The College

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The soldiers were tense, waiting for something to happen – like it was a matter of when, not if. For our part, we did our best to steer clear of them, avoiding the main square, where a group of protesters] had donned pointed witch’s hats. It seemed to be the symbol of their movement, their protest to keep the magic college open.

Sickening, I thought, curling my lip in disgust.

Lydia noticed my reaction, and said weakly, “They’re just doing what they think is best.”

“Best?” I scoffed. “Lydia, surely you’ve seen the news. You know why that horrible ‘college’ was closed down.” I spat the word. Some college.

“Not really,” said Lydia. “Tell me.”

I gaped at her. “You haven’t heard? They were conducting Satanic rituals. They kidnapped children. Sacrificed them. All in the name of Satan.”

Lydia walked on in silence for a minute. I thought she was stunned. But then she said “My nephew went to that college.”

I stopped in my tracks. “Your nephew? Cory?”

Lydia stopped as well, but kept her back to me. “Yes. And you know what he did there? He studied healing magic. His girlfriend that he met there studied cooking. Culinary and potion magic.” She turned to me, and there were tears in her eyes. “That’s the exciting things they did, not baby sacrifice or rape, as the government would have you believe. Just healing spells and food that gives you an extra bit of pep. And now their dreams are shattered, thanks to the president needing a scapegoat.”

She turned away and walked on. I followed, unsure what to think. Her words were the opposite of what I had been hearing on the TV. From the news anchors and, yes, from the president.

But why would the president lie?

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