A blinding crash followed by harrowing screams before morphing into a rapid fall into an abyss of utter darkness.
Layla Edwards awoke in cold sweat. Resting a hand on her head, she took a deep breath as she opened her eyes and took in her surroundings. Different hotel room. Same nightmare.
Standing at 5′7, Layla stared at her reflection in the full-length mirror. Long brunette waves cascading down her back framed high cheekbones, highlighting her full lips and olive complexion. Yet it were her eyes that illustrated what her face tried so hard to hide. They seemed to burn the brightest; a vivid shade of amber, only revealing years of uncertainty.
She stepped inside the vast closet which only made more spacious by the lack of clothing inside. Layla grabbed the first thing she saw; a plain white shirt and a pair of jeans along with her converses. Although it had been a while since she had last attended school, she didn’t waste time on clothing. One of the reasons she was going to this school was the uniform after all.
Distantly, she could make out the sound of a television blaring. As she listened, she realised that it was yet another news report. About her. She couldn’t help but smile slightly. They never did get it right. She glanced at the large clock on the mantel, realising it was time to leave. Making her way down the closed-off staircase, she heaved a sigh at the inconvenience of it all. Finally reaching the ground floor, she exited through the back entrance that happened to be specially reserved for her. She hadn’t told a soul where she was going, the answer to the absence of cameras.
She turned again as the driver opened the door for her, looking back at the hotel. So much for a home. Maybe she’d hold an emotional attachment to the place if she had lived there for more than a few days. It was her third hotel that week, the main reason she only carried a single suitcase. Her stylist would probably send the rest of her clothes to the school. She had left everything else behind.
Grudgingly taking a seat in the car, she nodded at the driver and they took off. Plugging in her headphones, she allowed her mind to wander as she stared out of the tinted windows. It was going to be a long drive.
It seemed like days before they finally arrived. The campus was situated in a well of seclusion which she was grateful for. The press wouldn’t find her here. The owner of the Academy was obviously particular about privacy. Thanking her driver, she took her own bag.
In trepidation, Layla approached the monumental building that was now her home. The name stood out before all else: Wentworth Academy, and below that in Italics:
Anatomiae ad reliques supra
"Anatomy for those above the rest,” Layla translated.
A cold feeling suddenly overtook her as she looked upon the bronzed gates in uneasiness. What should have been a somewhat inviting affair seemed to only have the opposite effect. So this was the school so many talked about. The school many would die for.
The security cameras that simultaneously all pointed at her certainly didn’t help matters. As if invading her thoughts, the gates suddenly swung open. The reality of the situation halted her as her mind travelled to a part she had tried so hard to hide, displaying only her vulnerability.
If only she had someone to say goodbye to. Her eyes momentarily turned soft at the thought yet turned to their original coldness soon after as she grew angry with herself. She was here for a reason. The whole point of this had been to move on from the past, not relive it.
Ignoring her nerves, Layla took a deep breath. She had survived worse.