Hello! This is my new story and I'm kinda excited about writing it. I really hope you'll like it. I apologize in advance for any mistakes (there are going to be plenty of them) but English is not my mother language, so please bear with me. Also, there might be a couple of things that will seem a bit unfamiliar to the American audience, mainly concerning the way the school functions. I'm not all too familiar with the American school system and also, the story takes place in an undefined time, in an undefined place, although it is similar to our time and our world.
The first chapter might be a little strange and awkward, but you know… it's the first chapter, where the main characters are introduced, the scenery is set, and so on. Just be patient and you'll see…
Lastly, I would like to thank 'DarkestOfNights' for her valuable help.
'nough said. Let's begin!
She strained against her bonds. Her wrists and ankles were chafed roughly as she pulled on the leather shackles that kept her spread eagle on the stone table. The gag that muffled her screams made it hard for her to breathe. She writhed and swirled around, trying to get free but to no avail. Exhausted and sweaty all over, she quitted the effort and remained still, panting from the nostrils. Her stare met the items that hang above the table from a wooden rectangular frame. Her eyes widened with terror as she realized what they were. The dim light that sneaked inside the otherwise dark room, made the sharp objects glint here and there. "Mmm-fmm" she whimpered when she noticed that some of the blades had dark red stains on them.
The door creaked. She turned her head sharply towards the sound but she only caught glimpse of a tall shadow on a yellowish background before the door closed again. Her heart pounding like crazy inside her chest, she held her breath. Light steps echoed in the room. Approaching her…
The tall figure came to stand above her lying form. She looked up with terror-filled eyes. Eyes that widened beyond their normal capacity when they saw the face… Her body twisted around in her restrains wildly as her attempts to break free were renewed. Her screams of horror came through the gag as muffled gasps.
"Jubilee…" the velvety voice called her name seductively and then broke to a creepy, low chuckle as a long arm was lifted to touch playfully the selection of torture instruments above her head. The girl tugged desperately at her bonds mewling helplessly.
"Little Jubilee…ku ku ku ku"
"Jubilee! Come on, honey. You're gonna be late."
Jubilee woke up with a start. She slowly sat up on the bed and looked over at her bedroom doorway. Her mother gestured for her to wake up and then walked past the door and down the hallway.
"Mmpf" the seventeen year old girl snorted rubbing her head.
It was always a little hard for her to wake up so early in the morning. She wasn't much of an early bird and the morning awakening was a kind of torture for her. Especially on an early winter Monday, like today. But what can you do? Yawning like a cat and stretching her limbs, she got up from the bed. She dragged her feet to the bathroom, carrying the first clothes she found in her closet. She took a shower, brushed her teeth and looked herself in the mirror. The girl in the mirror looked back at her gloomily. She was of average height and quite slender. The messed up strands of her brown hair fell unrulily on her pale face. Her lips were pouted, her brows joined in a frown. The only sparkly thing on her was her big dark brown eyes that stared at her own reflection with a raised brow. Jubilee sighed and left the bathroom.
She found the rest of the family in the kitchen. She went straight to an empty chair and slumped heavily on it.
"People say good morning" her father said looking at her over the newspaper.
"People say a lot" Jubilee murmured as her mother put a dish with pancakes in front of her.
"Jubilee…" the older woman scolded her.
The girl simply snorted and began eating her breakfast with gluttony.
"What about the changes in your school?" her father asked at some point.
"What about it?" Jubilee asked back with her mouth full.
The man gave her a disapproving stare.
"I've heard that there were going to be some changes in the management and the staff" he explained.
The girl shrugged and continued stuffing her mouth with pancakes.
"Maybe it has already changed but Jubs hasn't noticed yet" Danny said from across the table and snickered.
Jubilee cast a venomous glance at her brother. Danny was fourteen and very insufferable at the time. The curse of the younger brother…
The girl just snorted but her mind remained on her father's question. She had heard of the rumors, too. Nothing specific, though. For the past five or so years, the state had been trying to get rid of the burden of public education. Most of the schools had been turned into private institutes, run by wealthy individuals or businesses. Jubilee was highly against it and she was happy that her high school was one of the few schools that hadn't turned private in the area. Generally, however, most people had come to terms with it and were sending their children to private schools. The few remaining public ones were considered downgraded and disreputable. That was probably true, but only because the government had deliberately abandoned them. The teachers – and Jubilee knew it, despite what she said – were doing their best to keep the schools to a respectable level, even though they had zero support and a miserable salary.
Jubilee shook her head to chase the thoughts away and went on eating her breakfast fast. As soon as she finished it, she stood up from her chair and prepared to leave. She grabbed her schoolbag and made it for the door.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?" her father asked.
Jubilee turned around pouting. Her father had put the newspaper on the table and was tapping his forefinger on his cheek. The girl rolled her eyes, but complied. She came back, gave him a quick peck on the cheek and then quickly walked to the door.
"Put on something warm! It's cold outside" her mother said from the kitchen but Jubilee was already shutting the door behind her and hopping down the stair.
The cold winter breeze blew hard on her face as she walked down the empty street. She hated to admit that her mother had been right; the jacket she was wearing wasn't warm enough for an early December morning. Jubilee yawned and pushed her hands in her pockets to keep them from freezing. The school wasn't very far from her home, around fifteen minutes on foot. They lived close to the outskirts of the city and the building of the school was even further from the center. It was rather isolated and the closest house to it was at least a five minutes' walk.
Jubilee yawned for the tenth time, her lower jaw almost hurting from the stretching. She was bored to death today and she doubted she would be able to withstand all of her seven classes she had. She seriously considered skipping her last classes and go somewhere more fun – to the Mall, maybe. She had to talk one or two of her friends to go with her, though; it would be boring to go by herself. Her friends… Jubilee breathed in deeply. Her friends where the ones who made the boring school life a little more bearable. She actually felt lucky to have found them. In middle school she only had one best friend; Fiona. They were friends since kinder garden and although they had their differences, they were inseparable. In high school, they had made more friends; Kael, with whom Jubilee spent hours playing horror video games or listening to heavy metal (when she wasn't grounded). Eva was the clever one, but she was also sweet, outgoing and funny. Josh was the cool guy, he had a great sense of humour and acted with chivalry, something that, from time to time, vexed Jubilee. Nigel was a friend of Josh's and Kael's and it was through them that the rest of the gang had met him. He was… well, Nigel was a whole other chapter for Jubilee. She didn't exactly consider him a friend; from the moment they'd met, about three years ago, a rivalry was born between them. They would argue frequently and quarrel and, while still in ninth grade, they had even fought – physically – a couple of times. Since then, they had just been exchanging murderous glares and snarls. They had had their good times, too, though. And Jubilee had the suspicion the Fiona harbored some tender feelings for him. Jubilee had never talked to her friend about that, though; she wasn't much into that kind of girly talk. Last but not least, was Marian, a girl who occasionally hung out with them. She was a kind a sweet girl, but the characteristic Jubilee appreciated most in her was her height. Marian was 1,62 and that made her two centimeters shorter than Jubilee. When Marian was with them, Jubilee ceased to be the shortest in the group.
Jubilee hadn't realized that she had almost reached school. She turned left to a byway of the main road and walked towards the gate at the end of it. There was another school building at the beginning of the narrow road, but that was the middle school, the one her brother attended. As Jubilee approached the gate of the school, she noticed someone standing in front of the iron gate. The girl frowned; it was a tall man, dressed in a black, cop-like uniform. The lower half of his face was covered by part of the uniform and his eyes were hidden behind black sunglasses. Jubilee eyed him suspiciously even as she walked closer to the gate. He looked like a soldier or something. And Jubilee despised anything that had to do with the army. Besides, what the heck was he doing in front of a school?
Jubilee walked past him and entered the front yard. She climbed up the few marble steps that led to the main door of the building, in order to cross the hall and go to the back yard, where all of the pupils gathered every morning. The principal, Mrs. Dowels, addressed them every morning, wishing them a good, productive day and making some announcements about school events, projects, contests and stuff like that. From time to time, she announced the names of the pupils that had been expelled for some days due to inappropriate behavior. Jubilee's name had been mentioned a couple of times…
She tried to open the door, but to her surprise, she found it locked. What the heck? she thought to herself. The door was always open. Huffing, she walked down the stairs and tool the long way, around the building. When she reached the back schoolyard, she found the other children already gathered and having formed their lines, according to their grade. Jubilee rushed to the section of the twelfth grade.
"Hey" she greeted as she came to stand next to Kael. "Just in time, huh?"
"Hey" Kael murmured. His brown, shoulder-length hair waved as he turned around to face her. Jubilee noticed his T-shirt that screamed the fact that he loved Iron Maiden. Typical. What was not typical was the perplexed look on his usually smiling face.
"What?" Jubilee asked.
The boy turned his head back to the front and shook his chin towards the entrance. There, at the marble above the few steps and in front of the door, was where their teachers stood as Mrs. Dowels spoke to them every morning. Jubilee wondered what could be so interested about it as she looked at the direction Kael was pointing. Her eyes widened.
Those weren't her teachers. She didn't know who they were, but they were definitely not their teachers. And she seriously doubted they were teachers at all. Rather the employees of Cirque du Soleil. She turned to Kael.
"Who're they?" she asked.
The boy shrugged. His expression of utter confusion was shared by every single kid in the schoolyard. Jubilee, included.
"They were already here when we started gathering this morning" Eva said. The tall, slender girl came to stand next Jubilee. Concern furrowed her fine eyebrows. "Could it be…?" she wondered.
"What?" Jubilee asked confused.
"The new staff."
Josh came to stand next to them. He was the tallest of them and his blond hair –which he was trying to grow long – fell on his eyes.
"They don't look like teachers" Marian said, coming closer to the rest of them. "Basically, they scare me a little."
Jubilee turned her gaze back to the people standing above them. They truly were a weird group of individuals; there was a particularly tall man with a long black coat and a hat that hid almost all his face, another one that sat in wheelchair that seemed to have jumped out from the previous century, a woman with dark red hair that flew to the all directions above the head forming a demonic halo, even somebody that wore a whole-body metal uniform, like an armor of black and gold. They more she looked at them, the more they reminded her of a freak show.
"Maybe someone is screwing with us" Kael said sniggered. "No way those freaks are teachers. More like they just escaped from …"
He was interrupted by the piercing sound of the loudspeaker. It made everyone grimace and cover their ears with their hands but it managed to draw everyone's attention. The children waited curiously.
"Dear pupils of Westridge Public High School" a strange voice echoed through the schoolyard. "As your new headmaster, I salute you and hope that our cooperation will be flawless. I wish you a good day."
The speaker was turned off and the children exchanged confused glances. The voice had sounded weird. Coarse and almost hissing. But at the same time, mellow and mellifluous. It was natural to be distorted by the speaker but still… Jubilee wouldn't be sure it belonged to a man or a woman, had he not said 'headmaster'. Wait a minute… 'headmaster'? Who said headmaster nowadays? Weren't they called 'principals' now?
Hubbub spread throughout the crowd of children.
"Why didn't he come out to talk to us, like Dowels did?" Kael asked.
"Silence!" a powerful voice commanded and all of the noisy chatting between the pupils was silenced.
Everyone turned the attention back to the people who were standing in their old teachers' place. A man walked in front of the others and stared down at the children. He was tall and built, wore an all-black suit and looked rather intimidating.
"Listen up!" he ordered. "This school runs under a new management now. There are going to be changes. You better get used to them quickly. Change one: every morning you are going to say a prayer along with Mr. Carmus."
He took a step back while another man came forth. He around forty, with long brown-greyish hair and a small beard. He was dressed in a long cloak and wore a strange cap on his head. He adjusted the microphone to his height, cleared his voice and turned his head towards the sky, eyes closed.
"Hampee… jousren cameri ferevet moni…"
"What the hell is he saying?" Kael whispered at Jubilee as the strange man continued to drone in the unfamiliar language.
The girl shrugged.
Although nobody had a clue what the strange chanting meant, a wave of uneasiness and alarm seemed to run through the children while the man said the weird prayer. After a couple of minutes he finished with a high-pitched crescendo and took a step back. The first man stepped forth and addressed the children again.
"That's the new prayer and you're all saying it along from tomorrow" he said in an almost threatening tone. "Now, go to your classes quickly and without any delay or fuss!"
Slowly, the children began walking towards the entrances. Jubilee and the others headed for the second floor of the east wing, where their classroom was.
That's it. No, the first scene is not Jubilee's dream before her mom woke her up. It's just a little preview… *hint hint*. The second chapter will come out shortly and will be longer and better. Until then, please review! Bye!