|Ashes of Heaven
Author: star3catcher PM
When Theo is enrolled in a Danish Boarding School, he thinks it will be the worst experience in his life. But he quickly learns something strange is afoot: A chilling prophecy involving him, his new friends, and the mysterious Head Master...Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Mystery - Chapters: 7 - Words: 21,082 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 12-20-12 - Published: 09-17-11 - id: 2953264
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
IT'S TIME TO TAKE A RIDE ON THE NIGHTMARE MERRI-GO-ROUND!
It rang from every imaginable side and angle, chiming and blending together in a symphony of immense agony and terror. What was going on? Immediately in fight or flight mode, my brain shuffled and scrambled to grasp some sense or logic in this mess.
After a few moments of confusion, I distinguished one of the voices as my own... I was screaming along in their bloody chorus, though I wasn't still sure exactly why...
But as I looked around more, I felt good reason to.
Everything was dark and chaotic, I couldn't possibly tell what exactly was happening, the best I could make out were single-moment, horrific flashes... an ax here, a dramatic squirt of blood there, fierce sharp teeth, too many misshapen, indistinguishable limbs to even attempt to count. The screams began to become more clear too... some were screaming in fear, and in pain, others were screaming in a way that a lion roars when it's in kill-mode.
And I was spinning... no, not spinning... running, flailing, jumping, a mess of different actions and motions. None the less, it, along with the terrifying world around me, made me dizzy and sick, and my abdomen screamed to bend over and hurl. But I didn't dare stop, I just kept on going, kept on fighting, because somehow I knew if I stood still... I would die.
Help... too many people said it at once, that the cry became a vague, collective whisper.
"I can't!" I shouted, "I'm sorry, I can't!"
They were so desperate, so scared, so pleading... I would have given anything to help them all, to help myself, and help anyone else escape this hell... but somehow I knew damn well there was nowhere to escape to. No safe place to run and hide, where ever you'd go, you would find the same blood, darkness, and death...
Something hot ran down my face. I wasn't sure if it was more blood, or just my tears. But unlike blood or tears, it didn't cool down... it just began to get hotter. It smoldered, burning into my skin, making me scream even more, but even that didn't deter me. I started to strike and run more in front of me, and was greeted by violent spurts of more of the same burning substance and, of course, blood.
A voice in my head. That was the last thing I heard... it sounded like my own conscience voice, but somehow, I felt it wasn't exactly me speaking... it/I sounded sad, melancholy, powerful...
He/I thought, "How could we have let this happen?"
I awoke with a bitter gasp.
Covered in sweat, shaking, and gulping in air like a drowning victim, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to survey my surroundings.
Wall. Still there.
Clock. Still ticking.
Carpet. Still there.
Window. Still letting the morning glow in.
Luke. Still snoring and drooling peacefully.
Yes, everything was normal. The madness was all a dream. A terrible, disturbing, excruciating dream... At last convinced of safety, my muscles relaxed, my breathing slowed, and I began to think clearly.
It was Saturday... no school, which is why there hadn't been a wake-up call from the House Keeper... apparently the principal didn't trust us children enough to depend on our own alarm clocks. Instead, the cleaning people arrived extra early to walk down the halls an either A) Knock on each and every one of our doors politely, or B) Walk down the halls with a blow-horn. It really depended on whose shift it was that particular day.
I also noticed that all that midnight sweating hadn't left me exactly pretty-smelling. Time for a rinse.
I got up and made my way to the bathroom (each dorm had it's own mini bathroom big enough for a show, sink, and toilet, which I thought was much more convenient than just having bathrooms down the hall). I didn't bother trying to wake Luke, I'd been boarding with him about a week, and knew that letting the kid get his beauty sleep was a recipe for disaster the entire day. Plus, I'll admit it, he just looked so peaceful and innocent... people always seem that way when they were asleep.
… "Seem," being the definitive word in that sentence. After lifting the toilet seat, and trying to do my business... screw innocent. I was ready to put that brat on death row myself.
I slammed my lunchtray down on the table.
"Aw come on, you have to admit it was a little funny." said Luke, sitting next to me and biting into an apple.
"Plastic on the toilet seat?" I quietly growled in response, "Don't you think that's going a little far?"
"I cleaned it up!"
"Damn straight you did! You're lucky I didn't make you do it with your own shirt."
He brushed off my threat with a shrug and an eyeroll, and just continued with his breakfast like it was nothing. I sighed outwardly, and just dug in myself.
Luke Eldr, my roommate, although my friend, and a major pain in the ass sometimes.
This little incident had just been the latest in a long line of some of craziest prank and practical jokes he'd instigated... but this wasn't whoopee-cushion and fly-in-a-fake-ice-cube pranking. Oh no. I pray to God it was as simple as that... this was steal-the-life-size-skeleton-model-from-the-biology-lab-cover-it-in-ketchup-and-stuffing-it-in-my-closet pranking, or hide-an-air-bag-in-my-mattress pranking, or in the latest news, PUT-CLEAR-PLASTIC-WRAP-OVER-THE-TOILET-SEAT pranking.
He thought all it was just the funniest darned thing to grace this school. I thought it was just annoying, but... he was still a okay guy. He had listened well when I felt like talking about my problems with my first moving here, and didn't seem to be out to get me...
Unlike some people.
I didn't have to turn around to feel the glares of the boys from last week burn into my back as they passed by with their own breakfasts. I wouldn't give those losers the satisfaction of returning their primitive intimidation tactics, so I just hungrily returned to my own food.
"I'm telling you Theo," whispered Luke in my ear, "It'd be so easy to get some of Martin and his wannabes' hair..."
"We're not making voodoo dolls of them."
"You're no fun."
"It wouldn't even work, voodoo isn't real."
"Yes it is," Luke corrected, "It's a mixture of modern Christianity and the ancient cultures of Haiti, and very much alive. A lot of their stuff really works, if you believe."
"Save me the history lesson, it's Saturday!" I chuckled a bit.
Luke could be a real weirdo sometimes... well, no, I won't sugar-coat. A lot of the time. He was pretty much a wannabe-magician that took delight in things like voodoo, paganism, and sometimes just plain ol' cheap card tricks.
"Just ignore them," I said, "It's their fault if they're so insecure that they need to try and be violent for no reason."
Speak of the devil.
A hand slammed down on our table, and the bully-leader leaned down with an arrogant grin.
"Don't you know it's rude to talk about people behind their backs?" he sneered.
"Don't you know it's rude to ease-drop?" I growled back.
I suppose it's come time in the story to explain a few things about this recurring villain of ours... this brute, was Martin. The richest, rudest, snobbiest kid in all of school, who had the megalomaniacal delusion that he ruled the place with an iron fist.
"Mind your own business." I told said megalomaniac, but like any good crazy person, he just kept barking.
"When you talk about me, you make it my business, Toovson!" Martin said in what I perceived was supposed to be an intimidating voice.
"That's right!" said Bill, his goon friend.
"Yeah, what they said!" said Joe, Martin's other goon friend. They were both idiots. Now I was no genius myself sometimes, but the two of them had the combined IQ of the hardened gum under the lunch tables.
"You're just lucky you're new," said Martin, "Because no regular here would dare get away with ratting me out to Wednesday like that!"
"I didn't rat you out!" I said, "The teacher caught you being delinquents all on your own!"
"Doesn't matter! Because you're going to learn how things go on around here very soon," he went on, "You, and your little ginger friend."
"Ginger?" said Luke indignantly, "Look whose talking, perfume boy!"
"It's cologne, though I wouldn't expect a crooked-toothed Brit to know!" Martin shot back. "It's how you pick up girls. Ever hear of such a thing?"
"HA! Girls? What girls? I'm not the one with a fetish for Neanderthals!"
"HEY!" said Bill and Joe in unison.
"Thought I guess it only makes sense to go with your own race!" sneered Luke back at Martin.
I sighed. Oh well. It was almost a peaceful morning. I was just about to pick up my fork in defense as Matrin pulled back his fist, Luke gripped the apple in a throwing position, and Bill and Joe cracked their knuckles, when we were all practically deafened by the piercing shriek of a whistle.
"Stop!" yelled Michael from across the room, "No fighting on school grounds!"
From the lack of a bright orange sash, and his own lunchtray carefully balanced in one hand, I guessed that he was probably off-duty. But that obviously didn't stop him from carrying around the world's loudest whistle as warning call for us naughty kids.
Michael marched over, and one look from him made the trio disappear in frustration.
"Is everything alright?" he asked.
"Just fine," I answered, "Thanks Michael."
"Your welcome, Theo," he said with a smile to me, and a curt nod to Luke, "And you, Luke."
"Meh." replied Luke, "Thanks."
"So Theo," continued Michael, "The school clubs are going to be handing out sign-up sheets today. Thinking about joining anything?"
"Maybe..." I said thoughtfully, "Nothing has really struck my fancy yet, though."
"I'm sure you'll find something."
"Yeah..." said Luke, twirling his fork with a three-cornered smile. "I'm sure too!"
"Well thanks for the support guys..."
"Anytime." said Michael, "And don't worry about Martin and his friends; they're on my list."
"Of the kids who need an eye kept on them the most," he said seriously, "The bullies, the trouble-makers, the pranksters..." He shot a look at Luke.
I just chuckled, trying not to sound anxious. Michael was a great guy, but he could be a little scary sometimes... the kid was going to make one hell of a cop one day. They'd probably put him in charge of the interrogation or something, because I knew there was no way I could lie to that face when it got all serious... not that lying was exactly my forte anyway.
After breakfast, we had the free time to roam any of the school grounds that were open to students, and my two new buds gave me an extended tour.
Everything was very much true to the old Scandinavian ways and style, from the old weapons hanging in our dorms (safely locked into display from any random snapping student), to the ancient, rune-covered rocks that littered the school grounds. Luke said they were from the real old Norse times, and Michael even pointed out a few of their meanings.
"That's thurs," he pointed at a shape that sort of look like a P, with it's look more down the middle. "It makes a th- sound, and was often associated with Thor."
"The comic book guy?" I asked, perplexed.
Luke rolled his eyes, and clonked me on the head. "No, not the comic book guy, ya silly bloke! He means the real deal Thor, that Vikings actually worshiped. God of thunder and stuff."
"He was said to be a great warrior who's primary weapon was a hammer." continued Michael, "Get it?"
"Yup." I said, though I really didn't. I still had the image of Marvel-Thor in all his red-caped glory in my head, and to be honest, I wasn't completely sure how you could fight someone with a hammer. Maybe if you snuck up on them... but against a sword or something else like that?
"Alright, we should probably head back." said Michael, "Club sign-up is heading around now. You'd do good to join one, it could really give you something to do. Boarding School can be tough, Theo, if only for the entertainment effort."
He had a point.
So we all headed back to the building, and went into the cafeteria, where all the tables had been cleared and replaced with various stands explaining the club and handing out sign-up sheets. Some of them actually looked pretty cool, there was fencing, archery, book club, genealogy, historian club, mythology club, among many others. Hey, maybe I really could find something here I would enjoy... I straightened my baseball cap, and started to roam the tons of different choices.
One girl handed a flier in my hand, and I looked up at her. "What's this for?"
"Archeology club," she said with a smile, "We go on field trips and look for real fossils, and old tools and stuff near known Viking settlements. Think about joining, will ya?"
"I will," I responded with a smile, and stuffed the flier into my pocket, continuing with my searching.
After a while of searching, a couple of fliers handed over, and several pleasant chats, Michael came to check up on me.
"Find anything interesting yet?" he said with smile.
"Lots," I said, "But maybe too many. Can you join more than one club?"
"As long as their times don't conflict with that of other clubs, or interfere with your schoolwork." he said, "If you can manage that, then you can join as many as you want."
"Cool." I looked around even more, and saw another stand decorated with many religious symbols, "Hey, what's that one?"
Michael pulled his face together in a restrained grimace. "Theology club..."
"Theo-lo-gy...?" I asked. Sounded like the study of me! Hahaha... Theo-ology... heeeeh... yeah...
"Technically it's supposed to be a group dedicated to the studies of various religions all over the world," explained Michael, "But it's pretty much been overrun with rather... enthusiastic children, from enthusiastically Christian families. I tried it once... they don't really talk much about any other religion besides their own, and when they do, it's with a very dismissive attitude."
"I see..." I said. My own family had never been very religious, but I still had some friends of mine who went Church. Carlos had been going his whole life, and he was a real nice guy, though he did admit that there were some people out there who weren't always very respectful of what others may believe. You can find them in any religion, he said.
"Bunch of crazies they all are!" said Luke, who was munching on a cookie he'd got from a stand.
"Where did you come from?" I demanded. He had not been there two seconds ago.
"Well, I don't like getting graphic, but when a mommy and a daddy love each other veeeeeery much-"
"Zip it." I interrupted, mildly annoyed.
"You're the one that asked. Anywho, yeah! Crazies in that club, full of 'em!" he said, "They tried to get me in trouble for trying out an old Egyptian ceremony once. Said "idol worshipers" shouldn't be allowed to "contaminate" other kids' minds, and that it was actually against their rights to "put up with it"! What about my rights to do whatever the bloody hell I want?" He crossed his arms and frowned genuinely.
"Gosh..." I said, "Sorry man."
"Sorry? You didn't do anything. Don't be sorry for anything you didn't do." Luke looked at me very intensely when he said that, like this wasn't just some way of twisting my words as a joke. He meant it.
"Right." I said with a nod, and a slight shiver. How did everything become so serious all of a sudden?
Great. I turned to Martin, who was looking down at the three of us suspiciously, with contempt.
"What Martin?" I growled, "I don't want any trouble-"
"I'm not the one looking for trouble."
"Aw man!" said Bill, who walked up carrying some sign-up sheets. "Don't tell me he's joining, Prez!"
I twitched, "Prez...?"
He smirked, "President of the Theology Club, thank you very much."
"That explains a lot, then!" said Luke, glaring and tightening his fists.
"Tell your pet ginger to heel, Toovson." said Martin, "We don't need you scaring off any guests who might be interested in joining our little circle of friends."
"Yeah!" said Bill, eager to jump on the bandwagon. "Go back to your Booty-ism god or whatever!"
"I'm guessing you mean Buddhism," said Michael flatly, "They actually don't have any gods."
"... Oh. Well who cares? HA! YOU MAD?" said Bill.
Even Martin rolled his eyes at the idiocy of his companion.
"Worst trolling I've ever heard in my life!" spat Luke. "You can say "You mad?" when the person wasn't even mad to begin with."
"Calm down Luke," I told my friend, not for anything Martin said, but rather to actually settle him down, "He may be a jerk, but he's still got a point. It's not fair to cause a scene and scare off people who might actually want to join, over our own grudges."
"Anyone with a right mind should be scared anyway. Ever see Silent Hill?"
"Fine." he settled, but kept his scowl.
The two goons walked off, laughing at who-knows-what lame thing we did in their minds. They barely missed a young girl who was walking in the opposite direction as them with some more fliers, and she wobbled a bit.
"Whoa!" I quickly ran up and steadied her before she could drop them all over the place, "You okay?"
"Yes..." she said, readjusting some of the papers that had fallen a bit out of place. She smiled a bright smile. "Thank you for that."
"No problem." I returned the smile.
"Are you joining Theology club?" she asked politely, with another smile. She was a tall girl, almost my height, and obviously well-built... those were a lot of papers she was carrying. But not bulky, she was still pretty attractive.
"Uhhh... maybe..." I tried being polite and hiding my lack of enthusiasm, since she seemed nice enough.
"Aw, don't let those jerks sway you!" she said, scowling in the direction of Martin and Bill. "They don't know what it's like to be good theologians, or good Christians." She shook her head, letting her chocolate-brown hair swoosh. "They've got no respect for anyone but themselves. They're... skunk-heads!"
"Yeah... yeah." I agreed, for once dropping the formalities. "Yes they are skunk-heads."
We somehow both found ourselves laughing.
"Hey, Theoooooo!" called Luke, "If you're done flirting, I'd like to share something with you!"
I frowned, "I'm not flirting, we're just talk-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
"And don't you be going on about how wonderful it'd be to make out with her either, there are other things to do."
I had never met a person before that had successfully made me get murderous urges three times in the same day. Someone should give the boy a silver medal for that. I turned to the girl to apologize, but she was just laughing.
"None taken," she said, as if reading my mind. "See you around, Theo." Then she walked into a back room with the fliers.
"See you around." I said politely, then sighed with exasperation and turned to my friends. Michael was holding Luke's ear to keep him from saying anymore annoying things, but let go as he saw I was ready to talk. "What? What could be so important that it couldn't possibly wait through small talk?"
"You're going to be late for try-outs, duh." he said, chewing on his cheek a bit.
"Try-outs?" I asked, confused. "But... I didn't sign myself up for any try-outs."
"Of course you didn't," he said, "I did."
Well, there you have it! This chapter was originally longer, but I sort of hit a major writer's block at some point, so this seemed liked a good place to cut it off for now. Plus it's already super long. Sorry if this chapter is kind of boring, I know I certainly don't like anything without much constant entertainment and plot-contributes. But... oh well. It's what you get. Next chapter will have fighting though! And introduce some new characters! :D