"They say it's haunted. Johnny and his friends went there last week, and they heard strange noises."
"No, it's not haunted."
"Yes it is."
"You can't think that's real can you? They're boys, they don't know anything!" I sat between my two friends Lillian and Ashley, listening to them arguing about the old Mansion on the edge of the town. People said it was supposedly haunted, but I didn't think it was true. It's a house right? I decided to find out if it was haunted after all this Saturday coming.
The sun was warm, and the autumn leaves were sweeping down the path I walked on. I'd told my mother I was going out with some friends for a late 14th birthday outing, but I was really going to the mansion. It was up ahead and I quickened my pace, until I was approaching it fast and started to get nervous. I was by myself, and if anyone saw me, my mother would find out and I would definitely get grounded. I took one last look at the fields that surrounded me; there was no one to be seen and I quickly slipped inside the gates. The garden was overgrown and the house looked a wreck. I decided not to go inside the house this time, so I walked around to the back garden.
"Whoa." I said, instinctively.
It was like a medieval garden, the ground was covered in gravel, and there was an old fountain in the middle. I peered in and saw that there was no water. There were a few odd looking coins sitting in the bottom. I picked one up and inspected it. It definitely looked out of this world. The mansion looked worn away from the back but it didn't look haunted. I walked around the yard looking at all the finer details when it started to rain. I ran as fast as I could back home, as I didn't want to stay at the house until it stopped. Mother wasn't too happy that I had gotten drenched yet again but she didn't ask any questions. I didn't go back to the house for a couple days and when I did, I wasn't alone. I thought about entering the house this time and tried to open the back door but it wouldn't budge. There was a garden bench near the fountain and so I sat down, trying to think of how I would get in when my thoughts were interrupted.
"You shouldn't be here." A boy around my age maybe a bit older was standing there. He had dark brown hair and blue eyes and was dressed in some kind of battle gear. He was kind of cute and I couldn't help but notice that he had never been seen in town before. I stood up immediately.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"You don't need to know. You should get going as soon as possible, it's not safe." Whoever this guy was, he certainly didn't want me here. Maybe he lived here.
"Just go." I made it look like I was leaving but instead I stood against the wall, out of his sight. I peered around the corner to see him hold his hands out, as though to grab something but there was nothing to grab. Just then, I saw water flow through the fountain and overspill the edge, and then he held out his hands again, and I saw the weeds on the ground turn into flowers. Amazed, I walked out a few steps and stood there, my jaw dropped. He was clearly having too much fun with this, because he was about to do more of this supernatural stuff when he saw me.
"I thought I told you to leave." He said in a monotone voice.
"I wasn't going to leave without a proper reason. What were you just doing?"
"I-I can't tell you, I'm not allowed. I'll get into trouble." Finding out the answer seemed more difficult than I had planned.
"Come on, it can't be that bad." He looked at me seriously.
"I can only tell you if you swear to not ever leave this property, given what you just saw." Never leave? Here? He had to be joking!
"Where would I go if I stayed here?"
"At my house." He seemed to already have planned this out. Maybe I could say I was going to stay, find out what was going on and then leave. He wouldn't find out, he didn't even know my name.
"That won't work." I looked up at him.
"What you're planning on doing, it won't work."
"How did you-"
"I can read minds, well it's more like hear thoughts. It's something I've never really liked having."
"That seems a bit rude, don't you think, just listening to my thoughts?"
"Like I said before, it's something I've never really liked having, and I've never had much control over it actually."
"Well, seeing as you know what I was planning to do, and now I can't follow through with it, I suppose I could stay for a while..."
"You have to stay, forever." He warned. This was getting worse and worse.
"Fine." I huffed.
"Good, now I have your trust, I can tell you. I-I have powers. That's why I wanted you to get out of here as quickly as possible, this place, it's a different "world." The boundary in which the "world" cuts off is a few metres beyond the front gates. I obtained powers a few years ago. I used to live in your town, but when they found I was missing, I knew I couldn't go back."" That explained a lot.
"And why do I have to stay?" He stepped closer to me, and I wanted to step away.
"Because, now you know, you have to get them too."
"I can get powers too?" He laughed at my innocence.
"Yes, come with me, to my village, I'll see what I can do." He took me through a garden behind the tree and we walked into a field. We walked for some time, when I saw a small village up ahead. He took me into an old looking shop where I saw many small long boxes covering the walls. This, as I soon found out, was a wand shop. He talked to the shopkeeper, who kept looking at me every few minutes when he told me to go with him. He took me into a room and asked me some questions.
"You must remember, that the wand is more powerful when used in the hand, but when you are using forces, it's results are much bigger, but a tiny bit less powerful."He then got me to try out some wands and basic spells, and then I completed the test in which he decided if it was time for me to get a wand. I passed with flying colours, and he gave the shopkeeper the same coins I saw in the bottom of the fountain back at the mansion and we left.
"I still don't know your name."
"Lucas." He replied.
"Ah, well I'm Annabelle." He took me to a house, which I presumed he lived in.
"Is this your place?" I asked.
"Yes, who else's would it be?" He asked sarcastically. I went inside and saw that the furniture was medieval too. What was this place?
"Don't mean to sound dumb here, but why is everything... medieval?" He finished lighting the fire in the fireplace and returned to me.
"Well, you see, this "world" is medieval, it's olden times, and your world, is modern, it's hard to explain, but it's a world, within a world." He took me upstairs to a room with a bed, and a window. There was a desk, and a cupboard too.
"This is your room. Directly opposite mine. That okay with you?" I nodded. This was all way too much to take in, so I put my wand on the bedside table and went to sleep.
I was walking through a forest, and entered a field, where there were other people, fighting against each other with wands and swords. I was about to do something when I could hear someone calling my name.
"Annabelle, wake up!" I opened my eyes to see Lucas standing there, hovering over my bed. I sat up straight away.
"You were shouting stuff in your sleep."
"Oh." I looked out the window to avoid embarrassment.
"Do you uh, want anything to eat?" I suddenly realised I was quite hungry.
"Yes please!" I followed him downstairs to the kitchen, where he gave me a plate with some bacon and eggs on it. I ate it slowly, trying to make it last. It tasted really good, much better than my own mothers. I finished and he told me we'd go out soon to start practicing my skills. Around 20 minutes later, we were walking to an abandoned factory. Lucas told me that this was the perfect place to practice this stuff, as no one could see you. I learnt that to be able to do these supernatural things with only your hands, you had to have your wand on you. We practiced basic moving skills, and then tried larger objects. I was soon getting the hang of it, and was having way too much fun when he said we had to go. We went back to his house and just relaxed for the rest of the day.
After a month of training, I was ready for the battlefield. Not that there was much fighting to be done these days, according to Lucas. I was even starting to get more powerful and skilled than him, and he didn't like this. The next 6 months contained practicing and studying, and every time he walked into a room, I'd do something funny using my wand, but he would react in an odd manner. Like he was counting up all the times I annoyed him as revenge. Whenever he asked me to pass something to him, I'd do it by magic. I had developed a really stable friendship between Lucas and myself, and found that we got along all the time and could live in peace without blowing the other person up, like a normal brother and sister would.
I was starting to overuse this new power I had, and didn't realise how lucky I was to have it. That was, until one day, I was out in the field with him, collecting ingredients for a new recipe for a secret spell when I heard shouting. I looked up and saw two police officers emerging from the hedge.
"Oh no." Lucas was too far away for me to try talk to him without attracting attention, so I did nothing. The police officers walked up to me and told me I had to go with them. When I said no, they started to pull me by my arms back to the old mansion. By the time Lucas realised what was going on, it was way too late. I disappeared behind the hedge and they dragged me across the stony ground and shoved me into their patrol car. I didn't feel anything as I went through the gates, and it was strange to see my old home again.
They took me to the station, and tried to question me, but I said nothing. They threatened me with staying overnight, but instead they changed their minds and took me home. My mother was crying and hugging me and thanking the police officers. As much as I loved my mother, I missed Lucas already. I still had my wand, so I couldn't entirely forget about his world. I then remembered what he had said about leaving the mansion and losing all connections to his world. I felt like a cloud was lingering over my head, and feeling quite sad I trumped up to my room and collapsed onto my bed.
"I can't believe you're alive! Everyone thought you were dead, it was so depressing." Ashley said in class the next day. I felt so out of place, everyone just staring at me like I was alien or something. I refused to do any of the work, and ended up getting into heaps of trouble. I knew if Lucas was here, he would tell me to do the work. So, I did the work for him. He was the only reason I did it. I tried to live a normal life, when one day I felt a huge pain in my chest and HAD to go back there. I ran and ran until I reached it, but somehow the police stopped me. I had no idea how they knew where I was going, or how they got there so fast. They took me back home and my mother asked me what was so important there I just had to get back.
"All it is is an empty house!" She exclaimed.
"No it isn't!"
"Why are you obsessed with that place?"
"I-I can't tell you. I'm sorry." I stood up and went upstairs and took a shower.
The next day I came home from school to find a man sitting on the lounge. My lounge. I didn't know who he was, or what he was doing here but I wanted him to get out. I'd had a bad day at school and I wanted to let out all my emotions on him, this stranger.
"Mother, who is this man sitting on my lounge?" I almost screamed. I'd said it when I was right behind him and he turned and looked at me, smiling. I showed him a disgusted look as mother came down the stairs. What a wonderful start to the weekend.
"This is Xavier, he is 19 and I met him at the fruit market today. He offered to carry home the grocery. Actually, I want to talk to you, in private." She took me into the study room and closed the door.
"I think he is your perfect match."
"Yes, you know, as in partner." My mouth dropped open.
"Are you serious?" I almost yelled.
"Be quiet! He's very nice, why don't you give him a chance?"
"Mum, he's three years older than me!" I didn't want to date anyone, especially him.
"I don't want to date him!" She laughed.
"Date him? I meant marry him!" She laughed again, and my mouth dropped open even further.
"Are you crazy? Why are you doing this to me?"
"It's for the best. Go out there and introduce yourself!" I groaned and stormed out, to find him still sitting on the lounge, as though he lived here.
"Hi. I'm Annabelle. It's nice to meet you." I said through my teeth.
"I'm Xavier, it's a pleasure to meet you too." He went to hold out his hand to shake mine, but I looked at it in disgust and stormed upstairs. I didn't emerge from my room until halfway through the next day, to find him still here. Except, he wasn't wearing a shirt and he was in the bathroom with the door open. Right where I needed to go. Great. I stared at him, and realised he wasn't actually that bad looking. And he had nice abs. But what was I thinking? He was still three years older than me! I slammed the door shut and waited another 5 minutes. I opened it and he was still in there. I walked to the bathroom, as I had given up trying to wait for him to get out.
"Why are you still here?" I asked.
"Morning to you too. Your mother invited me to stay the night. In fact, I think I'll be staying here for a while."
"Get out of the bathroom. Now."
"Why?" I was sick of his annoying questions.
"I like them feisty." He tried flirting but it wasn't working. He walked out and I went in and locked the door. A few minutes later I emerged, to see him downstairs eating breakfast. I can't believe I am supposed to be married to this guy! The next 2 months I didn't really talk to him, but I wasn't snappy towards him, I'd sort of opened up to him.
I was downstairs helping Mother with the washing when I saw him walking around upstairs. He entered my room and that's when I knew he had crossed the line. I sprinted up there and saw he was looking at my collections on my drawer.
"What are you doing?" I tried asking politely.
"Well, if I'm going to be married to a gorgeous girl, I need to know what she likes." He spotted my wand and picked it up and looked at it with strange curiosity.
"What is this?"
"What does it look like?" I joked.
"A wand of some sort." He waved it around but nothing happened. I snatched it off him.
"It's one of my most favourite childhood toys. Just don't touch it, ok?" He said fine and then left. He was acting pretty weird for the next week and a bit. When I couldn't take it anymore, I tried to suss out what was going on. I was unsuccessful, and he knew it was getting at me. One day mother suggested we took a walk in the park, much of which I was objected to. We were just walking, and it was really quiet.
"Why don't you want to talk to me? Let alone do anything with me."He finally said.
"Because, I don't want to marry you, I want to marry someone else, and when I'm older, you're a nice guy and all but I don't want to marry-" He then tried to kiss me and this was definitely the wrong move. I took a step back, he missed me entirely.
"You really don't like me, do you?" He said with a serious face. He was starting to look very angry. I didn't say a thing. We got back to the house and I went to my room. Xavier was still acting weird, but I'd given up on trying to find out what he was up to.
"Happy Birthday Annabelle! Your 17 now!" Mother was standing at the end of my bed, and so was Xavier. I sat up, took one look at them and groaned. I collapsed back down and Xavier sat down next to me. He brushed my cheek and told me to get up. I hid even further under my covers. I didn't want him touching me. They left my room and I slept for another 2 hours. I finally got up to find that they had some presents for me. I opened them, and they were a silver charm bracelet from Mother and an engagement ring from Xavier. There was no way I could get out of this one. Mother started crying, and I was about to throw up. Xavier tried to kiss me again, but I turned my head and he got my cheek instead. He looked disappointed but gave up after that. I was forced to wear the ring from then on.
Xavier stayed in his room for the next week, and I could smell something strange. I got closer to his door and could hear him talking to himself. Lunatic.
"All I have to do is put this poison in Annabelle's' mother's food, and then, I can finally take over the city! No one will be able to stop me!" Weirded out, I went downstairs and tried telling mother, but she thought I was joking around. She didn't believe me, and I couldn't be bothered trying to explain it anymore to her either.
Everyone at school was asking about my ring the next day. I tried telling the first 40 people who asked but then I gave up, I was getting a headache from repeating myself all the time. I finally got home, relieved I had escaped everyone at school. I pulled out my history book and started studying about war, when I noticed there was a section on medieval times. I started to read it when I saw red sparks shooting out of my wand, which was on my drawer. Freaked out, I stood up and checked it out. The sparks were embers, and when they cooled down and floated to the top of my drawer, they formed a message. It took a while before I could properly read what it said, and when I could read it, I was a tad confused.
Meet me outside the mansion. I picked up the wand, cleared the embers off the drawer and left home. I walked at a slightly faster pace than usual up to the mansion, to see Lucas standing there, just before the gates. I let out a small cry of laughter, glad to see him again. I hugged him, and didn't let go for a few minutes.
"I was just playing around with my wand out of boredom, when I decided to see if that message worked. And it obviously did, because your here now! Hey, what's that?" He was looking at the ring on my finger. I got a bit embarrassed then, because I didn't want Lucas to know I was engaged.
"Well, if you must know, I'm being forced to marry this man, I don't want to but nobody will listen to me."
"Oh. Hey you did bring your wand with you right?" He said, trying to change the subject. I held it up in front of him.
"See if it works. Try it on that plant over there." I waved it over the plant and it grew really tall.
"Try without the wand." I put the wand in my pocket and used my hands this time. The plant grew even bigger.
"That isn't supposed to work, why is it working for me?" He looked at me and smiled.
"Because you're special." He joked.
"It's actually because you were removed unwillingly from here, that it still works, and not that you chose to leave, which meant you wouldn't be able perform it anymore, as you chose to give it up. Come on, I didn't call you here for the fun of it, I actually need to ask you a huge favour." We walked back to his village before he told me.
"Our village is preparing for battle against the soldiers of Aridon, and the Prince is in the lead. And because you are so skilled with magic, I need you to help us defeat them. Do you think you could do that?"
"I know I can do it."
"Good! Seeing as you haven't been here for almost 2 years, we have to go over your fighting skills. Come with me, I'll teach you." He took me to a field, not the one where I was taken from, and we started practicing. I was getting really good, and I eventually ended up defeating Lucas every time he went to disarm me after three weeks.
The day of the battle I got into special gear, and I must say, this suited me. Lucas was wearing almost the same thing, and we headed to the field with all the other fighters, to prepare to fight. We waited for an hour, when I saw them arising from over the hill. They got closer, and the Prince walked up to our leader. I realised the Prince was Xavier. I gasped and Lucas asked what was wrong.
"He's my fiancé." That answered everything, and Lucas wanted to kill him. Lucas had actually been acting a little weird lately, but this was not the time to ask him why.
"Stick beside me the whole time, ok?" He said.
"Okay." Xavier walked away, and then signalled that the battle begin. There were flashes of light going everywhere, and Lucas shouted at me to dodge them. I started fighting against three soldiers and eventually they all fell to the ground, unconscious. Lucas was nowhere to be seen as I moved through the battlefield, and then several soldiers started fires in various areas, cutting off paths to them. But they were stupid and ended up killing most of their soldiers from the fires.
Xavier was facing me, and I didn't know who he was anymore. I had never really known him, but now I knew why he was saying those things to himself. He smiled at me and I gave him a disgusted look, and took the ring off and threw it at him. It landed at his feet and he looked at it, and then back at me, with an angry face.
"I am the Prince, Prince of Darkness. Yes, I was planning on killing your stupid mother, so that I, I could take over the town and rule it my way!" He bellowed. Then one of the last remaining soldiers decided to fight me, when another soldier decided to interfere and shot a spell at my leg, and I instantly collapsed to the ground in pain. I looked at my leg, and saw it was covered in blood, and the pain was excruciating. The fire was closing in on me, and I was suffocating from all the smoke. I could hear Lucas yelling out my name, and he finally found me, lying on the ground, as though I was about to die. I felt like dying, it was that painful. He cleared the fire and knelt down next to me.
"Hey are you okay?" My eyes were full of tears, it hurt so much.
"I think so, my leg is broken though. And what happened to 'stick with me the whole time'? You disappeared!" I managed to get out.
"Sorry bout that, I had to fight others." He looked at my leg and winced. He pulled out his wand and tried healing it by magic, but it didn't work. He then tried by using magic force, but that didn't work either. The last thing I remembered was Lucas kneeling over me, and he was so close to me as well.
I woke up in the hospital some hours later, and saw Mother sitting on the chair looking anxious. Once she saw I was awake, she stood up and walked over to me.
"Hey how are you feeling?" She said softly.
"Good. Hey, where's Lucas?"
"Don't you mean Xavier?" She looked confused now.
"No. What happened?"
"You were found in the Mansion, apparently you fell over the railing and down the stairs. If it weren't for Xavier finding you, I don't know what would have happened..."
"Mother, listen, it wasn't Xavier, he isn't who you think he is, I don't love Xavier, and I'm not marrying him!" She noticed my bare hand and realised what I was getting at. I was dismissed from the hospital a few hours later, on crutches because of my leg. I went straight to bed and went to sleep to help get rid of the pain.
"Honey, I need to ask you something." Mother was sitting on the end of my bed. My leg didn't hurt so much, which was good.
"Why do you keep disappearing in that house for months on end?"
"You can't tell anyone, ok?" She nodded her head in agreement.
"I discovered a secret world, and I can do supernatural things there. It's really hard to explain, but you have to know that I am telling you the truth."
"And this Lucas boy? What about him?"
"He's the one who found me, taught me and rescued me from the house. And I didn't fall down the stairs. I was fighting against men, in a battle. Xavier, he wants to kill you to take over the city. I don't know why he has to do it, but I know he is going to do it sometime soon." I was really glad she understood, otherwise everyone may as well have just called me insane. She left when I called out to her.
"Can I go take a walk? I need some air."
"Sure, just be careful." I slowly got out of bed and got dressed and went outside. The sun was shining, and it wasn't too hot either. I walked down the street, and saw someone standing near the Mansion. I walked down there, taking twice as long when I discovered it was Lucas. He was standing outside the barrier. Way outside the barrier.
"Lucas, what do you think you are doing?"
"It's nice to see you too." He smiled back at me.
"Why are you standing outside the barrier. You could lose your powers!"
"Yes, but I would do anything to be with you."
"Wait, what?" This wasn't making sense.
"I like you Annabelle. A lot, and it's taken me a great deal of time to realise it. There is something different about you, that makes you just that extra special. I'm not really good when it comes to the whole romance thing, and I don't want to freak you out by saying I like you and I'm really making a fool of myself now by not shutting my mouth. Sorry!" I laughed.
"So, that would explain why you've been acting a tad weird lately?"
"Yes!" I smiled.
"Your smile is so beautiful. Do you mind if I kiss you?" My head shot up. Kissing this guy was a much better choice than someone who was evil, and three years older than me who I didn't even know. I mumbled something and then he leaned in and kissed me. He made it a little more forceful when he realised I was kissing him back, and there wasn't much I could do, seeing as my hands were holding my crutches. He ended it a few seconds later, and I was left in a daze.
"I could definitely get used to that!" He said. I smiled again when he asked me something else.
"Do you want to maybe, hang out some time?"
"We already hang out silly! But if you mean it in the way I think you mean it, then sure!" We walked slowly back to my house when he told me the only way he couldn't lose his powers was if he had his wand with him when he left the barrier. Although the strength of the magic was weak, it could still perform very very basic spells. We got home and I introduced Lucas to my mother, who was impressed right away. Just then, Xavier appeared at the doorway, and expected mother to greet him with happiness, but she didn't. She had called the police while I was out, and showed them what she had found in his room. It was a range of viles, containing interesting looking substances, and he was taken to prison outside the town for attempted murder. I was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with the one person I could truly love. Life was good.