Tobi turned to the others and swept her eyes over them, daring them to hurt her with their contempt.
“I’m sorry guys, I guess because of me we don’t get to go to bed yet.”
The other girls knew better than to retort. That was exactly what Miss Antonina was attempting to elicit from them. Instead, they collectively looked down at the floor and attempted to control their own emotions over this turn of events. Apprehension filled the room, Tobi’s stomach churned. All she could think about was the overpowering smell of mushrooms. The Nephormed wreaked of it when they opened their mouths to cry out. Their cries were barely audible, so low in decibel that they were nearly felt instead of heard. The combination was unnerving.
“Everyone out! Don’t bother with your shoes. I want a straight line behind Tobi. Go now!”
Tobi wasted no time in scampering to the sliding glass door through which they were to exit. The other girls scrambled to follow, mindful of staying in a line. Tobi couldn’t see her, but somehow knew that Tess had taken care to be the first one behind her. She was equally frightened and thankful for the other girl’s closeness. She took comfort in having an ally in this place, but knew that Miss Antonina missed nothing and that any human bonding wouldn’t be tolerated. Tobi had no idea what the Mistress would use to separate the two, but that her timing would be as precise and as effective as the incision from a surgeon’s scalpel. She dreaded when this time would come and she couldn’t keep herself from giving in to Tess’s magnetic draw.
“Open the door, Tobi, let’s go. We have a long evening ahead of us.”
Tobi obeyed immediately, sliding the latch that locked the door down and pulling the door to the left. She stepped out into the darkness and began to walk down the paved path toward the damp soil leading to the stream.
To be continued…