Chapter One: Welcome to College
Jonah shifted the backpack on his shoulder as he walked with his parents through the crowded campus. His mother was still rambling on about social activities, making sure to get in with the right crowd and wondering if they had a Christian group on campus. Jonah let his eyes wander to the girls passing by and laughing together.
“This is it, son, Johnson Hall. What do you say we go find your dorm?" Jonah's father started, slapping him on the back with a smile. Jonah weakly smiled back and nodded. Jonah walked slowly behind his parents, dragging his feet. It was less crowded inside but still full of young boys looking equally as lost and anxious as he felt. His face flooded with blood as he noticed he was one of the only ones whose parents insisted on following him this far. 'This time tomorrow they'll be home, two states away,' Jonah thought to himself.
“Room 310, here you are Jonah. Oh, it doesn't look like your roommate is here yet, I hope he's nice," his mother muttered as she busied herself placing things around the room. She took out a cross from her bag and a Bible, placing them neatly on the wooden nightstand by one of the beds. His father simply placed his hands on his hips and looked around the room.
“This is quite something, Jonah. It's a lot bigger than the dorm room I had when I went to college. Be grateful for that!" His father chuckled but Jonah knew there was no room for humor in his family when it came to gratitude. “Oh look, there's already a mini fridge in here!"
Jonah moved quietly over to the bed and sat down while his parents took over the small space. He took a long sigh and waited impatiently for his mysterious roommate to appear and save him from this closed indoor isolation with his parents.
“Now, Jonah, I have a list of emergency contacts for you and a school map highlighting the nurses station and the campus chapel. Do you still have your pepper spray?" his mother questioned in rambling succession. Jonah resisted the urge to roll his eyes and simply nodded.
“Look at your mother when she's talking to you, young man. Now, she's gone out of her way to help you." His father aggressively crossed his arms over his puffy chest.
“Thank you for preparing that for me, Mom. Yes, I still have my pepper spray in my backpack." Both his parents nodded.
“Good because bad things happen to boys too, you know. God forbid you meet a hellish girl trying to tempt you into evil things," his mother continued as she turned back to decorating the dorm with Jesus paraphernalia. Jonah let his mind wander to wild thoughts of what some 'hellish' girl could try to tempt him to do and he adjusted his pants.
A young boy walked into the room and stared at the family with wide eyes. Jonah perked up in hope.
“Hi - hi is this room 325?" He couldn't be more than a buck fifty soaking wet. Jonah sighed.
“Oh no, sweetie, this is room 310. I believe if you just keep going down this hallway you'll find it on the end." His mother looked almost like she wanted to escort the poor kid, like he wouldn't survive the trip to the other end of the hallway. 'Small, little geek like that, he might not.' Jonah thought to himself.
“Maybe you'll luck out and have the dorm all to yourself, kiddo." His father was laughing again but was quickly stopped by a knock on the door.
“No such luck," replied a boy standing by the door. Jonah's eyes widened as he saw this kid dressed in solid black hoisting a green duffle on his back. The boy had to be at least 6 feet tall and he looked as if he was also wearing a little bit of black eyeliner. His shirt was for a band that Jonah hadn't heard of before: Iron Maiden. Jonah sat up straight with excitement. “This is 310, is it not? Looks like I'll be your roommate."
Jonah's parents stared at the kid in horror but Jonah forced himself up off the bed and went to shake the boy's hand.
“I'm Jonah Burke. It's nice to meet you. I hope you don't mind, I kind of claimed the right side." The boy smiled and shrugged.
“It's all good, that's the benefit of arriving first, I guess. These must be your folks. It's nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Burke."
“And what is your name, son?" Jonah's father questioned using his best interrogation voice that Jonah knew all too well.
“Oh, my bad. I'm Nick. Nick Blood."