WARNING! Some bad language and violent/creepy/stalker scenes.
Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2
This is the book I have been writing for SO long. It's a story of a magic society under the ground (Que, Title). I apologize about how the beginning is quite boring but I think I posted enough of the story to get to some of the juicy stuff. Please enjoy. It's not finished yet and there are many errors but all feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank-you!
It was like sonic waves. They fanned out from him and I watched as trees bent and branches snapped. Clumps of hedge flew to the ground and rolled. I could see exactly where the air wave was going as everything in its path bent and broke. It was too fast, whatever it was, and it was nearing me. I put my head down and tried to run faster still. I knew when it had hit me because it was like someone or something had pushed me from behind and I had the terrifying, awesome feeling of having nothing but air between me and everything else in the world. That was before I hit the ground. Hard.
I was seriously going to kill someone soon, probably the teacher. I almost snapped my pen trying to figure out the confusing mess of mathematical blah that filled the wall in front of me, coming from the projector and scribbled on the whiteboard. The bell rang for morning tea and I couldn’t help sighing with relief. That math lesson had yet again seemed way too much longer than it should have been. We were learning more on simplifying ratio’s using the Gaussian elimination method or something weird like that. I hated it. And of course, whenever I am angry about something or hate it in vast amounts, my anger gets channeled to my tear ducts. So for the whole stinking lesson I had been fighting back tears while trying to explain to the teacher, when he put me on the spot, why I couldn’t solve the question. I quickly sped to my locker while trying to control my nerves and calm myself down. I tried deep breaths but that made me feel more like bursting into tears and chucking a huge tanti in the middle of the hall.
Angrily slapping my books down on the ground in front of my locker, I freed my hands to unlock my lock. I had a huge combination lock to try and prevent the teen burglars at my high school from breaking in, not that they’d find much. The locker creaked noisily as I thrust it open to raid the inside for books. I checked my diary for the rotation. Damn! It was religion then science after morning tea both of which I think I’d be happy to go without. But after lunch I had art then French. That’s a rotation I can live with. Ok, you’re probably really confused with the rotation thing now aren’t you? Yeah, I was confused too. It is a lot to get but I’m used to it now.
I grabbed the books that I needed for religion and science which made a huge heavy stack including the bible and two extra science work books along with my exercise books that I write in for both subjects. Great. I scavenged in my lunchbox to find some food for morning tea. An apple and a muesli bar, sounds good. It was hard to try and lift the massive book stack and hold it in one arm while balancing my food in my clumsy left hand. The books weren’t that bad though, once I had them in my arm, I was pretty used to heavy stacks, spending three long years in high school does that to you. I am in grade 10, started high school in grade 8 and am 15 years old. It’s a pretty normal life, boring and fairly repetitive but normal. I carried my stuff along the hallway, down the stairs and to my eating area.
Caylan, Rebecca, Erica and Gwynn weren’t there yet. I guess I’ll just sit and wait for them. Cay, Bec, Erica and Gwynn are some of my friends who I sit with. They’re funny people. I guess all my friends (including myself) are a bit weird, just a tiny bit. Ok, we’re a lot weird. Our parents even gave us weird names (Well, not for Bec and Erica really.)
“Hey Claré, come over here for a minute!” came a call from near where I usually sat.
I shrugged, “If you want me!” and I snatched up my lunch before half skipping the small, maybe 6 metre distance, to the few smiling faces of some of my other friends, leaving my books where they were – they’d never been stolen before.
“What’s the rotation?” asked Amila (don’t get me to spell her last name), from next to me. Amila’s locker was near mine, around the corner actually. She was nice and a great friend.
I swallowed a bite of my apple and sighed through my teeth. “7, 6.What’s that for you?” What did I say before? Confusing rotation stuff isn’t it? But this was normal conversation at recess breaks.
“Uuumm, Sewing and English I think… Yeah, that’s it.”
“Ha!” I sighed dramatically in exasperation, “Lucky! I have religion and science! What are you doing in sewing?”
“I’m doing the skirt unit.”
“Oh yes, I’ve heard of that one. Sounds like fun. What colours are you doing your skirt? I know Caylan’s doing purple and black. You know how she loves her purple.”
And our conversation went on like that for a while. You know... the usual. I asked the appropriate questions and answered truthfully (this year I’m having a big thing about being truthful) and when Bec came and sat in the sunny spot that our group bagsed. I laughed to Amila and said, “I’d better go sit with Nigel no-friends over there, hey? See you at lunch! Always lovely talking to you!” and I picked up my well travelled muesli bar and my apple core and walked back over to Bec, dropping the core in the bin as I went.
“Hey Nige.” I smiled while saying it and slumped down next to her.
“Hey Claré.You do know how nice you are, don’t you?” We all loved having sarcastic conversations. This was the opening phrase for one.
“Yeah. Aren’t I the loveliest thing ever to cross your path?”
“Yep! That’s what I was thinking alright. L-o-v-e-l-i-e-s-t.” Bec sounded it out nice and slowly to sound even more sarcastic. We were both smiling while we had that short conversation and now we giggled together. I liked Bec. She was funny and had the cutest smile that meant you could never manage to be too unhappy in the presence of my friends. G and her playful pokes (or sometimes not so playful. God, they could hurt sometimes, but before a truce is called, you’re allowed to get them back, so that’s what I do). Cay and her hugs; they seem to mean the world to her. Bec and her smiles, she loves to laugh and when she starts you can get her to laugh like a crazy maniac over just about anything. Erica and her jokes and tricks (she has some of the coolest magic tricks and I envy her, her ability to just go up to anyone and show them her great skills), and the way she seems to think of everyone equally and give us all a try at her magic illusions.
“That’s what I am alright! … Jokes. You are though. New face wash?” She got them all the time.
“No, but thanks for the compliment. This one might actually work so I’m still hopeful.”
“Hey guys.” Sighed Caylan as she walked up to us and seated herself on our luxury floor – bricks. She appeared to have a sandwich for Morning Tea. I would bet five bucks that she would have ‘Easy Mac’ for lunch.
“Hi. What’s up with you?” Bec asked picking up on Cay’s tone.
“R.E. was just incredibly annoying. We got our assignment today. And I do not want to do it, okay? Hug?” I lent over to give Cay her hug, with a sigh and a smile because of the simple things that it takes to bring Caylan down, and the small things that make her happy again.
“Damn! I have religion next. But then, I have science with you! We’re doing marshmallow DNA strands aren’t we? That’ll be fun!”I smiled happily at Cay and she bounced up and down and shook her hands in excitement. Sigh, what did I say before about small things?
“Oh, Cay?” I asked, in a cheeky sort-of way that signalled a start to a short conversation. I forgot to mention, as much as I LOOOVE long hair, I loved Cay’s. It was a nice darkish brown and she had cut and styled it with a side fringe that went off over one eye to below her ear. She had a cute rounded face that suited her cheerful, loving personality.
“Your hair looks very nice this morning. What did you do?”
“Oh! Thanks! Well I bought this new shampoo and conditioner? They smell like watermelon or some other fruit. That could be it. Watermelon…”
“Probably is. Well it’s nice.”
“Thanks. And, as always,” she began exasperatedly, “your hair is beautifully long and straight and a nice deep black. And at the moment it has flecks of gold from the sun in it that made it shine as if part of it really is gold. And it’s all completely natural! I could go on you know!”
I laughed; nervously shy about her kind compliment. ‘Long’ was an understatement of my hair. It dropped all the way to my waist, which is pretty far considering my height. I didn’t like the fact that I had to do it up for school. Both Cay and Bec have brown hair but as I said before, Caylan’s is that bit darker. Like how my Armenian skin is a bit darker than theirs. Not the full beautiful chocolate brown colour that Amila has, but sort-of in between, like cappuccino colour. Gwynn and Erica arrived and our group continued to chat and eat until the bell rung again for class to start.
Religion was on a long line so it went for 70 minutes and definitely seemed it. I got the same assignment that Cay did and it looked as bad as she made it out to be. Looks like lots of research for me, yay. Not. And I’d forgotten that Bec was in my class so it was fun having her there. Science with Caylan was fairly uneventful and the class was boring but I did find out that our next class would be a prac lesson, no blowing up stuff presumably but being able to light some magnesium ribbons seemed like fun. I couldn’t have any classes with G because she was a year older than my other friends, she’s in grade 11. There had been some debate with my previous group about what she would do when she leaves school and ‘has no friends’ (even though she does) because she’s been sitting with us and she should sit with people her own age for her own good (even though we know the people who said this don’t care about her own good) yadayadayada. You can probably tell which side I was on. Correct; the try-to-stay-out-of-the-way side and the not-actually-pick-a-side side. So I stayed with G so I could still be friends with her, and I continue to talk to people from that group so I can still be friends with them. It’s very confusing.
Five dollars for me! Cay came to sit with us carrying, you guessed it (or at least I did), ‘Easy Mac.’ Its strange aroma filled the air as she sat down. I had a plastic container filled with couscous that I was scooping a small tin of tuna into. I looooove couscous and tuna. We had the same sort-of conversation. You know: What’s the next rotation; how was your last class; what are you eating (mostly aimed at me and expressed with a disgusted and slightly scared look on their face; yep that’s my friends; don’t even know what couscous is. Sigh. I think it is a great lunchbox meal because to cook it all you need to do is add some hot water and wait for a few minutes. It’s very simple and easy. Even my dad could do it. I would have said brother or sister, if I had any. I wish I did. My friends come to school with some of the most interesting stories about their siblings), where are you going (often answered with, “the toilet” or “Culture Club, want to come?” etc), what does that taste like, have you finished reading the book I lent you, did you see that show last night, isn’t (insert your favourite celebrity here) so hot!, and all the other random stuff we talk about.
The rest of the day passed pretty quickly, sadly enough. We were painting landscapes in art. I love art. My landscape ended up looking a bit different to the one in the photo I was given but I was still happy with the result. And my art teacher is so nice! They were nice compared to half the other teachers. She actually seems to care about each person’s work and tries to help us all to do the best we can in her class. Photography was pretty fun too. We got to go around school taking photos of things that people probably walk past every day and never notice. I took a few photos of things like this: a white smudge at the top of a stairwell, a poster in the middle of a hallway that was posted on the notice board there a while ago and never taken down so that other posters had covered it, a flower bush in the garden on our front lawn and multiple other equally odd things.
I go to Saint Nicola’s College which is an all-girls school in Queensland, Australia. I don’t really mind not going to a public boy’s and girl’s school, some of the guys I knew in primary school remind me why. It’d be nice to be around guys all the time though because the way I am now, I can barely have a normal conversation with them. And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a proper boyfriend. And yes, I also think it’s sad that I, being 15 almost 16, have never had a relationship past a childhood sweetheart and a foolish crush. I have to keep reminding myself that I probably wouldn’t know what to do with a boyfriend, how to talk to him, where to take him and all that. All I know is what my friends tell me and what I have found out from TV, which I don’t think is a very reliable source.
I live nearby the school, about 6 blocks away. It’s quite a walk. I don’t usually mind walking but when it comes to walking home, the same old route gets boring. Iguess I should be driving home seeing as I’m meant to get my learners this year but my parents don’t leave me with the car when I drive in because they need it to get to work. Getting me to school is hard in the mornings because my Mum has to pick up my dad from his night job (we only have one car), take him home, and then go out to work again. Imagine her supervising me to school as well! So I haven’t logged many hours. My Dad works as a hospital night time supervisor. He doesn’t do any major operations or anything, he isn’t trained in that, he knows the basic medical procedures but he usually has to just hand it over to a more learned doctor. My Mum is a vet. Mum and Dad fell in love after discovering that they both had the same dream to be able to help other living things. Mum and I love animals, Dad pretends he does but we both know he can’t stand our hermit crabs (Shelly and Crustacean) and tries to stay well away from Tiger (our gorgeous little orange and black Toyger cat that really does look exactly like and act like a little tiger. Usually I leave school on Galatly Road but every now and then I get out via Broderick Road and have to walk north a bit before making a right at Galatly Road. I then walk down past the boarding house and about 2 other houses. I make a left onto Brown Highway and have to walk along that for a long time, passing Demier Street, Soma Court and Jessie Lane before finally turning into Garden Lane, then the second house in it is mine. (I specially memorised all the street names.)
I love our house. I got to help design it (the huge indoor spa was my idea!) We moved in 3 years ago when I was in grade 7 and 12 years old. One of the reasons I like our house is the serene, calm, happy feeling you get when you are walking the hallways, relaxing in the spa or playing darts in the recreation room, eating at the dining room table and even being in the bathroom is calm and peaceful but my favourite place is out by the gazebo just outside our back door. Our family used to live out in Whoop-Whoop near a beach. My parents loved it there, in our small shack like house, so much that when we had to move into the city so I could go to school without having to board they designed our house to remind them of the sea. Starfish adorn the walls in the dining room and pictures of rolling waves line the halls. Glass pots full of sand and shells and water sit upon most tabletops. When they designed the house they wanted to keep that shack-like look to the house by using wood but the house ended up being built with bricks. My parents still wanted that feel though so most things inside are built with wood. Wooden bed frames, wooden cabinets, cupboards, tables even the base of the kitchen bench is made of wood (the top is marble). We have a stepping stone path that leads its way up to the gazebo. Around the stepping stones is, believe it or not, sand. I love it.
That afternoon, I left school on Broderick Road so I had to walk a bit more before hitting the highway. I was part way along Brown Highway when I felt the tiredness of walking home really sink into me. My bag seemed to drag at my back, threatening to put me down to the hard ground below. I deepened my breathing, leant forward and continued trudging along the path that I knew too well. There were other people walking a fare bit behind me. I’d never really bothered to befriend them, most of them weren’t really my type of friends. Always fussing about themselves in the bathrooms, straightening or curling their hair – whatever they felt like, laughing about the stupidest things, wearing STACKS of makeup to school though it is really not necessary AND against the rules (OK, I understand a bit of foundation on those rascally, red pimples that stand out like traffic lights but seriously, eyeliner by the tonne and mascara, with liquid foundation, gloss or lipstick and blush? It was just a tiny bit over the top.) Some the people walking with the superstar wanna bees I knew ok, but I barely ever talked to them on the way home. Most I just knew from primary school. We never hung out at school because they hung with that crowd that wasn’t my type.
I tried to keep my head looking straight out at the black, bumpy ground of the road that reached out seemingly for forever in front of me. I couldn’t help dropping my head to stare dully at my sandshoes though (it was gold coin donation – free dress today and I was wearing my favorite denim 3 quarter jean-pants and a simple blue T-shirt with a ‘sweet heart neckline’, and a thick black belt across my middle, a bit above my belly button. Over that I had a thin white hoodie that was good for summer days that came with a chilly breeze, like today. I’d undone my hair so that now it hung in front of my face and tapped rhythmically against my shoulders as I walked. I didn’t know any of the people who lived on the Highway, but I had picked the houses that I liked the best. Also, who I thought had the best hedges, driveway, garden and car. Whose animal(s) looked the cutest or were the fluffiest and especially the scariest (I stayed away from the people on the corner of Soma Court, they have a huge dog that watches and barks at you ferociously as you walk past it’s fence. I cross to the other side of the street when I see that dog. Actually, I often just cross to that side of the street anyway; there is a nice little shop there that sells cheap ice-cream, sweets and fudge. Yum)! Yes, I have walked down these streets from home to school many, many times.
I trudged on, listening to the rather loud conversations of the people behind me. We were nearing the street with the scary dog and I could see a lone figure at his fence. I wondered if that were the owner. Oh, well. He’d probably be gone by the time I came out of the small shop and I hoped he was. The street was a little bit further down the road from the shop so I didn’t have to walk past the owner who I guessed would be as bad as his dog on my way to the shop. I’d been saving up a bit of pocket money spare out of my usual savings (for going shopping and all that other important stuff) so that I could get something this afternoon. I’d assigned that I would only buy stuff from this shop on Tuesdays and Fridays as well, if I had enough money, otherwise it gets way out of hand and I buy masses of sweets that I really shouldn’t eat if I want to stay fit, (not much worry on getting fat though, I’m one of those people who can eat a heap and not get any bigger, though I do try to stay healthy – at least a little bit.) It was a Friday today so this morning I had scrounged around in my savings to come up with a bit of money for the shop.
The sign for the little shop was visible now, as it poked out from behind a tree in my line of sight. I eagerly sped up slightly, my hand digging in my jean pantspocket for the small purse carrying some of my savings. Inside the shop I quickly ordered 5 red liquorices and I was half way through one by the time I got outside. The other students from my school walked so slowly that they were just a little way off from the shop. I joined on the back of the large group where a brave friend of mine was walking, trying to get included in whatever the other people were talking about.
“Hey Emma,” I sighed walking up to her after recently swallowing my bite of licorice. Emma was known around school for having a ‘beat them up now, think later’ kind of attitude but I knew that she wasn’t always like that. She’d come to my place once and she loved the calm atmosphere around it. She’d called me lucky that I had such nice parents. I must say, my parents weren’t that bad, not perfect – I don’t think any of them are – but at least they didn’t yell at me all the time and hit me, like Emma’s parents. They are the reason Emma gets into so many fights at or away from school.
“Hi. Hey, can I have one?’ She gestured at my licorice straps.
“Sure.” I rustled around in the lolly bag, trying to get one strap unattached from the others and the packaging. “Here you go.”
We chewed them absentmindedly as we walked. After a short while I realized that I felt really uncomfortable, like I was being watched. It didn’t seem that strange, considering I was walking past the street with the freaky dog on the corner. I glanced to the corner house and saw that the owner was still standing near the now silent dog behind the fence. It was funny that I was feeling watched before, seeing as I was. The stranger had his body turned towards us and had his head tilted to the side, in interest. Of course, I started to get scared. The things you hear in schools and watch in movies and read in books do that to you. The smallest little thing will make you feel like somebody’s going to suddenly pull out a knife and murder you, or drive up onto the footpath in front of you and offer a lift home with other ideas in mind. I told myself I was stupid to think such things. Why would someone pick me out of this beautiful bunch of stuck up, bitchy girls anyway? And I kept on walking home.
It wasn’t that long after freaking out, when I had calmed down a bit using logic, that I noticed the stranger had started matching the slow pace of our bored teenage group and was trailing suspiciously a fair way off behind us, still staring in our direction. Call me paranoid but I was sure he was following us. I felt my heart rate quicken my body preparing itself for (quoting science class) a fight or flight situation. I tried to stop myself from continuingly glancing behind me to see if he was there but couldn’t help it. Surely he will just turn off into a house or down a street somewhere. I was being silly again. I turned, hopefully looking like I just wanted to look around the area, to check on the potential stalker. I gasped in fright and spun my head back around, nearly choking myself when I accidentally inhaled some of my hair. I pulled it from my mouth. The stranger had been a lot closer; only about 5 metres from us, which was about the length of my room at home. I couldn’t help gasping for air. I didn’t think my suspicions from before were very far off, and I was deadly worried. I swallowed and, not breathing, turned around again just as I felt a rough tug on the back of my thin jumper, and I heard some stitching rip and felt hair being pulled from my scalp.
I was flown to the ground, screaming. The group in front of me quickly spun around, and then they too were screaming. Our shrill terror echoed off the houses and trees around us. I scrabbled backwards, trying to put as much distance between me and the hostile stranger as possible. I was breathing too heavily now, each breath seemed harder to get in, and just as hard to get out. I was gasping, my chest rising and falling dramatically. Yet still I managed to push myself to my feet and run. My footsteps were loud on the pavement and they definitely didn’t seem even. The rest of the other group was running too. Suddenly, my feet wouldn’t hold me. I sunk to the hard bitumen road. No! Get up. Get up! I sobbed to my useless body. Surely you can’t just lose command over your body when you are scared. I could see the shape of the hostile stranger walking calmly towards me with a half smile tilting the corners of his mouth up. He’s crazy! I whispered to myself. I had started to shake. Tears blurred my vision and ran down my quivering face. I don’t want to die! Please don’t let me die today! I prayed as I helplessly watched the smiling figure walk up to me. I could still hear girls screaming and the sound of their footsteps pounding on the road.
He knelt down beside me and fully smiled, darkly. “Hello Claré.” He reached out towards my face and all I could do was watch and try to breathe as his cold fingers ran down my cheek. The only thought I could muster was chanting, ‘Oh God! Oh my God!’ over and over in my head.
“Get away from her you fucked up bastard!” The stranger spun around to look upon the new speaker and I felt that I could move slightly. I spun onto my side for a quick glance at my apparent saviour and saw that it was Emma. I could see from the way she was standing, that she wished she could run away like the rest, but she wasn’t that sort of person. I was humbled by the fact that she was standing up for me, even if it came to a fight. I was already moving to my feet. I saw the stranger looking at her. Her eyes and his locked and she stared at him strongly, bravely, telling him via expression that he should run if he knew what was good for him. Then, as I watched, a blank expression filled her face and she turned away, and started walking home again. Emma started whistling high and happily. What was happening? I thought to myself. Emma never backed away from a fight. Never. And this was a bit more than just a playground fight, this was real. It was too much. I scrabbled back to my feet, ignoring the tingly sensation that spread through my body and the dizziness that almost sent me to my knees, and I ran. I could tell that our group’s pursuer had risen, and I was scared. I ran harder and faster than I had ever run before.
Why was this road so long? It had never seemed so impossibly never-ending before! I heard a growl from behind and I made the mistake of looking back. The hostile stranger was looking at me, his body turned in my direction. He started walking at a steady pace towards me, but he was already shrinking with the distance. He raised his hand, palm out towards me, as if he was reaching out to grab me. I knew I could get away now. I could get back to the school before him, or just go into someone’s house now. He was too far away to catch up. My friends looked like they were further away than I was, so they would be safe. I glanced behind again to see the stranger thrust his hand in my direction. It was like sonic waves. They fanned out from him and I watched as trees bend and branches snapped. Clumps of hedge flew to the ground and rolled. I could see exactly where the air wave was going as everything in its path bent and broke. It was too fast, whatever it was, and it was nearing me. I put my head down and tried to run faster still. I knew when it had hit me because it was like someone or something had pushed me from behind and I had the terrifying, awesome feeling of having nothing but air between me and everything else in the world. That was before I hit the ground. Hard.
I skidded slightly across the asphalt road, shredding my arms and legs, ripping my jumper. I came to a stop as a sprawled mess on the side of the road. I felt like road kill. My body stung all over making me aware of every inch of grazed skin on my arms, legs, face and side. Blood welled in my wounds and dripped over my skin, I’m ok with looking at blood though and couldn’t comprehend it for a moment. I groaned and got myself into a rough sitting position with my stinging arms holding my upper body off the ground. I was just starting to prepare myself to get up and run again when the stranger appeared, standing over me.
“Strong enough. Persistent. That will be good. I can feel the power in you, waiting to come out.” The Stranger mused, half smiling, as he looked down at me. He knelt to stare into my eyes and I could feel myself lose control of my muscles again. Who was this person? How can they do what they did? They’re mad!I saw him produce a sharp looking object which he removed the top from. I tried to shrink away from the syringe but my body still wouldn’t respond. He quickly plunged it into my shoulder and I felt a spasm pass through my body as the tranquilizer spread through my veins. Darkness crept around the corners of my vision. My head felt fuzzy. I couldn’t think. I didn’t notice when the darkness closed the gap in the middle of my sight. I was out by then.