“What are you doing out here? You’re a long way from the academy.” Sam lifted his hand and shook all the leaves and twigs from his hair, smiling. He lightly jogged towards me, putting his hands in his pockets. “Mr. Parker found you a roommate. He also told me to tell you that he is having someone pick up all of your furniture and belongings from your old place to be brought here. It should take somewhere between three to four days.”
“I don’t know if my siblings will let him take my stuff.” Thinking of Poppy and Asher, I wondered if they would even notice I was gone. I had left a note on the counter telling them I would be going out, but I didn’t say for how long. Maybe later I would call them.
“They will, trust me, he has his ways,” he tapped his temple, that always grin sitting on his face. It seemed weird to always be so happy. We began to walk back to the campus. Our shoes crunching on the fallen leaves as we made our way through the trees.
“Do you know my new roommate?” Sam glanced back at me from where he was walking in front of me.
Lifting a stray branch up for me to walk under, he answered. “Her name is Juniper Carter.”
“Yeah, it’s different here compared to other places, roommates aren’t decided by gender or age but by compatibility. I don’t know much about her actually. She doesn’t have many friends and tends to stay away from people. Kind of a loner, you know.” Sam walked with me through the woods all the way back to the fountain. He pointed to the smallest building to the left of the main building.
“That’s the dorm you’ll be living in. You’re in room 303, so on the third floor.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I´ll see you tomorrow. Mr. Parker will probably send for you in the morning.”
“Thanks, Sam.” He waved nonchalantly and jogged to the dorms across from where I would be staying. It was going to be weird sharing a room with someone. I don’t think I had shared a room since I was about eight with Poppy.
I walked through the two small doors into the dorm. I took a deep breath and felt exalted for it, the sheer joy of being alive and being here in this moment was everything and anything I could have ever asked for. It was clean inside, a small reception desk sat before the doors, two comfortable looking white chairs next to it. A woman was at the reception desk, she looked to be in her mid thirties, her hair was a light strawberry blonde and a pencil was behind her ear. She was looking down at the desk, a look of concentration on her face. When the door closed behind me, she looked up, her eyes were a pure white, no pupils. I started but she just smiled.
“You must be Echo,” she said, standing up and walking out from behind the counter. She was wearing a short black skirt and a long sleeved white shirt with a red cardigan. She tilted her head at me, as if appraising me. I didn’t know where she was looking without her having any pupils. It seemed as though she caught me staring. She chuckled.
“Mr. Parker did say you grew up with the norms.” Tapping between her eyes, she said, “Don’t worry about my eyes. I’m not blind. They just ended up this way because the gods decided I didn’t need them. My name is Thalia Storm, I am the dorm mistress. You’ll get use to me.”
“There are gods too?” She smiled at me as if she knew something I didn´t.
“Yes, and you should expect to meet some at any point in time. Here, let me grab you a key and I’ll take you upstairs to meet Juni.” She went back behind the desk and grabbed something by where she had just been. She waved me towards her and I followed her down a brightly lit hall with a light blue carpet. There were many doors leading into the different girl´s rooms.
“There are about seventy five rooms in this building. Twenty five per floor. In some of the rooms there are two people and in others there are only one.”
“Why is that?”
“It’s either because of their power or because of their personality. But there are those instances where there just aren’t enough to fill the dorms. Right now we have one hundred and twenty three in this dorm ranging between the ages of fourteen and twenty two.”
“Why was my roommate, Juniper? Why was she by herself?”
“Juni is a precog. That means she can see the future. If she is around someone for long periods of time she has a higher chance of seeing that person’s future. We felt that it was in her best interest to not have her have to deal with that stress while she was here.”
“So why put me with her?” Thalia looked at me, appraising me with those fathomless white eyes, her head tilted and a spark of purple flared where her pupils should have been. The smile she gave me was warm, comforting but also held a well of secrets I would never unearth.
“She had a vision,” we turned a corner, Thalia stopped at a door with the wide number 303 written on it. She looked at me again before she finished her sentence, “and she asked for you to be her roommate.” I wonder what this vision had entailed, I thought to myself. “Here we are,” but before Thalia could even knock, the door opened.
In the threshold stood a sixteen year old girl. She was wearing light wash faded jeans and a white t shirt, her hair was cut into a short bob and was a shocking light green pastel color. She wasn’t even looking at Thalia, her eyes were on mine. Her face was oval and almost childlike, but her light chocolate brown eyes held more wisdom in them than I had ever seen. When she smiled at me, I felt as if I was seeing something very, very rare. She lifted a hand and touched my hair, letting her fingers slide through the strands. I leaned back from her, and gaped. I had no idea what to say or do.
“That’s odd, it was shorter in my vision.” She muttered to herself in a sing song voice. I just kind of gaped at her, unsure of what to do. Thalia was grinning at the both of us.
“Here is you key, Echo,” she said as she handed it to me. “You two will get along just fine.” Thalia winked at me, waved her hand at us before she turned to walk back down the empty halls. “Call me if you need anything.” She yelled back at the two of us. “And remember, lights out in thirty minutes.” This she said loud enough for the entire hall to hear. There were groans from many of the rooms.
Juniper chuckled. I looked at her and she looked straight back at me. That childlike grin was still on her face as if she had just met a famous star from Hollywood. She stepped aside for me to be able to walk into the room. I gave her a wide berth, not sure about the odd girl. It was a smaller room, but there were two beds on either side of the room, two desks touching each other and another door that I assumed led to a closet since I saw no dressers.
Juniper didn’t walk, she floated, I expected to see wings on her back but there were none. She didn’t seem like she would be the loner type Sam had described her as. She flopped onto one of the beds which meant that the other was probably mine. I went over to it and saw a booklet on the desk along with a black ribbon tied around a small panther plush toy.
“I don’t know when that got there,” Juniper muttered staring at me. “It just kind of showed up this morning after my first class. It’s weird since I didn’t see a vision of it even showing up.” I picked up the toy, holding its soft fabric in my hands. It reminded me of a toy my mother had given me when I was about five years old. I wished I still had it so I could have a memento of the woman who had raised me. Juni shifted on her bed, when I looked back up at her she was watching me. I began, fingering the ribbon around the stuffed animal.
“My precognition,” Juniper began without being prompted, she waved her hand nonchalantly in the air as if moving stray thoughts away. “It’s actually more random than everyone else’s powers. Most people have control over theirs, like you can control your telekinesis.” I stared at her, I hadn’t told her what I could do.
“You’ve seen this already?”
She grinned at me, “Don’t give me that look, you look like a mouse caught in a trap. Just remember I’ve seen you in my dreams. I know who you will become even if you don’t know it yet. Anyway, I could be taking a shower and see my test result in three days or I could be talking to someone and see their entire life. It’s random.”
“So you can’t control it?” I laid the small toy back on the desk, its softness still invading the senses on my fingertips.
“Not at all. There are times when I only see fragments of the future, like with knowing you before I even knew you existed. There are times I wish with all my might that I could see the entire thing so if something goes wrong in my visions I could do something about it when the time comes.” Her cheery attitude faded slightly at the remark, her eyes got a faraway look, sad. “I guess I’m just not strong enough for that. It makes me wonder if there’s the slightest chance that I’m only in the caterpillar stage and someday soon I’ll change into a butterfly.” She was gazing out the window, her chocolate eyes flaking with caramel. The moons rays hit through the window and shined on her face. At that moment, I swear I saw two large, luminous blue and gold wings flare open from her back, but when I blinked, they were gone.
“Anyway, Echo,” she looked at me, stared at my jeans and black t shirt before getting up and walking over to the door. She opened the closet, disappeared into the folds. I could hear her muttering quietly to herself before she came out with a folded pair of light blue pajamas. She walked back over to me, handing them over. “Call me Juni. And here, even though they are mine, they should fit you. go ahead and change into these so you can sleep more comfortably. If you want I can change in the bathroom while you change out here.”
“Okay.” She smiled, pranced back into the closet and came out with a pair of light yellow pjs in her hands. We spent the next couple minutes quietly getting changed for bed. The other door in the room was the bathroom. It was a toilet, shower and a small sink. It was big enough for two people to brush their teeth together (Juni provided an extra) but that was it. She showed me where the laundry baskets were kept in the closet and all the extra toiletries. Finally ready for bed, she glanced at the clock resting on her desk. “I have classes early, tomorrow. I think the Mad Hatter will show you around.”
“Mad Hatter?” It seemed like a name that would come from a fairytale book. Juni chuckled, lifting her blankets away from her bed so she could get under the covers.
“Oh, sorry, Mr. Parker, we call him the Mad Hatter.” She was walking over to the light switch on the other side of the room and I pushed down the covers to my own bed.
“He does seem a little,” I paused, thinking of the right word.
“Mad?” Juni interjected still standing by the switch.
“I was going to say strange, but mad works too.” I chuckled and she grinned at me.
“Lights out, everyone!” Thalia yelled from somewhere, her voice echoing as if she was standing right in the room with us.
“Night, Echo.” Juni uttered before flipping the switch of the lights. It was suddenly dark in the room, only the moon’s light from the window illuminating the floor as Juni walked back over to her bed. I got underneath the covers of my own bed.
“Good night, Juni.” I could hear her snuggle up into her pillows as we both began to fall asleep. It was a day I would never forget for the rest of my life.