“Do you believe any of it?” Sumiko’s expression was earnest as she stirred her rum and coke but Gemma detected a hint of amusement behind her dark eyes.
“What do you think?” She laughed. They were in a bar, sequestered in the alcove with the good sofas, away from the speakers so that there was just a low background thud reverberating from the direction of the dancefloor.
“It’s an interesting theory though.” Sumiko leant back in her sofa and took a sip of her drink. She was Gemma’s current host, a long-time friend, aspiring fashion designer and a number of other things. “I mean, it could be true…”
“No, it’s bollocks, of course it is.” Gemma tapped the rim of her glass thoughtfully. A vodka-Red Bull, which she’d switched to after starting to feel herself nod off earlier in the night. “But what’s the harm in helping out some crazy old lady? It’s virtually charity.”
“That you took two grand for.”
“A girl’s gotta eat.”
“A girl’s gotta get off my sofa.”
“That too,” Gemma smiled over her drink. “The way I see it,” she said, putting her glass back down and leaning forward across the table, “I get to have a pleasant nap, some scientist sticks electrodes on my brain or whatever, I wake up and job done. It’s just a way to make a quick buck, you know?”
“There are easier ways,” Sumiko pointed out.
“I told you: I don’t have the waistline for stripping.”
“You could do camming! It’s like money for old rope. Sometimes literally…”
“No. Sorry, no offence, but I’d like to make money some way that doesn’t involve straight boys fapping.”
Sumiko laughed. “It’s not always straight boys. You’d be surprised.”
“Maybe.” Gemma massaged the bridge of her nose before a wide yawn overtook her. “Jesus, I’m tired as fuck.”
“You’ve been awake all day. Maybe you should stop drinking?”
“Where’s the fun in that? Besides, I’m the queen of all-nighters, remember?”
“I remember you falling asleep in the middle of The Arches after we finished exams.”
Gemma held up a finger. “Exactly. After we finished exams.”
Sumiko drained her glass. “Aren’t you worried though?”
“About falling asleep?”
“No, about this experiment.”
“What? Just lying on a couch and dreaming? Sounds fine to me.”
“But who is this professor? I’ve never heard of her or her department. What if it’s not all it seems?”
“You’re paranoid,” Gemma said, “this is a big uni. There’s loads of people and places you’ve never heard of. Anyway, her office was over in that big building way out in the sticks. You know the one?”
“The old hospital?”
“Um…possibly?” She hadn’t thought much about the place in which she’d found Adeyemi’s office, but now Sumiko mentioned it, there was something about it that had brought to mind a medical institution of some kind.
“Yeah, it was a mental hospital or something. You know, like an asylum?”
Gemma’s eyes went wide. “For real?”
“Yeah!” Sumiko pulled out her phone and then stood up so she could come and sit beside Gemma. Her fingers danced over the glowing screen as she searched for whatever she was looking for. “See? It was one of those creepy old Victorian asylums. It was open until, like, World War Two or something.” There was an article about it on the website of a local paper, and Sumiko scrolled down with her finger as they both skimmed it.
“The uni bought it,” Gemma said, “to convert into residences?”
“Looks like it.”
“But it’s not residences now. It’s mostly empty. There’s a few offices, that’s all.”
“Who’d want to live in an old loony-bin?” Sumiko said with a short laugh.
“Yeah, it was a little spooky in there I guess. But why abandon the whole idea? They normally stick students wherever. My halls were a complete shithole when I was a fresher.”
Sumiko shrugged. “I dunno. It doesn’t say. The funding probably fell through or something.”
“Adeyemi said they sent her there to keep her out of the way. Like it was a punishment. Maybe they bought it, couldn’t turn it into halls, and now it’s like an embarrassment or something? Where they put all their own crazy people…” The thought wasn’t a comforting one.
“Or maybe it’s haunted.”
“Don’t talk shit.” Gemma didn’t laugh this time though. Walking through those dreary, abandoned corridors had given her the creeps as it was, but she hadn’t been able to figure out exactly why. She didn’t believe in ghosts, but if anywhere could be haunted, an old lunatic asylum would be a good bet, right?
“I’m fine,” she said, mustering as much bravado as she could, “let’s get another drink.”
“Hey,” Sumiko grinned, “you’re the one with a cheque for two grand burning a hole in her pocket.” She shook her empty glass, causing the ice to rattle.
Gemma returned to Adeyemi’s building the following day. She’d managed to power through the night and the next morning, but she didn’t know if her head was blaring from the lack of sleep or the hangover. It was an overcast day, but everything still seemed too bright for her, and she looked up at the brooding shape of the former mental hospital with grainy eyes. It had certainly taken on a more ghoulish aspect since she’d found out some of its history. According to a number of less-than-reliable websites she’d spent most of the small hours of the morning obsessively reading, the institution had catered exclusively to women patients, and the list of the reasons for which they’d been admitted was the usual depressing litany of misogynistic claptrap. Women had been incarcerated in those glum cells for being inconsolable following the death of a husband or child, for what would now be recognised as post-natal depression, for such seemingly innocuous habits as promiscuity or nagging, for falling pregnant out of wedlock, and of course the ever-present ‘hysteria’. It was depressing reading.
Another branch of inquiry had shown her an even darker and more lurid world. As she walked through the drab grounds to the entrance, she thought of the women who perhaps really had deserved to be here – like a number of notorious serial killers, or the woman who had allegedly fallen pregnant a hundred times and drowned each and every one of her babies within a day of being born. As unpleasant as that was, her fate was still hard to stomach – forcible sterilisation, an empty cell, a pitiable death and an unmarked grave somewhere on the premises. It was all so grim and Victorian, as fascinating as it was distasteful. It had been easy to scoff at the notion of the place being haunted in the bar on the other side of the city, but now walking up to the doors – knowing the reason they were so thick and robustly braced – it seemed all too plausible, even in the light of day.
The receptionist was unchanged, waving her towards the creaking lifts without even raising her head. And so she tried to find her way to Professor Adeyemi’s office again. Even with the benefit of having been before, she still got lost and ended up wandering up and down samey corridors, looking for something familiar, checking the numbers on doors. Occasionally she tried knocking on one, but there was never any answer. The unnumbered doors seemed more foreboding now too. These were rooms that had stood empty since the asylum had closed. Their last occupants were perhaps one of those unfortunate names she had scrolled past in an exhausted daze last night. Remembering Adeyemi’s office, she pictured the rooms, bare and echoing, lit by only a high barred window that filtered in the merest sliver of daylight. She imagined being confined in such a place, all exterior noise muffled by the sealing around the door, bound on some archaic Victorian gurney, for no worse crime than being widowed and lacking a support network to help her through the loss. Gemma shuddered at the thought. She could almost hear the screams from behind those locked doors; the ghosts of those unjustly imprisoned within bleak brick walls.
The fluorescent light above her head flicked out suddenly and she jumped. This section of the corridor was now dark, and it wasn’t such a conceptual leap to imagine the lights on either side, ahead of and behind her, failing in the same way. There were no windows to be seen – she’d be in total blackness. She hurried to the next section, but then heard a noise that made her blood freeze. A long, high keening, like a distant moan. She stopped, staring ahead of her where she thought the noise had come from. Now the sound had stopped, she kept replaying it in her head in the awful silence that followed. It grew in her memory, from a simple whistling cry to something far more unwholesome: a wrenching wail of pain and fear, like the scream of a tormented soul. Her heart beat fast and her breath came in quick pants. She tried to keep walking, into the lit section, but then that strip too flickered and went out with a thin fizzle. She couldn’t see far in front of her now, and the next light was a way ahead. She willed herself on, one minute step at a time, then heard a noise that made her stop. A tiny scratching from the wall just ahead of her, the scuttling of claws. A mouse? A rat? Something else? She didn’t stay to find out.
Spinning on her heel, almost tripping over her own feet, Gemma turned and ran back the way she’d come. She hurtled headlong down the corridor, into the light again, burst around a corner and almost ran straight into Professor Adeyemi, whose head was poking out of the door to her office. “Oh! Gemma!” she said.
“Professor…?” she was breathless, shaking. She looked back over her shoulder. This corridor was perfectly normal, and of course slightly familiar. How had she just walked right past it without finding the right door?
“I thought you weren’t going to turn up,” Adeyemi said.
“I…no…I just…I got lost…”
“Yes, it is a bit of a maze I’m afraid. Come in, come in. We need to get started.”
“Right, yes.” Gemma unslung her satchel as she was ushered into the office again. Her heart still pounded in her chest, and she took a seat gratefully at the professor’s desk. “I think…I think there was a problem with the lights.”
“Oh yes,” Adeyemi said dismissively, “the electrics in this old building are awful. Quite a few of the original fittings are still in place, if you can believe it – over eighty years old!”
“I can believe it,” Gemma said, beginning to calm down now. “Just gave me a bit of a fright.”
“No shame in that,” Adeyemi smiled, “now have you stayed awake like I asked?”
Gemma bobbed her head. “Twenty-four hours. A little longer, actually. Is that okay?”
“No problem at all. Would you like some tea before we start?”
The tea soothed her a little, and sitting in the office, with daylight coming through the window – albeit only a small amount – her fears seemed ridiculous. So what if some awful things had happened here? It was the same everywhere, wasn’t it? Human history was a holocaust of genocide and slavery, sad to say, and if every building on Earth that had seen suffering was plagued by the spirits of those that had died there, no one would ever get anything done. It was ridiculous. Still, she brought up the subject with the professor, if only to try to ease her mind a little. “I read this place used to be an asylum,” she said.
“Hm? Oh yes, yes that’s right.” She was tapping away at a dusty laptop keyboard, copying from a notebook sitting beside it on the desk.
“Quite a strange place for an office.”
“Well, I suppose so. But like I told you the other day, this is just where I wanted to be.”
Gemma looked around at the uninspiring surroundings. “Really?”
“Yes. This is where Dr Morrison did his work, you see. This very room.”
“Oh.” She didn’t know what to make of that, but then remembered a detail Adeyemi had told her on her first visit. “You said he used mentally ill people in his experiments…”
“What? Oh yes, that’s right. Schizophrenics, people who suffered hallucinations, that sort of thing.”
“And that would have been…when this was an asylum then?”
Now the feeling of unease returned. Morrison, this mysterious figure that Adeyemi so revered, had worked here, in this room, for the simple reason that it gave him access to the people he wanted to study. To the women incarcerated in this institution. That was not a pleasant thought. “Didn’t you say that some of what he did was unethical?”
“Well,” Adeyemi said carefully, “perhaps by today’s standards. Very few of his subjects volunteered to take part in his experiments. Some were medically incapable of doing so.”
“That’s pretty awful…”
“It was a different time. Those people…”
Adeyemi looked at her. “What’s the difference?”
“I don’t know. But there is one. Do you know why some of them were sent here?”
“I understand your discomfort,” the professor said with a reassuring smile, “but we can’t change the past, can we? I would never experiment on anyone without their full informed consent. Speaking of which…” She rummaged around in her desk drawer and then pulled out a sheaf of forms which she passed over to Gemma. Then she cast around for a pen and finally found the one that was resting at the top of the keyboard right in front of her, just before Gemma was about to point it out. She handed that over too. “I know you ticked yes to all those agreements on the website when you signed up, but these are just a few more specific ones. We’ve got a bit of time while I set the equipment up so give them a good read, dear.”
“Right.” She flicked through the pages. They were printed front and back, in quite a small font. She squinted down at it and murmured to herself as she read, using the tip of the pen to keep her place in the densely-packed text.
Adeyemi was up from her desk and walked to the other end of the room with all the sheet-covered objects. Gemma tried to concentrate on the agreement – or waiver, more like – she was supposed to be signing, but she couldn’t help glancing up to see what the professor was doing. She had the laptop with her, balanced precariously in one hand, and was awkwardly pulling off a sheet with another. It was a bench, like in an examination room, and the peeling paint on the metalwork and threadbare upholstery indicated it predated Adeyemi’s occupation of this room. Gemma felt a chill again. Next a larger object was revealed beside it: a big grey machine covered in knobs and dials. It was a genuine antique; something from the middle of the last century, all analogue switches, boxy metal casing, neat square writing on each display or toggle, speakers with brown grills built into the top. Inside, she was certain, would be valves and wheels, not circuit boards and microchips. Two electrodes were hooked neatly onto a hook on one side. This was another legacy of Dr Morrison, clearly. She watched as Adeyemi continued to busy herself, switching on the machine which came to life with a low hum, and putting her laptop – which now looked state-of-the-art in comparison to this thing – on the bench. Wires had been plugged into the device, poked through unevenly drilled holes in the casing. These in turn were hooked up to modern USBs, which she now plugged into the laptop. The whole thing had an air of the jury-rigged about it, and Gemma was not gaining confidence in this experiment.
She looked back down at the forms in her hand. She was barely halfway through the first page. It’d take her hours and she got the impression that time was a factor. Despite her misgivings, she had taken two grand from this woman, and she found she quite liked her. Leaving now would mean having to give the money back. Even if Adeyemi didn’t press her on it, she didn’t think she could quite live with herself if she didn’t. Besides, she was still curious. As the professor began to look like she was finishing up, Gemma quickly skimmed through the pages. A few years spent memorising notes right before exams meant she was a dab hand at picking out important things. She saw nothing in there that meant she would waive the right to legal action if something went awry, and it all seemed fairly standard university legalese. She scribbled her signature at the bottom.
“All done?” Adeyemi asked her.
“Yep.” She put the forms back on the desk and walked over.
“I have to keep this under a dustsheet – it’s more delicate than it looks, and I’m sorry to say this building is infested with rats. You can hear them scuttling in the walls.”
Gemma remembered the sound she’d heard before stumbling into Adeyemi’s arms and, despite her disgust at the idea of vermin crawling around her while she slept, it was oddly reassuring to have a mundane explanation for it. She stood beside the professor and looked down at the machine. Up close, she had a better appreciation for its aesthetics. It was a lovely example of 1940s technology; precise and no-nonsense, utilitarian but with an odd sort of cold beauty to it. It made her nostalgic for a time she hadn’t been alive for, and she ran a hand along the top appreciatively. “This was Morrison’s, right?”
“It was. As you can see, I’ve made a few modifications of my own.”
Gemma looked at the ugly holes in the casing again. The design student bit of her brain was appalled at the desecration, but it was probably a lot safer with technology from this century guiding it. “What does it do?” she asked.
“It induces the required dream state using sound. It’s actually not unlike hypnosis. The tone – inaudible, I should add – first places you in a trance and then as it modulates it gradually adjusts the frequency of your brain waves, immersing you in deep sleep in a controlled fashion. Ordinarily, you’d only be able to achieve it at random and even then only fleetingly. One foot in this world and one in the Otherworld, you might say. But this will ensure you’re wholly in the latter. It will actually seem as if you’re really there: bodily.”
“Like lucid dreaming,” Gemma surmised, remember what Adeyemi had told her on her first visit.
“Very much so. You will have total control. You will be yourself, appearing as yourself – although with practice you would be able to train your ego to assume a form of your choice – but very slightly out of synch with your familiar reality.”
“Uh huh. And…um…what am I supposed to do while I’m there?”
“Whatever you want,” Adeyemi said with a shrug, “explore. Walk around. Test the limits of your control. You won’t have a physical existence in the Otherworld; only your consciousness will be there, so you may be able to do anything you can imagine.”
“That sounds fun actually…”
Adeyemi smiled. “If this works, I’ll train an assistant to operate the controls and visit it myself. That’s always been my dream – no pun intended.”
Gemma looked at the machine again. “Has anyone done this since Morrison’s experiments stopped?”
“No. You are my first test subject. My first volunteer.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“No more than going to sleep at night would be. I expect you’re ready for a nap, too.”
Gemma nodded. She’d pushed aside her fatigue and headache, but as soon as Adeyemi brought it up, she was overwhelmed by exhaustion again. “Okay, let’s get started then.”
“Lie down on the bench please.”
She did as she was asked. The professor unhooked the electrodes and took out a roll of surgical tape from a pocket. Working quickly with a pair of nail scissors, she prepped the electrodes and stuck them to Gemma’s forehead. She flexed her brow experimentally: they stayed in place.
“I want to develop a headset, something more elegant than this,” Adeyemi said, “although I think with you that might not work anyway.”
“What? Oh…” Gemma put a hand to her hair, which she wore naturally, and smiled faintly.
“Not that I’m criticising,” Adeyemi added, “it’s nice to see on a young woman. Strange how simply having one’s hair the way nature intended is seen as a political statement, isn’t it?”
“Well yeah. I don’t believe in lying about who I am.”
“Quite right too,” she said approvingly. “But let’s get on with this, shall we? Oh do you have a mobile phone?”
“Could you turn it off, please? This old girl predates all that infra-red stuff by quite some decades and the signals can interfere with her workings.”
“Sure, no problem.” She took her phone from her pocket and turned it off.
“All right, now we can begin.” She stepped up to Morrison’s machine. The laptop was resting on top of it now, just above the speakers. Adeyemi pointed to the top row of dials. “These will monitor your brain activity, but I’ve rigged up my computer with modern software that’ll do the job more accurately. I’ll be keeping a close eye on you, and if there’s any sudden changes, I’ll begin the wake up procedure. You have to understand, I can’t just jerk you out of the dream state without warning. It’s like coming up from the depths of the ocean. Do it too fast and you put yourself in danger.”
“There’s really nothing to worry about,” Adeyemi reassured her, “you’ll only be in the Otherworld for a few minutes. Most of the time will be spent adjusting the frequency of your brain waves. All in all, you won’t be asleep for more than forty-five minutes or so.”
“You’re sure you want to do this, Gemma?”
She flicked her gaze to the old professor. “You said it wasn’t dangerous. Except the thing about waking me up too fast.”
“I know. But this may be a very strange experience for you.”
“All right then.” Adeyemi took some ear plugs from another pocket and popped them in. “So I’m not affected,” she explained in a slightly too loud voice.
Gemma just nodded. As tired as she was, she suddenly felt very restless: almost excited. At some point since arriving in the building, she realised, she’d started to believe that this stuff was really true. Adeyemi’s conviction was so unshakable, and her manner so infectious, that she hadn’t questioned the premise of this bizarre experiment during their conversation. But it was all nonsense, wasn’t it? I mean, it had to be…
Adeyemi flicked a switch and turned a dial beside it slightly. There was no audible change in the room, but Gemma had an odd sensation of pressure. Her ears popped and she shifted uncomfortably. A needle on the top row of dials flicked back and forth.
“Just try to relax, Gemma.”
“Sorry,” she said, but Adeyemi had her back to her and couldn’t hear a word she was saying. The pressure changed, and her headache intensified quite suddenly. She gripped the sides of the bench. With another adjustment it settled down, but she still felt a little strange. Now it was as if a throbbing was passing through her. At first it was annoying, but as it settled into a reliable rhythm she began to find it quite relaxing. It was like being in a Jacuzzi. Her eyelids started to feel heavy and the room grew darker. She felt so comfortable all of sudden. The pressure changed from a nagging sensation to the feeling of having a warm blanket covering her. It seemed like she was being pushed down, down, down, into the softest bed in the world. Her body tingled and buzzed and, somewhere along the way, she fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
As with all dreams, there was no beginning to it. It was simply as if she’d always been where she was, standing in a large, half-empty room beside the shadowy form of a girl lying on a bench, eyes closed, and an older woman peering intently at a glowing laptop screen. What an odd scene. She didn’t know whether it was supposed to make any sense to her. She felt incredibly strange. There was a tickling in the back of her mind; a knowledge that this was unlike anything she’d experienced before. Normally, dreams made sense, didn’t they?
Then it all came rushing back to her. The realisation that this was a dream – of a sort – made everything clear. She was looking down at herself, and Professor Adeyemi beside her. She opened her mouth in an ‘o’ of astonishment. She was dreaming, she was absolutely sure of that, and yet she was completely in control, and she was here, in the same room as her sleeping body. And yet she wasn’t there. There were differences. The colours looked pale and washed out and the details of the furniture, her own body, Adeyemi, were somehow indistinct. It was like looking through smeared glass. “I think…I think it worked…” she said to the professor. The woman didn’t react. Well, of course, she still had the ear plugs in. Gemma walked around to the other side of the machine so she was directly in her eyeline and spoke again. “Professor? I think it worked!” No reaction at all. She’d been looking right at her! But she wasn’t really here, was she? She was, what? On a different frequency? Her consciousness, her sense of self, was divorced from her physical form, apparently free to roam, as if she was dreaming, but in the real world.
“This is weird,” she said. She looked at herself again. It was profoundly odd to see herself from outside in this way. A mirror, a photograph, it didn’t capture everything. She was slimmer than she thought, and prettier too. It was quite a shock. She held up her hands in front of her. Unlike the phantoms in the room, these seemed solid and normal. Looking down, she was wearing the same clothes as she had been in the waking world and indeed felt no different at all. But what was she? A soul? An astral projection? “This is amazing,” she whispered, revising her assessment of this experience. “This really will change the world.”
She began to walk around the room. What was she supposed to do then? Adeyemi said she should explore. Could she open doors? Could she wander around the building like a…
A noise stopped her in her tracks. She knew that noise. It was the same wailing she’d heard earlier, but louder this time. She froze and heard Adeyemi say something. She turned and saw the professor frowning at the laptop. Obviously the fear was causing some strange readings. The wail came again. What could it be? Part of her wanted to leave the room and chase after it, safe in the knowledge that she couldn’t come to any harm while outside of her body like this, but something else told her to stay put. To wait it out. But then, there was still a responsible person lurking inside her, even after three years of feckless studenthood. A person who said that, for two-thousand quid, she really ought to give Adeyemi something useful to work with. How could she ignore whatever it was making that sound in good conscience? Besides, it was most likely something in the waking world. Adeyemi wouldn’t have heard it because of the ear plugs.
Gemma stepped up to the door and reached for the knob, but her hand passed right through it. Frowning she tried again, but it presented no more resistance than thin air. She took another step forward, and her foot disappeared into the surface of the door. “Cool,” she said.
She stepped through, and then found herself in darkness. The gloom of the corridor was intensified by the curious washed-out light of this Otherworld. She was shivering again. She turned to go back into the office to wait the experiment out in safety, when she heard that sound again, this time much closer. Just around the corner in fact – the corridor she’d fled from before. Curiosity getting the better of her, she walked tentatively towards the intersection and craned her neck around. This corridor was even darker, but as another wail filled the air, she knew it was coming from that direction. She waited, trapped by indecision, wanting to go forward to investigate but every survival instinct in her body told her to run – impressive, since that body currently lay asleep some twenty yards away from her on the other side of a closed door. She took another careful step forward and then stopped dead as she saw something walk out of one of the doors along the corridor. Not something – someone. And they hadn’t opened the door.
It was a woman, white, quite young, with unkempt hair and wearing a kind of pale, shapeless smock. She turned to Gemma and tilted her head curiously. Her eyes were wide and unfocussed. Then she smiled, and her teeth were as red as blood.
Gemma ran, but the wail followed her and as she rounded the corner, the woman was now in front of her, still grinning her bloody smile. She reached out and grabbed Gemma around the throat with both hands. She screamed and tried to struggle free, but the woman’s grip was like iron.
The voice was like an echo from somewhere far off. She had no body where she was, and yet the life was being squeezed out of her by this ghoulish figure who now bared her teeth in a hideous rictus and tightened her grip. Gemma couldn’t breathe. How was this possible? She hadn’t been able to touch anything or interact with the real world, but this woman could not only see her, she could hear her and touch her. It was as if she was in the Otherworld too, somehow.
“Gemma! I’m waking you up! I don’t know what’s going on, but your pulse rate is increasing beyond healthy levels and your experiencing respiratory distress!”
She saw spots before her eyes. The words she was hearing made no sense to her, not now. If her attacker heard them, she gave no indication.
“I don’t like having to do this…”
Gemma felt a jolt go through her body. She convulsed and the woman strangling her looked confused for a moment. Another jolt and she felt the grip on her throat slacken. She rolled her eyes downwards and saw that her body was beginning to turn transparent. She was being dragged back somehow. A third jolt and a moment of searing pain and suddenly she was lying on the bench, all the colours were normal, and a concerned-looking Professor Adeyemi was looming over her. “Gemma?”
She couldn’t speak. Her throat felt raw and her lungs were on fire. She was sweating.
“Are you all right? I don’t know what happened. Do you have any history of epilepsy or fits of any kind? Maybe I should have asked you to undertake a medical before we started…”
“No,” Gemma croaked, “it worked, professor. It worked perfectly.”
“But…your pulse, your breathing…”
Gemma touched her neck gently. It felt sore and she was certain bruises would come up soon, although she had no idea how that was possible. “I was there. In the Otherworld. It was just like here, but different. Sorry, I’m not making much sense.” She blinked to try and clear her head.
“What happened then?”
“There was someone else there,” she said slowly, “a woman.”
“I don’t understand…”
“Someone was waiting for me,” Gemma said, “and she attacked me.”
Adeyemi’s expression was horrified but something about the set of her features told Gemma that the apparently benign professor wasn’t completely surprised that this had happened.