Just this one scene. That's all you're getting. NO MORE PEER PRESSURE.
EDIT: Why oh why am I such a pushover. One more scene. One more very, VERY SHORT scene is added at the end now. NOW no more peer pressure!
Thalia ran through the old corridors of the abandoned building. Thick layers of dust muffled the sound of her desperate footsteps. It didn't matter that it left tracks – they would find her anyway.
A terrible shriek came from behind her. She gulped and hurried on.
A staircase loomed up in front of her. Up, Thalia thought. That was her only option. She took the stairs two at a time, almost tripping over her own feet when she reached the top. She caught herself and stumbled onto the landing. Another haunting scream echoed. Thalia scrambled up the next flight of stairs.
Her muscles ached and her lungs burned, but she wouldn't let herself stop running. The stairs turned from short bursts of straight stairs with landings in between them into one long, continuous spiral staircase. Thalia's vision swam slightly from exhaustion and dizziness. Finally, the stairs ended at a large oak door. Thalia threw her weight against it, not even bothering to try and open it the normal way. The door swung open upon impact, and she staggered most ungracefully after it. A cold wind immediately whipped through her hair and clothes.
The roof. She was standing on the roof. Thalia immediately snapped back to her senses and grinned. She could work with a roof, given enough time.
She didn't waste even a second. The door was slammed shut. There wasn't anything to barricade it with. It would just have to hold by itself. Thalia spun around again and dashed to the side of the roof, peering over. She was at least four or five stories above ground. A drainage pipe lead down to the ground, and it was old and rusting.
But she didn't have time to doubt its strength. It was the only way down that might not result in her being reduced to a bloody puddle.
Something slammed into the door. Thalia winced and glanced over her shoulder, grimacing. She had to work fast. Her belt was whipped off and slipped around the drainage pipe. It looked like it was only bound at the roof and the ground, which was good. There would be no restringing necessary during her escape.
Thalia positioned herself carefully. Her sneakers were balanced on the very edge of the roof, and she wrapped the belt twice around each hand before holding on as tight as she could. She was faced the door, the wind catching her coat and causing it to billow out behind her. Adrenaline put her heart on overdrive.
The door broke down, and Samhain walked through in her calm, unruffled manner. Two Nightmares followed her. A stab of fear raced through Thalia, but she had been most exposed to the corpse and wasp forms of the Nightmares. They still terrified her, but less so now. Over the past weeks, Thalia had come to realize that while it was fear that kept her human, at times like these, fear could suck it.
There was no time to be paralyzed by it. She just needed to take the terror in stride and overcome it.
Samhain frowned. It looked unnatural. “What are you doing?”
“Oh, nothing,” Thalia replied innocently.
Samhain's eyes flashed, and the picture of calm perfection was shattered. Her Nightmare arm twitched horribly, longing to close around its adversary's throat. She took a step forward. That was Thalia's cue.
“I'd love to stay and chat, but you know what they say.” She smiled her crazy smile. “Geronimo!”
She kicked off.
The bell above the door of James White's bookshop jingled merrily. He ambled out of the back rooms with an armful of books, smiling. His entire facial expression was slightly dazed, and his eyes seemed to have the habit of looking just over someone's head. When talking to the young man, many had the impression that he was never entirely listening to them.
James blinked slightly when he saw the person who had entered his shop. It was not the usual middle aged man or elderly couple. No. A teenage girl, maybe somewhere around fifteen or sixteen, was leaning back against the counter, looking around the store with a bored look on her face. Her black suit made her look rather professional, which confused James. Why would such a young girl be a professional? More importantly, what was a professional doing in his store?
The girl caught sight of him, and her expression lit up. She hurried up to him.
“Excuse me, do you happen to be Mr. James White?” she asked pleasantly
He nodded. “Er, yes. I am.”
“Good.” She pulled a pocket watch out of her blazer, checked the time, then smiled and replaced the watch. “If you have the time, can I ask you a few questions?”