“Madge, the professors and our boss has disappeared”, Sid said as we hurried down the corridor. The dreary janitor office faded in the background. My hair catches in my mouth as I catch what I think will be the last glimpse of half my life. After my father died I had to quit my kickboxing and get a job here. Almost passing the library where the gathering has been called. Sid and I enter. First thing in my mind is why am I here and where are the professors? I do a quick head count, seventeen, twenty-six less than usual.

Tehl, the all-round scholar and “Mr Popular” standing on top of a desk, quietens us down. “I’ve called this meeting due to the warning that has arisen”.

Quiet whispers break out as Isabella his girlfriend whispers something in Tehl’s ear,

“Yes, I can confirm the professors have vanished and everyone over 25”.

Loud gasps are audible.

“A storm is brewing from the West, the professors have prepared for this moment, which was prophesied by the mages” Tehl continues as confusion creeps over us.

“I have been entrusted with the device, that holds the balance of power, it will decide the future of our world. Time is short, action must be taken. Five of us here will venture to the Round Towers, so the wielder of the device can stop this madness”

By this point I can see fear seeping into the faces of the scholars. Their comfort is found by burying their noses in the manuscripts, not having the fate of the world rest on their shoulders. Sid’s face mirrors my thoughts. Tehl’s mission is a far cry away from success.

“The ones chosen for this important task are Isabella, the Gridgewell twins, and myself” Tehl proclaims,”leaving one more place for anyone to volunteer”

I look around to where no one makes eye contact, in hopes of avoiding the tragic choice before them. I feel a slight nudge on my shoulder and find myself saying “I’ll go.”

The whispering stops as all eyes rest on me.

“Come here” Tehl demands.

I somehow find the strength to not shake as my legs carry me to the centre of the room. Sid, who I’ve known my whole life, stares at me, like I’m an alien, her mouth forming an “O” shape. My gaze focuses as Tehl towers over me, asking my name.

“Madge, my name is Madge”

Tehl’s gaze drifts to the other people who continue to stare at their feet. The task ahead will be dangerous and daunting. The team and I don’t have time to be slowed down or to have a baby with us. But the mages told the professors there had to be five on the trip, so keep up.”

I can feel my face growing red but refuse to let him intimidate me.

As everyone dispersed I followed the corridor to my locker, grabbing my coat and bag of a change of clothes and my mother’s locket. Not much, but enough to survive. Sid’s face is full of tears as I hug her for the last time. The others are waiting for me to leave. Tehl leads the way out and I turn away from the building where my main memories were made.