Lisha groaned as she trudged up the stairs to her floor of the dorms. It was one of the tallest buildings at the university, but she was thankful that she was only on the third floor instead of clear up on the sixth; that was a brutal walk for eight-, nine-, and ten-year students if they weren't allowed to use magic to get to their room.

Without magic, Lisha had to use the well-worn stairs that were faded with the countless students making their way up and down the century-old building. The center of each stair was bowed out where their footsteps had worn down the stone.

Winter break was always harder than most days because there was no one to greet or chat with for breaks, nor did she have anyone to commiserate with along the way. She had her heavy coat over her shoulder and her boots on top of a box of supplies in her arms.

The supplies were a necessity with the university on break. The kitchens were only open every other day with shortened hours. Meals were packaged and available for pickup, thought some of the first- and second-year students would earn a few marks by delivering food to rooms. Everyone was given a few days of easy-to-eat meals with fresh vegetables and food that could spoil, then longer-term rations for when the schedules didn't line up or there was an unexpected sickness.

Lisha shuddered at the memory of her first year. She had gotten sick after the first week and had to have food delivered while she was caught in the throes of fever chills and nightmares. Every year since, she collected a purse of delivery money through the year to handle deliveries during the winter and summer breaks.

She finally reached the top floor. Sweat prickling her skin, she hefted the box and staggered down the hall. On either side, the doors to the various rooms were closed and usually locked. The boards on each one had signs of well wishes, safe journeys, and more than a little profanity. The RA, Emily, had left first and everyone had taken advantage to draw dicks, pussies, and “preferred” sex positions, on almost every writing door.

Lisha shook her head with amusement as she passed her room. Naturally, someone drew Penelope with a tentacle monster. Even if no one knew that she had a real one, her interests in monsters was well known from her questions and “research material” as she liked to call it.

Lisha put her supplies in the kitchen area at the far end of the hall, putting what needed to go into the ice box and the rest in the empty shelves. Once she was done, she carried her coat and boots back down the hall, past the showering area, and back to her room.

The third-year students had a single room apartment with a small kitchen area to the right of the door and a casual area to the left. A half-wall separated the back half from the front with the beds and study areas near the windows. Lisha's side was on the left. It was plain and frugal compared to Penelope's side. Her roommate had left a mess of clothes strewn everywhere, boxes upended, and her homework scattered across the floor.

“By the ancestors,” Lisha muttered as she hung up her coat. They had an understanding about cleaning, but Penelope frequently forgot to tidy up her area. It always gave Lisha anxiety when she looked at it and the idea of spending the entire holiday staring at the mess caused the small of her back and shoulders to throb.

A faint chime rang out. She reflexively glanced at the source, a large knob set in the wall near the door. The knob rotated an arrow that pointed to five sections: unoccupied, do not disturb, waiting for someone, open to company, in distress, and in danger. There was a matching one on the far side of the room, centered between the windows.

She hesitated to move it away from its customary unoccupied setting but it was the winter break and there were very few people in the dorm if she needed help. She grabbed it and turned it to “do not disturb.”

The other handle also rotated in tandem with hers with a faint clicking noise.

She released the knob.

Outside of her room, both above the door in the hall and on a lamp between her windows, a lamp lit up in a faint blue color to indicate her presence in the room. If she turned it to “distress,” the color would have been yellow and “danger” turned it red and set off a bell that was monitoring across the campus.

During the break, “waiting for someone” would be used to request the younger students to bring food or supplies. Unofficially, it was also used to indicate an interest in a little intimate company but only when used well after midnight.

With her presence registered, Lisha set about cleaning up the room to enjoy her fifty days of relatively solitude: clothes were tossed into their respective hampers, dishes scrubbed clean, and papers picked up. It was tedious, frustrating work but having a tidy room would let her relax.

At least until she got to Penelope's bed. She almost gave up on the overwhelming mess, but her anxiety was already causing her shoulders to ache and her hands to twitch. She groaned and sat on the bed.

A sharp edge dug into her rear.

“Ouch!” she yelped and looked down. There was something underneath the piles of discarded panties and blouses. She tossed the clothes to the side to find that one of Penelope's travel bags was buried underneath the mess. It was closer to a messenger bag, with a long strap suitable for carrying around through a trip. Usually it would contain travel papers and entertainment.

Lisha hefted it, there was a heavy book inside it. It felt like one of the school's text books. No doubt Penelope taking homework with her to work on her trip. Lisha grinned, no wonder she left it behind.

Setting it aside, Lisha finished cleaning the rest of the room. Once she was done, she set the bag in the center of Penelope's bed so her roommate would find it as soon as she came home. The family crest looked out of place with the flower print comforter, but at least Lisha wouldn't have to worry about it.

Lisha sat on her bed. She was satisfied with the lack of mess.

She curled her feet underneath her.

She toyed with her shirt.

She looked around.

She considered doing homework but there was nothing.

She unbuttoned her shirt and shrugged it off.

She sighed.

She toyed with her bra lacing.

Lisha was bored.

After weeks of having someone in the room almost all the time, it felt empty and lonely. The discomforting silence of not hearing fighting or fucking from the hall was disquieting.

She glanced at the bag in the center of her roommate's bed.

There was a book, maybe it was something new to read?

Or food? She wouldn't want it to spoil and stink up the room.

Lisha shook her head. “No,” she whispered. She would respect Penelope's privacy.

With a groan, she slumped on the bed and wracked her mind for something to do.

She could read a book but she knew all the ones in her room by heart.

She could check other rooms for something new, but wasn't even a day since everyone left. She still had half a month of this.

She could eat. Her hand pressed against her belly; it was softer than she liked. The university feed their students well and she wasn't spending her days walking along the mountains anymore.

She could exercise, but the idea of working out alone in a winter night meant she would be trudging up the stairs again. She had no intent in doing that.

Her gaze returned to the bag. She worried her bottom lip as she considered looking inside. “Maybe… there is food. Yeah, she probably likes to snack.” She blushed. “My skinny, rail-thin roommate likes to eat all the time. And it would go bad because she forgot to bring it with her.”

It was a lie, but she needed something to appease her guilt.

Blushing despite no one looking, she levered herself off the bed and inched over to the other side of the room. She half expected Penelope to burst into the room and catch her.

The bed sagged when she knelt on it.

Her fingers trembled as she picked it up and opened it out.

Inside were some papers in envelopes and a thick book with the family crest on it. The contents of one of the folders was obvious, notes and letters to her family stuffed into envelopes and sealed. Another folder had the school's insignia on it, probably grades and letters of accomplishments. The final folder looked more haphazard, with well-worn edges of papers roughly stuffed into the folder. There was a faint wrinkle on one side.

Lisha knew that she was blushing as she eased out the last folder, as if someone was watching. She held it carefully so she could put it back without revealing she was pawing through it, and then opened it up.

It was hand-written words in Penelope's neat writing. Line after line in almost perfect block letters and precise justification. It was how she wrote most of her school essays and took notes, when she bothered to go to class.

Curious, Lisha wondered what class caught her roommate's attention. She opened up to a random page and pulled out a page to read it.

“… as she looked deep into her eyes, she sank down to her knees. Her thighs spread apart until she felt the vibrating ridge of rock line up to her slick—”

It was porn.

Between her legs, a heat began to flower as she stared at the illicit words.

The folder in her hand rustled as she scanned the page, picking out words of a submission scene, oral sex, and what appeared to be some sort of sex toy

Between her own legs, a fluttering heat ignited.

Without thinking, Lisha started to set down the folder to free her hand when she realized what she was doing.

“Ancestors!” she cried and tossed the folder aside. It hit the wall and exploded into a shower of papers in all directions. Pages of erotica and porn fluttered everywhere, covering the room she spent an hour trying to clean. She caught snippets and fragments of different stories, mere words that ignited a cacophony of sexual images.

The bag on her lap tilted off and the heavy book slid out and landed on the bed. It was dusty and discolored. For a moment, she could have sworn the dust fell off, but on second look of the untitled book, she noticed that it was tiny webs glued to the front. The open edge of the book was stained with the countless shapes of fingers from where Penelope had closed it with wet fingers.

She gasped.

The musky smell of sex, Penelope's, rose up. The entire book was drenched in her scent.

“Oh, Ancestors,” Lisha whispered as she stared at the book.

It was “the book.”

Lisha scrambled off the be. “Oh fuck!” she gasped as she stared at Penelope's private book of sexual summoning, most of which was her notes on calling her private little tentacle monster for her nightly orgasms.

Whimpering, Lisha stared at it with her hand over her mouth. Penelope had left the book behind. She had left the illegal summoning spells right in the middle of the bed, right where there was only one person in the room to blame.

A sick feeling warred with the sudden heat the bubbled inside her. The words from the first pages rose up, inciting her to find the rest of the story to see how it started and how it ended.

With a cry, she shoved the book off the bed and into the space between the wall and the mattress. She didn't look back as she grabbed her bathroom supplies and rushed out of the room to escape to the only place she could think of, the bathing area.