Lost to the Flames

Meet Rune Oakes: notoriously badly behaved, too smart for her own good, and the new fourth year at prestigious Borthwick Academy Boarding School. But when you're told you're destined to be a murderer, how can you begin to fit in at a school for the best pupils in the country? And even worse, how can you stop yourself from getting close. As Rune tries to stop herself from getting too attached, she becomes caught up in a spiderweb of secrets, magic, and, perhaps most frighteningly of all, love.

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8. A Little Practice

After lunch, Avery was dragged off to God knows where with Giselle and Henry, which left Rune at a slight loss as to what to do. The other girls were both going to the music practice rooms, though, and so Rune decided to follow them.

 

As it turned out, Suzanne already had five instruments in there to play: flute, guitar, violin, piano and a drum kit. Laelia, on the other hand, had only one - air guitar. While she was explaining how magnificent her instrument of choice was, Suzanne played the piano, concentration creasing her forehead, as her dark hand flew over the keys.

 

"I don't get it," she huffed, slamming her fingers down on the keys, causing a chaotic crashing sound. "Usually I play so well, but this piece just isn't working, I can't get it to work right! It's supposed to be like, really fast, but I can't do it that fast, the keys are too far apart and I'm just not able to do it! It's really annoying!"

 

"Hey, calm down," Laelia said in a soothing voice, rushing over to Suzanne. "You've got plenty of time to learn it, you'll get it just fine. Look, why don't you take your mind off of piano for a minute, just relax. You don't have to be practicing all the time."

 

"Yes, but I do!" Suzanne whined. "I can't get it wrong. If I get it wrong and take a break, then I'll just keep on getting it wrong and taking breaks and then I'll never get better and I'll be a total failure, I won't get into the college I want, and then I'll never get into the national orchestra and then I'll have to be a kind of popster, then I'll get an alcohol problem, and then I'll die! Do you want me to ruin my life and die?"

 

Runs faked a smile, feeling rather uneasy, as the room grew draughty. "No," she stuttered out. "We want yi tae just calm doon and gi yourself a break. It's aenly a week intae the year, you're going tae be fine, a promise. Ay, Laelia?"

 

"Yeah, of course." She walked over to Suzanne, sitting down beside her on the piano stool, and wrapping an arm around her. "Come on, Suzie. Let's just go for a walk or something, okay?"

 

Suzanne shook her head, leaning on Laelia. "It's not just the piano, Laels. I've been tired ever since the start of term, it's exhausting, all this stuff already. And Avery is really worrying me, he's being so weird, and I just - I feel sick to my stomach." She let out a groan, huffing out a short breath. "I'm all dizzy, and, and... I'm sorry. I have to go somewhere."

 

She flew from the room, dark hair flowing behind her. Laelia's pale hand trembled slightly, lip quivering. "Where's she gaeing?" Rune asked her. "Dae yi ken?"

 

"Sadly," Laelia laughed, "yes. Yes I do."

 

"Dae yi mind telling mae where, perhaps?"

 

She rolled her eyes, clenching her jaw in annoyance. Striding to the door, she grabbed the frame, twirling around to stare at Rune. "She's gone to sort out her problems alone, again. This either means she's going to your room to cry alone, or she's going to try and murder a tree. Usually, it's the first one, but occasionally she chooses the tree."

 

"Whit yin dae you hink it is right noo?"

 

"Probably the tree."

 

"Great."

 

Their feet pounded on the ground, as the rushed through the corridors, earning themselves a few stares from their teachers. Rune stumbled slightly, but Laelia grabbed her arm, keeping her upright. "Try not to fall, Rune," she said in a tight voice, like a wire being stretched and stressed to the point that it was about to snap. "It would kind of slow us down."

 

As they burst out into the sun, they saw Suzanne across the field, hurrying to the woods, the wind swirling around her like a tornado. "Suzie!" Laelia shouted to her, but she didn't respond, just kept walking faster. "Suzie, come back here right now, or so bloody help me!"

 

She didn't, and so Laelia stormed after her, leaving Rune to keep up a sort of jog that made her feel like a complete and utter idiot, and glad that nobody else was around to see them. "Suzie!"

 

Laelia grabbed Suzanne's arm, turning her around to face her. From her distance away, she couldn't hear what they were saying, but Suzanne seemed really agitated. Catching up, she caught the tail end of Suzanne's sentence. "... I hate her!"

 

"Hate who?" Rune asked, as Suzanne jumped.

 

"Giselle, of course," she huffed. "She's just seeming to be stealing Avery away from us, and Henry's a dick, and a homophobic dick, at that - he told me that Laels and I were going to hell for being together, and I'm like, what the hell, you're just jealous that girls actually bloody like me - and ugh, I hate it!"

 

Though she tried to hide it for Suzanne's sake, Laelia was smirking, almost laughing. Rune was confused for a second as to who Suzanne was referring to, as she had spoken almost faster than Rune could keep up, sounds rolling and rumbling and crashing together like a thunderstorm above them. She shivered.

 

"Aye, well, maest guys are like that, Suzanne," she sighed, slumping her shoulders. "But, hey, yi'vd got ae friend in me, an in Avery, and in Laelia here, tae. And yi ken, a wis in quite a lot ae fights at ma last school, so a could at least try tae beat up anyone

hae hurts yi." It sounded like she was joking, but she most certainly wasn't.

 

Suzanne's dark eyes widened, her smile uneasy. "You ... You won't have to, Rune. Look, I don't feel like going back to my music right now, so how about we just work on our magic and stuff, Rune, no offence, you barely know anything. Also, I'm bored."

 

 

The two girls chuckled. "That doesn't sound like a half bad idea," Laelia laughed. "Come on."

 

 

"Okay," Rune said, "sae, when a wis at the library with Avery, he showed me this book, right, aboot, like, different powers and stuff, which wis apparently supposed tae, like, help me tae ken whit powers a've got, and a found oot that apparently a've got, like, fire breath and stuff, like a dragon, in that seems really cool, and aye, can a try that oot the now?"

 

Her eyes gleamed and glittered with fiery coals, adrenaline pumping through her as she already felt power in her veins. Suzanne nodded, as did Laelia, and she grinned, taking a deep breath. And then she breathed out.

 

Fire leapt across her tongue, smoke curling around her throat, yet she did not feel herself choking on it. It danced from her out to the air, where it turned the sky into a cloud of slowly dissipating ash. It scorched the grass slightly, and Rune closed her mouth suddenly, with a slight scream and a 'light' curse. She waved her hand and the fire curled into smoke, before going out completely, and she sighed. "How wis that?" she asked with mock innocence , making Laelia laugh.

 

"Pretty good, I'd say. What else can you do, Rune?"

 

"Well, a cin blow myself up anno, apparently, but a dinnae really Ken how safe that is, sae am no gonna try that. And geo kinesis anno, which is volcanoes, so a dinnae hink that's very safe. And pyrotechnics, but -"

 

"Rune," Laelia barked. "Are there any of your powers that are safe to do right now?"

 

"Well, a cin, like, manipulate the sun, if that coonts?"

 

"Yeah, I guess, just as long as you don't kill us with it or anything."

 

"Okay. Well, am just going tae move it fae over there, tae over there." She pointed to just above the trees, where it would be at sunset. "And then a'll can move it back again after a minute."

 

Creasing her forehead, she began to draw lines in the sky as though she was in a trance. Lights danced in the sky, twirling and spinning like they were as free as an eagle to fly away over the hills. She stopped, and turned to the two girls, grinning. "Now, we wait."

 

"Why?" Laelia laughed, confused.

 

"So that we cin see the sun change, of course. It takes eight minutes fae the sun's light tae reach us here doon on earth, sae we'll have tae wait eight minutes fae it tae be visible tae us. Right?"

 

"Right."

 

"And then, a minute after that, we'll see it going back tae it's right place, even though it's technically just done that the noo, because we've been talking faer aboot a minute. Right?"

 

"Right."

 

The three of them sank down onto the ground, which was littered with leafs and pinecones and twigs like a mosaic of nature that didn't quite fit together, but was so very close to the edge of perfection. "You know, Rune, I didn't like you when you came into our room the first time," Suzanne said aloud. "I was playing my violin and you interrupted and I'd only found out I was having a roommate an hour or so before. But you're cool, I guess, even if I am such bad company you tried to run away."

 

Rune barked in laughter, and a couple of birds scattered in the sky above them. "Yi ken that wisnar because ae you, Suzanne," she told her. "I wis just missin ma pals back hame."

 

"I know, I know. I was just joking. What about you, Laels? Did you like Rune at first."

 

"Nope," she laughed. "Still don't." Rune stuck her tongue out at her, and she stuck hers out too. "Nah, but really, you're cool. And for the record, even though he isn't here, Avery definitely likes you too."

 

"Aw, you guys are making me blush," Rube cooed, leaning back. "See, it'll be there any moment now."

 

Indeed, it was, the sun momentarily hanging over the trees, before gliding over to the other side of the sky, where it hung like it had never even moved. Rune smiled.

 

"Looks like that worked, at least."

 

--

 

--

 

A girl paced the wooden floor of a classroom, heart beating quickly in her chest. Her watery blue eyes were like lochs of hatred, her alabaster skin pale and clammy. She wore a hooded black cloak, hiding beneath it like it was her only protection. "Help," she choked out, speaking only to the darkness before her.

 

Stumbling around, her hand found its way to a curtain, and she tore it to the side, light flooding in. It has been so long since she had seen any light, since she'd seen the world of the living with her own eyes. She spied three girls by the fringes of the forest, and shivered. There was something about one of them that even from up here she could feel it was wrong, all wrong.

 

She took a raspy breath, and fell to the ground once more.

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