I stared at the assignment on the powerpoint in the front of the classroom. Seriously, it's college and they're still having us write essays about "what makes us special". Let me tell you something. I hate these assignments. Absolutely detest them. I abhor them. Honestly, who wants to write an entire essay about being different or outstanding when you're not. When you're just Mr. Ordinary.

I glared at Mr. Moore's head as he presented the project, hoping this would be the last assignment this year. I mean, please, no more essays. Earlier this year, Mr. Moore had us write an essay about pigs, egos, and oil. I'm not quite sure how they all correlated but it seemed to make sense to Mr. Moore.

"This assignment will be done in partners," Mr. Moore said gruffly, after pointlessly reading the entire powerpoint slide. "You and your partner have to describe what makes the other person unique." Oh lord, help me. Now someone else is going to describe how completely uninteresting I am. Wonderful.

Mr. Moore started pairing people as I pretended to listen. What I was actually doing was staring out the window, dreaming about what could be hidden in the depths of the ocean. How many new species could there be? Are there supernatural creatures hidden there, away from humanity? Or is life really as bland as it seems?

"Isaiah Messer." I snapped out of my reverie when I was called. "Gwen Avril." I looked around the room for Gwen, to get this project done and over with. My eye fell on a girl in the back of the room. I stifled a laugh. Goth. That's the only way to describe her. She was decked out in black leather and carefully applied black makeup. She even had a black folder set out in front of her. Her hands were tucked neatly in her lap, and she was glaring straight me.

I picked up my small satchel and walked over to her.

"Hello. I am Isaiah Messer, your partner in this project." I greeted, rather formally, I realized. I winced afterward. "Yeah." I added, in an attempt to make the atmosphere less formal. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in making it awkward. Did I mention that I was socially awkward?

Gwen continued glaring at me. "Your name." She inquired icily. I gaped at her. Did I not just state my full name-

"I asked for your name." She repeated, interrupting my thought process.

"Isaiah Messer." I said tightly. She lifted a pencil and wrote on a piece of binder paper. I blinked. She wasn't holding a pencil before, was she? And didn't she have her black folder out on her desk? Where'd the binder paper come from?

"Didn't you have a black folder out?" I asked curiously.

"Are you mental?" She replied nonchalantly, not even looking up from her work.

"No, I'm serious. And where did your pencil come from?"

Gwen finally looked up. "Staples. Ever heard of it? No? It's a store where you buy pencils. Do you want me to buy you one too?" She put down her pencil.

"Isaiah Messer, I know a few special things about you." She said slyly. My ears perked up. What could be special about me?

She rolled her eyes. "You're the most egotistical person I've ever met, and you have hallucinations."

Wait, what?

"I've got all I need for the essay, thank you." She stood and picked up her bag, which was black. Duh. In went a piece of binder paper, her pencil and a black folder. Again: wait, what? Before I could inquire about the black folder that appeared, disappeared, and was now back again, she was gone out the door.

I was about to go back to my seat to contemplate the mysterious black folder, but something caught my eye. A manilla folder rested on the floor under her desk with an apparent footprint on it. I leaned down and picked it up.

I felt my blood run cold. It was labeled "Isaiah Messer". Cautiously, I opened it and found, to my shock, a single ticket inside.

I muttered out the words.

"Evier Academy. Whether you are a mortal or otherwise."

What on Earth?


"What's your favorite color?"

"Black."

"Do you have any pets?"

"Yes."

"What animal?"

"Cat."

"Color?"

"Black."

"How did I guess?" I sighed. Gwen was Goth all the way. Seriously.

We were both in my dorm room trying to work on the English assignment. I am actually quite shocked, because, in relation to Goths, Gwen might be even more un-unique then me, which is shocking. Gwen was reclined on my couch while I sat straight and alert with a notepad in my hand.

"What are your favorite bands?"

"Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, The All-American Rejects." I stared at her.

"Aren't those punk bands?" I asked.

"What about it?"

"Aren't you Goth?"

"Goths can't listen to punk now? I see how it is." She replied. A smile grew on my face. Maybe there was something unique and not completely Goth-y about her. I wrote that down happily, but then I remembered the manilla folder and the ticket to Evier Academy.

I pulled the folder out of my backpack and laid it in front of her.

"Do you know what this is? I found it on the ground under your desk." I said bluntly. As soon as she saw it, she bolted straight up.

"That's…" I saw her eyes fall on my name on the side of the folder. "Mine." She finished, hesitantly. I smirked.

"Why were you keeping a folder with my name on it? I mean, I know I'm amazing, but you don't have to keep tabs on me." Hey, I do have an ego. Don't look so surprised.

Gwen's eyes narrowed and focused on the brown footstep on the folder.

"It used to have my name on it." She said coolly, as if the fact that it said "Isaiah Messer" and not "Gwen Avril" was my fault. Sheesh.

"What does the footprint have to do with it?" Translation: Why are you staring at the footprint? It seemed like the least rude way to say it.

She looked up. "It means that someone stepped on it." I opened my mouth to state that that was obvious but she beat me to it.

"And it means that you are now going to Evier Academy. Have fun." Gwen stood, picked up her bag and strode out the room.

I stared at the door that she had slammed just a moment ago. How did she know that there was a ticket to Evier Academy in the manilla folder?


"Okay, you are telling me, right this instant, what Evier Academy is." I demanded, slamming my books down in front of Gwen and her gothic friends. It's lunch. Her friends rolled their eyes and went back to the casual gothic conversation. At least I'm assuming so.

"Haven't you read the ticket?" She asked nonchalantly, checking her nails.

"Why are you being so difficult?" I sat down next to her.

"Difficult is my middle name." A smirk crossed her face. "Just go to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at King's Cross."

I groaned. "This is not Harry Potter! What is Evier Academy!"

"Evier Academy. Whether you are a mortal or otherwise." She quotes.

"Look, how do I get there?"

Her eyes flash to mine. "Midnight, tonight. Don't be late."

It was only after I walked away from the table in a daze and sat down at another did I realize that she hadn't requested a location.

I spent the rest of my precious lunch time trying to figure where she wanted us to meet at midnight, rather than eating. In the end, I scarfed down my pizza and just decided to go to the cafeteria.

For the rest of the day, I attended my classes but drifted during every one. My mind was off creating irrational scenarios in which my midnight meeting would go. Between Gwen turning into a fire-breathing dragon and me ending up as a frozen ice cube for the rest of eternity, I'd like to say that Gwen not turning up is the most plausible event.

That's why when the clock finally let me out of the last class today, I imagined it as the old and creaky grandfather clock striking twelve times throughout the town. I, still in a daze, walked towards the dorms when I suddenly remembered that I was to go to the cafeteria. Or at least, I assumed the cafeteria. It's odd. I've been daydreaming about the midnight meeting all day, but when it actually comes around, I nearly forget it.

Okay, maybe it hasn't actually come around yet. Maybe it's only six o'clock. Maybe there's still six hours till the meeting. Maybe I'm just a little antsy.

Usually, I'd use this time to catch up on studying or projects, but I couldn't concentrate right now, so I just walked to the cafeteria to wait out the six hours.

I sat down at a table and put my bags on the ground. Then, I noticed a friend of mine laughing with a crowd. Geoffrey Harter. I picked up my stuff again and strode over to him.

I opened my mouth to greet him, but the group just burst out laughing at something or other.

"Hi-" I started, after the laughter subsided. But a girl that I didn't recognize interrupted. I'm not sure if they even realized that I was speaking.

"I know! Like, if Teddy knew that Vanessa was like, totally over him, then like, yeah." Miss No Name Girl said.

"Hi," I started again. "Geof-"

"Oh my god. Nobody don't let Teddy know. I mean, everybody let Teddy know. I mean, don't let Teddy know, or I'll… I'll… I'll like, absolutely hate you." Finished another girl, whom I presumed to be Vanessa. The crowd burst out laughing again. I just nervously backed away from the group. I didn't want them to notice me anymore.

Geoffrey is popular, so it's sort of a miracle that we're friends at all, seeing as I'm considered "nerd." Obviously, he was with his popular buddies right now, working the gossip mill. I sighed and went back to my lonely table. Taking out a book, I immersed myself in the exciting tales of interplanetary war.

Soon enough, it was around ten o'clock, and I was falling asleep. One second I would be traveling the galaxy with a teddy bear as my assistant, the next I'd be sitting alone in a dark cafeteria, trying to read my book. Then I'd be discovering a land of dinosaurs, but then I'd come back to the cafeteria. After a while, I finally nodded off, though I'm not sure when. Time wasn't important when I was fighting the beast that guarded Hell.

Suddenly, I felt a sting on my cheek as the beast launched itself at me. Ow. It lifted a paw, and another sting met my cheek. Odd. I didn't think it touched me. Maybe it had a new ability, to attack from afar. The beast opened its mouth to growl, but words came out instead.

"Wake up, you good-for-nothing-sloth!" For a hairy beast, it seemed to have a very feminine voice. "You idiot. Do you really want me to pour ice-cold water on you?" Why would the beast of Hell want to pour water on me? Shouldn't it pour fire?

"Fire?" I murmured, trying to escape the ice-cold pelt of fire that the beast was launching at me. The beast laughed at me.

"That's it. Don't say I didn't warn you." In the next instant, everything went cold and suddenly the beast from Hell was gone and replaced by a Gwen Avril with an empty water bottle in hand. Sorry, did I say replaced? I meant evolved. Gwen was way scarier.

"You're late, it's 12:04." She sat down next to me. Gaping at her, I checked my watch, which was now wet, thanks to someone, and smirked.

"You're wrong. It's 12:05." Gwen glared at me.

"Anyway, the reason I called you here today," Gwen started.

"You sound like that character from SAO." I interrupted bluntly.

"Anyway," Gwen was getting mad. Time to tread safely. "You're here because you want to go to Evier Academy, right?"

I nodded mutely, even though I only came because I was curious.

"Okay, fine. You're here because you were curious. I get that." Surprised, I stared at her. Did she read my mind? Gwen smirked.

"Maybe. It's sort of a skill I acquired." She read my mind. What has come of this world?

"Did you learn that at Evier Academy?" I ask, inconspicuously backing away from Gwen on the bench. My shirt caught a needle in the bench. Who puts needles in benches?

"I put that there," Gwen said slyly.

"Okay, let me get this straight. You went to Evier Academy. You're psychic. You're telepathic. And, you're Goth." I added, as an afterthought. Apparently the wrong thing to say. Gwen narrowed her eyes and stood.

"What does being Goth have to do with anything?"

"Well, you're dark, and scary, and intimidating, and personally, I don't want to go to a school full of Gwens," I replied honestly. Her eyes darkened into a glare.

"Fine. I won't show you how to get to Evier Academy. I won't tell you about how everyone there probably hates your guts. I won't tell you that you will always regret the day you turned down the opportunity of your life. I won't say that you'll be one of the few mortals there. And I will not tell you, that if you walk between those two buildings behind you and turn left after your twentieth step or so, you'll reach Evier Academy. Good luck." With that, she winked at me before swiftly turning on her heel and striding away, the sound of her footsteps like a steady beat.

I was sure that she was upset in the beginning of her rant, but by the end, it was clear that she was just teasing. Allow me to add her to the long list of things that I don't understand. As her footsteps faded, I turned and looked around. There was a wide, grassy field that seemed to stretch on forever. I spun around again. Organized lunch tables. There were no buildings anywhere!

I refused to believe that Gwen had been lying. The more she talked about it, albeit very little, the more I was convinced that it would be exciting.

I turned in the general direction of the "buildings" that Gwen had mentioned. The grassy fields. I took a step forwards. The wind blew in my face, as if trying to tell me that she was obviously lying and that I shouldn't be fooled so easily. I took a deep breath in. Another step. Another.

Four. Five. Gwen said twenty, didn't she? What harm could taking twenty steps do? Honestly, I was expecting Gwen to suddenly pop out of nowhere laughing hysterically about how easily I fell for it. Six. Seven.

After a few more steps, the grass around me seemed to turn into a cobblestone street. The plain, black sky filled up with stars and the stretches of land on either side of me molded into elegant and dainty shops. Painted white with many pale flowers on the sides, they reminded me of fairy tales, too picturesque to be true.

I nearly lost count of my steps. I was at fourteen or fifteen. I could see a gap between buildings just up ahead on my left, and I grinned. Gwen wasn't lying.