Author: booklette PM
When Luther Wesly's parents ship him off to boarding school without warning or explanation, he finds himself immediately fascinated by the school's mysterious outcast, Jenna Sloane, who he soon discovers is harboring a dark secret that could cost her her life.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,196 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 11-20-12 - Published: 11-17-12 - id: 3075163
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sixteen-year-old Luther Wesly stood silently in the top row of steel bleachers at his new boarding school, Muddles Prep, with his book bag at his feet and a brochure in hand. He was tall and well-muscled despite his lean build with shaggy auburn hair that fell over his fierce brown eyes, which he now used to survey the land in front of him. If he had to guess, Luther would say the track here at Muddles Prep was somewhere around fives miles long, significantly longer than the track his old school back in San Francisco. Not that it mattered, though.
The track would be fine for his running. Hell, it'd be more than fine. Luther would be able to get his daily fifteen miles easy on this, even if he did have to get up early to do it. It didn't change the fact that his friends weren't here or that his parents had shipped him off here without even so much as a warning. What made it worse was that he didn't even know why he was here. He knew that it was supposed to be a better school, but he felt like he was being punished and he didn't even know why. He hadn't gotten into any fights – this year – and his grades were good, so why the hell had his parents sent him to this shitty prep school in the middle of FreakingNowhere, California?
Luther looked up silently, his train of thought broken, as he heard as a loud metallic bang. A few rows down from he where was on the opposite end of the bleachers was a girl about the same age as he was. She was only slightly shorter than he was with long, black hair that tumbled over her shoulders, dark brown eyes, and pale skin the color of black-board chalk like the kind the teachers had used when he was back in elementary school. The girl was dressed in day clothes rather than the school uniform since it was a Sunday and in front of her was a thick, hardcover book that she seemed to have dropped.
Luther watched the girl pick up the book, wondering vaguely how long she had been there for and why he hadn't noticed her before. Then the girl turned with her book hand and started to climb up the chain-link fence that was in place around the upper rows of the bleachers to keep students from falling or jumping.
"What the hell?" Luther muttered as he watched the girl continue to climb to the top of the fence. She was not going to do what he thought she was going to do, was she? "Wait a minute..."
It was not until the girl had reached the very top of the fence and sat, saddling it, that Luther realized she was going to do exactly what he thought she was going to do. "Hey!" Luther screamed as he threw down his bag and started running down the row of bleachers towards the girl. "Are you freaking crazy – get down from there!" There was no way he could let her jump – the bleachers had to be at least twenty feet high.
The girl turned and locked eyes with Luther, her expression blank. Then she turned away from him, dropped her book, and watched it fall to the grass with a dull thunk. She swung her leg over the fence and prepared herself to jump.
Luther had reached the fence by now. He laced his fingers through the links of the fence and just for a split second, he thought about shaking it to teach this girl a lesson about gravity. "Hey!" he shouted up at the girl who merely ignored him. "Will you get down from there – you're going to get hurt!"
It was then that the girl finally decided to acknowledge his existence. She looked down at him from her spot on the fence, smiling, and said, "Why do you care?"
Luther frowned at her, confused, and released his hold on the fence. "Wha–?" he said. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
The girl looked away from him silently and then she let go of the fence and jumped. Luther watched in a horror as she fell and landed hard on her knees. She sat in a crawling position for a moment with a somewhat stunned look on her face.
"Hey!" Luther called down to her. "Are you okay?"
The girl looked up at him silently, her mouth agape and her eyes wide. They stared at each other for a moment. Finally, Luther licked his lips nervously and called to her, "Hold on – I'm coming down! I'll take you the nurse."
Even though he had no idea where it was.
Just as Luther started to make his way down the bleachers, the girl stood up abruptly and causing him to pause. Then she grabbed her book, turned, and ran.
It was then that Luther realized there was something wrong with her – other than the fact that she was completely insane. There was something wrong with the way she walked – she was limping.
Muddles Prep School was a three-story Victorian-style mansion that had been converted into a private preparatory boarding school sometime after World War II. It had originally belonged to James Anthony Muddles, who had made it rich mining gold, gemstones, and other precious minerals long before most people had even realized there was anything of value in California, though he didn't start mining gold until after the 1949 Gold Rush. Shortly after the Gold Rush had started, however, Muddles relocated to New York, claiming that California was getting "too crowded" for his taste, putting hundreds out of work. The abandoned Muddles Mining Co. still sat outside the small town North Star, which was about thirty miles east of the boarding school. Or, at least, that's what the brochure said.
Luther held the brochure in his hand as he stared at the tall, somewhat goofy-looking black boy in front of him who was wearing a navy blue and black Muddles Miners football jersey and cargo shorts. They were standing in a wide hallway with that consisted of about thirty or forty single dorms, the dorm parents' room and office, and the bathroom and showers that were consistent with the boys' dorms. The hallway was basically empty, except for one or two people who passed by them on their way back to their dorms.
"Now, then," the boy said, "my name is Eric Mackey, and I am here to be your mentor – "
"Wait, wait, wait," Luther said, holding up his hand to silence the boy. He was trying hard not to be hostile to the people here - it wasn't their fault, after all, that his parents had chosen to send him here for no reason. He was finding it difficult, though. "First of all, why do I need a mentor – they already gave me the brochure, the list of school rules, and my assignment notebook when I checked in at the front office. Second of all, why are you my mentor, no offense?"
Eric sighed, disappoint etched into his features, and said, "I am the head of dorm. I'm in charge when our dorm parent, Mr. Becker, isn't around. I'm not really your mentor. I'm just supposed to show you to your dorm because Mr. Becker is in a conference right now, okay?"
"Oh, okay," Luther said, nodding. "That makes sense."
"Anyway," Eric said as he started walking down the hall. Luther followed after him. "Your dorm is number 337 and –" He paused and turned to face Luther. " – no matter what Mr. Becker tells you, being placed in a single dorm is not a privilege."
"It's not?" Luther asked him, frowning. He already knew that it wasn't a privilege for him – he was only being place in a single dorm because all of the shared ones were already full. He knew that, but if he was going to go to school and, at the very least, attempt to fit in here, he needed to get some sort of intel on how things worked in this school.
"No, man," Eric told him, looking at him as though he were insane. "Everyone wants to get in a shared dorm because that's where the party is. The only ones who get placed in the single dorms are the nerdy overachievers, the freaky outcasts, and me – the head of dorm." He looked away from Luther, started off down the hall again, and added, "Oh, and the newcomers like you who are lucky to even get into this school in the first place." He paused and turned back to Luther. "Man, how did you even get into this school, anyway – it's the middle of the semester."
"Still trying to figure that one for myself," Luther informed him, sighing.
"Yeah, well," Eric said, walking down the hall, "this is your dorm." He stopped outside the dorm with the number 337 on the door in shiny, brass numbers. "And in case of an emergency –" He walked to the end of the hall and pressed his hand against the wall. " – this wall opens one of the two secret passages in the school that leads to the panic room."
"Panic room?" Luther said somewhat skeptically. "Bet that wasn't included in the original design plans."
"Actually," Eric said, "according to the school history, the panic room is where James Muddles used to store and count his money because he didn't trust the banks. Anyway, if you need anything, I'm right down the hall in dorm number 330 and Mr. Becker's room is right across the hall."
"Alright," Luther said, nodding. "Thanks."
"No problem, man," Eric said, smiling at him. "Talk to you later." Then he started off down the hall back to his own dorm.
Luther sighed and walked over to dorm number 337. He pulled the door open silently and looked around. The room was small, square, and about half the size of his room back home. The walls were covered with a dull, beige, diamond-patterned wallpaper and a pale brown area rug covered most of the hardwood floors. There was a small twin-sized bed pressed up against the wall with his suitcase on it, in the corner of the room was a fairly decent-sized closet, and beside that was a large wooden computer desk, upon which sat a brand new Dell all-in-one computer still in its box with a sticky-note on it.
Luther could only assume that his parents had gotten that for him, more than likely for schoolwork, but he liked to think it was actually their way apologizing for sending him here. He set his book bag down on the floor and walked over to the desk. He pulled the note off the box and read it silently:
We know you're unhappy with us for sending you away, but this school is very important to your father and we know that in time, you will forgive and one day thank us.
We want you to know that we love you very much, and we aren't doing this to punish you. We're doing it because we love you. Please enjoy the computer, and write soon. We look forward to hearing from you. We love you.
So they were forcing him to go to a school that he hates because it important to his father? Great. Just wonderful. That made Luther feel so much better. "Well, whatever," he sighed as he walked over to his bed and snapped open his suitcase, so he could put his clothes away. He would get the computer set up later. "Thanks for clearing up that issue, Mom."
He grabbed some clothes out of his suitcase and walked over to his closet. He paused when he opened the door and saw that the closet was already half full of the school's mandatory navy blue and black uniform. He reached out and began to examine one of them. The uniform consisted of a plain, black button-down shirt, a navy tie and blazer, and navy dress pants.
"Great," Luther muttered as he started to put his clothes away. "Now, I have to learn to tie a tie before I'm thirty."
He went back, grabbed the rest of his clothes out of his suitcase, and put those away. Then he kicked his shoes off and lay down on his bed, cradling his head in hands. He looked up silently as a few students passed by on their way to the showers. Once they were gone, he frowned, his mind drifting back to the girl from earlier. The one from the bleachers.
No matter how hard he tried, Luther just couldn't help but wonder who she was and whether she was okay or not. He scoffed as he thought this – obviously, she wasn't okay. If she was, she wouldn't have been limping. She must have been hurt from the jump, and if she was smart, she had probably gone to the nurse, but still...Who was she, and why in the hell would she want to do something so stupid?
Luther scowled, irritated with himself, for letting this girl get to him. He had managed to push the issue to the back of his head for a little while, but now he just couldn't stop thinking about it – her – and it was driving him insane. Why did he care about what happened to that girl?
He thought she had made it pretty clear that she didn't want a damn thing to do with him – she wouldn't even let him help her to the nurse. When he really thought about it, Luther could really only chalk his concern for the girl up to the fact that he was still shock from watching someone willingly jump from twenty feet up.
Jenna Sloane sat silently in her dorm room. It was a single dorm, but unlike most of the other students on this floor, Jenna hadn't been placed there because she was smart or a teacher's pet. Jenna had been placed in the single dorm she was in now because the girls she had been supposed to room with originally had voted her out of their dorm and requested that she be moved upstairs to the single dorms. Just like every other year. Outside, it was dark even though it was just past seven because it was November. All the lights were off in the room, the floors of which were covered with books, and the curtains were closed to block out any outside source of light. In front of Jenna on her bed was a silver box with five buttons on the side, a tiny red light, and a speaker on it – a digital voice recorder. Jenna reached out silently and hit the "Record" button on the voice recorder and opened her mouth to speak. As she did so, she heard a long bang! come from the floor below her. Then a split second later, loud rock music erupted from somewhere below her, shaking the loose floorboards of her dorm. Jenna groaned loudly and fell over onto her back, her black hair fanning out around her. She stared up at her ceiling and quietly asked no one, "Where's the dorm parent when you need them?" A few minutes later, she rolled over onto her side and sighed as she heard the unmistakable sounds of Sophie Wells "borrowing" one of the other girls' dorms for her and her latest boy-toy. Jenna grabbed her pillow and wrapped it around her head silently, her eyes falling on the wooden picture frame that stood on her bedside table. It was turned away from her, so she couldn't see the picture it held, and at this point, she was starting to wonder why she bothered keeping it anymore.
The next morning, Luther was awakened by someone pounding hard on his dorm room door. He sat up silently, rubbing sleep out of his eyes. "Coming!" he called groggily, silencing whoever was banging on his door. Normally, he would have been angry at having been woken up unexpectedly, but right now he was too tired to care. He hadn't slept well the night before. His dreams had been full of pale-skinned, dark-haired girls, falling to their deaths. Whether or not he had been dreaming about the girl from the day before or a bunch of different girls who all just looked similar to her, he didn't know. He never got the chance to see their faces in the dreams. He climbed out of bed in his pajamas – a plain white T-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts. When he pulled open the door of his dorm, he was greeted by a tall, blond man with glasses, and the noise of a busy hallway. The man was carrying a sleek, leather briefcase in one hand and a manila folder in his other hand.
"Good morning, Luther," the man said as he reached with the hand he was using to hold his briefcase to shake Luther's hand. "I am Mr. Becker, your dorm parent. I apologize for not being here to meet you yesterday –"
"Oh, um, no problem," Luther said, shaking the man's hand and now feeling considerably more awake. He looked up and down the hall where the other students were already milling about, heading to the showers which were just across the hall next door to the room that belonged to Mr. Becker. "Uh, you didn't need something, did you?"
"Yes, actually," Mr. Becker said. He opened his folder and pulled out of a sheet paper, which he handed to Luther. "That is your class schedule, which I was asked to give to you by your guidance counselor yesterday."
"Oh, yeah, thanks," Luther said, examining the paper just long enough to learn that he had geometry first period.
Mr. Becker mouthed a quick, "You're welcome." Then he turned and started to walk away.
Luther checked his watch and made a mental note to set his alarm for four-thirty, so he would have time to run the next morning. He went back inside his dorm and quickly unpacked his book bag, which contained everything but his school books. He grabbed the towel he had brought from home and one of his uniforms out of the closet. Then he headed across to the showers.
When he does showering, Luther dressed quickly and then went back to his dorm to grab his bag and wallet. Before he left, he checked to make sure he had his debt card, which he knew his parents had put at least $250 dollars on for his school things. Once he was sure he had everything, he started down the hall to the student lounge and store, fiddling with his tie as he went, finally starting to forget about his disturbing dreams from the night before.
The hallway was lined with wood-and-floral paneling with a long, grandiose blue and gold floor runner covering the oaken, wooden floor boards. The halfway point was marked by a twin pair of metal detectors and matching security guards, dressed in something similar to mall-cop uniforms. The reason for this was that beyond the metal detectors and security guards was the hall that led to the girls' dormitories where boys weren't allowed after eleven PM. In between the east wing where the girls' dorms were and the west wing where the boys' dorms were, though, was a sort of safety point called The Excavation or The Ex, for short. That was the sort of vibe Luther got from it, anyway.
He paused for a moment by the metal detector to hand over his book bag for the security guard to search for weapons and bombs. "Always suspicious of the new kid," Luther muttered, joking bitterly as he took the bag back from the guard.
The guard who had searched his bag smiled at Luther as he passed and went inside The Ex. The Ex was a combination student lounge and store. The room was octagonal and enormous with the same wood paneling that used in the hall, and here the wood floors were actually exposed and bare, sleek, shiny, and well-polished. Directly in front of Luther was a long, wooden counter with a glass front and a cash register on top of it that served as the store portion of The Ex. Behind the counter were things like class rings and bracelets decorated with navy blue pickaxes. On the wall behind it were book bags, jerseys, posters, and books. On the far wall, a wall-mounted forty-seven inch HD television was hooked up to an X-Box 360 with a Playstation off to the side and surrounded by a black leather sofa and two arm chairs. The area adjacent to the counter was made up of two vending machines and several vintage video game machines, and the corner of the room had been made into a reading nook with several bookshelves, three leather arm chairs and a coffee table with magazines piled on it. Luther walked up to the counter, looking around the The Ex, which had only a few students in it who were playing video games before getting ready to go down to breakfast or class. "Can I help you, sir?" Luther looked up to a see a tall, big nosed kid with glasses and dark hair standing behind the counter in front of the register. He raised an eyebrow at him and asked, "Did you just call me 'sir'?" "Yeah," the cashier said in a rather high, nasally voice. "My boss tells me to call everyone that. So can I get you anything or what?" "Uh, yeah," Luther said, nodding. "I need to buy my books for class." "Ah, okay," the cashier said. "Schedule?" He held out his hand for Luther's schedule. Luther handed it to him silently. Then he started fiddling with his tie again until he was sure he had it in a suitable knot. "Alright," the cashier said, quickly reading through the schedule. He turned to the shelf behind him and grabbed several, large text books and scanned them. "That'll be $342.75," he said as the receipt started to print. Luther let out an uneasy sigh as he pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and pulled out his debt card. "I'm not sure there's enough money in my account," he told the cashier. The cashier shrugged. "Let's try it, anyway," he said, taking the card from Luther. He swiped the card and turned the keypad towards Luther. "Now, let's see if it'll go through," Luther said, taking his card back and punching in his pin number. Then his mouth fell open as the word "Approved" appeared on the screen of the card reader. He was going to have to check his bank account later to see just how much money his parents had given him for school. "I just need you to sign this," the cashier said, handing him a slip of paper and a pen. "Alright," Luther said, putting his wallet away and signing the paper. "Thanks." He shrugged his bag off and started to put his books away with his notebooks and binders. He threw his bag over his shoulder, and turned to leave. Once Luther was outside The Excavation, he started off down the grand staircase that led to the school's foyer, hurrying to get to his first class, which started in less than ten minutes. The staircase was huge and wide, and probably took up more space than anything else in the school. It was a patchwork quilt of smooth stones the likes of which Luther had never seen before. The foyer was just as impressive as the rest of building, if not more so. It was round with solid wood paneling and floors. The two front doors were massive, inlaid with stained glass windows and brass doorknobs. On the left hand side of the foyer, in front of the door that led to the principals' and guidance counselor's offices, was an enormous wooden security desk with four guards seated behind it. Directly across from that was from the nurses' office. Just as Luther got to the last step of the grand staircase, the first period bell rang. "Crap," he said, quickening his pace. Then as he passing the nurses' office, he stopped. From what he could tell the nurses' office consisted of a counter, a few cabinets, and two small back rooms with who-knew-what in them. And standing in front of the counter, talking with the nurse, and holding a small cup like the kind they gave you at the hospital for taking medicine with was the girl he had seen yesterday at bleachers – the one who had almost gotten herself killed. She was dressed in her school uniform, the navy coloring of it sharply contrasting her ivory skin tone, with her hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. What was she doing in the nurses' office, though? Luther wondered as he watched her. He wondered vaguely if she was there to get pain medication for whatever injury she might have gotten the day before, but then reasoned himself that that couldn't be the reason – if she had really needed some form of pain medication, she would have gone to get it the day before. So if she didn't need pain medication, what was she doing there then and why the hell had she been limping? Luther didn't care. He was going to find out what was going and what the hell she had been thinking yesterday. He watched as the girl swallowed whatever was inside the cup and then she turned to look at him. She looked shocked at first, but then she just sighed, gathered her things, and started to leave.
"I really, really don't want to talk to you," she said as she passed Luther in the hall, still limping the same way she had been the day before.
Luther caught up to her quickly, grabbed her by the arm, and spun her around to face him. "Yeah, well, I don't care - I need to talk to you about yesterday," he told her. "About what happened at the bleachers."
"I'm really sorry about that," the girl said, freeing herself of his grasp and Luther couldn't tell if she actually meant or if she was just saying it to get away from him. "I don't know why I did that, I really don't. I didn't mean to - "
"You didn't mean to?!" Luther demanded in disbelief. Did she think he was stupid - or blind, perhaps? "You climbed up the fence and you jumped - it doesn't get much more intentional than that! What the hell were you thinking?!"
"I'm sorry," the girl said, looking away from him uncomfortably. She started speaking faster as her voice began to break, but Luther didn't care. He just wanted answers. "I-I didn't want to. I just - I couldn't stop myself."
Luther stared at her silently in disbelief, breathing heavily and again unable to tell if she was lying or just making bull shit excuses. "So that's your excuse?" he said, shaking his head. "You couldn't stop yourself - do you have any idea what it would have looked like if you had been killed because of what you did? Do you have any idea who have blamed for your death or for not stopping you?!" He was almost shouting by this point, and he was suddenly aware that two of the four security guards positioned nearby were now walking towards them. He didn't care, though. His eyes never left the girl's face. The girl stared up at him silently for a moment, processing what he had just said. Then she looked away as a hurt look crossed her face. "Well, in that case, I'm sorry I almost tarnished your reputation at one the most prestigious private boarding schools in the country," the girl said, her voice sounded shaky. "Can we be done with this now - we're late enough as it is." With that, she turned and started off down the hall silently, leaving Luther to stare merely stare after her in confusion.