Meredith Green is an eighteen year old girl who is, to be honest, pretty lazy. She has no idea which direction her life is going to take, and, quite frankly, doesn't care. She gets the opportunity she needs to turn her life around, however, in the form of a completely unexpected call from a Specialist University, offering her a place among their ranks. With no other options, Meredith is forced to attend, along with her best friend Charlie Samuels, who also received a mysterious phone call. From the moment they enter the huge manor house, Meredith starts developing odd symptoms and strange suspicions about the teachers. Also, the two brothers who own the manor, Jeremiah and Noah, seem to act weird around the pupils in particular. She is determined to find out the truth, despite the mystery illness she seems to be coming down with. However, is the truth safe? Can Meredith handle the shocking facts about everyone around her that she loves and trusts?


8. Arrival

I bit my lip hard, drawing blood. I tasted the metallic-flavoured tinge of the blood, instantly wanting to spit the disgusting flavour out. I opened the door of the Landrover, the numbness of two days spent travelling in a car spreading down my legs. The bright, golden-white sun set high in the periwinkle blue sky blinded my eyes, leaving huge fiery balls of light imprinted on the inside of my eyelids. Charlie walked round the bonnet the car, catching my eye with a nervous yet excited glint. I grabbed her hand as we both stared at the imposing, monumental structure of our Stockridge Manor Specialist University. It was like a castle, with four colossal towers at each end and a wide wooden drawbridge. There was a more modern building, though, set at the front of the campus, presumably where the classrooms were. Behind the classroom buildings and the rustic towers was a low, extensive building where hundreds of students were thronged around the entrance. This looked to be the dorms, where all the students who booked dormitories on the campus would stay. Charlie and I had both decided to stay on site, as it would be easier for both of us. After a few moments of simply contemplating the majesty of the University, we turned to the car. "Right. Shall we get started unpacking?" asked Mrs Samuels, appearing from the driver's seat. We both looked grimly at each other, then nodded. 


"Mr Gersuade? Good, you're here. Miss... Green?" the woman calling out our names hesitated at mine, frowning. "Is that right? Am I pronouncing it right?" she muttered under her breath, letting her pen hover over the space next to my name. We were gathered at the doors leading to the dorms, which were held in a three storey block made out of rich red brick. I glanced, confused, at Charlie, who was standing next to me and straining to see to lady at the front. I tentatively raised my hand above the rest as she repeated my name, glancing fleetingly over the sea of heads.

"Um.... me, Miss. I'm Miss Green." I piped up nervously. The light-hearted chatter around me faded as the official peered down on me with hawk-like eyes. A tall, make-up clad girl standing next to me stared down on me with an expression of disgust and contempt. She snickered and whispered something to the others around her, who burst into muffled laughter. This was so weird. Why was the surname Green such a shock to everyone here?

"Ah... Miss Green. Forgive me for my rudeness, but I am compelled to enquire whether you're Italian or Romanian?" she asked me, her voice thick with an Italian accent herself. I raised my eyebrows, startled, at her unusual question. Why would my heritage matter? My family was originally Italian, but that was beside the point.

"Er... My family's surname was originally Faustini, if that means anything to you." I said hesitantly, a confused look on my face. The official's face was covered for a moment with pure, unbridled fear, as if I might hurt her somehow, then cleared into an unreadable mask.

"Thank you, Miss Faustini. I will address you by your proper surname, if you don't mind. Anyway, let us continue.

"Is Miss Hautine present?" the official's boring monotone of a voice swiftly faded as I thought deeply about her reaction to my name. It was as if she had been so frightened of my family that she had blanked out everything else. This past month had been so weird, I didn't know what to think anymore.


Charlie and I had been given the key to our dorm like everyone else as we filed through the doors in pairs, monitored by the hawk-faced, hook-nosed official, named Miss Palmiers. As we shuffled past, I avoided eye contact, instead letting Charlie do the talking. We had registered and already passed our bags onto the employees, as they were known, to deliver in our rooms tonight. For now, I had a meagre rucksack packed full of essentialls for tonight while they were sorting out our trunks. We walked into the spacious lobby, with varnished wood floors and neat portholes labelled for every student in the dorm block. This was Dormitory Block C, also called the cool dorm due to the fact that only the "cool" kids stayed here. I wasn't in the mood for hanging around and admiring the scenery, though, and made my way to the sweeping staircase in the middle of the hall. However, I wasn't looking where I was going, and ran straight into the tall girl who'd been standing next to me when we'd been registering. This was the last girl I wanted to meet, especially since Charlie, who was usually the one who bailed me out of awkward situations, was nowhere in sight.

"Oh, look girls. It's the so-called Italian girl!" she crowed, recognising me immediately. I rolled my eyes but kept silent, not wanting to get into a fight on my first day on campus. She turned back to me, her amber-green eyes peircing and bright. "You're nothing special, Green. I don't care what Miss Palmiers, the silly old official, says about you. You're just a stuck-up little thief, stealing a place in this school like you have. You don't deserve to be here, let alone in my presence." she drawled spitefully, flicking her so-obviously-dyed blonde hair self-consiously. I held my rucksack a little firmer with sweaty palms, trying to step past her and her four cronies. However, she just snickered and mimicked my steps, blocking my path whichever way I tried to turn. "You and your dirty little family stole a bit more than just a place in Stockridge, didn't they? A long, long time ago, one of your low-life ancestors took something of gargantuous values, something that my family held very, very dear. You're so going to pay." she fumed, her spiteful amber eyes filled with hatred and reproachfulness. I had no idea what she was talking about, but decided hastily not to argue. Suddenly, she came very close to me, her peppermint breath mingling with mine. She studied my face for a few seconds, before adopting an expression very close to a snarl. "Don't mess with me, Green. I'm Lucindia De Angelos, and I have much more power than you would ever know." she breathed, almost silently. Her full red lips, which were coated in a thick layer gloss, moved only very slightly, too subtle for most people to notice. I noticed she had extremely thin, papery skin, which emitted absolutely no heat whatsoever, from what I could tell. Also, with an unpleasent shock, I realised her hair wasn't actually dyed, but extremely light and platinum-blonde. She held my gaze for a few moments, the air between us as livid as electricity, before turning on her heel and striding off, her cronies hurrying in her wake. I shook my head nervously, stuffing my hands in my jean pockets to stop them from trembling. There was one thing I knew for sure about this girl and it was this. That chick was crazy.


I realised I hadn't stopped and slowed down to properly admire my new dorm, which I would be living in for at least five or six years of my life. I gulped, taking in for the first time the raw grandour of the University. Although it wasn't the main building, it was still pretty impressive. The entrance hall was wide and spacious, with raven-black wood panels and brilliant white-washed walls, giving anyone who observed it for too long a headache and a touch of nausea. The builders, presumably the two brothers who owned the University and its land, had added in rustic Victorian-like features, including tall ceilings, heavy doors and a double staircase, made of out flawless oak wood. There were many equisite oil paintings hung expertly around the hall, coupled with delicate wooden tables and crystal or china vases. Old-fashioned oil lamps with intricate patterns were set into the walls; however, they were only lit on special occasions, as most of the light was provided by either the huge, floor to ceiling windows or the massive diamond chandelier, glittering and flashing like a million fragile yet dazzling moons. I half-smiled with awe as I gazed hungrily around the room. I would definitely be proud to call this my home for years to come. Suddenly, I felt someone take my arm and shake me out of my admiring gaze. "Come on, room buddy!" grinned Charlie impishly, tugging me up the stairs. "Let's get unpacked!"

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