The newest shipment of books had been brought into the school, but apparently whoever had been delivering it decided that it would be perfectly fine to leave the box (clearly marked “Books—For Library”) in the basement. There were a bunch of other unlabeled boxes down there, too, and Nigel
didn’t know what they were, nor did he care. He was only down here to pick up his box, and he was none to thrilled about it. There was… dust… and things down here, and he was trying to stay in the very center of the hallway so that no part of him touched anything, when he heard a door slam.“Hello?”
he called. No response. He carefully set down his box in the hallway and went to investigate. It was not his first instinct to check out a mysterious door slamming, and in fact, he would have preferred to evacuate the area as fast as possible. But, students were not allowed in the basement, and as a staff-member, he reluctantly figured it was his job to make sure that students followed the rules. It was probably just a teacher getting supplies or something. And was definitely not likely to be a rat or any sort of small animal… they wouldn’t worry about closing doors, right?
Still, better to be safe than sorry, so he sublimated himself, keeping himself far above the ground, but not against the ceiling or the walls, and he crept down the hallway toward the noise. Most of the doors were open, so Nigel only had to actually check a couple rooms. The first was completely empty, except for a filing cabinet and a stack of textbooks in a corner. The second seemed to have a lock on it, but Nigel tried the handle, and it opened. It seemed to contain a forest of some sort, and Nigel had no doubts that Daisy was to blame for there being a secret room full of nature in the basement. He was going to shut the door and back away quietly (because exploring nature was not in his job description), when he heard voices. Sighing, he resigned himself to the task. It just figured that the room with the people in it would be the room he least wanted to be in, but since he was already this far, he supposed he might as well have a look around to see if they were students or people who might have a right to be there.
Fortunately, as a mist, he did not have to climb down the cliff; he just floated toward the voices he had heard. Until they stopped speaking, that is. After that, he followed a rustling noise that may or may not have been the same people, or even a person at all. It could have been a rabid animal, but as he couldn’t be hurt in mist-form. His logic was sound, but his plan wasn’t. The rustling led him to a large pine tree on a ledge, and the branches were so close together that he could not see what was hiding there and making the shivery rustling noise. Reluctantly, he re-solidified (though he kept on the alert in case he needed to sublimate again in a hurry), and he approached the tree.
Nigel slowly turned the lower branches on the front part of the tree to mist and waved away the mist, letting the branches reform on the path behind him. In the opening, the curled up form of a little girl was revealed to him. She seemed to be rather scared, as she was hiding her eyes, and against his better judgment, Nigel felt bad for her. He crouched in front of her and said, “You’re not supposed to be in here. Come on.”
He held his hand out to her and only hoped that her hands wouldn’t be sticky.