Derek jumped back in shock and felt his ankle roll underneath him. He hadn’t been looking when the door had been opened, but now he stared ahead, and up, and further up.
The person standing in the door was quite simply the tallest person that he had ever seen. Not only that but her eyes were flashing and she looked like she might attack him at any given moment. She was also wearing a nun’s habit; and that somehow made the whole thing all the more terrifying.
“Shit!” Derek said, and felt perfectly justified in doing so.
The nun’s eyes got even wilder, and her nostrils flared, “Young man!” she said, “I’ll not hear language like that!” and out of nowhere a meter ruler appeared and smacked him on the wrist so hard that Derek thought he might have broken it.
“Fuck” he said, recoiling in shook; he hadn’t even seen the nun’s hand move. The ruler flashed again and collected on his other wrist.
“Mother…Dearest” said Derek; trying to suck air back down his throat. The nun moved her head to the side and up and looked thoughtful for a moment; then the ruler appeared again and hit him on the first wrist even harder than before.
The nun then drew herself even further up her full height and glowered like a gathering thunderstorm. “Why have you come here?!” she demanded.
Derek took a step back; he was sure that the earth was trembling with every syllable she used. Laurie stumbled back to join him, and Derek saw her gun hand twitching. He really didn’t think that would be enough.
Then he saw something that seemed incredibly unlikely under the circumstances. The kid walked quite calmly up to the nun and hugged her knees; it was like watching someone sticking their head inside the mouth of a wild lion.
The nun looked down at the kid like the peak of a mountain avalanching over; then she did the same thing in reverse and looked directly at Derek, if anything she looked even scarier than she had before.
She raised a long, bony finger and pointed it at Derek’s heart; and then she spoke like blasts of air from the depths of hell, “Who. Are. You?!”
Derek thought that had the sound of a final warning and he fumbled in his coat for his badge. He managed to get it out and held it up in front of him like a shield. The nun subjected it to a long glare; as though it were a condemned man and she were judge, jury, and executioner.
Then, after a long, heart stopping moment, the nun straightened back up and seemed to shrink; returning to the simple burning rage that Derek took to be her default mood. Then, without saying a word, she turned on the spot and glided back into the building; Derek didn’t see her legs moving.
She had taken the kid with her, he realized, it was easy to miss things like that.
Derek and Laurie stood on the doorstep and looked down the corridor. It was cold, and uninviting, and completely empty. She had left the door open though; so surely she meant for them to come in?
Derek looked at Laurie, and Laurie gave him a weak little smile back. Then she took a tentative step forward, and, not to be outdone, Derek took a big pace forward and crossed the threshold.
Derek fully expected to be struck dead by a lightning bolt of human skulls the instant he crossed into the corridor. But nothing came; everything stayed dead still.
Derek started putting one foot in front of the other and walking down the corridor; testing each foot step to make sure that the ground would still hold his weight.
He glanced behind him and saw that Laurie was doing the same thing he was. They moved down the corridor together; searching every shadow as they went.
After they had made it a few meters from the entrance, the door slowly swung closed and shut with a final sounding click. Derek and Laurie both turned around at this and looked at the door. “It’s just the wind” said Derek; aware that he wasn’t even convincing himself.
They made it to the end of the corridor and turned ninety degrees; there was another corridor now; with rooms coming off either side. With nowhere else to go the two of them started making their way down this corridor as well.
The whole building had a strange smell like wet chips, and it didn’t seem like any school that Derek had ever seen before. There was a strange voice on the air which turned out to belong to a TV; playing on low to an empty room. Derek kept walking.
They reached the end of the corridor and made another ninety degree bend into a third corridor. Derek wondered where it all ended; the building hadn’t seemed that big from the outside.
Derek was feeling a little more confident now; he felt he knew what to expect; and even if what he was expecting was endlessly recurring corridors, it still made him feel more confident.
Derek strode down this corridor and came eye to eye with the nun.