Hey guys, I also have a blog, a VERY new one, but I would love it if you took the time to check it out! thefictionfever .com (don't add the space ;) )
The dean dropped Brittany's file onto his desk. He seemed disorganized enough to relate to, she thought, because his office was a mess of papers, books and Post-It notes, yet as he searched for the proper documentation, he seemed to know exactly where it was. He pulled out a book from a large pile of them, opened it, and pulled a lose hand-written not from between the pages without any effort. The only thing that held a certain organization was his plaque, that was perfectly paralleled to the edge of the table, that read Josef Sood.
His office may have been a mess, but he was organized, and Brittany noticed this almost immediately. It was easier for her to feel comfortable around relatable people- as most would. As she sat in the middle of the room, she didn't feel like a stranger either.
As the dean looked through his things, her mind traced back the steps, trying to figure out how she made it here.
It took a long time to get there. Between the long flight, and the stop they took in between, the entire trip had taken about 12 hours, Brittany figured. With that kind of length, they could be very far, or as she was thinking for a lengthy part of the trip, the pilot could just be flying in circles to make her think that they went farther than they did.
Josh was quite precise about how the school was strict on privacy, and safety. She still tried to map her way as they flew, even though she had no idea of what direction they were heading, or how fast they moved.
Brittany couldn't help it- she was naturally curious about things that she wasn't allowed to know. Nothing in their surroundings helped once she got off the jet. They landed on a small landing strip in the middle of a clearing, in the middle of a forest. Then they had another hour added on to the trip in the car that picked them up to bring them to the school.
The mystery was killing her- but she knew no one was going to tell her where they were. She knew she could find a way to forget it- eventually. Why hold on to a question that would never get answered? It only took up space in her memory.
When they pulled through the large iron gates, her curiosity disappeared into the back of her mind as she saw the old rustic building blocks of the school through the tinted windows. The entire drive they were on an old forgotten dirk road that kicked up so much dirt she almost couldn't see through the window.
The school contrasted that road, naturally.
The school was clean and pristine. The manicured grass and big beautiful buildings made it seem like a dream. This wasn't something that happened every day- and it doesn't happen to just anybody.
She didn't know what to expect, but this was far better than anything she ever thought would happen to her.
No one was in sight- probably because it was still very early in the morning. The sun had just started peeking over the horizon, and morning mist covered the school grounds.
They drove down the pathway till the end- where they ended at the end of one of the building. At the end was a large room covered in windows. It was one way to prove transparency, she thought. It was like a smoke and mirrors illusion, 'see, we have nothing to hide, you can even see the dean whole office, so we obviously don't have any secrets to hide'. The room was also a mess- and Brittany was curious as to who could work in such a mess.
"Well, Miss Pentra, I'm glad you chose to join us at our school. Sorry that took so long, I was busy last night with a problem, and I didn't have time to prepare for your arrival." The dean said after he finally found the file, then faced her.
He was quite young for such a high up position, she thought. The dean of a private school and university, she expected him to be at least sixty, but she guessed that he was no older than mid-forties. Despite the disorder in his office, his appearance didn't follow the same. He dressed similar to Josh, with a dark suit, and beautiful dark skin to match. He smiled sweetly at her, and she smiled back.
"Thank you for offering, I guess." She said. He tilted his head and narrowed his gaze.
"Is something wrong?"
She didn't know if she should answer truthfully or not. She had been thinking this thought on and off since accepting the offer, and she couldn't quite forget it.
She decided to try- because there was no harm in trying, right?
"Well you see, the home I was in before coming here- I am just worried about Mrs. Lurken."
Mr. Sood nodded slowly. "As I understand, you are not worried about her, but about the children who will be placed in her care?"
She nodded slowly. She didn't know how he knew, but she was grateful he did. She didn't want to have to say it.
"I know it doesn't really have anything to do with you, but I was wondering if there was anything you could do, to assure she doesn't get anymore kids." She chose her words carefully in asking such a large favour. The dean waved his hand in dismissal, and started flipping through the papers.
"Yes, Joshua described her as a 'drunk old hag'- which is why she has already been dealt with her. There is no need to worry, she will no longer get to abuse children and use their money for alcohol. Now, on to a different subject."
Brittany didn't quite know what to do. They easily eradicated a problem she was worried about as if it were nothing- and on to the next subject they went. I guess they weren't much for dwelling on the past.
"Now, I need to explain some things to you that may not make sense at first, and that you may have some trouble believing, and that is all right. You will adapt quickly living here. I want you to know that nothing Joshua said was a lie. Now I'm going to explain a great deal in a short period of time, and I would like you to listen and try to process the information, and at the end you can ask as many questions as you like. Alright?"
Something inside of her was ringing with panic- telling her to run, to escape, but she stayed in her seat. Though she wanted to run, her best course of action would be to stay here. At least listen to what he had to say.
She didn't know where the panic came from. She had been nervous before but now, she wanted to run. It was too real now, and she didn't know how to deal with this situation if everything turned out to be true. If they were liars, that was different. She was prepared for that, she could just run, but what if it wasn't a lie. What if her dreams were actually coming true?
So, she nodded, and he continued.
"Our school is an exceptional one, but not because we have very smart teacher and students- though we do have that. Our students and faculty are different than any other school. Here in our school, we are home to a special type of person. We are different, because we have abilities. Not abilities like children solving differential equations, or someone with a rare talent- we have magical abilities- in the literal sense. Our school is made up of people with abilities which distinguish us from other. That is why we are so private and secretive. We believe that people with magical abilities such as ourselves need to be shielded and protected, to make sure that no one ever finds out. We believe that if someone ever found out, then people would try to take advantage of our gifts, and no one should ever be hunted and used like that. So, our school, as well as the small town we have not too far from here, is a sanctuary for people like us. That is why our school is very selective and very particular."
She wanted to laugh- but she didn't want to seem rude. This school may have a delusional dean, but this is where she needed to be right now- somewhere she will be safe and protected, and not have to fend for herself or anyone else. So instead she said:
"I see, and why do you think I belong here?" her voice was calm, but inside she was roaring with laughter. She hid it well, and she didn't quite know why she thought it was so funny to her, but it was.
"You are taking this quite well, I am glad." He pulled a picture out of his folder, and placed it in front of her. It was a picture of a sketched symbol on a piece of lines paper. "You know what this is, yes?"
She took the picture and looked at it. She didn't need to look too closely, she knew what it was, she was the one who drew it.
"How did you get this?"
"This a drawing you made of your tattoo. You asked Cody Telfir to search what it means. He made an algorithm to search the internet for anything explanation. His searches did not conjure any results, but it did get picked up by our systems. You see, magic will manifest itself in two ways, visually and non-visually. There are no ways of telling who, why and how we get these abilities. However, some get symbols like these one. We have never seen this one before, but it shares a similarity to the others." He said, handing another page, this time with many symbols- all different, but similar in ways of design.
"These symbols manifest themselves on the skin at random times, and that is when the person gets their ability, or their ability becomes more developed. The non-visual manifestations are more difficult, because we can't find the individual until their power has manifested itself publicly, and on video. We were able to find you before a disaster ended up on Youtube."
He sounded so sure of his beliefs, she almost felt bad for him. She was curious if all the other students believed they had magical powers too.
The dean pulled his documents together and put them in a pile in the middle of the desk.
"Miss Pentra, how about we go grab some food before continuing. Yes?" he asked her. She could see it in his eyes, he didn't quite believe how calm she was taking it. She figured some probably took it well, but only those who already know that they had magic, and those people felt relieved that they were not alone.
Brittany was not one of those people. She was sure she was normal, and had good mental health- which she compared to the delusional people at this school.
But she wanted to stay, so she smiled and politely accepted. She was hungry anyways, and food might help make this conversation better.
"Come, we can grab some food in this building's cafeteria. I'll introduce you to the chef." They exited the room, and walked down the hallway. She followed him as he pushed through a door into a large room.
She didn't look around much, because since he brought up food two minutes ago, she was starting to feel really hungry. She followed him around until they reached a set of swinging double doors.
The sweet smell of cooked breakfast meat filled her nose. She could smell bacon from anywhere. It had been so long since she had bacon. Mr. Sood pulled open the door so that Brittany could enter. She stepped into the kitchen, and then stopped dead in her track.
She didn't quite know what to make of the scene in front of her. The kitchen was fired up: fruit was being chopped, meat was being cooked, batters were being mixed- the entire kitchen was in action.
It was a sight that she would never forget- not because the kitchen staff was the image of perfect organisation, preciseness and cleanliness, working together in perfect harmony. No, she would never forget that moment, because the kitchen staff included all of one person.
She had short spiked hair, that was coloured with a beautiful purple. Brittany could see a large tattoo running up the length of her arm until it cut off at the edge of her rolled up sleeve.
She was flipping pancakes when they entered the room. When she saw them, she dropped what she was doing, and walked over to meet them. Brittany didn't see the chef, because she was too busy staring at the pancakes, that were still flipping themselves. In fact, everything was working on its own.
She stood in shock, so distracted by the sight she didn't even hear the chef and dean speaking.
"Hello?" Brittany's eyes snapped up to meet the chef's. She was trying to take in the scene around her, but there was just too much to process. So she opened her mouth, but no words came out.
The chef simply smiled- it wasn't the first time a new student had a similar reaction- actually, she was quite used to it.
"Well, you can call me Amber. It's nice to meet you. It probably took you a long time to get here from Florida. You must be starving. What can I get you to eat?" She was kind and polite, as she waited patiently for an answer.
Brittany stuttered a little, trying to compose herself enough to form words, until she finally asked, "What do you have?"
Amber smiled. "Well it depends on what you like. I have an assortment of meats, pastries and cereals. I have eggs, toast, pancakes, crepes, fruit, waffles, hash browns and yogurt. However, if there is something else you would like, I would happy to make it for you."
She stared at Amber, considering her options but she didn't know how to answer. There was just so many options that she couldn't even remember them all. She took a deep breath, she seemed to pull back, then shook her head a little.
"You don't know what you want? That's fine, I'll prepare something for you. Do you have any allergies?" Again, she shook her head. She turned and looked at the principal. "The usual for you?"
She clapped her hands together.
"Great!" she didn't leave, or make any effort to move at all. Behind her, the kitchen seemed to come alive- even more so than it was before.
"You're going to love it here. I did. There is always something to do, and there are so many great people here to help you. It's nice to be surrounded by people like us- people that understand in a way that others can't. And just wait until you see the spa! It's amazing."
Brittany didn't know how to answer. She didn't feel like she belonged here anymore, with people who were so different- in a significant way. There was no way of pretending to be like them. If everyone at this school could do things as supernatural as Amber- she knew they will be quite disappointed with her.
She was glad it didn't take long for the food to be prepared, she didn't want to stay here much longer.
Their trays floated over to them like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The more she thought about it- the more she realized how accurate this example related to her current situation. She was Harry, she just found out she was a wizard, and ended up at Hogwarts. But they were wrong- she knew she wasn't like them. She would never fit in here. At least she could enjoy the food until they kick her out, though.
Her plate was filled with an assortment of food. There was a crepe, filled with chocolate sauce and various fruits, bacon and sausage on the side, next to a raspberry Danish, a small serving of hash browns and a small bowl of yogurt.
She didn't have the skills to make food like this, let along have the money to buy the ingredients. If they wanted her to stay- she would be more than happy to, as long as they keep serving her food like this.
On the tray, there was also a blue tumbler with some kind of smoothie inside, and next to it, a glass of chocolate milk.
The dean's breakfast was a little more classic, with eggs, toast and bacon. The two of them thanked the chef, and went back to his office with their food.
She sat down, and started to eat. As she did, her mind wandered to the scene in the kitchen, then to everything he had said previously.
She finished a piece of bacon, then looked up at the dean.
"Alright. Magic exists, I got it. So what now?" she asks. He put down his fork and lightly patted his lips with his napkin.
"Well, now that you believe me, we move on. We can make you a class schedule, go through conduct policies, then give you a tour of the grounds, then you can get settled in, and get ready for classes to start tomorrow."
They pushed their food to the side a little to start the paperwork, taking bites every now and again.
"So classes are from Monday to Saturday. Classes start at 10 in the morning, and can go all the way until 10 at night. Every year is separated into four semesters, three months each. At the end of every semester, there are two weeks of break. Since this will be your first semester here, I want to try and get you caught up in the courses that are atypical for other schools, so you will be taking some courses more than once during the week. Often our curriculum pushes our students more than they ever have been before, and so there are massage therapy sessions every day. They are not mandatory, but if you choose not to go, you must notify the person giving you the massage. You can also change or give a session away, which I will show you later. Due to the number of people on campus, we ask that students help with therapy sessions as well. Your first sessions you will be taught how, and after that you will be with someone. You only need to do this once a week, but you are welcome to do it more next semester."
She felt as though her mind was about to explode with the amount of information being thrown at her. So when he asked if she had questions, she simply shook her head, though she had many.
The dean handed her a couple sheets of paper.
"This is a list of activities that will be incorporated into you schedule. Choose three."
She looked at the list, and it had everything on it. There were so many possibilities from hockey to yoga to hiking. He stared at her, waiting for her to choose. She became nervous and chose the three she thought she would like the most.
"Gymnastics, paintball and archery." She answered. He nodded before typing it into the computer. She wasn't sure about her choices, but three months of doing it wouldn't be the worst thing, even if she hated it. She had suffered through history classes for much longer.
The dean took a moment and stopped typing on his laptop. He looked up at Brittany then leaned forward on his desk.
"There is one thing we need to do before continuing. When you decided to come here, you started a new life, so I will give you the same choice I give every new student that sits in my office. With the start of your new life, if you want, you can choose to start fresh with a new you. Therefore, if you wish, you can change your name. Currently only Mr. Trainnor and I know-"
It was like she had completely fazed out what he said. Not only was she starting a new life- but she could rid herself of the past tied to her name. Of all the things that have happened to her in the past twenty-four hours, this was the best. It was being given a second chance. An official second life.
She never liked her name, and contemplated it often, so she didn't even need to think about it when she interrupted the dean.
"Myna Harris." He blinked a few times. He probably never had someone who knew what they wanted that quickly- not like her, not like Myna.
He smiled at her and nodded.
"That's a lovely name." he typed it into the keyboard then turned the scene so she could see.
He handed her the page with her new schedule on it.
"So Miss Harris, this will be your new life for the next three months."
Most days finished at eight at night, and the others finished at nine-thirty. Saturday was the only day that didn't start at 10, it started at one. The only day she had off completely was Sunday. The schedule was overwhelming.
Not for the first time, she started having her doubts about this place. School was bad enough, she didn't want to have to spend almost twelve hours, six days a week doing it.
What about down-time? Clubs, friends, naps? There was no time for any of it. There was no time for fun whatsoever.
"As you have been explained, security is a great concern of ours. We give everyone one of these wristbands." he says, showing her his. "They are non-optional, and you cannot remove it once it is on. It is uploaded with everything you need, an alarm clock, your schedule, a school map and contact information for everyone in the school.
"The wristband is loaded with a GPS, so that we know where everyone is at any time in case of emergencies. Of course, what you chose to do, and when you do it is your choice, and we only use the GPS in extreme cases. In fact, students use it much more than we do. But, as I said, once I put it on, you will not be able to remove it. So, which colour would you like?"
He showed her a variety of colours. She didn't know why it make a difference, only a small border around the screen was coloured, but she chose something simple and plain, just in case she got tired of a neon colour after a while.
"Just black is fine." He nodded then uploaded all her details onto her band. "Hold out the wrist you would like it on. Most students choose their non-dominant hand, but it's your choice."
She held out her right wrist and he bent the band until the two ends snapped together. It fit on her well. The material was flexible and loose enough to not be uncomfortable, but of course, not loose enough to be able to take it off.
The dean started to give a tutorial on how to use it when his started to flash green. He looked at it with hesitation, then pressed a few buttons, and it stopped. He was at the beginning of showing Myna how to use it, so she didn't understand anything he did.
Then he continued as if nothing had happened, but she noticed he was more tense than before, and a little more rushed.
As he neared the end of his explanation, there was a knock at the door.
"Come in." The dean answered. The door opened and in stepped a young man. He closed the door behind him, then stood at attention with his hands behind his back, waiting for the dean to speak.
He was tall and handsome. He had messy brown hair and crystal blue eyes, and his thick brown eyebrows just made his eyes seem so much more intense. He smiled pulled at the corner of his lips as he waited.
"Perfect, Logan, this is our new student Myna Harris. Miss Harris, this is Logan Vallance. He is a student here, and he will go through the rules of the academy with you, and give you a tour of the grounds. I would do it myself, but unfortunately, I have an urgent matter to attend. Please, forgive me. If you have any questions, feel free to ask Logan, he will know the answer. If ever you would like to talk to me, please feel free to stop by, my door is always open."
The dean stood and so did Myna. He shook her hand, then walked towards Logan. He put his hand on Logan's shoulder and thanked him before exiting.
Logan turned to Myna and smiled.
"Well Myna, I'm glad you decided to come to school here. Let's take a walk."