it, really. It felt very stilted. This was what terrorism did, I decided, even the kind that wasn’t aimed at hurting anyone.
Now I knew how British people must have felt during the Troubles, except that I was sure they never actually noticed it. Fish in water. Not realizing you were wet. That meant it wasn’t over, not really.
Maybe I should have handed the guy over. It had felt like the right thing to do, but if they’d caught him, they’d…
…who was I kidding? They’d never relax the new rules, because they were rules they’d been looking to implement for ages. They wanted excuses to search us and run us through metal detectors.
I did wonder how the guy had got past those. Middle of the night again, I supposed. He must have had a key somehow. He was probably on the PTA or something. I hadn’t seen him before, but what did that mean?
I had never looked forward to graduating so much. People would get used to it all as the new normal. Were we any safer?
Not at all. And besides, nothing could stop some of the other stuff out there, and I was sensing a couple more presences. Things that had, perhaps, sneaked in during the entire mess. Or been called in or sent in. One of them was definitely hanging around Prue.
Good. She had backup. Not that I worried overmuch about Prue, but everyone needed backup sometimes. Even me. Maybe especially me. But then, I almost always seemed to end up being the backup. It was after I left, though, that it hit me.
A sense of presence that was definitely dark. Not demonic, no, but it was something along those lines. Jotun?
Jotun. Surtur’s friends were around again. “Dammit,” I muttered. “I’m not in the mood for this.”
I didn’t want the giant following me home, if that was what was on his or her mind. Instead, I headed for the sub shop I’d worked at. I’d finally got to the point where I could enjoy a sub again instead of being heartily tired of them, and why not get one?
There was certainly no reason not to. I munched on it, sitting at the table.
“Hadn’t expected to see you back in here,” called the guy behind the counter.
“I finally got past the stage of never wanting one of these subs again and realized they’re good.”
There was nobody else, so he stepped around the counter. I remembered that his name was Alex. “Yeah. I don’t know I’ll ever get to that point. I hear you’re rich now.”
I shook my head. “I could be rich, if I wanted to neglect my schoolwork. But I can’t stick around.”
I couldn’t. The giant was right outside. I could feel him.