School started. As usual, the school started with paperwork and pre-tests to see how much the children had retained over the summer. The library stayed mostly quiet as only the most studious or book lovers came to browse. It gave me time to keep getting to know the library and the wonderful books that filled it.
At meals, Caden made a point of sitting next to me with a big grin. I could see the other teachers and some students look at us speculatively. While I just rolled my eyes, I didn’t say anything. I really enjoyed the brief time talking with Caden. He would regale me tales about his students or history tidbits he could not share in class. Some meals I had to tell him to be quiet just so I could stop laughing long enough to eat something. The first few weeks of school passed quickly this way.
Then one morning as I dressed I glanced at the calendar and noticed that the next night would be the full moon. Not wanting to get in trouble, I went to Esther’s office after breakfast.
“Esther?” I said questioningly as I knocked lightly on the open door.
“Yes, Cassie. Come on in and have a seat,” she invited.
Suddenly nervous it took me a second before speaking, “The girls I watch over told me the story about the magically appearing door.”
“Oh dear,” Esther sighed, “I don’t think that story will ever go away.”
I nodded, “Probably not. Everyone loves to believe in a little magic.” When she smiled at me I continued, “Well, I didn’t want any of them to get it in their heads to sneak off to find the door and possibly get hurt,” taking a breath, I continued on, “So I offered to take anyone that wanted to go hunt for the door out on the full moon.”
I saw Esther frown slightly, but I kept talking, “My goal is that if a teacher takes them exploring, they will eventually find the hunt boring instead of exciting and I can hopefully keep them from doing anything dangerous.” I stopped, closing my mouth to keep babbling.
Esther frowned, but now she looked more interested and nodded slightly. “Let me get this straight,” she started, “You plan to take students hunting for the fictitious door as a way to bore them and stop them from doing something dangerous.”
I nodded, “Yeah?”
Suddenly she laughed, “Alright, that sounds like a good way to control it.” Seeing my surprised look she explained, “Every year we have several children breaking the rules to try and find the door. More often than not they get hurt. If we unofficially sanction a teacher taking them around, we might mitigate the issue.”
“So you are okay with me wandering around once a month with students in tow?” I asked
“Yes,” she paused, “but as you are new to the island, I think we should have another teacher go with you.”
She looked up, above my head and smiled, “Ah, Caden, just the person.”
I turned in my seat, to see Caden lean against the door jam. “I’m the right person for what?” he asked, smiling at us.
“Cassie, just proposed taking students out hunting for that fictitious door.” Esther explained.
“So she still plans to go through with it?” he asked, frowning at me slightly.
“I promised,” I argued defensively.
“Anyways,” Esther interrupted us glaring at each other, “I have given her permission. I agree it will help control the students from getting hurt.”
“And me?” he asked.
“As Cassie is new to the island, I would like to ask you to join her in leading the students,” Esther explained.
Caden looked at Esther then stared at me. His blue eyes stormed like he held back what he really wanted to say, biting out, “Fine. We start at 10 pm tomorrow night. Meet me in the front hallway.” He turned and walked off.
I turned back to Esther, who continued to watch the door curiously. “Thank you.”
“Oh, no problem, Dear. Have fun,” she dismissed me.
That night as I made my nightly round for lights out I reminded the girls about the deal. I told them I would take any who wanted around at 10 pm in the front hall.
As I left the last room, Jackie stopped me with a question, “Is it just for us or can other students join us?”
“Well,” I thought, “I think other students can join us as long as I receive direct permission from their hall teacher.”
At breakfast the next morning, Caden acted like his usual self, teasing and laughing until Rose Dragus walked up.
“Cassandra,” she drew out my full name, “I have a student telling me that you plan to lead them on a hunt for a magic door?” She asked, looking down her nose at me.
“Yes,” I said nodding.
“Fine,” she seemed to push out through clench teeth, “Clara can join you.” With that she walked away.
“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like me,” I muttered. “I wonder why?”
“Don’t let her get to you,” Caden said patting my hand, “Rose tends to be territorial.”
I looked at him, but he smiled at me, said goodbye, and left. I couldn’t help but wonder what tonight would bring.