- take hold of suddenly and forcibly.
The hallways were full, crowded from wall to wall as people pushed past each other to get to their next destination. Some moved slowly, jostled by shoulders as people walked by, calling out for people to join their army and shoving posters into hands.
Neutral academies like the one I attended were filled with both students and recruiters. It was a fight to get more people into one army over the other. Mandatory speeches were given from each side to sway students onto their side, preaching about the glory of their army, the ideals that were valued, and the strengths that they promised would win the war.
The last point always made me laugh as the war had been going on for centuries. If they were so strong, surely they would have already won.
A recruiter bumped into me and shoved a poster in my hands, already looking for her next target. I shoved it into my bag thoughtlessly, more focused on navigating the crowd to get to my dorm.
It took another twenty minutes and eight encounters with other recruiters before I made it to my dorm. I let out a sigh of relief when I reached the door and took a moment to let my forehead rest against it. It had been a long day, but no different from an other day.
My heart was still pounding from my speedwalking, going across campus, warming my body. The cool metal of the doorknob was a relief against my hands. I turned it slowly, listening carefully for the telltale ring of a bell. There was a small ring when I turned the doorknob, that turned louder and more energetic when I pushed open the door. The door creaked as it swung open on it’s old hinges, and the sound of small feet pattering around the room reached my ears.
Despite my fatigue, I couldn’t help but smile when I entered the door. Bell, my corgi and only family, greeted me by jumping on my legs, paws sliding down my pants as he moved.
“Hey Bell,” I grinned and leaned down to pet Bell. Satisfied with my greeting, Bell jumped down and walked across the room to his small pillow. He curled up and watched as I kicked off my shoes and threw my bag onto my bed.
Bell didn’t move at all, instead falling into a light doze that promised a nap. “Lazy dog,” I mumbled fondly as I collapsed into the worn desk chair on my side of the dorm. The old chair creaked under my sudden weight, and then some more as I spun to face my desk.