I huffed as I stomped on. Darn Eric and his stupid tricks, I thought. Eric was the one who pulled the chair from under Master Smith as he was sitting, but just as always, I was the one who got the blame because everyone believed Eric. He was truthful and polite - a golden boy. Golden boy, my ass, I grumbled as I walked along.
As my punishment I had to clean out the hippogriff stable. They were beautiful creatures, well, at least to look at, but their mess was atrocious. The smell hit my nose as I stepped into the wooden cage. My eyes burned like the pits from hell. I stumbled back outside and took a deep breath in. I took in some fresh, clean air before stepping back into the foul building for a second time. I looked at the corner to see the hippogriffs were not in fact in the stables at the moment. Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked towards the cleaning shed to get out the shovel and my other weapons of destructive cleaning before heading towards the joyful pile of trash that was left for me. God damned hippogriffs and that god damned Eric, I cursed as I got to work.
These detentions were beginning to become quite the norm for me recently. It wasn’t because I was a rebel or anything but simply because I had just freshly started this school and as the new boy I became the new centre of interest, or torture rather, for Eric – the it boy. I loved my old school Earth Wanderers High. It was where all my old friends were; it was where my real home was. My father got a job in the town of Cullenada and so we moved to here and I started the House of Night Academy when Typhoon took over the faery lands. I wanted to go back to Ilsa but I didn’t want to tell my parents. I had already fought with them for moving before, and I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere by arguing again. It wasn’t possible to go back to Ilsa. All the faeries of Ilsa had already been taken captives and kept as slaves. Typhoon was a tyrant who had no limits; torturing every faery in his way. I wasn’t able to go to Ilsa; it wasn’t safe. Cullenada was one of the few rare places in the faery worlds left that were safe. I was pulled apart from my best friends, my home ruined by that giant beast. I had to stay in Cullenada; there was no other choice.
On the bright side I knew that this was my last year at school and after this I could go my own way to wherever I like and get whatever job I liked. My dream job used to be that of the Head Magician. It was a noble job, the highest of the high. It was a job that came with power, wealth and prosperity. Everyone used to work towards getting the chance to become the Head Magician. Faeries were constantly fighting in duels to prove theirselves worthy and there were constant quests that faeries had forgone to prove their worth. I knew I had a lot of work to go yet and I knew if I followed my heart and believed in myself, destiny would lead my fate to land me the title of Head Magician.
Head Magician Gwaine. I used to like the sound of that. But not anymore. The Head Magician was a traitor: a captive of the tyrant. He was captured in order to take over the lands that were once so beautiful and peaceful. The lands were in turmoil and rumours of a saviour were going round. It was the last string of hope we all held on to. There was war in our futures. Slavery and captivity weren’t far. There will be a time when we’ll be killed, cleaned of our existence. But until then, I had to deal with finishing from this school and first and foremost this detention.
I grunted as I shovelled the piles of mess from the floor and into a wheelbarrow. I wheeled it over to the rubbish chute to toss it in. That was the last of the crap that needed cleaning. With a breath of contentment I got up, hearing my back crack as I did so. I stretched as my limbs were sore from the work. I then began to make my way out. I saw something move in the shadows. There was a movement of blurs towards the hippogriff chains.
“Is anyone there?” I asked.
I got no reply. I stood still and looked around for a bit. There was nothing. I laughed at myself. Only an hour of cleaning crap and it’s already messed with your head, I thought to myself. Laughing to myself, I continued walking towards the stable gates.
I saw something move from the side of my eye. I turned quickly with my hands in front of me, ready to use my magick if I had to. The movement had come from the rubbish chute this time. I stood in my fighting stance as I challenged, “Come out from behind there and fight me like a man”.
There was no reply.
“Show yourself!” I demanded. I got no response again. I started to edge towards the pungent hole, my arms still extended. I carried on forward until I was by the rubbish chute. My muscles released the tension held in them in relief. There was no one there. My head really was messed up. I shook my head clear and looked around. I looked down the chute hole and laughed. There really was nothing here.
Just then I felt a cold breath behind me. The hairs of my neck stood up. I sucked a breath in. I stood still as my muscles clenched in fear. I gathered all the power I had and then turned around and blasted the magick in defence before running straight for the gates of the stable without looking back.
I ran forward as far as my legs would take me. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know what was behind me but I had a distinct feeling that it was chasing me and was gaining on me. I carried on running for all my life was worth. I ran straight for the school doors and then up the stairs for the classroom. I went straight into classroom 6. I slammed the door behind me and fell on the door as I caught my breath.
I didn’t realise my surroundings until now. The teacher was still in the room. Master Smith had been marking some papers and was now looking up at me in worry with his pen held mid air.
“What’s wrong?” he asked his brow furrowing as he talked.
“Stable… finished… shadow… blast… chasing…” I gasped.
“Hold on. Calm down first and then explain what’s wrong,” he spoke calmly.
He signalled towards a chair in front of his desk. I hadn’t seen it there before so I’m guessing he conjured it up. Or I was so busy in my fear that I didn’t realise it was there. I took a deep breath in and made my way to the chair and sat down. Sitting down did nothing to calm my nerves. I looked around and fidgeted for a while before mustering up some courage. I explained everything that happened at the stable. I ranted it all in one go, not bothering to make pauses. Neither did Master Smith interrupt. He raised his hairy brow at points in the story but other than that said nothing.
Finally, when I finished I looked up to see that he was looking down at me sceptically. Again he said nothing. The palms of my hand started to sweat. I had just been chased around the school by some shadow and this complete moron says nothing, I thought. He waited a minute longer before taking a breath in.
“I believe what you’re saying Gwaine,” Well, yippy aye yay, “but…” no, not a but! “I think that it is possible that your mind is playing tricks on you due to fatigue.” He saw my mouth open to protest and immediately put his hand up to silence me. “I’m not saying that what you just said isn’t true but there are other explanations for this incident, Gwaine,” he explained. Idiot, idiot, idiot, my mind chanted. Of course, why don’t you just say it out loud? You think I’m psycho, don’t you, you dimwit? I kept my mouth shut and stared at him, refusing to let the words in my mind leave my mouth. After no reply from me, he sighed and then looked down. “There’s nothing wrong. You should leave for home. It’s perfectly safe,” he cooed. Stupid, patronising bastard, I cursed.
I got up and made my way out of the classroom. I made my way out of the school and into the grounds. I looked around warily at the shadows surrounding me as I walked on. I walked out of the school and into the forest to make my way home. I continued to look at the shadows. There was nothing there. Maybe my mind had been playing tricks on me.
No, it was definitely real, I felt that cold breath. There most definitely was something there. I carried on walking remembering what happened at the stable. Maybe it was Eric playing a trick on me and was right now laughing away at what a spineless chicken I was. I grumbled some unintelligible things to myself as I walked on. Darn that moron, I cursed. I was most definitely going to get him back for that. I hadn’t retaliated in any way before but I was definitely going to pay him back eye for eye now. I stomped my way across the forest in anger, all the while thinking of ways to slowly and painfully torture that boy to death. I carried on walking when suddenly I tripped and fell flat on my face. Damn. I had tripped over a branch. Why wasn’t I looking…?
I felt something cold across my neck. I froze. I lay there still for a short while. I suddenly sprang back up and ran like a dog with its tail between its legs. I ran and ran. My lungs started to burn. Every breath I took in scratched my throat liked nails. My limbs ached. My heart sped fast. I was trapped and I knew it. There was no one I could call. No one to hear my screams. I knew there was no point in running. It was futile. I stopped and turned around, hands ready to spark magick when I would need it. I knew my fledgling powers would not be enough to fight off the shadow that probably had his full powers but I knew I would die trying. Or, you know, get killed without trying. Either way, I was pretty sure I would end up dead, so worth the try, right?
There was nothing there. I looked around, scared that it would catch me by surprise. There was nowhere I could find it. I calmed down a little still keeping my guard up and walked backwards, examining the forest that crowded me. I stepped back slowly and carefully when my foot felt as if it was falling backwards. I looked behind me. There was some sort of a black hole. Stunned, I spun around. How did that turn up there? It definitely wasn’t there before.
Then I felt a cold chill down my spine. I froze. I turned around and looking back at me was an old man with a wide smile. He waved goodbye to me. I looked at him with confusion before instincts kicked in. I whipped my hand up to blast him with magick but before I could I was pushed heavily backwards. I fell down, down, down…