Elmwood

Imagine a world where the chicken never thought about crossing the road. A place where technology doesn’t exist. No, not ‘caveman times’. Right now – yes, your little corner of the world. Imagine if you were growing up in this exact same era, yet things are completely different than how you are used to them being. For just a moment, close your eyes and pretend that you aren’t completely human. Imagine some parallel universe in which you live a completely different life.

Two different identities residing in two separate universes that never met. Is that plausible? Well, does part of you wish for it to be true? Yes? Then, it’s definitely plausible. Anything is.

Oh, so now you are dreaming of such a universe and such a lifestyle. Well, dream on, my child, and never do stop.

****

Two different worlds are invading the spacious universe, yet one lies in a parallel universe from the other. Earth – the world that all is familiar with. It’s normal and can sometimes be called

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1. More Than What Meets the Eye

Yellow brick roads would have been far more exciting than the old cobblestone that Donovan Marshall walked on every single day.  It was the road that she walked from her dorm room to the school – her magic school, Delawell School for the Magically Gifted.  Donovan had been ecstatic when her parents had revealed to her that she was one of the magically gifted.  Not everyone living in Elmwood is gifted.  There are some trolls, some demons, and elves, as well many more different types of magical species.  Elmwood was the place where magic was accepted – the only place in all the galaxies.  Elmwood was where magic dwelled just in the midst of joyous laughter.

Donovan discovered at age ten that she was a witch, something that she had always wished she would be.  Once a child turns ten years old, they are sent to their District Hall so that the officials could determine what magical species they were born as.  Just because their parents were one thing didn’t mean that they would continue with their legacy.  It all depended on the choice that they mentally made as a baby, completely subconsciously.  That decision followed how the baby lives its life, and the choices they make.  However, as the baby grows up, they do not remember the choice that they made.  Their identity is a mystery until they turn ten.  At the District Hall, the child must undergo a series of magical tasks and tests, which show the officials that child’s strengths.  Their magical identity is then revealed.

Delawell School for the Magically Gifted is a school that supports wizards, witches, vampires, trolls, and demons.  Wizards and witches are allowed to take any classes that they wish at Delawell, since they can perform the most magic.  However, the vampires, trolls, and demons have a limited amount of classes that they can choose from, since they can only perform certain aspects of magic.  In this way, wizards and witches are superior to vampires, trolls, and demons, which holds a grudge between the two groups.  The wizards and witches have a clique against the three other species.  Drama, magic battles, and hexes constantly occur during lunches, usually resulting with at least one hospital visit per month from Delawell, if not a death or two.

Donovan usually hung low, though.  She never tried to get involved in any fights or duels – death wasn’t currently on her agenda.  All she wanted to do was graduate and get out of Delawell.  She loved her school to death, and although she was quite popular amongst all of the student body, Donovan often felt alone.  Even her best friend, Joanne H., felt alone most of the time.  It seemed as though everyone surrounding them were far happier with their lives.  Donovan and Jo just couldn’t wait to graduate, though, even if that meant leaving Delawell.  It was complicated, but it made sense to them.  They were currently in their eighth and final year of their studies.  Afterwards, the two friends would move on to get jobs somewhere.  There was no schooling after they left Delawell – or whichever other school that one would attend in Elmwood.

A few trolls raced past Donovan up the hill to Delawell.  It was apparent that they were going to be late for their first period class.  Donovan on the other hand didn’t have class until fourth period today, which meant that she technically could have slept in longer.  There was no need for her to report anywhere beforehand, so she was free to do whatever she pleased until the fourth period bell rang.  However, it just so happened that Donovan had a love for getting to school far earlier than she was supposed to, and just hanging around in secret areas of the school that not even some of the faculty knew about.  Donovan liked to explore, and explore she did.

Delawell is an ancient castle that was built for the sole purpose of being transformed into a school, which made the building quite archaic and lovely.  There were always secret passageways being discovered that no one knew about, and of course no one would tell – why give away a discreet studying place or hang out?  Tell one person, and virtually the whole school will know about your secret, little hiding place.  Donovan has found quite a few hidden places around the school since her first year at Delawell, and no one else had ever found them, unless she had invited them to passageways.  How did they stay so hidden?  Donovan casted a few simple charms on them to keep them private and hers.  There were plenty of other passageways that other students could charm for themselves.  However, as soon as the year ended, Donovan would need to remove the charm to allow for new first years to find it and claim it as theirs.

Or, at least that would be the right thing to do.  Donovan was still debating if that was the route that she wanted to go with her hidden places, or did she want to keep them completely hidden, so that no one else could steal her places and that those places could live on in her legacy?  Decisions, decisions!

“Donny!”  A voice called from somewhere on the path.  Donovan recognized the voice as belonging to Joanne, or Jo, as her friends call her.  A bit frantically, Donovan swirled around in her place looking for Jo.  With a sharp jab in the back, Donovan screamed.

“Gotcha!” Jo laughed, stabbing Donovan in the back with the tip of her chestnut wand.  Donovan grimaced.  Her friend was always up to silly jokes that caused Donovan so much fear. 

“Funny.”  Donovan rolled her eyes, sarcastically.  She didn't need this from her friend, especially not on a day like today.  This particular day was the one where Donovan was sure that Adam Russler – the absolute hottest wizard at Delawell – was going to ask her out.  She could just feel it in her blood.  Plus, she overheard someone talking about it yesterday.

“Loosen up!” Jo laughed in her shrilly voice.

Donovan only shook her head.  “Adam is going to be mine soon.  How am I supposed to loosen up?”  She had been crushing on this wizard ever since she had first arrived at Delawell for her first year – it had been eight years of crushing, and some action was definitely in order.

“If he doesn't ask you, I'm going to have a lot of cleaning up today,” Jo murmured.

Donovan’s head snapped in Jo’s direction.  “What was that?”

Brightening up fast, Jo threw on a cheery smile.  “Nothing, doll!  He is so going to ask you out,” she said in a fake-supportive tone.  Donovan sighed, wishing that she had a more supportive sidekick, but she supposed that she got what she deserved.

“Why do you think that he won't?” Donovan pouted.  She didn't want her heart to be broken, and who would?

“He's a coward and a player,” Jo said, simply shrugging it off.

“And the number one Linsink star!” Donovan smiled, dreamily.  In Elmwood, Linsink was their main sport – something that would be compared to what Earthlings would call “football”. 

“Whatever!” Jo shrieked.  “He's still broken many hearts in the past, and even went as far as to beat some of his old girlfriends before.”

“That's just rumor and speculation, darling.”  Donovan flipped her hair over her shoulder.  “He wouldn't hurt a fly.”

“So you think!” Jo laughed.  She flipped her strawberry blonde hair behind her shoulder and skipped down the cobblestone.  Everything Jo did seemed so daring, brave, and graceful to Donovan, while she just felt like a clumsy mess.  Both girls were rather popular, but neither liked to admit to that.  They were well loved and admired by all and they hung out with all of the cool kids, but it didn't mean anything to them.  They liked doing their own thing, and wouldn't care if that caused them to be ranked lower on the social totem.  They were low key hipsters, basically.

Donovan hoisted her brown leather bag’s strap higher onto her shoulder.  The bag enjoyed just sliding down her shoulder from time to time.  She dived her hand into the bag and withdrew her pink feathered quill pen.  It was her favorite quill, and it had come from her favorite designer quill store located in Harcwich, a district not too far from school.  On the weekends, students were allowed to travel anywhere they wanted, just as long as they were back in time for school during first period.

“What are you doing?” Jo asked as Donovan took out a piece of paper and fell to the ground.  She began scribbling something onto the paper quickly, leaving Jo to give her a look full of judgement.

“Are you writing your last will and testimony for your heart before he asks you out and completely destroys it?”  Jo gave her a satisfied grin, but Donovan only groaned.

“Actually, I'm writing out an idea before I forget it, so hush while I do so!  I can't forget this one!” Donovan responded in a rush.  Jo just sighed and tapped her foot repeatedly, not appreciating having to wait.  After all, she was a bit impatient from time to time.

“Hey!” called a voice from somewhere down the road.  Donovan blocked out the voice, too concentrated on her work. 

Jo, on the other hand, acknowledged the voice.  She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and let out a high pitched, “Hi!”

“Do you have class right now?”  The voice said back to Jo.

“Not until third period.  Do you?” 

“I am actually free today from classes, but tomorrow is non-stop.  I’m just going to practice Linsink around the field now.  There’s never an excuse to not work on getting better.”

“Oh, but you’re so good already!”  Jo blushed.

At this point, Donovan had finished writing out her idea.  She stood up and her eyes met that of the voice.  “Adam!”  She tried to play it cool around him, though she ended up failing miserably.  The excitement in her voice sprung forth, uncontrollably.

“Hi, Donny!”  He smiled at her, causing her stomach to do somersaults.  She mentally scolded herself to behave more like Jo – cool and collected.

Adam turned back towards Jo.  “Would you like to come watch me on the field?”

Jo shrugged her shoulders.  “Well, I have this paper to finish, but I guess that I can come for a while.”  Donovan squinted her eyes out of confusion.  Jo didn’t have any homework left to do.  She always finished her homework at the dorm, and used her free periods at school for either extra studying or relaxation in between classes.

“Uh, see you later, Donny!”  Adam waved and walked away to the field, his arm linked with Jo’s.  Donovan gave him a small smile and wave in return, but in the back of her mind, she was wondering what in the world had just happened.  Why had Jo been given an invite and not her?  She didn’t have class until fourth period!

Maybe Adam just wanted to discuss with Jo the proper way to ask Donovan out.  Perhaps he had a huge, elaborate plan to ask Donovan out that required Jo’s assistance.  Donovan’s heart fluttered.  Adam was just too romantic for her heart to take.  She inhaled a deep breath and exhaled all of her nerves.  Donovan paraded towards school, heading up to her secret passageway. 

*****

Tapping her feathered quill down on the surface of her cherry wood desk, Donovan just could not seem to concentrate on her homework.  Impatience fired through her.  The clock had just struck upon its seventeenth hour, making Donovan’s brain itch for something to happen.  She hadn’t seen Jo since she disappeared to the field with Adam.  Maybe the plan was just taking a while.

Donovan had heard rumors that Jo had not shown up to any of her classes today, which worried her.  People kept coming up to Donovan during the day to find out where Jo was, but she hadn’t the slightest idea.  After all, it wasn’t like Jo to just skip classes.  Donovan tried to charm a stuffed owl to fly after her and find her, but the owl had still not returned yet.  She sent it five hours ago.

I wonder if Emma is around, Donovan thought to herself, now lying on her bed.  She shared her dorm with Jo, as she had ever since their first year, and they’ve always remained best friends.  In fact, they never had a quarrel of any kind.  The two always seemed to remain quite close.  The only thing that they never seemed to be on the same terms with is Emma.  Donovan had befriended Emma during their first year, but Jo never approved of her.  There was something about Emma that she just didn’t seem to like.

Donovan dragged herself out of bed and began walking towards her door room, when it flew open.  In stormed Jo with a bright smile on her face.  She looked over at Donovan and with a look of surprise, she asked.  “Oh, are you going somewhere?  I thought we could go grab dinner!”

Donovan’s heart leaped.  Dinner!  That’s where Adam was planning on asking her out.  “I was going to see Emma, just to check in, but dinner sounds great!”

“You sure you don’t have plans with her?” Jo asked, trying to remain pleasant around the subject of Emma, though she failed miserably. 

Donovan nodded.  “I was just going to take a chance and walk over there.  There weren’t any plans made.”

Jo nodded and they left the dorm, heading to the grand room for the meal.  The whole school basically eats at the grand room for their meals at the same time.  Ever though there are thousands among thousands of students at Delawell and it is impossible for everyone to know everyone, they all share in a sense of community when they all sit down for meals together. 

On the pathway down to the school, Donovan casually tossed a few strands of hair behind her shoulder and glanced over at her friend.  “So, where were you today?  People were saying that you weren’t in class.”

Jo seemed to freeze in her tracks and her cheeks turned a bright shade of red.  “I wasn’t… Feeling well.”

“I checked at the nurse’s and you weren’t there.  Plus, you weren’t in our dorm.  If you weren’t feeling well, where else would you have gone, Jo?”  Donovan eyed her friend curiously.

Jo shrugged.  “Look, it doesn’t matter.”

Donovan shook her head in protest.  “No, you are not just going to get out of this one.  There is absolutely no way!  Now, where were you, Jo?  I’m seriously worried about you.”

“You aren’t my mother.  I owe you no explanation!”  Jo shouted at her friend, feeling ashamed for doing so, but not for long.  She felt like she had the right to defend herself.

Donovan laughed.  “Fine, then I’ll just send an owl to your mother, and she can find out why you skipped class today.  I’m sure that would be a wonderful dinner topic!  Come on, Jo, why can’t you just tell me?”

Jo let out an annoyed laugh.  “Fine.  Fine!  If you want to play that card, then I will tell you.  I was just trying to protect you, but if you want to feel the wrath, then that’s on you.  Just know that I did try to shield you from doing so.”

Donovan squinted her eyes.  “Jo, just spit it out.”

“I went to the field with Adam this morning, as you know, and we ended up staying there for the rest of the day.  I watched him play Linsink and I saw all of his muscles flex.  We had a picnic and just talked,” Jo stated, firmly.

“So now you approve of him and our future romance?”  Donovan’s eyes glistened with the fantasies of Adam and her that she spent way too much time thinking about.  She may even go as far to admit that storming up those fantasies were a bit of an addiction.

Jo shuffled her feet around and looked away from her friend.  “Donny, let’s just go eat.”

Donovan stopped in her tracks.  “Wait, there is more to the story?”

“Of course there is more to the story, Don, but that’s not to discuss now.  Let’s just go eat, okay?”

“What happened?”

Jo groaned at this and turned to face Donovan with tears swelling up in her eyes.  “Adam asked me out.”

Donovan felt as though a bullet had just been driven through her heart.  She looked up at Jo with heavy eyes, shaking her head.  “I thought that he and I had something special.”

“Donny, it’s okay,” Jo said, going in for a hug.  “It’s just time that you learn the difference between reality and fantasy.  You spend so much time fantasizing about him that it’s sort of ridiculous.  You two do talk sometimes, but nothing has ever happened between you two to make your relationship canon.  Nothing about it has ever been legit.  It’s kind of like you thought you were actually dating a fictional character.  That’s how extraneous it was.”

Donovan looked at her friend in horror.  “There are some actual, fictional characters that I am dating, for your information.  Adam was not one of them.  He was legit and lovely.  We were going to have such a happy future together, Jo.”

Jo bit down on her bottom lip.  “Look, you just need to move on.”

It took a few minutes and many deep breaths before Donovan felt like she had some sort of a clear mind.  She looked at her friend through her blurry eyes and nodded.  “You’re right.  He is a player and was destined to break my heart.  I should have just listened to you in the first place.”

“It’s fine…” Jo said, her words drifting off uncomfortably.

“Well, I’m just glad that it’s done.  Now we can both move on and ignore him.  Wait, will you help me plan some revenge on him?  He deserves something for what he put my heart through, you know?  Something truly evil.”  Donovan smacked her lips together, forming a firm line that signaled that she meant business.

Jo cleared her throat.  “Well, I –”

Donovan cut her off.  “Oh, thanks!  I knew you’d be there for me.”

“– have something to tell you.”  Jo finished her sentence, waiting for her friend to give her some attention.

Donovan shrugged her shoulders.  “What’s up?”

“Adam asked me out.”  Jo repeated.

“So you said.”  Donovan’s eyebrows knitted together in a confused expression.

“But I never told you what I said.”

“Oh?”

Jo bit the inside of her cheek before turning to face her friend.  “I said ‘Yes’.”

 

 

*****

 

You can read more here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/43095917-elmwood-camp-nanowrimo-2015

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