Kelly is a girl raised in orphanage only to find she has magic. This will change her life.
This is just the first chapter of The Damned. More is to come soon.
Loewi, the capital city of Mandurah, named after the legendary High King Loewi, is a magnificent city that’s been held up as a shining example of how a city should be run. The wide streets, perfectly proportioned buildings, multitude of vegetable and walking gardens are tended to by a large and well paid team. It sits not far from the foot of the mountain which provide them with fresh, clean water and fertile soil needed by its people. It was one of only a handful in the country that had a Justice Council. This council would not just sort out any social problems and help those that were having financial problems but also pay for schooling children if the parents couldn’t afford it. Those who were lucky enough to attend the Loewi school of magic and were of the lower income were given a silver tag to use for all their needs without worrying about the cost. But in this perfectly run and cared for city, a few secrets are about to come bubbling to the surface. One will make each citizen lower their heads in shame and horror of what was allowed to happen right under their collective noses. And many will go to their graves with guilt that they had inadvertently help.
Over the last twenty years something ancient has began to raise its head in its crushing confinement; it knows it’s nearly time to be released. Or at least, there would be a chance of them being freed. Every now and then it has been able to release a small portion of itself to move through the city. It looked at all the building, it looked at every person. It would choose one person now and then to delve into. During this time of possession, it could set small things into motion that should culminate at the right time. Only if everything went perfectly to plan, would they be released into the world. It would return to its confinement, exhausted but eager for their time.
So few people couldn’t find and keep work in this bustling city, those that were in need, were not afraid to ask the council for help. Over the last sixty years, every year or so, a teenager would be found wandering the streets. Their minds were damaged to a point they couldn’t be mended and they rarely lived longer than a few months. No one could find out where they come from, so nothing could be done except to care for them the best they could. When they died they were buried in the church grounds with all the love and respect of anyone else in the city. No one ever came forwards to claim them but one night of each year; someone would leave a single rare yellow flower on each of their graves. The priests would sometimes try and see who this person was but it was almost like the flowers appeared when they blinked.
One house, just off the main street, looked almost ready to fall down. About seventy years ago it had been the home of a grand family and the envy of the neighbours for its beautiful gardens. These days the garden was barren of all things, the paint peeled and many of the windows panes were broken. Time and again over the years the council and people of the city offered to restore the property without anything in return. The women who came to the door always turned down all offers with cold expressions. They liked the heavy black iron fence, dilapidated house, empty garden beds that blew up dust in the lightest breeze, and didn’t want anything to change. Even though these women wore the robes of the church, they were never seen in church and people rarely spoke to them when they were on the streets.
One morning from its gates, an elderly woman stood in the robes of a mother superior. The heavy black robe and head dress only allowed her face and hands to show. Gold thread glinted in the morning sunlight as she looked at the young woman who stood before her with a deep frown. The shabby, faded ill fitted yellow dress sat poorly on her body and the shoes were too small. In her arms she carried everything she would need to step out into the world if that was what god wanted. If not, the mother superior would take the bag and head back inside and the girl would just wander off.
‘Mother Superior?’ The girls voice was soft and worried.
‘The workhouse for you.’ Her voice filled with hatred as she turned away. ‘For now.’ She hurried down the road; her voluminous black robes billowed around her in the slight breeze that always came off the mountains. She’d prayed for the last year this one wouldn’t get this far. This one girl had been the subject of many of her nightmares. Every one had shown her that if this was to happen, her own time might be near its end. ‘Don’t dawdle.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’ The young woman’s slightly worn dress felt new and wonderful to her, her long red hair shone in the morning sun and swayed down her back. The mother superior didn’t look back and didn’t smile or look around. How much longer do I have?
Across the road a well dressed elderly gentleman stepped out of yet another house with a quick farewell to the occupant. Another young person for the school. He looked to his blue book and watched a red tick form next to the name Malcolm Maxwell.
‘There, I think you’re the last for the year. Time for a coffee . . . and cake.’ He almost closed the book but stopped as a new name flashed into the line under Malcolm’s. Instead of the normal given name, family name, and place of residence, there was only a single name. Kelly. He frowned at the page, this kind of thing has never happened as long as he has been Tester, and that has been almost forty years. He tapped the name with the tip of his finger. ‘A small hint would be good; you know I’m not psychic.’ He would swear the book sighed before an arrow formed next to the name which pointed across the road. It gave one powerful flash which sent his vision red. He looked up and saw a lovely red haired girl, in her arms she carried something that looked like a half filled pillowcase. He hurried down the steps and over the road ‘Excuse me miss.’ The girl didn’t stop. ‘Hey Red.’ He called; his short and aged legs were no match for any teenager, let alone one with such a long and quick stride. The girl stopped and turned to him. To his surprise the Mother Superior also stopped and looked at him.
‘How may I help you sir?’ The girl gave him a small smile.
‘Is your name Kelly dear?’ He opened the book to check if more details had been left.
‘Is there something I can do for you?’ The Mother Superior stepped forwards, Kelly stepped behind her.
‘Well I’m in charge of testing all people for magic. Has Kelly been tested yet?’
‘No, I doubt if this one has magic.’ She looked down her nose at him, and wondered if this was the part of her dreams that had been shrouded in thick mist. ‘I’m in a hurry; I’m heading to the workhouse.’
‘Kelly’s name is in the book, so I am legally obliged to test her.’ He waited only a short time without any reply before he walked up to Kelly. ‘I promise the testing is nothing to worry about. Just hold your hand up, with your palm towards me.’ When she did, he placed his hand an inch in front of hers and opened his mind up to her internal being. He didn’t need to wait more than a single heartbeat, her magic all but shouted out to him, like it was begging to be noticed. ‘Yep, the book’s right again.’ He opened his eyes and watched her name receive its tick of approval where the arrow had been.
‘This is an orphan, and today the age has been reached.’
‘Great, the school will be able to take Kelly in today; there are many who arrive this early before class starts.’ He looked to Kelly. ‘In fact, a handful of students are already there.’ He smiled.
‘I have . . . magic?’ Kelly asked, she couldn’t believe it, surely there was some kind of mistake.
‘Yes, look here.’ He showed her the book. ‘But for some reason, there’s no family name.’
‘There’s no last name for any orphan.’ The mother superior said.
‘Oh.’ He didn’t realise this kind of Mother Superior still existed, it’s been many generations since they stared giving orphans a family name. They may not have a family but everyone agreed they deserved to be given a name. Even though this city didn’t have an orphanage, any child who found themselves without family was given the name of the town, if no other was theirs by rights. So far as he knew, there were now fifteen people with the last name of Loewi. He didn’t argue with this woman, she looked rather cold to him.
‘I will take Kelly there now.’
‘Yes Mother. If you would like, I’m more than happy to take Kelly myself. She’s the last one that needed to be tested this year.’
‘No, I will be the one to take Kelly there.’ She looked to the girl. ‘Follow.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’ Kelly’s head bowed and quickly followed, but not before she gave the man a look of gratitude and a smile.
He returned her smile as he closed the book for the final time. If he had looked back to her name, he would have seen it vanish. He hurried, as fast as his legs would allow after hours of walking the streets to his favourite coffee shop. He’d looked forwards to this strong coffee all morning, but the whole time he sat in the window, he thought about Kelly. He knew as soon as she mentioned she didn’t have a last name she would be given one. He thought it interesting that this red haired girl would be named Loewi. From the legend of High King Loewi, it was said the man himself had the reddest hair. But this might not be true. The only mention of the king was only written long after his death and has always been shrouded in mystery. His image hadn’t been recorded, his first name was lost in time and every detail about his time as king had vanished also. Then there was the Lost King, his image and all details had somehow been lost or removed from everywhere. Even the years he reigned and how he died were gone. ‘This land has too many mysteries about people of high birth.’
‘What?’ A young man asked from the table beside his.
‘Sorry, I was just thinking of the mystery of King Loewi and the lost king.’
‘I’ve always loved those stories, especially the ones of the Lost King. The sheer volume of differing stories could keep anyone busy for centuries.’
‘Sorry young man, they’re more than stories. We know they existed, but we just have no solid information on either one.’
‘I know.’ He picked up his coffee. ‘Can I join you?’
‘I’d like that.’
‘Do you want to know what I think?’
‘Why not, I have many thoughts myself.’
‘I imagine that they are one and the same. I mean, two kings vanish, two kings leave no information about themselves, two kings who often found their lives in peril, two kings who have no image recorded.’
‘Ah, but they can’t be the same man. There are bits of information that would contradict horrible if they were the same person.’
‘High King Loewi was said to be in possession of the royal crown, sceptre, and seal. But the Lost King was said never to have any of them.’
‘How can that be? The crown . . .’
‘The ones today are just copies of the originals made by Queen Sharonne many years after she was crowned, and centuries before the High King Loewi left for the blessing of the church.’
‘Has anyone gone through the list of kings reigns and looked for anything amiss?’
‘Often, but nothing looks out of place but . . .’ The pair sat there for more than an hour debating the subject and each enjoyed themselves.
Kelly followed Mother Superior with a fight inside her.
I’m just an orphan.
But that man found magic in me.
Orphans don’t ever have magic.
God only gave magic to someone he truly trusted.
I’m just a Damned.
I have magic.
Orphans have never been given magic.
She felt the cycle of known things run around and around in her mind, she became a little dizzy, but let it all fall away as she saw the school of magic for the first time. The sign over the building stated clearly what it was. Loewi – School of Magic. A massive four storey building with a large beautiful green garden that flourished flowers on not just the plants but also the trees that lined both sides of the property. The low stone fence didn’t look like it was built to keep people either in or out, just a separation of properties. All the windows shone as the sun hit the perfectly clean panes of glass. She could see a few people in some of the windows, she could hear the noise from the open windows, they laughed and chatted happily.
When they arrived at the open gate, mother superior stopped and looked straight at Kelly. This was the moment Kelly knew just how angry she truly was, she only ever made eye contact with her if she wished to lash out and was not able to at the time. What was stopping her? She didn’t have her arms full, and in fact she carried nothing at all.
‘Mother Superior, I don’t belong here. I can’t have magic. I’m just a Damned.’
‘It appears that you are being given an opportunity by God to prove that you should not be sent to the deepest parts of orphans’ hell. He may be giving you a chance to show that you are able to be around real people and not damn them to the same hell that, no matter how this turns out, you will be sent to when you die. Remember an orphan is nothing to society but the possibility for the whole world to be damned.’
Yes Mother Superior.’ It didn’t help; she felt something was fundamentally wrong.
‘If I get word you have done anything to endanger the real people, I will return.’ Her voice held ice.
‘Yes Mother Superior.’
‘You are to follow any order given to you by teachers and any person who is in control of this school.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’
‘You will never tell anyone where the orphanage is.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’
‘I will be watching you very closely, if I have any kind of doubt, you will be with the others before the night falls.’ She turned and headed up the path to the front door.
‘Yes Mother Superior.’ Kelly followed quietly, lovely aromas rose from the flowers almost drew her to a stop, but she kept pace all the way to the front door which sat wide open. A woman hurried towards them. This middle aged woman wore her hair short, the top stuck up. Her loose fitting brown trousers made it look like she’d lost a lot of weight quickly, but the top fit perfectly.
‘Good morning, my name’s Wizard Virginia, assistant librarian, how may I help you?’
‘I am bringing Kelly here, who do I talk to?’
‘Oh, just go straight up this corridor and you’ll find the headmasters office. You can leave Kelly there.’ She looked to the girl who said nothing. ‘Hello Kelly, I look forwards to seeing you in the library. Most people go there for a few weeks just to see what spells they can find in the books.’
‘What do they find?’
‘Not much that can get you into trouble, but it’s also a great place for study. Quiet and peaceful.’
‘Kelly.’ Mother Superior headed up the corridor, she was followed. After all forms were filled out, she told the assistant she would like to be the one to take Kelly to the room assigned. She handed the forms back after the spell was in place to remove all the information about the orphanage. She couldn’t have her work interrupted, the innocent people of this and surrounding cities were all that really mattered to her, and she would do anything to protect them.
Mother Superior took Kelly down a dark set of stairs that led to the basement instead of upstairs like the map said. Down a few hallways, she opened doors until she found what she looked for. The room was small and empty of everything except spider webs and a thick layer of dust.
‘This will be your room. Spend this day cleaning it properly.’ She entered the room, in the corner she used what magic she had to place a bed and on one side, a plain table and chair on the other. On the table, a candle and other odds and ends that would be needed appeared. ‘You will stay in here if you are not in class or studying in the library.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’
‘Remember everything you have been taught about your kind.’
‘Yes Mother Superior.’ Kelly watched as she took out a small knife. She started to carve something into the wooden door. As she carved each line she recited an ancient spell. When the last line was in place she looked to Kelly.
‘This, as you know, will protect them if they step into this room, but you will have to continue as you have been taught.’ She stepped out the room. ‘Stay in here until dinner time and bring your meals here. At every opportunity, say the prayer of the damned. You may go to the library for something to keep your mind from the devils ways.’ She shut the door but knew Kelly said the same yes Mother Superior. No orphan from her orphanage would dare forget to reply in the traditional way. She ignoring everyone as she walked up and out of the school, a silent prayer ran through her head that Kelly would not damn any of the people around her.
Kelly stood in her new room and just looked around in wonder after she finished, the room was now cleaner than it had ever been. Her eyes fell to the bed. Never before had she been allowed to sleep in a bed, not even as a baby. All orphans have to sleep on the floor so they were closer to god, and there for, not as likely to commit a moral crime in there sleep. She touched the thin pillow at the top before she had the courage to sit so she could feel the comfort. She jumped to her feet.
‘Is this just a test?’ she watched the door for a short time. If it had been, surely Mother Superior would have burst in before now. She looked to the table, crisp white paper, black ink and quill waited to be used. ‘No, prey first.’ She knelt at the foot of her bed and went thought the ritual prayer of The Damned before her mind turned to the library and all the books that lined the shelves. How many books would a place this big have? She and the other orphans had been allowed into the library at the orphanage, but only to learn to read and write. Never has there been an orphan with the ability to take a book off the shelves to open it up and read. What stories and knowledge would she find in them? She rose quickly to her feet and made her way upstairs.
‘Kelly, how are you settling in?’ Virginia moved towards her from the direction of the office.
‘I’m settled in the room nicely thank you Wizard Virginia.
‘That’s good; the Mother Superior forgot to take these for you.’ She held out a small metal tag and a yellow folder.
‘What are they?’ She gingerly reached out and took the offered items. The metal tag had only Council Account 101 stamped into it.
‘That tag will allow you to buy the personal things you need from the shops. Also the council allows extra if you go for a meal in town or something like that. The folder is your class forms. You don’t need to worry about it for a few weeks, but just don’t go leaving it around if you don’t want others to know your private information.’
‘Why would the council let me spend their money?’
‘Well, since you don’t have a family who can pay for your schooling, they help out with all costs.’ She saw the look that crossed Kelly’s eyes. ‘Don’t worry about being a council account recipient; we have maybe . . . half the school with the same tag. But don’t try what one boy did a few years ago.’ She smiled.
‘What was that?’
‘He tried to buy a full bedroom suite.’ She laughed as Kelly’s mouth fell open. ‘It was rejected even before it left the shop; the shop owner knew the limits to this kind of account.’
‘What am I meant to buy?’
‘Well clothing, bedding if you want other things than what are in your room. Ornaments, things to decorate your room the way you like it. My favourite thing to buy every week was . . . chocolate. Do you know the shops in town well?’
‘I don’t know the town at all.’ She flicked open the folder and found a list of items she would need for class, a map of the school, her class number 325 and teachers name, Wizard Johnson.
‘I tell you what, why don’t you run that folder back to your room and meet me at the library, just need to pick up a letter I want to post. I’ll take you into town and show you around.’
‘Could I join you please?’ A small voice said from behind Kelly.
‘New to the town also?’ Virginia looked at the tall boy with white blonde hair. He clutched something tightly in his fist. The chain which dangled told her it was his council tag.
‘Yes.’ The boy blushed deeply. ‘I . . . I’m Thomas.’
‘Welcome Thomas, I’m Wizard Virginia and this is Kelly, also a new student. Why don’t you come with me while Kelly drops her folder off to her room?’
‘I won’t be a moment.’ Kelly watched them walk away before she rushed down the stairs. When she arrived at the library Virginia and Thomas chatted until Thomas saw her, he jumped to his feet with a smile.
‘Well, let’s get a start to spending some of the councils’ money shall we.’
‘Yes ma’am.’ They said in unison.
Thomas was the first one to buy his things and stood with his mouth open at the cost.
‘Can you believe our luck?’ he suddenly grinned to Kelly.
‘Not only are we able to do magic, but they pay for all the things we need . . . and something’s we just want?’
‘To be honest Thomas,’ Kelly looked into his eyes. ‘I’m expecting to wake up at any moment to be back in the . . .’ she shrugged.
‘Tell about it, my family never would’ve been able to pay for any of this. They are just factory workers, every pay is gone before they get home just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.’
‘When you’re a wizard, you’ll be able to help them.’
‘Yes.’ He grinned even as tears rose in his eyes before he hurried to the door.
‘Thomas, why don’t you go over the road and grab something to drink while I help Kelly.’
‘Thank you Ma’am.’
‘It’s either Virginia or Wizard . . . never Ma’am. I may be old but I’m not ancient . . . yet.’
‘Yes Virginia.’ Thomas ran across the road with his things, his council tag dangling from his fingers.
‘Come on, where are your things dear.’
‘I’ve already placed them on the account . . . the lady said she’d have them delivered but . . .’
‘That’s good, now we can go and get you some other things.’
‘What other things do I need?’
‘Well for a start what about something for your room?’
‘I really don’t want anything more.’
‘Not even a wall hanging, I remember how bare the walls are. A little colour would be good.’
‘Can I think about it, if I want anything, I’ll return another time?’
‘Okay, but you really need some more clothes; I know how little orphanages give children to bring with them.’ She smiled. ‘You will need a few dresses, undergarments, shoes . . .’
‘But . . .’ Other orphans? But there aren’t any other’s of her kind in the school, the mother superior would have told her.
‘The council will insist you buy them anyway dear so let’s get a move on shall we.’
‘Yes Ma’am . . . Wizard Virginia.’ Kelly followed to the clothes shop and looked around at the wild array of coloured clothes.
‘How about this one Kelly, the colour is just right for you.’ She held up a dress of emerald green so she could see it.
‘Wow.’ She went to touch it but pulled back. ‘It looks expensive. I know the council will pay but . . .’
‘It’s only five silver . . . that’s very cheep.’
‘Okay.’ She took the dress and had to hurry after Virginia as she moved to the next area.
‘You will need enough undergarments to last for a week. Washing is only done once a week for every floor.’ She picked up everything she knew Kelly would need and hurried to the shoes. ‘Hello, Kelly will need a few pairs of shoes please. One pair must be green.’
‘To go with the dress?’
‘How about this pair?’ she picked up a pair of green shoes that had small sparkles scattered over them.
‘Perfect. Kelly why not try them on?’
‘I already have a pair of shoes.’
‘The ones you have on are about to split at the seems. Your feet are going to keep growing for a while yet.’
‘Okay, I’ll take those.’ She went to take them.
‘You need to try them on so you know they fit.’
‘Come over here.’
After she put them on they made her walk up and down, she assured them they were comfortable and didn’t rub anywhere.
‘That’s fine, why not wear them and I will dispose of these.’
‘Dispose?’ Kelly frowned.
‘I don’t think they’ll handle another wearer dear.’
‘Okay.’ She blushed and looked at them; they were falling apart and looked like they had been coated in mud.
‘Are you sure you don’t want something else. How about a small box of chocolates, the shop next door, they have the most divine assorted box.’
‘I’m fine Wizard Virginia. Thank you.’ She tried to count up the cost of everything she was about to buy.
Virginia knew this and hurried her through buying and arraigning delivery.
‘Your things will be delivered to the store room soon.’
‘Thank you Ma’am.’
‘Now, let’s go and have a drink.’
As soon as they entered the door of the café Thomas jumped to his feet. ‘Kelly, you’ve got to try this.’ Thomas pointed to the plate in front of him.
‘What is it?’
‘I asked for the special and got a lemon slice you won’t believe.’
‘I think I’ll give it a try.’
‘Oh one thing.’ He lent in a little. ‘If you aren’t use to coffee, ask for a very weak one.’
‘What will you have dear?’ A waiter stepped up to her.
‘I would love one of those slices please.’
‘How about a drink?’
‘Just water please.’
‘And for you Virginia.’
‘My normal please Spil.’
‘That won’t take long.’
‘So tell me what you got?’
‘Kelly didn’t get anything extra, but I think I’ll work on her for a while.’ She looked to Kelly and only received a strange look.
For the remainder of the day Virginia showed Kelly and Thomas around the shops, so they knew the best places to buy certain thing. But no matter how hard she tried, Virginia just couldn’t get Kelly to buy anything just for the fun of it even when Thomas bought a box of chocolates.
That night after collecting her new things, Kelly sat in her room after dinner and looked at the bed covered with her belongings. She returned her plates and tray to the kitchen before hurrying back to her room to place her new things in the box at the end of her bed and hung her clothes in the cupboard.
The next morning she dressed in the green dress and shoes then made her way to the library, but as she reached the second floor she stopped as her name was called. Virginia hurried towards her.
‘I knew that colour would look perfect on you. Where are you heading?’
‘I thought I’d go to the library if that’s alright.’
‘Of course it is, in fact that’s where I’m heading now.’
‘Do you like your job?’ They moved off together.
‘To me it isn’t really a job; it’s far too much fun. With all the books of the school open to me, I just keep learning.’ She smiled at Kelly. ‘Here’s the library.’ She opened the double doors and stepped through; she watched Kelly’s reaction to the thousands of books. Her mouth fell open.
‘Oh my. It will take me my whole four years to read everything in here.’ But she knew she wouldn’t live long enough to get through a fraction of them.
‘I’ve been here almost fifteen year, and I’m not even half way through them.’ Virginia pointed towards the back. ‘There are another three rooms this size back there.’ She looked over the library door and frowned, whenever someone with magic entered the room, the crystal would light up. It didn’t do that with Kelly.
‘I like it.’
‘Kelly dear, have they opened your magic yet?’
‘Well, I think you should go and see one of the healers before you start reading.’
‘Okay, what way do I go?’ She stepped back but couldn’t look away from the shelves of books.
‘Head back to the entrance and turn right, go down to the end and take the last corridor left. It’s the double green doors at the end.’
‘Thank you Virginia.’ Kelly turned to leave.
‘The library is open all day and night, but the staff will only be here until dinner at eight o’clock.’
‘Thank you.’ Kelly hurried towards the healers’ wing, not knowing what would have to be done to open her magic. Just yesterday morning she was being taken to the workhouse; it was the only place that would have taken her. Now she has a room of her own, new clothes, a library full of books to read whenever she wanted to, and magic as well. She stopped outside the door for only a few moments to wonder at the change her life had taken compared to what she thought was her fate. The door opened and a middle aged woman stood there with a warm smile.
‘Hello dear, are you here for your magic to be opened?’
‘Okay, come on in. There’s nothing to worry about; it won’t hurt in the least.’ The woman stepped back and let Kelly enter.
Kelly had expected a room filled with beds, but instead, there was a single table and a few chairs, a book case and two doors, one on each side of the room. The woman moved to one of the doors on the far side and opened it. This was what Kelly had expected, a long room, five doors on either side, large windows at the end and ten beds on either side. Beside each bed stood a single chair and a metal table. All beds neatly made, not one was being used at this time.
‘Just lay down on one of the beds and I’ll be right with you . . . sorry, what’s your name?’
‘Kelly.’ She went to the first bed and lay down and looked at the small metal table beside the bed. Beads of condensation slid down a metal jug which sent sparkles of light out from each drop.
‘I’m going to place these crystals on you.’ She held up her hand for Kelly to see the eight crystals of different colours. Each had been shaped into a flat bottomed oval and polished perfectly. ‘You need to look straight up and try not to move, the crystals need to stay in place.’ The door opened and a boy entered followed by a girl. ‘Opening magic?’
‘Yes, I’m Malcolm and this is Denise.’
‘Okay, take a bed and I’ll be with you when I’ve finish with Kelly.’ She turned back to place a crystal in each of Kelly’s hands. ‘Keep your hands open and just let them lay there.’
‘Yes Ma’am.’ The other crystals were placed on her from forehead to feet.
‘Just stay there, if you feel your magic opening, call out.’
‘Alright.’ Kelly closed her eyes and just let her mind wander, while she listened to the healer and the other students.
‘Okay Malcolm, Denise, these crystals will open your magic.’ Healer Margaret placed the crystals and told them to stay still. She moved from one to the other to check the crystals didn’t fall out of position. She bent over Malcolm and replaced one which had began to slide. Something moved in the surrounding magic, she ignored it as she checked Denise.
‘They’re breaking their confinement.’ A power filled male voice came from the other side of the room. Margaret spun around. Kelly stood beside the bed, the crystals in place, like gravity had no affect on them. Her eyes; they’d been the clearest light blue, now they were black. Like the pupils had expanded to fill the entire eye.
‘Heavens.’ Denise whispered as she jumped to her feet, followed closely by Malcolm.
‘Kelly?’ Margie took a single step then stopped, a shiver ran up her spine, the surrounding magic was being pulled away from her. She didn’t understand, surely Kelly was too far away to reach the magic on this side of the room. It was after all almost twenty feet from one side to the other.
‘Don’t allow them to step into the world again, they will . . .’ Kelly’s head was thrown back and she screamed. ‘They will destroy all that has been set into motion . . . Keep them confined anyway you can. All life is expendable if it keeps them imprisoned. They are the vilest of all . . . they lie to get what they want.’
‘Who are you?’ Margie tried to keep her voice free from the fear that ran through her.
‘We are the . . . the one who will be victorious. Destroy their hide, destroy them before they get loose, all will be laid to waste if they are freed.’ She levitated off the floor and lay back on the bed.
‘You two . . . lay back on the beds.’
‘But Ma’am . . .’
‘Don’t worry about Kelly; I’ll see to her when I have your crystals in place.’ She picked up all the fallen crystals, placed them back even as her hands trembled. If she was going to be honest with herself, she didn’t want to approach Kelly yet. The sheer power she’d felt was like nothing she’d ever felt before. When there was no other distraction to use as an excuse, she made her way to Kelly and lent over the bed. ‘Kelly dear?’
‘Yes Ma’am?’ Kelly didn’t open her eyes, she just wanted to lay there and feel the light weight of the crystals.
‘How are you feeling?’
‘Fine, I don’t think my magic’s opened yet.’
‘Okay, I’ll leave you for a bit longer.’
‘Is the book ever . . . wrong?’
‘No dear, you do have magic, don’t you worry about anything.’
Kelly listened as people started to whisper around her. They seemed to slowly grow louder until she could understand what they were saying. Each one asked for help, they were scared, angry, curious or raving. Many of them yelled out their anger. She wondered why the healer didn’t try to keep them quiet; she couldn’t bare the . . . desperation in their voices.
‘Kelly, can you tell if your magic is starting to be released?’
‘I don’t know.’ She opened her eyes and looked around the room for the owners of the voices, she froze.
‘Okay let’s just give your magic a test shall we.’
‘But . . .’ Kelly looked around; the room held not just the healer, herself and the other two students, now there were half a dozen others around the room. But these she could see through. ‘Shades?’ she said looking at the closest one.
‘Just lift your hand up and think about a small light in the middle of your palm.’ She waited but Kelly didn’t move. ‘It’s alright dear, the light won’t hurt you.’ This got her attention and as she turned around to look back at her, the healer saw fear filling them. ‘Just try.’
Kelly raised her hand and thought of a light. It appeared in the centre of her hand, it just flared into life and sat perfectly still.
‘Very good, your magic is opened and you are free to go.’
‘What about them?’ Her eyes travelled around the room.
‘They’re still being opened.’ She looked over to the other girl and boy. ‘It shouldn’t take to long if you want to wait for them.’ The healer watched Kelly look around the room. ‘Why did you say shades?’
‘Really, I’ve never been able to see even the faintest shade. But they’re not able to do anything to you. Just ignore them.’
‘Help me; tell my daughter that the papers are in the hidden section of the top draw.’ An elderly woman said stepping up to her. ‘I need you to talk to her; she won’t listen to me.’
‘Tell my family I’m sorry I didn’t listen to them. Why won’t they answer me?’ A young man asked her, he looked so sad she almost answered him.
‘Kelly, I normally ask one person every year a question. Can you tell me everything that happened since you entered this room?’
‘I laid down, you placed the crystals, Malcolm and Denise entered they took a bed. You finished placing my crystals then did theirs.’
‘You asked me to produce a light and I did.’
‘I can see the shades now.’
‘Alright, you can go.’ She watched this student that might have been possessed. She’d never personally seen a possession but the head would be able to tell her about it . . . or Denny.
‘Thank you.’ She hurried from the room to outrun the shades. When she opened the outer door she looked down the hall and found more shades in the hall.
‘I need help, why won’t anyone look at me . . .’ a man called out showing his anger; he looked at the red haired girl that looked straight at him. ‘You . . . You can see me, help me.’
Kelly raced down the hall as she tried to tune out their pleas, but they started to follow her. As she turned the corner stopped quickly before she run straight into a man. He was taller than her five foot nine and had warm dark eyes.
‘Whoa there, who’s chasing you?’ He smiled down at her.
‘Sorry sir, just . . .’ the shades continued their assault.
‘Look at me, I need you . . .’
‘Tell my parents . . .’
‘Find my daughter . . .’
‘Look in the library . . .’
‘Open the draw . . .’
‘Lift the brick . . .’
‘I hate you all, your nothing but killers.’
Her head spun as the noise of the shades rose to a din.
‘Just in a hurry to be somewhere, well, no harm done. I didn’t even spill my coffee.’ The man frowned at the look in the girls eyes. ‘I promise, I’m not angry. In fact I remember running down these halls many times myself.’ He gave a little laugh. ‘But I wasn’t always able to stop in time. My name is Wizard Johnson, who would you be?’
‘You are a new student this year?’
‘Yes sir.’ She looked straight at him, that way she didn’t need to look at the shades.
‘We’re in the same boat. This will be my first year out of this school and my first year as a teacher.’
‘You were a student here sir?’
‘And you finished last year?’
‘And you are to be a teacher this year?’
‘Yes. I know, it's far from the way things are meant to be.’
‘The school’s head must know you’re the right person for the job.’
‘Don’t tell anyone, but this whole thing has taken me a little by surprise. But if it turns out I’m your teacher, you’ll be able to judge for yourself if they made the right decision.’
‘You are my teacher. They wouldn’t make you a teacher without knowing you could do it, would they?’ Her vision started to become dark around the edges and her head felt like it was about to explode.
‘I suppose not . . .’ He watched Kelly as she swayed on her feet. ‘Kelly?’ He might have been able to catch her before she hit the floor . . . if he didn’t have a hot coffee in one hand, and a load of papers in the other. He quickly placed a spell on them then released them so he could lift her into his arms. He took her back to the healing room and used magic to open the door.