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Annabelle (part 30)

As Annabelle sat it the darkness she tried to think of ways to get out of this situation. Well, at first she thought of all the different ways she could hurt the head bitch. She imagined running towards her and punching her stupid face, no magic but just pure muscle power; however, she’d probably hurt her hand, that is, if she even made it that far, which was very unlikely as the headmistress should create a magic shield against attacks. Then, once she got the violent thoughts out-of-the-way, she started more productive thinking, but that didn’t get her anywhere either. She had tried casting spells at the door, but it would not budge. She had tried using the spell that would let her stick her hand through wood, but that didn’t work either. It seemed like the door was warded against most kinds of spells. It was probably not unbreakable, but the spellwork required was probably too complicated for Annabelle to have even read about it yet.  She didn’t even know if anyone could hear her on the other side of the door, for all she knew, the door could have been sound proof. They certainly could not hear her in the castle above her.

Eventually Annabelle fell asleep on the floor, where she had bundled up her cloak as a pillow, now that fireballs were keeping her warm. She slept uncomfortably. She didn’t know a spell that would turn the stone floor soft, even if she had once done that. She woke up in the morning by the sound of someone opening the door.

“Let me out!” Annabelle shouted angrily, as Octavia Sprytt walked into her cell. Behind her Annabelle could see one of the women who pushed her into it the night before.

“Be quiet, girl,” Miss Sprytt said, using her magic to force Annabelle down. “I warned you to behave yourself.”

“I haven’t done anything,” Annabelle replied, her eyes welling up with tears. She hated knowing her enemies could see her cracking. She didn’t want them to see her cry.

“You know what you did,” Miss Sprytt said coldly, waving her hand so that a tray of food appeared in front of Annabelle.

“Here are some things that will make your stay more…. comfortable” she said, tossing a bag at Annabelle, before turning around and leaving her. Annabelle threw a glass from the tray after her, but it missed.

Miss Sprytt turned, used her magic to repair the glass and smiled at Annabelle.

“Remember, Miss Brown, good behaviour is rewarded”

She turned on her heels and left the room, and the minion outside glowered at Annabelle as she slammed the door shut.

“You can shove your good behaviour up your ass!” Annabelle shouted at the closed door, banging her fist against it.

*

After throwing a tantrum and screaming curses at all the members of staff she hated, Annabelle sat down and started eating the food on her tray. She was rather hungry. She wondered if Eylion and Lydia had guessed where she was, and if they were planning to rescue her. It seemed as if the headmistress had no plans of killing her yet as she had been given a decent meal. She then remembered the bag Miss Sprytt had given her. She had said it would make her stay in the cell more comfortable.

She opened the bag, which had been enchanted so it was bigger on the inside. She found a change of clothes, a blanket, a sort of thin mattress that she supposed she was supposed to put on the floor, a glass bottle of some drink, some nibbles, and a book. Annabelle opened the book and a piece of paper fell out. She quickly picked up the piece of paper and read it.

Tonight after dinner. Be ready.

That was all it said. So Eylion and Lydia knew where she was, but how on earth had they been able to get the note into the book in the bag without Miss Sprytt noticing it. She supposed that Lydia would be able to open the door, maybe even Eylion. She knew that they couldn’t get her out now, not until they were ready to leave. They had to pretend they didn’t know where she was until they were ready to execute the plan, otherwise they would risk the security being strengthened. All she had to do now was wait, and trust that Eylion and Lydia knew what they were doing.

*

Waiting for dinner time drove her out of her mind. Sitting alone in a dark, windowless cell was really boring, and the book she had been brought really wasn’t that interesting. Annabelle had gone through every page to make sure there weren’t any other hidden messages, but there were none. She spent the day trying to rest on the mattress she had been given, as she hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, and she probably would need to be well-rested for her trip with Lydia. They would probably have to walk most of the night to get as far away from the castle as possible.

When she couldn’t rest anymore she would get up and walk around in her cell just for something to do and so she could stretch her body. When she was feeling extra ungrateful, she thought that Eylion and Lydia could have tried to sneak some form of entertainment into the bag as well!  Not having anything to do was driving her crazy and at times she’d find herself counting to sixty, making rips into her piece of paper for each minute. She had no idea how many hours she had been there or how many hours were left until dinner. It felt like she had been there for ages, and it made her even more angry knowing that the headmistress would probably leave her in there for even longer.

*

Then, just as Annabelle had laid back down on her mattress to rest som more, she heard a noise outside. Was it Eylion or Lydia coming to save her? Or was it the minions coming with her dinner? Annabelle got up grabbing her cloak, ready to leave if she was being rescued. The door opened with no trouble and Octavia Sprytt walked in. Annabelle felt a sinking disappointment when she saw her.

“Bring your cloak and come with me,” she said to Annabelle who had sat back down on the floor.

Annabelle looked up at her in surprise, her mouth open.

“Come on, girl. Hurry.”

Annabelle got up, not sure how she should react.

“What time is it?” she asked, confused. Was she getting out? Where was she taking her? To another cell? How would Eylion and Lydia be able to rescue her if they moved her?

“It is after the dinner, didn’t you get the note?” Miss Sprytt asked, still holding the door open. “Will you hurry up, girl! We don’t have that much time.”

“It was you? But…”

“Lydia is waiting for you upstairs. Now, move.”

Annabelle hurried out of the cell, and then she followed Miss Sprytt up the stairs and out of the dungeon. She wanted to ask questions, but she didn’t know what to say. Should she trust her? Would Lydia really be waiting for her?

The answer was waiting for her at the top of the stairs. Lydia stood there waiting for her, holding the satchel Alexis had sent her. She hugged Annabelle tightly.

“I don’t understand,” Annabelle said looking confused.

“No time to explain,” Lydia said, letting go of her.

“Annabelle!” Eylion came running down the corridor. She hugged her best friend.

“Well?” Miss Sprytt gave Eylion a demanding look.

“It’s done. They’ve been frogs for two minutes exactly, and they should remain so for at least forty-five minutes.”

“And the guards outside?”

“Anna, Tilly and Mina went to serve them dinner, they gave the signal. It should be all clear.”

“And I created the tunnel. Then we should get going,” Miss Sprytt said and nodded at Lydia.

Eylion hugged Annabelle one last time.

“I’m going to miss you so much. I hope we see each other really soon.”

Annabelle was lost for words and she felt herself starting to cry.

“Take care, Annabelle,” Eylion said before letting her go.

Then Annabelle felt herself change. She was shrinking, her entire body felt strange. She suddenly looked up at the three witches in front of her. They were all really tall. She looked at herself and saw that her hands were little, pink paws. Everything felt strange. Her vision was different, she suddenly had a wider sight and things looked lighter, and it was as if she could suddenly smell and hear everything. She felt like a super human, except she was in feline form.

“Meow,” she said, realising she had lost her ability to speak with her new form.

“Now, we will change,” Lydia informed her. “Annabelle, you will follow Octavia to the tunnel, I will come behind you. Then when we get to the tunnel, we will go through and you will follow me until I stop. Understand?”

“Meow.”

“Well then, we’ll be off.”

The two older witches changed. Miss Sprytt became a big tabby like Eylion once had been, and Lydia was completly black with green eyes. Annabelle noticed that the two cats were bigger than her. She compared size and realised she was kitten size! Not new-born, but definately a kitten.

*

They hurried up the stairs and Eylion followed them. When they got to the entrance hall there were frogs everywhere. There were a few students who hadn’t turned into frogs, probably because they were late for dinner. Annabelle had to fight hard against the instinct to play with the frogs. She really wanted to pounce at them.

“Dang! Someone must have opened the door,” Eylion said as she came up behind them. She ran over to the front door and opened it.

“Take care!” she called after them as they ran out the front door and into the park area outside.

Annabelle followed the big tabby cat between tree trunks, that were so much more visible to her with night vision. They headed towards the big stone wall that surrounded the school. Once they got to the wall the tabby stopped next to a hole in the ground, Annabelle stopped too and turned to see Lydia coming after them.

“Meow,” Lydia said, reaching out a paw and swatting it towards Annabelle’s hindquarters. She guessed that meant “Go on!”

Annabelle jumped into the hole which was more than big enough for a kitten to get though, and went through the tunnel, appearing on the other side of the wall. She was quickly followed by Lydia who had to crawl through. They had done it!

“Meow,” Lydia said, signalling for Annabelle to follow her. There was no time to stop now, they had to get far away from the school while the staff were still frogs. Hopefully nobody would realise that they had gone for a while after they returned to human form.

*

They kept traveling as cats for over an hour before Lydia finally stopped in the middle of a thick forest and transformed them back to human form. It was pitch dark for a human, and for a moment Annabelle felt like she was going blind, until Lydia cast a small, blue, light globe. It gave them light, but it wouldn’t draw too much attention if anyone happened to fly over them on a broomstick.

“Finally,” Annabelle said as she stretched her legs and cracked her neck, adjusting to her new form. “I’ve been waiting for ages for answers. What the hell happened back there?”

Lydia smiled at her and pulled her into an embrace.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered into her ear. “There was no time for explanations.”

She kissed Annabelle softly on the lips.

“We knew they had taken you when you weren’t in your room, but we couldn’t just storm into the dungeon and rescue you, not if we wanted to escape the way we did. I hated leaving you in there.”

“But Miss Sprytt?”

“Alexis’s inside spy.”

“You’re joking!”

“Nope,” Lydia said grinning. “You’ve got to give it to her, she’s a brilliant actress.”

Annabelle couldn’t believe it. How? Octavia Sprytt had been unpleasant from the beginning, she had punished students in her history class for trying to correct her lies, everyone hated her.

“But she was a total cow before we even knew we had to go to school! She was rude to Alexis. She punished the students in her class for telling the truth, she…”

“She kept up appearances, Annabelle. She did what she had to do in order to make Kendra Onbush believe she is one of her closest allies. I hope nobody suspects her of helping us today. We need a spy like her in there.”

“Did you know she was a spy?”

“Me? No, not until last night when we couldn’t find you. We were in your room when Octavia came to find you. She believed you were in danger and she wanted to check on you, but she was too late.”

“And then she just told you that she was a spy?”

Lydia laughed and shook her head.

“No, but I guessed. She seemed as shocked as we were to find you gone, and when she said something about you probably having been taken to the dungeon, I realised she was on your side. I could see the worry in her eyes.”

“Octavia Sprytt was worried about me?” Annabelle asked sceptically.

Lydia nodded.

“And then we told her of our plans and we decided to included your other friends to help us.”

“This is crazy,” Annabelle said, sitting down on a log. “So many secrets. I almost feel like pawn in some sick game.”

Lydia sat down next to her and put her arm over her shoulder.

“I know how you feel. I have been a pawn in my great grandmother’s game for too long.”

“But not anymore,” Annabelle said.

“No, not anymore,” Lydia said smiling. “And you know what? It feels great! I can’t believe I am away from her and other members of my family, it feels like I have been rid of something toxic poisoning my life.”

“Yeah, and now we just have to find Andromeda,” Annabelle reminded her. “Ain’t that gonna be a hoot?”

Lydia laughed.

“It is so far!” Annabelle complained.

“We’ve been locked in that castle for ages, and you complain that you have to walk freely in the open?” Lydia pulled her closer. “Just you and me, under the stars, nobody else…”

Annabelle blushed.

“Alright, that does sound nice,” she admitted. “But we’re still on the run, and we should keep going on a bit. While it is still dark, I mean.”

“Yes, but first we need a bite to eat,” Lydia said opening her bag. “You open your satchel, I can’t access anything in that, remember. You need to check the map the vampire gave you.”

Annabelle opened her satchel and retrieved the scroll of parchment that was the map. She tapped it twice with her finger and ink started flowing on the parchment, forming a map. She could see the red dot on the map which pointed to where she was, but the purple dot was on the side of the parchment and not on the map, which meant that they still had a really long way to go.

“We’ve still got a long way,” she said showing Lydia the map. She dragged her finger from the red dot to the purple like Christophe had shown her, and the map changed showing a larger area. “We have to go North-West.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Lydia said and handed Annabelle a sandwich.

“Lydia?” Annabelle said sounding worried.

“Yes, Annabelle?”

“How do we tell which way is North-West?”

Lydia chuckled.

“Oh, Annabelle, what would you do without me here?”

They both sat in silence for a while, eating their sandwich and enjoying the view of the starry sky. It was so beautiful, and Annabelle felt so lucky to sit there next to Lydia alone. Suddenly she felt like maybe this journey to find Andromeda wouldn’t be so bad; after all, she would be with Lydia. She imagined the many nights in the future when she would be lying next to her on the ground, under a blanket, enjoying the starry night sky. No, that didn’t sound bad at all, she was actually looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 27, 2018 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

Annabelle (part 29)

“This place is crazy,” Lydia said, following Annabelle and Eylion down a staircase.

They were leading her to the corridor outside the headmistress’ office.

“You already said that,” Eylion pointed out.

“Yes, but it is. And I can’t believe that they didn’t know about these passages when they chose the castle.”

“I know right, it totally makes sense that there should be passages in a haunted, old castle!” Eylion turned to Annebelle. “See? I told you that time, didn’t I?”

Annabelle nodded.

“So you don’t know why they chose Glasegrove castle?” Annabelle asked Lydia.

“No idea.”

“Oh…” Annabelle said, disappointed.

She had hoped Lydia knew something. It was all just too weird. The locket, the castle, and the fact that her mentors had given it to her of all people. There was no way they didn’t know its connection to the castle. And why didn’t it open?

“We’re getting close,” Eylion said as she stopped. “We should try to keep silent  when we’re near her office.”

The other two nodded.

They walked in silence for a little while longer, but it didn’t take long before they heard the muffled sound of voices. With Eylion in the front they walked a little longer before they stood directly behind the wall to the headmistress’ office. Her voice was much clearer now, and so was the voice of Octavia Sprytt.

“I tell you, Octavia, this has Alexis Nightshade written all over it.”

“We can’t know that, Kendra. We don’t have proof.”

“Then why is she gone? She was staying with her former apprentice, but their house is empty. Leda Clagarian is also missing, you know.”

Annabelle and Eylion looked at each other, confused. Missing? They didn’t mention in their letters that they were going anywhere.

“Well, that does makes sense if they found we had our people watching their house.”

“But how? How would they know? I had my best people keeping an eye on Alexis, and now she is gone.”

The headmistress sounded angry, very angry.

“I don’t know, Kendra, but we always knew she was a smart woman. Smart, and very sly.”

“Too true, Octavia. I wish I knew what she was up to, but I think we can be sure of one thing.”

“What?”

“She has a spy on the inside, it’s the only explanation.”

“You mean Lydia?” Octavia Sprytt sounded like she was doubting this very much.

“Of course not! Don’t be silly. Alexis is too smart to use that stupid girl. I keep her in the dark when it comes to matters of the order, and if she really were a spy she would work harder to stay here. Anyway,  I don’t need her anymore, the new potion teacher should arrive in two days time.”

“So you’ll just let her leave.”

“I’m not sure, she has been on the inside for a while. She might know too much.”

“And what do you intend to do about that?”

“I haven’t decided yet, but that’s not the most important thing right now. How can we get to Alexis?”

“Well, you have to admit she’s good at keeping her secrets. We have now idea where she is, what she is up to, or how to get to her.”

“She’s always messing things up for me! That was all she ever did in the order, going against me, voting against my legislations. I want to get her where it hurts.”

A bell rang in the distance.

“Come on, time for dinner.”

*

Dinner was rather uncomfortable. The few times Annabelle dared looking up at the teachers’ table, she found the headmistress glowering at her. She tried to focus on her plate instead, and occasionally she would join conversations with the others on her table. She found it difficult to focus on their conversations, she was too worried about getting out of the castle before the new potions teacher came to take over for Lydia. They hadn’t had much time to discuss it since they had to hurry out of the passages to make it to dinner in time, they almost forgot to use a cleaning spell to get rid of the dust on their clothes. They had agreed to meet in Annabelle’s bedroom after bedtime. Now that Lydia was in on the plan, that shouldn’t be too difficult. If anyone caught them, Lydia would pretend to catch Eylion out of bed.

*

Annabelle lay in her bed waiting for the other two to arrive. She had a book open so she wouldn’t fall asleep, but it was still a little early. It was after lights out, but they all felt it would be much safer if they didn’t meet until after midnight. It was still only eleven o’clock when she heard a knock on the door.
“That’s odd,” she muttered to herself as she got up to open the door; however, before she even reached the door, it swung open and one of the teachers came inside. Annabelle didn’t know her name, she didn’t teach any of her classes.

“Miss Brown, you are to come with me,” the lady said in a low, booming voice. She was of average hight, but quite wide, and she had a strong jaw on face with a severe expression. Her eyes were dark and scowling.

“Why?” Annabelle asked, confused. It was after lights out after all. She couldn’t think of anything so important that it couldn’t wait until the morning.

“Because the headmistress has ordered it,” the teacher replied, sourly.

“But…” Annabelle started.

“But nothing, Miss Brown. Don’t make me use force.”

Annabelle felt shivers down her spine, she had a bad feeling about this, but she put on her slippers and grabbed her cloak from a peg on the door, and followed the woman out of the room and into the hallway outside. Was she in trouble? Outside they were met with another of the headmistress’ minions.

“Where are we going?” she asked, wrapping the cloak around her. It was chilly.

“You’ll see,” minion number two said.

They walked down several flights of stairs, they were definitely not going to the headmistress’ office. Annabelle kept quiet, only because every time she tried to asked questions she was refused a proper answer. Why would the headmistress want to see her so late? And why not in her office? Would she make it back in time to meet with Lydia and Eylion? And what would they think once they came to her room and discovered that she wasn’t there?

The minions took Annabelle down a dark corridor and then down yet another staircase. Annabelle had a feeling that this one was taking them under ground.

“Are we going to the dungeons?” she asked, she started to feel a panic inside.

“Keep walking, girl.”

She didn’t really have a choice. If she stopped walking, they would force her to keep going, and she didn’t really know how she could escape two grown witches by herself.

They walked down a dark corridor with walls of stone as if it had been cut out of the rock, and they stopped in front of a wooden door. It had flap at the top that could be opened so one could look into the cell, because that was what it was, a cell, Annabelle knew that now.

Minion number one opened the door and minion number two gave Annabelle a push in the back.

“Get in, girl.”

“No way, I’m not going in there,” Annabelle said, refusing to move.

Behind the door was a tiny room. It was dark and dirty, and it smelled. The air felt humid and cold.

The two minions didn’t answer her refusal but simply worked together to push Annabelle into the cell. She fell on the floor, and before she had time to turn around, they had slammed the door behind her, leaving her in total darkness.
Annabelle screamed for them to open up the door, but to no use. She cast a spell and made a fireball that levitated in the air so she could see, and then she ran towards the door and started banging her fist on the hard wood.

“Let me out! Let me out!”

Nobody came. They had already gone back up to the castle. She was all alone in the dungeon, and Lydia and Eylion had no idea where she was. How would she escape this place now? What this what she had meant about getting Alexis where it hurt? And was this what the headmistress had planned for Lydia once the new potion teacher came? Or would Lydia have to leave without her once she couldn’t find her?

Annabelle sat down on the hard, stone floor and started crying. She made more fire balls to help against the cold and she leaned against the wall. She was so tired and scared, and she felt a raging fury towards Kendra Onbush. She had never felt this much hate towards anyone.

“That bitch is gonna pay.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

Annabelle (part 28)

Early the next day, Annabelle was woken up by Dorota .

“Rise and shine, young lady, you’re getting out today.”

“Give me five more minutes.”

Annabelle lay comfortably on her stomach, and her eyes were kept firmly shut.

“No, you’re going to miss breakfast.”

“I’ve been eating breakfast here for days, what is one more day?” The younger woman mumbled into her pillow.

“I’ve told the headmistress you can attend class today, the staff will be expecting to see you at breakfast.”

Dorota pulled off her duvet. Annabelle pulled her pillow over her head in protest, but was rewarded with a swat to her bottom.

“Ow!”

“Get up, young lady. There is more where that came from.”

Annabelle groanded loudly.

“Fine!”

She got up, looking sulky. She had been allowed to sleep longer while staying at the infirmary, having to get up early all of a sudden made her feel grumpy.

“Did Lydia check your homework last night?” Dorota asked, handing her a washcloth and steered her towards the bathroom.

Annabelle suddenly felt a jolt of happiness as remembered the night before. She had kissed Lydia, Lydia had kissed her, they were going to find Andromeda together.

“Eh… yeah. Yeah, she checked it,” she said quickly as she hurried into the bathroom to get ready. She couldn’t wait to see her again, and she had to talk to Eylion.

*

“Annabelle, over here!”

Eylion called for her across from the room as Annabelle walked into the dining hall. Annabelle sat down next to her, grabbed some toast and scrambled eggs, while looking around nervously for the headmistress or any of the teachers. They had a table by themselves and they were alone for the moment.

“How are you?” Eylion whispered. “Did you talk to Christophe? What did he say?”
Annabelle nodded, swallowing a mouthful of juice.

“Lydia busted us,” she whispered.

“What?!” Eylion looked worried.

“She’s coming with me.”

“What?!” Eylion repeated, a little louder.

“Will you be quiet?” Annabelle said, sharply.

“But… I don’t… I don’t understand.”

“She’s been asked to leave, it’s only a question of time. Christophe suggested she come with me, and she wants to go, she doesn’t have anything better to do. We’ll take her to the secret library later today to talk and plan.”

“Well… I guess it is safe to trust her. She seems to be on our side,” Eylion said, but she still seemed nervous.

Annabelle understood why, Lydia worked for the enemy.

“And if we can trust her, it will be a great help to you. Lydia knows her stuff. It’s not a bad idea to have someone like her by your side.”

Eylion took another piece of toast and nibbled on one corner thoughtfully.

“I kissed her,” Annabelle said quietly, looking down at her plate.

Eylion dropped her piece of toast, her mouth was open in shock.

“You kept that quiet! Why wasn’t that the first thing you told me?”

Annabelle shrugged.

“I dunno.” She blushed.

“Annabelle, she’s a teacher. How did she react?”

Annabelle smiled, and she felt butterflies in her stomach.

“Well… I did it first, and she didn’t pull away. And then… well… she got uncomfortable, she made this whole speech about how she didn’t want to use me, even though I had kissed her first. I wanted to.”

Eylion nodded in agreement, but she didn’t say anything. It seemed she was lost for words.

“But then as she left, she kissed me back. Like… softly…on the lips.”

Eylion smirked.

“Teacher’s pet.”

Annabelle laughed.

They heard people approaching and looked up. Their friends were coming over to the table to join them. Annabelle gave Eylion a look that told her to keep quiet, and Eylion nodded quickly. They would have time to talk later.

*

Annabelle suffered through her first double period in history.

“Look who has graced us with her presence,” Octavia Sprytt said sarcastically, as Annabelle walked into the classroom.

This was only the first of many times during the class where Annabelle felt like running towards her and slap her ugly, stupid face. Not only did she make everyone aware of Annabelle’s return, but she also continued to question Annabelle on their homework, and was thoroughly disappointed when Annabelle could answer all of her questions. Where a normal teacher would say “good job”, Octavia Sprytt grunted and continued to the next question, which was considerable harder than the first.

In potions class, Lydia, pretending to lean over and check Annabelle’s work, slipped a note to her where she asked to see her and Eylion after classes were over, before dinner. Annabelle showed the note to Eylion during their last break, and they agreed to go to Lydia’s office together. Lydia’s office wasn’t too far from the small hole in the wall that would lead to the passage ways, and Annabelle had to smile as she imagined Lydia crawl on the floor like she and Eylion had. They would have to find a better way in.

*

After lessons they hurried to Lydia’s office and knocked on her door.

“Come in,” said a voice, a voice that was not Lydia’s.

The headmistress! Annabelle froze, but Eylion gave her a push and they opened the door.

“Annabelle, Eylion, what can I do for you?” Lydia asked casually, her voice seemed somewhat cold and professional, making Annabelle’s chest hurt. She knew Leda had to keep her distance with the headmistress around, but she was very convincing.

“I wanted to talk to you about the paper, but I can wait until you have time,” she lied.

The headmistress gave her a suspicious look.
“What about your paper, young lady?” She gave her a cold gaze.

Annabelle felt her heart beating faster, afraid the headmistress wouldn’t buy her story.

“I…  I was wondering if I could have an extension,” she mumbled, looking down, avoiding the headmistress’s cold eyes.

“You have had days to work on this in the infirmary, young lady.”

“I was ill, headmistress,” Annabelle said, trying to sound submissive. “It’s been hard to keep up with the others.” This was, of course, not true at all. Lydia had made sure she kept up, she was even a little bit ahead, and her paper was already finished.

“Perhaps staying behind every day after class for a week will help?”

“But…” Annabelle started.

“Lydia, you can supervise her…” She gave Lydia a condescending look. “Well… for now.”

“Yes, headmissterss,” Lydia said, quietly.

“Good, you can start now,” the headmistress said. She pointed at Eylion “You, out. Annabelle has work to do.”

Eylion hurried out of the room, and the headmistress followed her. When she heard the door slamming behind her, Annabelle let out a long breath.

“Sorry,” she said looking at Lydia. “I didn’t know what else to say.”

“It’s okay, Annabelle. I was the one who put you on the spot.” Lydia put her hand on Annabelle’s shoulder and smiled at her.

“I actually wanted to talk to you without Eylion,” she said. “I wanted to talk about last night, about what we did.”

Annabelle blushed.

“You mean…?” She tried to get herself to finish the sentence, but she coouldn’t say the word kiss. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing. What if she mentioned the kiss, and then Lydia meant something entirely different. But what else had they done that she might want to talk about?

“I’m talking about the kiss. Well… the kisses,” Lydia said, using her index finger to push Annabelle’s chin up so that her eyes met hers.

“Lydia,” Annabelle said, looking worried. “Please don’t take it back. It happened. I… I kissed you first, but you did it the second time, and maybe you’re worried about being busted, but we’re leaving soon. I just… I just felt like you meant it too, and I don’t want to pretend like it didn’t happen.”
Lydia smiled at her.

“It did happen, Lydia,” Annabelle repeated, looking determined.

“It happened, Annabelle,” Lydia said, her hand brushing through Annabelle’s dark hair. “It happened, and I meant it. I’m not taking it back.”

“Good.” Annabelle smiled, relieved. “Okay.”

“But we can’t tell anyone,” Lydia said seriously.

“Uh… I sorta told Eylion,” Annabelle mumbled, embarrassed. “Sorry.”

Lydia blushed.

“Oh…”

“Sorry!” Annabelle said, “but I couldn’t keep it to myself. Eylion is my best friend, and she’s not going to tell anyone! No way!”

“Okay, I believe you,” Lydia said. She kissed Annabelle’s forehead. “I guess, expecting you to keep it from Eylion would be a bit optimistic. But no one else!”

“I won’t, of course, I won’t.”

“Good. And I will be promising Eylion dire punishment if she tells anyone,” Lydia said jokingly.

“She won’t Lydia. She’s a smart girl, we should give her more credit than that.”

Lydia ruffled her hair.

“Let’s try to find her then, you guys were going to show me your secret meeting place.”

Annabelle suddenly remembered why they had come to Lydia’s office to begin with.

“Right. I hope Eylion went there to wait for us. You’re gonna be impressed, it’s a proper hideout.”

*

Lydia’s office wasn’t far from the entrance to the secret passages, but when they came to the corridor, Eylion was not to be seen. Worried something had happened to her, Annabelle opened the door into the tiny storage room, and looked inside. Nothing. She went inside, pulling Lydia with her and closed the door.
“Eylion?” she said, not too loudly.

“I’m here,” she heard from behind the wooden crates. “Is it just you?”

“Yes, and Lydia,” Annabelle answered, making her way towards where Eylion was hiding. “You go ahead, so there’s room us too.”

Annabelle beckoned Lydia as she was sliding behind the wooden crates.

“Ahead where?” Lydia asked, as she followed Annabelle. “Where is she going?”

“There’s a hole in the wall behind that tapestry,” Annabelle whispered. She crawled down on the floor, looking at Lydia to do the same.

Lydia looked at her suspiciously.

“But… the floor is all filthy with dust. Annabelle, this isn’t one of your jokes, right? Because I swear… I will… I will take that broom over there and wallop you both!”

Annabelle hear Eylion giggle from behind the wall. She was already through.

“It’s not a joke,” she said laughing. “I promise.”

Lydia finally gave in and got down on the floor to join Annabelle.

“This is so humiliating,” she complained. “Wait… I remember this room, I came here with Octavia once, because she swore she heard something. She was hoping to catch some students out of bed.”

“Yes, that would be us,” Annabelle said grinning as she started crawling towards the tapestry.

When she got to the tapestry, she saw Eylion’s hand sticking out of the wall, holding it open for Annabelle. She crawled through the hole. It was tricky, because it wasn’t very big. It was just big enough for a person to crawl through if they lay flat on the floor, which meant one had to use ones elbows to move forward.

Once through, Annabelle turned and help pull Lydia through. She was slightly bigger than Annabelle and Eylion, so to her it was a little trickier to get through. Annabelle and Eylion started brushing off the dust from their uniforms, but Lydia just looked around with her mouth open, her entire front covered in dust from the floor.

“This is amazing,” she mumbled.

“This?” Eylion said, giggling. “This is just a passage, where we’re going is pretty amazing.”

Lydia looked confused.

“Where are we going? What is this place?”

Annabelle started to explain.

“These are passages that can take us to different parts of the school. They can take us up and down floors if we want. For example…” Annabelle hesitated, “if we walk that way, and down, we’ll get near the headmistress’ office.”

“Really?” Lydia, said sounding amazed.

“Yeah…”

“How do you know, did you see her?”

“No… we know because…” Annabelle didn’t finish. It was hard for her to tell Lydia how they knew, but Eylion helped her.

“The day Annabelle missed class, I found her in here, and we explored the passages some more on our way out,” she explained. “Then suddenly we heard the headmistress’ voice, and she heard you…”

Lydia’s eyes widened.

“You heard our conversation? After… after she found out I had let Annabelle go to the infirmary?”

They nodded.

“You heard her… umh…. you heard…” she hesitated.

“We heard her abuse you and… slap you,” Eylion said, looking sad… and a little guilty.

“I’m really sorry I got you in trouble,” Annabelle said, and she truly looked it. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

Lydia put her hand on her shoulders.

“It wasn’t your fault, Annabelle. It was not the first time she’d slapped me, but it was the last time. I am done with her and my family, if you can even call it a family. I kept following their instructions because I thought I needed them, even if they weren’t the family I wanted them to be. I thought that without a family I’d be nothing. I was scared to leave.”

“But there are other families you can join,” Eylion pointed out. “We haven’t got a family by blood, but Annabelle and I found a new one, and our family is the best!”

Annabelle nodded.

“It’s true. After my father died, I had a terrible time with my step-mother, until I managed to escape,” she said, looking sad. “She treated me really badly, but then I found Gwen and Aisling, and they took me in and gave me a home. That is what family is, not people who treat you like crap and who doesn’t appreciate you.”

She hugged Lydia.

“But… I thought you were a relative of Alexis,” she said, sounding shocked. “Annabelle Brown? That is your name, isn’t it?”

Eylion gave a laugh.

“Umh…” Annabelle took a minute to think. She realised she had messed up and told Lydia more than she should have. “It’s a long story,” she finally said.

“I’ll explain when we have more time.”

“But…” Lydia started.

“We really should get going,” Eylion pointed out. “We need to be out of here before dinner.”

“Oh alright,” Lydia said, defeated. “But we will talk some more about who you are, young lady.”

*

Eylion walked in the front and led them the way to the library. She stopped by the wall that was the opening.

“This is where you’ll be amazed,” she said, grinning. “Annabelle, if you would please open the door.”

“Door? What door?”

Annabelle loosened the tie of her uniform, unbuttoned her shirt slightly and pulled off her locket from around her neck. She always kept it hidden beneath her uniform as all items from home were supposed to be confiscated on their first day.

“How did you get that? I thought I confiscated everything,” Lydia asked, sounding as if she was doubting herself. “We did a nude check.”

Annabelle rolled her eyes.

“Don’t remind me, it was super embarrassing!”

“But…”

“We hid it outside, before we came into the castle,” she explained matter-of-factly. “Now pay attention to what it does.”

She pressed her locked to the symbol matching it on the wall, and the secret door to the library opened. Lydia just stood there gaping, Annabelle had to pull her inside by the arm to get her moving.

“Let’s sit down and talk,” Eylion said, pointing at the sofa. “This sofa is comfortable, this is where Annabelle was napping when she should have gone to the infirmary,” she teased.

Annabelle blushed.

“This is crazy,” Lydia mumbled. She seemed almost in a daze, but apparently her brain was still working for the next thing she asked was, “How can that locket do that if you had it with you from home?” She was very sharp, even when shocked.

Annabelle looked to Eylion who shrugged.

“We have no idea.”

“But… where does it come from?”

“No idea,” Annabelle repeated. Then she corrected herself. “Well… I got the locket from Gwen, Aisling and Leda when I got my powers, but they never told me it was special. I have no idea where they got it or why they decided to give it to me. All I know is that I need to keep it safe. When we first arrived we caused a distraction so that I could hide it inside a tree trunk on the grounds, along with some other stuff…” Annabelle trailed off, smirking.

“What other stuff?” Lydia asked, raising an eye-brow.

Annabelle and Eylion giggled.

“Well?”
|
“Remember the soup that made all the teachers talk backwards,” Eylion said, reminiscing. “Boy did we get into trouble, but it was SO worth it.”

She and Annabelle laughed. Lydia shook her head.

“You two…”

*

After they stopped laughing they started planning Annabelle and Lydia’s escape. It seemed more than possible now that Lydia was on her side. She knew they would succeed, and although it would be sad to leave Eylion behind, she couldn’t wait to be out of the school. Lydia made it clear, yet again, that she would be in charge, but Annabelle found that she didn’t mind so much. She trusted Lydia and her attraction towards the older woman grew stronger and stronger, and that made it easier to accept her leadership. And, after all, Annabelle was no fool. She knew she was in the habit of getting into trouble, and she knew her control and knowledge of magic was limited. Lydia was in full control of her powers, and she was a brilliant potion maker for her age, Gwen would be impressed. Lydia did receive an education growing up, but she had never had a proper mentor like she and Eylion had. Annabelle suspected that Lydia’s talent was mostly because she herself was extraordinary, not because she had a good mentor.

“I think we should go with the vampire’s idea,” Lydia said after they had been brainstorming for a while. “What’s his name again?”

“Christophe.”

“Right,” Lydia said, nodding. “He said animals can get through the protections, and he suggested it would be easy to escape if we went under the wall. My suggestion is animal transfiguration and escaping under the wall.”

Eylion nodded in approval.

“I think transfiguring into cats would be a good choice. Anything smaller and a bigger animal can try to attack us, and we’ll have to get away from the castle before we can transfigure back. And cats have excellent night vision.”

“But…” Annabelle looked at them both with a worried expression. “You guys… I have never learned animal transfiguration.”

“And that would have been a problem if you were going alone,” Eylion reasoned, “but you’re forgetting that Lydia is coming with you. She can transfigure you first, then herself, and when you’re on the other side and well out of sight of the castle, she can transfigure you back.”

“Really?” Annabelle looked to Lydia who nodded, smiling at her.

“And you have changed humans into animals before, Annabelle,” Eylion pointed out. “Remember when you tried to make the potion that turns humans briefly into frogs?”

“Oh… yeah…” Annabelle winced.

“What happened?” Lydia asked, looking at them both.

“Well… she did turn me into a toad,” Eylion said smirking, “and that is at least an amphibian! However… let’s just say I was a toad a little bit longer than I should have.”

“Oh dear… you couldn’t turn her back?”

Annabelle blushed.

“Well… no… see… she was letting me do the potion all by myself because Gwen wasn’t letting me do anything fun…”

Lydia buried her face in her palm.

“Of course. You two and trouble. I guess I should have seen it coming.”

“Yeah…” Annabelle agreed. “Well… anyway… after she had been that way for an hour, I had to put her in my satchel and go home and fess up. I got so scared, you see. I was terrified I had hurt her.”

“Well had it been up to me you both would have been spanked soundly!” Lydia shook her head at them. “But then… knowing your mentors, you probably were.”

They both blushed and nodded, looking down.

“Turning people into frogs, indeed,” Lydia mumbled. “What on earth would that be good for?”

Eylion suddenly brightened.

“That’s it!”

“Pardon?”

“That’s what we’ll do,” Eylion said grinning. “Well turn the entire school into frogs for a short amount of time, so that by the time they are back to human, you two will have had the time to escape under the wall. Even after they return to normal, they probably won’t notice that you’re gone for ages. They won’t know it was a distraction, they’ll think it’s some sort of prank by one of the students.”

Annabelle grinned mischievously at Lydia.

“And by the time they notice we’re missing, we’ll be far way.”

Annabelle patted Eylion on the shoulder.

“Brilliant plan, bestie. I knew we could count on you!”

Lydia looked at them in disbelief.

“Turn the entire school into frogs? How do you two come up with things like this? It’s… so…”

“It’s brilliant,” Eylion said, defending her plan.

“It’s naughty!” Lydia countered.

“Well how would you go about escaping this place? You didn’t think you’d just be able to waltz out of here all la-di-da, did you?” She rolled her eyes. “There are guards all over, but by putting a potion in the food, we can make sure that everyone who eats it turns into frogs. I’m the only one who’ll know.”

“I like the idea,” Annabelle said, supporting it.

“I think it’s best I’m the only one who knows about this plan. We should let our friends turn into frogs too, that way it won’t seem like they know anything.”

“Yeah, that’ll be best.”

“So… we’re… umh… we’re really doing this? Turning people into frogs???” Lydia looked at them both, almost begging for another plan.

“Lydia…” Annabelle sighed. “They won’t be frogs forever, just for fifteen minutes or so. Possibly thirty. And ya know… I can’t really think of a better plan. This one is pretty brilliant. It’s not like we can be stopped by an army of frogs!”

Lydia nodded. Annabelle grinned at her.

“If anyone deserves the honor of turning the headmistress into a frog, it’s you. Don’t you want to do something naughty, just this once?”

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

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Annabelle (Part 27)

After Christophe left, Annabelle watched him fly over the walls surrounding the castle and she felt an emptiness. It hurt, standing there by the window and watching him fly further and further away until she couldn’t see him anymore, knowing that he wasn’t coming back. She had no idea when she’d see him again. Somehow, it had been easier being away from her mentors knowing that she had a connection to home through Christophe, but now that he was gone, she felt the homesickness more than ever. Tears ran down her cheek, she felt an ache in her chest and breathing became harder. She wanted to go home, but the anticipated journey would take her further away from it.

“Annabelle?”

Annabelle felt a hand on her shoulder. Lydia’s voice was soft, but Annabelle couldn’t turn around to face her because she didn’t want Lydia to see her crying.  Lydia could tell something was wrong, she came closer, standing next to Annabelle and put her arm around her. Annabelle caved in and leaned towards her and rested her head on her shoulder.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Lydia asked her, kissing her forehead.

“I miss home,” Annabelle said, hating herself for sounding so childish.

“You’re lucky,” Lydia said, making Annabelle turn to face her.

“Lucky? How am I lucky? I miss my mentors, but even if I get out of here, I can’t go home. I don’t know when I will see them again.”

Lydia smiled at her, and wiped tears off Annabelle’s cheek with her thumb.

“You are lucky. Your homesickness means that you have someone at home you love very much and who loves you very much. I don’t know what that feels like, I have never been homesick before. I’m not sure I could miss anyone.”

“Not even me?” Annabelle spoke before she had time to think it through, she hated that about herself.  “I mean… eh… if I left, but you could still stay here… wouldn’t you…?” She couldn’t finish her sentence. She felt her face turn red. She felt like an idiot.

“You know…” Lydia said smiling, “I would, Annabelle. I would miss you if you left without me.”

“So then you’re lucky too.”

“I guess so.”

They looked at each other for a while without saying anything.

“Lydia?”

“Yes?”

“How old are you?”

Lydia laughed.

“What kind of question is that? Why do you want to know?”

Annabelle blushed.

“Well… Christophe said that Gwen and Leda have met you before.”

“Yes, and?”

“Well… I was wondering if… eh…” Annabelle hesitated, she wasn’t sure why she wanted to know. “I guess I was wondering if you knew them because you were around the same age. It’s so hard to tell with witches, ya know. But I thought you looked a little younger.”

“I see,” Lydia said, still smiling at Annabelle’s curiosity. “Well… Gwen and Leda are not the same age, I think there’s at least a decade between them. And as for me…”

She waited, torturing Annabelle with suspense.

“Yes?”

“I am 31,” she said smiling.

“Oh?” Annabelle said, feeling relief for some reason. “So… then you’re not super old. Your only ten years older than me.”

Lydia gave her a suspicious look. “Why do you care if I’m young or old?”

“Oh… I dunno… I don’t, I guess. I was just curious.” Annabelle looked down at her feet. “I guess… it’s good to know things about one another if we’re going to be traveling together, isn’t it?”

“That’s true,” Lydia said, smiling.

“Did you want to check my homework?” Annabelle asked, changing the topic.

She and Lydia went over to where they had drunk tea, and Annabelle let her look over her homework. For the most part Lydia was happy with what she had done.

“You’re improving,” she said, smiling.

“But what I wrote for history is just BS,” Annabelle commented.

“It is,” Lydia said, not denying it, “but it’s BS Octavia Sprytt wants to read, so this is good.” She gave Annabelle an approving smile. “Besides, the structure of your paper is really good. I like how you have presented the arguments, and strengthened them with more information, even if like you say, it’s all BS.”

Annabelle yawned.

“I think it’s time for you to go to bed now. I should too.” She got up and pointed at Annabelle’s bed.

“Go on.”

Annabelle hesitated.

“When will we talk about… about what we’re going to do to get out of here?”

“We can talk about it tomorrow. I believe Dorota is going to let you out tomorrow. I will find Eylion so we can have a conversation with her too. We’ll need her help. But… I’m not sure where we can talk. We risk being overheard here, and although I trust Dorota, I think the less she knows the better it is for her.”

“Eylion and I know somewhere we can be alone.”

“Where?”

“I’ll show you tomorrow, it’s hard to explain without showing you.”

“Oh, but… oh, alright.” She sighed. “Well get into bed, young lady. If you’re getting out tomorrow, you can’t sleep in.”

She pulled Annabelle’s covers aside, and pointed at the bed. Annabelle got into bed, but she didn’t lay down. She sat in her bed, Lydia put her covers over her and sat down next to her.

“Will the headmistress want to talk to me when I come out?” Annabelle asked.

“Maybe, but I hope not,” Lydia answered. “If she does, just describe all the symptoms Dorota gave her, and tell her that you feel much better now.”

“Yeah… okay… but I don’t really wanna see her. Just looking at her makes me angry.”

“But if you do have to see her, keep your temper in check, missy,” Lydia said. She tapped her index finger playfully on the tip of Annabelle’s nose.

“Yeah… okay.” Annabelle said rolling her eyes.

“Brat,” mumbled Lydia. She smiled at Annabelle. “Now… goodnight!”

She looked at Annabelle softly, and leaned in to kiss her forehead. But Annabelle had a spontaneous idea and met her halfway and kissed Lydia on the lips.

The kiss lasted a little while. It wasn’t wet, there was no tongue, it was just Lydia’s lips on hers, soft and warm. When the kiss ended, they stared at each other.

“I should go,” Lydia said quickly.

Annabelle felt her heart break.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean… I shouldn’t have…” What could she say?

“Don’t be sorry,” Lydia said.

“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Annabelle said looking down at her hands. This was just too awkward. She had never wanted to kiss anyone before, and then suddenly she felt like it… and so she just did!

“You didn’t… I mean… I don’t want to use you, Annabelle,” Lydia said seriously.

“Use me?” Annabelle asked, confused. “How could you use me? I was the one who kissed you.”

“Yes, but I am your teacher,” Lydia reasoned. “I am in a position of power over you.”

“Not for long,” Annabelle pointed out. “Why do you care about the rules? You’re about to leave this place anyway. And we are both grown women. Besides… I was the instigator. I wanted to kiss you and I did…” she looked at her Lydia, she felt like she was on the verge of crying “But… maybe… ” she looked away from Lydia, “maybe you didn’t want me to kiss you. I’m sorry.”

Annabelle felt Lydia’s hand on her cheek. She stroke her cheek softly, and pushed her chin so that her face turned towards her. Then she kissed Annabelle softly.

“Goodnight, Trouble,” she said, as she pushed Annabelle down, tucked her in, kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

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Annabelle (Part 26)

The following days Annabelle stayed in the infirmary as ordered. Dorota had said that she was contagious and they had to make that lie believable. It was terribly boring having to stay there as there was very little to do, and Annabelle had just been let out from house arrest. It felt like ages since she had had any fun and at times she could get in a bad mood, and her smart mouth had gotten her a couple of swats from the nurse who would have none of it. And being locked up in the infirmary did not stop the teachers from drowning her in homework. At night Lydia would come to visit her, and the first thing she did was check her homework, and make her redo anything she felt was unsatisfactory. Lydia was determined that Annabelle should get rid of her label as a troublemaker, and appear as a hardworking and obedient student.

*

The second day Annabelle was in the infirmary, Eylion had snuck out after lights out to visit her. They managed to have a brief chat about how things were going and what they would do to get Annabelle out of the castle for her big escape, but fifteen minutes in they were interrupted by Lydia who had come to check on Annabelle’s homework, and a stern looking Dorota who grabbed Eylion by the ear and swatted her in the direction of the door. The nurse escorted Eylion back to her room, and it was a while before she came back which suggested she took her time to “chastise” Eylion before she returned. After claiming her innocence to a stern-looking Lydia, Annabelle got off without punishment, which, in Annabelle’s opinion, was more than fair as she did not ask Eylion to break the rules, even though she had enjoyed her visit. Eylion did not come back after that.
She wondered when Christophe would be back with more news from Alexis, and she wondered if Gwen and Aisling new about what she was going to do. She also wondered if Andromeda was expecting her.

What if Christophe tried to find her while she was in the infirmary? Would he know where to go? Would he find Eylion and ask her? Annabelle would lie awake at night and ponder over these questions at night, worrying about what she would do once she was outside the walls of this castle and all alone again.
Then on the fifth night of her stay in the infirmary, as she lay awake thinking, she heard a tap on the window. She sat up in bed and saw a bat outside. Annabelle hurried out of her hospital bed, ran over to the window. She nearly fell to the floor as she stumbled over her book bag on the floor, Dorota had given her many a talking to about picking up her things and tidy them away. Annabelle studied herself and hurried to open the window. The bat flew inside, and there was a familiar “pop” as the bat turned into her friend.
“Christophe!” Annabelle hugged him. Her hands embraced him around his waist, as her head only reached his chest. Christophe was a very tall man.
“Always in trouble, aren’t you, Annabelle?” He said as he ruffled her hair. “It was good I had a letter to Eylion first so she could tell me you would not be in your regular chamber.”
“It’s not a crime to be sick, is it?” Annabelle said, smirking with a glint of trouble in her eyes.
“Oh, you’re sick? That’s funny, Eylion didn’t mention that as she recounted all of your adventures exploring the castle and breaking rules.”
“Show off,” Annabelle mumbled.
“She can’t help it, honey. It’s in her bones, just like trouble is in yours.” He gave her a wide smile.
They walked over to Annabelle’s bed and sat down.
“Did she tell you about our teacher? Lydia. She’s the headmistress’ great great eh… something grandaughter, but she’s on our side! She told me herself.”
“No, she must have forgotten that, but it doesn’t surprise me, we were counting on that. I know both Gwen and Leda have had dealings with her before, and when they heard she was a teacher at the school, they were very relieved.”
“Oh… Gwen and Leda know her?” Annabelle felt a little disapointed for some reason. “Does that mean… eh… is she… like… really old too?”
She looked innocently up at Christophe who chuckled.
“Honey, you are talking to a 400-year old man.”
“No way!” Annabelle said with wide eyes.
“Way,” Christophe said smiling.
“I was only wondering if she was a century old or something. It’s so hard to tell with witches.”
“Well witches and vampires are different from mortals. Witches live a very long time which means they age really slowly, and vampires… well… vampires are dead, and dead people don’t age.”
“Well it wouldn’t be too shocking if they did, I always believed that dead people were… ya know… dead, but you’re a living dead person! That’s just really weird.”
“I know, hon, it’s best not to think about it, you don’t want to exhaust your brain.”
He got up from the bed and coughed. Annabelle could tell it was for dramatic effects because vampires don’t cough to clear their air ways, vampires don’t breathe… they’re dead.
“I said I would return when I knew more about Andromeda’s whereabouts.”
Annabelle nodded.
“And I know I said that I wasn’t sure I would advice running away…” he brushed his fingers through his perfect, black hair, and scratched his neck.
“However, it seems Alexis has other plans for you.”
Annabelle sat up more straight.
“What are her plans? When can I leave?”
Christophe raised an eyebrow at Annabelle’s willingness to do something this risky.
“Well… she can’t help you out, she can only provide you with the information you need to find Andromeda. I have some things with me, I believe Leda and Alexis have been meeting in private to plan this without your mentors finding out.”
“Yeah, Gwen made it clear in her letter that she and Aisling wanted me to stay put and behave myself,” Annabelle said biting the nail on her thumb nervously.
“That they do, and I can’t believe I am helping Alexis with this, Aisling would kill me if she knew. I’m not scared of a lot of people, but if there is anyone who could make my death permanent, it’s Aisling. You should have seen her after I almost took a nibble out of you. That was scary.”
Annabelle smiled.
“Gwen told me that Aisling let you feed from her.”
“Yes, that was pretty decent of her. She softened up a bit when she realised how hungry I was. I hadn’t had a meal in a while, and even vampires gotta eat. My regular boy at the time had left me for another vampire, said I wasn’t dominant enough. Me!”
He flexed his muscles.
“Don’t I just ooze dominance?”
Annabelle shrugged.
“I dunno.”
Christophe sighed dramatically, and he even pouted. It wasn’t very noticeable, but there was a small hint of a pout on his lips.
“So… what have you got for me?” She asked, turning the conversation back to her escape.
“Oh right.” Christophe put his hand in one of the inner pockets of his coat. Today he was wearing a big leather coat, with a lot of pockets. Annabelle wondered what he had in it, that wasn’t for her.
He took out a scroll.
“A map,” he said, answering her puzzled look. “It’s a magic map that can only be read by you. Well… you and Alexis and Leda.”
“Really? How is that possible?”
“I believe Alexis took some hair from your hairbrush and used it in the ritual.”
He also took out a small satchel. It was of dark brown leather, and it didn’t draw a lot of attention to itself, which Annabelle guessed was the purpose.
“This is a brand new satchel made for you. It works the same way, you’re the only one who can open it. Leda put an expansion spell on it, so it’s roomier on the inside. There should be some clothes and other things you might need on the inside. If anyone tries to open it, it will just look like an empty satchel. Look.”
He opened the satchel and showed her the inside. It was a small and empty space. He handed her the satchel.
“Now you open it.”
She did, but now it looked different. The satchel was very roomy on the inside and she could see clothes, a couple of books, and there were smaller pockets with tools she could use for potion-making. There were also some glass bottles with potion fastened in little pockets on the side to.
“This is so cool…” She tried to stick her arm into the satchel and all the way down to the bottom, the tip of her index finger only just manage to brush over the surface.
“Have a look at the map,” Christophe said as he handed it over to her. “You will keep that in your satchel so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.”
Annabelle opened the scroll of parchment. It was blank.
“This map’s not working,” she said looking worried.
“Tap it twice with your index finger. Tap it three times to hide it again,” Christophe instructed.
Annabelle tapped the map. Suddenly colours started pouring out from nowhere and ink of different colours formed a very detailed map.
“The red dot right here, that is you,” he explained and pointed with his finger. Then he moved his index to a purple dot on the side of the map.
“The purple dot is where you are going. Right now the map is showing you the closest surrounding areas, but if you drag your finger from your dot to the purple dot, if should show you the entire journey you will have to make. When you don’t have to do that and the red dot and the purple dot are both visible on the map at the same time, you are getting close.”
Annabelle dragged her finger from the red dot to the purple dot, and the map changed, suddenly showing her a much larger area. Suddenly there were mountains on the map, and that was where she was going.
“Wow… that’s… eh… that’s a long walk…” She looked at Christophe, wide-eyed.
He nodded.
“I don’t suppose there’s a broomstick in this satchel?”
He smiled and shook his head. “I’m afraid not.”
“Great… that’s just great.”
“You’ll be much harder to find on the ground, hidden among the trees. Remember, if you get out of this place people will be looking for you. You can’t hide in the air.”
Annabelle tapped her map three times and put it into her satchel.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” Christophe said, pulling something tiny out of a smaller pocket in his coat. “Alexis got you this stud.”
“A what?”
“A stud, a silver stud for you ear.”
He held out his hand and showed her what looked like a silver pin with a round ball at the tip.
“My ear?” Annabelle was confused.
“Oh my, you really are from another world, aren’t you?” Christophe commented. “The stud is to fasten on your ear, some people use it for decoration, but Alexis has put a spell on this so that your movement shows up on a map that she has made for herself. That way she will know if you have left the school and she can keep an eye on your movements until you make it to Andromeda’s. I think I should fasten it on the upper side of your ear, it’s much easier to hide by covering it with your hair.”
“How are you going to fasten that on my ear?” Annabelle asked, looking at the little silver pin suspiciously.
“Well… I’m going to have to use a needle and pierce a hole in it, and then…”
“What? No way!”
“Annabelle, don’t be difficult,” Christophe tried.
“Difficult? Difficult? How am I being difficult? I just don’t want to punctuate my ear with a needle.”
“People do it all the time.”
“People are stupid, it doesn’t mean I have to… I mean… will it hurt?”
“Not so much, don’t worry. And I promised Alexis I would do it, so… it’s happening.”
Annabelle cupped both her ears with her hands, looking worried. She knew she had to do it, but she didn’t like the idea of Christophe sticking a needle through her ear.
“Honey… just lie down.” Christophe looked into her eyes. His were gleaming now, they made her feel calmer. She felt sleepy looking into them. She laid down on her bed, feeling drowsy.
“Your doing some vampire hocus pocus to me, aren’t you,” she said looking around the room, it was foggy.
“Maybe,” Christophe said, grinning so wide his fangs were showing.
He took something out of his pockets, but Annabelle couldn’t make out what it was. She felt something wet on her ear, and she smelled alcohol. Then suddenly she felt a sharp prick on the upper part of her ear.
“Ow! Fuck!” She yelled.
It had hurt! But the sharp pain was brief, and it quickly turned into a stinging sensation. Her ear felt hot.
“There we go,” Christophe said. “All over.” He grinned at her.
“What?” she said rubbing her smarting ear.
“You have officially been earmarked by Alexis.”
“Shut up,” Annabelle mumbled, though she had no idea what earmarked meant anyway.

*

“What is going on in here?”
Both Annabelle and Christophe turned quickly to see Lydia staring at them.
“Fuck,” they both said at the same time.
“Who are you? What is going on? Annabelle is this man bothering you? I heard you yelling out in pain.” Lydia came closer, pointing a finger at Christophe, reading to cast a spell at any moment.
“No!” Annabelle said quickly. “Lydia, it’s not… he’s not bothering me, he’s… eh…” she looked at Christophe, not knowing what to say.
“Why were you yelling?”
“Because…” Christophe got up slowly, he had his hands raised. “Because I pierced her ear.”
“What?” Lydia looked at him incredulously.
“It’s true,” Annabelle said getting up and walking towards her. “Look.”
She showed Lydia her ear, now tagged with a silver stud from Alexis.
Lydia grabbed Annabelle’s arm and pulled her behind her.
“Why would you pierce her ear? Who are you? This castle is full of witches, and you’re…” she studied him closer. “You’re a vampire.”
She turned around quickly and checked Annabelle’s neck for bite marks.
“Lydia, chill,” Annabelle said calmly. “Christophe is my friend. We know each other.”
“But… I… I don’t understand…” Lydia suddenly looked very tired. This was all too much for her.
“If I may come with a suggestion?” Christophe said, calmly. “Why don’t we all sit down, have some tea, and talk about this. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, as long as you will give us your word that you keep this conversation to yourself. You will not, for example, tell your headmistress about this. As I understand it, you care about Annabelle’s wellbeing, and it is not in her best interest to relay this information to someone in the order.”
“I am in the order,” Lydia said sadly.
“Family ties,” Christophe said shrugging. “From what I’ve heard, your heart is not really in it, and your family is planning on finding a replacement for you here at the school.”
Lydia’s eyes filled with tears. She knew it was true.
“Come now, my girl, don’t be sad. Let Uncle Christophe make you a cup of tea and we can talk about what your options are.” He made a flamboyant show as he was filling water into a kettle and finding cups in the small infirmary kitchen.
Lydia turned to Annabelle and whispered,
“Uncle Christophe?”
Annabelle giggled.
“Darlings, can one of you witches get this water boiling? I don’t have the magic touch.”
Lydia helped him get the tea ready, she was still a little shocked that a stranger had made it into the castle.
They sat down in a seating area in front ofa fireplace. It was a cosy and small nook that Annabelle and Lydia used when they went over her homework, and when Dorota had time she and Annabelle had used it to play cards.
Christophe served the tea.
“How did you get in here?” Lydia asked Christophe as he handed her a cup.
“I flew over the wall as a bat. They’ve been thorough with the protection around the school, but there are holes in the spell work. It seems their spells don’t work on animals, if it did birds wouldn’t be able to fly into the school… birds and bats.” He winked.
“I also have a suspicion that it is possible to get under the wall without problem.” He gave Annabelle a knowing look.
“If a person were to, transform into something small, and use a small tunnel… they might be able to get in…” he studied his finger nails closely, “or out.”
Lydia put her cup down on the small table in front of her without drinking her tea.
“Why did you come here? Why did you pierce Annabelle’s ear?”
“I had something from her family, the stud was also from her family.”
“Why?”
Christophe chose not to answer her question right away.
“Let me ask you a question. Why are you here?”
Lydia was taken aback. “I… I was sent here by family, and I didn’t really have much choice.”
“And now they are going to send you away, that is the word.”
“How do you know this?” Lydia asked looking at him.
Christophe grinned. “My boyfriend’s father is in the order, and he’s been giving me lots of useful information. Such a good boy. His father has no idea however, that his son is a prancer, or that he has a thing for vampires.” He took a sip of tea.
“But enough about my delicious source, I want to know what you are planning to do once you are tossed out of here like a potion past its due day.”
Annabelle was shocked at how sassy Christophe could be with Lydia. She could sass too, but she’d never be this forward, if she was she’d probably get a good smack.
“I don’t know,” Lydia said quietly. “I’m not sure what my family wants me to do, all I’ve been told is that I have failed them here at the school, and that I have to leave.” She looked quickly over at Annabelle, a tear ran down her cheek. “I’m sorry, Annabelle. I don’t want to leave you in this place, but… but…”
“Oh, Annabelle is not staying, young lady. No no.” Christophe winked at her.
“I don’t understand,” Lydia said looking at Annabelle.
“Annabelle, is leaving, very soon.”
Annabelle was wondering why he was so very open about this with Lydia, she had been under the impression that it was top-secret, that only she and Eylion was supposed to know. The only reason Eylion knew was so that she could help Annabelle out, but stay put herself. Annabelle hated that, she hated having to leave Eylion here, and she hated that she had to find this Andromeda person all on her own.
Then suddenly she realised what Christophe was doing, telling Lydia all of this.
“Christophe, why are you telling her this?” Annabelle asked, but she already knew the answer.
“You mean he’s telling the truth?” Lydia asked. “Annabelle, you can’t be serious? Where will you go? You can’t go back home, they’ll look for you. It’s dangerous, you should stay here and just behave yourself and be safe. You can’t go out there on your own, you don’t even have full control over your powers. I don’t mean to insult you, but you are no match for a grown witch or wizard.”
“Which is why she can use a grown witch to accompany her on her journey,” Christophe pointed out. “Say… a grown witch like you.”
“Me?”
“Do you have anything better to do? You can’t stay here, they won’t let you, and you obviously don’t want to go home, wherever that is. Who knows what they have in store for your now. Why not go with Annabelle?”
Lydia looked at Annabelle. She didn’t look angry, she looked worried, but she had a soft look in her eyes, and Annabelle knew she could trust her.
“Where are you going, Annabelle?”
Annabelle sipped her tea, she felt the warm drink inside, and she decided to take a leap of faith and trust Lydia.
“Have you ever heard of Andromeda? I’m not sure what her last name is.”
“Of course, I have. Who hasn’t heard of Andromeda?” Lydia answered.
Annabelle looked at Christophe, she had no idea she was famous.
“Oh, well… I hadn’t heard of her…” then she realised she was giving herself away, she didn’t feel ready to tell Lydia about not being from this world. “I mean… I didn’t know she was like a big deal, just that she was Leda’s mentor back in the day.”
“What about Andromeda, Annabelle?”
“That is where I’m going,” Annabelle answered. “I’m going to find her, and… well… then I don’t know. You see, I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers. I’ve just been informed that if I can escape this place I should go and look for her, and I wanted to go with Eylion, but…” Annabelle suddenly felt a lump in her throat and she felt her eyes getting wet. “But Eylion says she can’t come with me. She says that she has to stay here and make sure that the order don’t win here at school.”
She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and she wanted to beg Lydia to come with her, because suddenly the idea of going all that way to find Andromeda seemed possible, now that someone might come with her. She opened her mouth to beg, but she was interrupted.
“Please, take me with you.”
Annabelle looked up at Lydia, shocked at her words.
“What?”
“I want to go with you.”
“Really?”
Lydia smiled, her eyes were wet too. “Yeah,” she said, her voice cracking a bit. “I do. I don’t think I’ve been so sure of anything in my entire life. The idea of betraying my family terrifies me, but I really hate them, Annabelle. I really do. They are awful, and they don’t treat me well. My parents died when I was young, and the people who were supposed to take care of me have never really loved me, they just treat me like a pawn in their game for power. I want out, and this is my chance, so please take me with you.”
Annabelle nodded. “I will.”
Lydia looked as if she was thinking hard, then she said,
“But just so we’re clear, I am still in charge.”
“What?” Annabelle looked at her incredulously, and then at Christophe. “How can you even think about that now? Besides, we’re not going to be in school, you’re not going to be my teacher anymore.”
“That doesn’t mean you won’t need me to be in charge,” Lydia said, as-a-matter -of-factly. “I am older, I have more power, I am more responsible, therefore I should be in charge.”
“Why does anybody have to be in charge?” Annabelle asked.
“Because one of us needs the other one to be.”
“No, you mean you’re a control freak and you want to be.”
“You watch your smart mouth, young lady.”
Christophe laughed.
“Oh, if I could only be there to witness you to on an adventure like this.” He got up. “Ladies, I have to leave, I need to make it back to my tomb before sunrise.”
He hugged Annabelle.
“I guess we won’t be seeing each other for a while now that I have given you your bag, but I must say that I feel a lot better knowing that you will have someone with you when you leave this place, and I know Alexis will feel better to.”
“I’m going to miss you, Christophe,” Annabelle said hugging him tighly.
“Me too, miss Annabelle. Me too.”

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

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Annabelle (part 25)

Although Annabelle had been tired after exploring with Eylion, she found it hard to sleep. She tossed and turned, her head full of questions, her chest tensing with worry of how she would escape this place and find Andromeda all alone. It was agony. She had been looking forward to getting out of the school, but now, knowing that she would have to leave Eylion behind and continue on her own, what was going to be an exciting adventure had become something she dreaded.
“Annabelle, are you sleeping in my class?”
“Huh?” Annabelle raised her head as somebody tapped her on her shoulder. She looked up to Lydia’s stern face.
“Care to explain yourself?”

“I’m tired,” Annabelle mumbled.
“That I can see,” Lydia said frowning. “The question is, why would you be tired when lights out is at 10.30 ?”
“I… I couldn’t sleep,” Annabelle replied which was partly true. She had also been out after midnight with Eylion exploring the secret passages, but she didn’t feel the need to give Lydia that information. It was top secret.
“Annabelle, everyone else are half way through their potion, you haven’t even started? There is no time for you to do it now, the lesson is almost over.” Lydia gave her a stern look. “I’m afraid I will have to ask you to come to my office after lessons today to you do your potion.”
Annabelle groaned. She was looking forward to lessons ending so she could sleep.
“And where is your homework for today?”
Annabelle scratched her nose. She had totally forgotten about her homework in her excitement to go exploring.

“A bat ate it?” She looked nervously up at Lydia.
“Annabelle!” Lydia gave her a warning look. “Do not talk back like that. This is not acceptable.”
“I’m sorry, Lydia but… but… I’m not feeling well… not well at all. I think I’m sick.” She pouted.
“I suppose I should take you to the nurse then?” She folded her arms and tapped her foot.
“Eh… can’t I just go up to bed and rest?”
“Oh no, Annabelle, if you are ill the school nurse must see you. Those are the rules. She will determine if you really are sick. If she says you are ill, then of course, you can rest. If she says you’re just playing sick…”
“I’m not,” Annabelle lied. “I feel awful.” The last part was not a lie, she really did feel awful. She was having trouble keeping her eyes open. “I think I should go see her… I feel so… weak.” He held two fingers to her temple for dramatic effects. “I’ll find her myself, you should stay here and help the others. It’s not fair that they should be without you because I have to go to the nurse.”
She got up from her desk. She held her hand up covering her face from the light that shone through the window. She felt groggy. All the other girls looked at her as she made her way out of the classroom.
“Go straight to the nurse, young lady. No detours.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Annabelle said giving her a salute.

*

She did not go straight to the nurse. Instead she made her way to the hidden passages. She made sure that she was entirely alone in the corridor as she went into the little cupboard with cleaning supplies, and crawled through the tiny hole behind the tapestry. She brushed dust off her uniform. She would go to the nurse’s office later, she could say that she didn’t go straight away because she had been sick in the bathroom or something. Right now she just wanted a little nap in peace, and she knew she couldn’t go back to her bedroom because that’s where they would go look for her first.
Making her way through the passages, she took the same route she and Eylion had the night before, to the library. There, she knew, was a leather couch with her name on it, and nobody would know to look for her there, except Eylion. She put her locked into the mark in the wall and the wall into the library opened for her. She brushed dust off her napping couch and as she laid down she had just enough time to remind herself she needed to learn a cleaning spell to make this space cozier before she fell asleep.

“Annabelle.”
Someone was tapping her shoulder. Again? Why? What did she have to do to get some sleep around here?
“Annabelle! Wake up, dammit.”
“What?” Annabelle opened her eyes and looked up. It took some time for her eyes to adjust, and for her to realize where she was. She saw Eylion looking at her annoyed.
“Eylion? What are you doing here, shouldn’t you be in class?”
“No, dummy. Classes are over.”
“What?!” Annabelle sat up.
“What the hell, Annabelle? Why did you come here? Everyone is looking for you. You shouldn’t have used this place, now everyone is going to wonder how you managed to hide all day.”
“I wasn’t hiding, I was just…”
“What? Going to the nurse’s office? You knew Lydia would go there straight after her class, and she was told that no students had been in that day. I was there, and right after she pulled me to the side to ask if I had seen you.”
“Oh crap. Well… I was going to go later and say I was late because I had been sick in the bathroom.”
“Right, but instead you missed lunch and all of your lessons, it’s almost dinner and now everyone is looking for you and you are nowhere to be found.”
Annabelle bit her lip. She had messed up.
“What am I going to do?”
“Well you’ll be in trouble.”
“Of course, I’ll be in trouble! What can I do to get out of it?” She had known she might get in trouble, but earlier she hadn’t cared. Now, however, she did care… very much. It was one thing to miss one lesson before lunch, but to miss the entire day?
“I don’t think getting out of trouble is an option at this point,” Eylion said giving her a look. “What we need to do now is find a way to minimize the trouble you’ll be in.”
“How?”
“You need to hand yourself in to Lydia and hope that she deals with you herself.”
“Crap.”
Eylion patted her shoulder. “It could be worse. You could be taken to the headmistress’ office or Ms. Spryt.”
“No! I can’t… I’ll find Lydia. She’s on our side… I think. I mean her family ties are questionable, but I get the impression that she is looking out for us. And I think if I go to her and explain myself, then…”
“Then you’ll still be in trouble.”
“Yes, but I don’t think she wants to hand me over to the evil hags. I think she likes me.”
“But she might have to take you to the headmistress, if you’re really unlucky.”
“And if everyone knows I’ve been missing all day, the headmistress will probably want to see me. And then… I’m dead.”
Eylion looked at her with sympathy. Then she smirked a little.
“Not if… not if she’s distracted.”
“What do you mean?”
“If Lydia takes you to the headmistress then we need to make sure the headmistress don’t have time to deal with you. I’ll go find the others, and we’ll come up with a distraction in case we need it. But we need many people, and we can’t get caught. But it will be enough to distract the headmistress and Spryt. Then nobody can blame you, because you have an alibi, and Lydia will have to take care of it herself which is what we want.”
They left the library and went out to the passages. Annabelle closed the opening with her locket.
“One thing though,” Annabelle said as they stood in the dark passage. Eylion had lit a flame that she was holding in her hand. “What is my excuse? I can’t tell them I’ve been here the entire time. And they must have been in my room.”
“We’ll tell them I found you outside. You can say you went outside for some fresh air before you went to the nurse, and then you fell asleep under a tree.”
“That’s not a bad excuse. Do you think they’ll believe I was really sick and decide that I shouldn’t be in trouble?”
Eylion laughed at this. “Not a chance.”
“Gee, thanks.”
“Hey, since we’re already here. Let’s see if we can find another way out of this place. We might as well do some exploring. It’s not as you could get in more trouble than you already are.”

*

This time they continued down the passage from the library. Just a little further down they found a long and steep staircase that took them down what must have been two floors. They followed the dark passage looking for anything that would indicate that there was an entrance to another room or to a way out of the passage. The followed the passage around a corner and found more stairs. Now they could hear voices nearby, but they couldn’t make out what they were saying. It didn’t sound like a normal corridor though because the corridors were usually filled with students laughing and chatting. These voices seemed more serious and there weren’t as many.
“Where do you think we are?” Annabelle whispered.
“Not sure,” Eylion whispered back. “We’re probably on the fourth or third floor, but I don’t think we’re near the kitchen because the passage we took there the first time went the other way.”
They walked a little further and the voices became clearer. They kept quiet, not daring to speak in case they could be heard.
“Well? Have you found her?”
A loud and angry voice rang out nearby, and it was almost as if the person was in the room. They must be very close to the headmistress.
“No, headmistress,” Lydia replied.
“This is your fault, Lydia. You shouldn’t have let her leave your class,” the headmistress scolded.
“But she was feeling ill and…”
“And she was obviously lying.”
“She looked terrible. She might really be sick.”
There was a snort. “The only thing that is terrible is your inner lying detector. Maybe the family was wrong to trust you with this teaching job.”
“Why? I’m good at teaching, the girls seem to like my classes and they work hard.”
“The girls don’t respect you,” the headmistress said sharply. “And why would they? You don’t have any control.”
There was a silence, and Annabelle felt really bad for Lydia. The headmistress was her family, but she treated her really badly, and now she was blamed for Annabelle’s mistake.
“They do respect me,” Lydia finally said. She sounded angry. “They like me.”
“I don’t need them to like you, young lady.”
“But…”
“No, that’s enough from you. When you find the girl, take her to my office.”
“I can deal with her myself.”
“Can you, indeed? Well right now I don’t trust you to deal with anything as important as discipline. If you can’t control the little brat, I will see to her. I will make sure she won’t do anything like this again.”
Annabelle swallowed nervously and looked terrified at Eylion who looked equally scared.
But Lydia protested. “Please, I can do it myse…”
SLAP! The sound of the headmistress hand slapping Lydia’s cheek rang through the passage and stabbed Annabelle’s heart like a knife.
“Enough! I know what you are trying to do, you want to spare her the punishment that she has coming. I can see it was a mistake to let you work for me. Go back to your office, and when the girl comes to find you, which she will because she thinks you will let her get away with a little love pat, you take her here to see me. Now out of my sight!”
They heard a door slam shut. And then they both hurried away from there.

*

They following the passage and went down another set of stairs before either dared to speak, and even then, it was just a whisper.
“She hit her!” Annabelle managed to say shocked. “She bloody hit her! In the face!”
“That’s not on,” Eylion said looking sad. “Poor Lydia.”
“Yeah… I had no idea it was this bad. What is all that bull about nobody respecting her. She’s the one teacher in here who deserves any. She tried to help me.”
“We need to find a distraction or you are so doomed.”
“I can’t go to her office.”
“I know! She’ll beat the crap out of you!”
“Who are you talking about?”
“The headmistress, who are you talking about?”
“Lydia! I can’t go there now.”
“Why not?”
“Because she’s been given orders to hand me over to the headmistress, and she doesn’t want to. But she has to, so either she’ll hand me over and feel terrible about it even if it’s all my fault to begin with, or she’ll get into a lot of trouble. If I just go straight to the headmistress, then she won’t have to feel bad.”
“Annabelle, that is suicide.”
“No… it will just really suck.”

*

They suddenly came to a stop. They were at a dead end. They looked around for while, distracted. Then Annabelle saw a familiar symbol carved into the wall and put her locket there.
“Wait…” Eylion said too late because the wall in front of them made an opening.
They stepped out into a long corridor with windows. Now it was dark outside. They were alone.
“Annabelle!” Eylion gave her a glare. “What if there were people here?”
“Sorry,” Annabelle said biting her lip.
“Close that opening. Quick.”
Annabelle did and they made their way down the corridor.
“I think dinner is over,” Eylion said pouting. “And I’m hungry.”

“Me too,” Annabelle mumbled. “I’m sorry. It’s my fault.”
“Well no time to worry about that. ”

They hurried down the corridor. When they got to the grand staircase they stopped.
“I need to find the others.”
“What for?”
“The distraction. We need to do something big to get you out of trouble. What if we…”
“Young lady!” A voice froze them both before they slowly turned around to see the school nurse.
Annabelle had seen her around, but she had never talked to her. She didn’t even know her name. She stood still, terrified, as the older woman came over.
She was not very tall, for a witch, a little shorter than Annabelle. She was plump with shortish hair, and unlike the teachers, she didn’t wear a witch’s hat. Annabelle approved of this, she never understood why the teacher’s wore hats inside. The only teacher that didn’t wear a hat to class was Lydia, which was good because she had lovely hair.
“Umh… hi.” Annabelle smiled nervously at the woman standing in front of her.
“Don’t hi me, young lady,” she said sternly. “If you are sick I need to take you to the infirmary. Let me feel your forehead.”
She pulled Annabelle forward rather forcefully and put her hand on her forehead.
“Oh dear, not good at all. Did you pass out? Is that why you’ve been missing?”
Annabelle was lost for words.
“I found her outside, ma’am,” Eylion said quickly before Annabelle could ruin anything. “She was asleep under a tree. She went out for some fresh air because she had been sick. I think she must have sat down there and passed out. When she came to, she was very confused.”
“And you are?”
“Eylion, ma’am. I helped looking for her.”
“Inform the headmistress that I’ve taken her to the infirmary.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Eylion nodded importantly.
“And tell her that the girl is very sick, and might possibly be contagious.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Eylion said not able to hide her grin now.
They watched her run up the stairs to the headmistress’ office. Then the nurse took her by the arm.
“It’s the infirmary and bed for you, my dear. You’ll have to stay for a couple of days until you’re better. Do you think you can force down something to eat?”
“I’ll do my best, ma’am.”

*

“What do you mean she is sick?”
Annabelle could hear the headmistress’s angry voice outside the infirmary.
“She’s very ill, headmistress. Vomiting, fever… she passed out, for heaven’s sake. Lydia was right all along, though she shouldn’t have let her go alone, she should have made sure she made it to the infirmary.”
“I want to talk to her.”
“She’s sleeping, headmistress. And it would not be wise to wake her now. But whatever she’s got, she better stay put because these things spread fast and before you know it half the girls and staff will be in here.”
“That bad, is it? Then keep her here until you are sure she’s well again. I’m not getting… I mean I don’t want… my girls to get sick.”
“Of course, you don’t.”
Annabelle heard the headmistress leave and finished her meal. The nurse, whatever her name was, came back in.
“Was there no dessert tonight?” Annabelle asked, licking her lips.
“There was.”
“So… where is mine?”
The nurse raised an eyebrow.
“Do you think you deserve dessert, young lady?”
Annabelle rolled her eyes.
“I only fell asleep, I didn’t kill a man.”
“You fell asleep after you decided to lie to your concerned teacher and skip class. That doesn’t sound like a girl who deserves pudding, does it? You deserve something entirely different, miss.”
Once she had been taken into the infirmary the nurse had quit the act and scolded her thoroughly for all the trouble she had caused, but Annabelle was just so relieved that she had been saved from the headmistress’ wrath. She it was nice knowing there was another person at this school she could trust.
“I said I was sorry,” she mumbled.
“Good, you can tell Lydia that when she comes by later. Though getting her forgiveness might sting a little.”

*

It was a little before lights out when Lydia showed up. She hadn’t been able to come straight away because she didn’t want the headmistress to see her. She had waited until after curfew and after most of the staff had gone to their own rooms.
She came into the infirmary and hugged the nurse.
“Thank you, Dorota!”
“You’re welcome, dear. She believed me, but the girl has to stay here for a couple of days.”
“That’s okay,” Annabelle said sitting up. “Anything to get out of Spryt’s crap history lessons.” She smiled at Lydia who suddenly looked stern.
“You!” She came towards Annabelle with a thunderous expression. “Have you any idea how much trouble you’ve caused?”
Annabelle knew, but she couldn’t tell Lydia she had heard the conversation between her and the headmistress, because then she’d have to tell her about the passages and she wasn’t ready to do that. For now, it was only she and Eylion who knew.
“I’m sorry?” Annabelle said looking up at her from her bed.
“You will be sorry once I’m done with you!”
“But… but I thought we agreed,” Annabelle argued. “That I am very ill. Contagious even.” She coughed and put her hand to her forehead dramatically. “I have a fever.”
“The only thing that will have a fever once I’m through with you is you bottom!”
“Lydia! You can’t be serious!”
“Oh, I am very serious, missy.”
“But… but…” Annabelle looked over at the Dorota for help. “Aren’t you going to do something?”
“Of course,” the nurse said. “I’m going to go outside and stand guard in the hallway, so that nobody hears my patient,” she stressed the word ‘patient’ “getting spanked!”
With that the nurse left the infirmary to stand in the corridor, keeping lookout.
“But… Lydia, I’m sorry. I was just tired and I needed a little nap in peace.”
“That’s not good enough, Annabelle. You could have gone to see Dorota and she might have let you take a nap if she felt you really needed it.”
“How was I supposed to know she was nice?” Annabelle felt that was a good point. “You’re pretty cool, I’ll give you that, but the rest of the teachers are horrible! And your grandmother… or your… great great great…whatever. Point is… she’s pretty horrible too! No offence.”
Lydia looked shocked.
“How… how did you know that she was…”
Annabelle could have hit herself.
“Eh…
“How? Who told you?”
“I can’t remember. Probably one of the girls. I’m not sure.”
Lydia gave her a suspicious look as if she didn’t believe that explanation. However, Annabelle couldn’t tell her that she and Eylion had overheard her conversation with Spryt that time they were hiding from them.
“Never mind. Get out of bed.”
“Lydiaaaa…”
“Now!” Her voice was sharp.
Annabelle got out of the bed. She stood barefoot on the cold floor in her nightgown and looked up her potion teacher. She pouted. She knew she should feel grateful that she hadn’t been turned over to the headmistress, but after she had been taken to the infirmary she had thought she had gotten away with punishment.
Lydia pulled up a chair, sat down and pulled Annabelle over her knee.
“I tried to warn you, Annabelle.” Her left arm held Annabelle in place and her right hand rested on her bottom.
“You need to be careful. You can’t get expelled from this place.”
“I wasn’t trying to get expelled,” Annabelle argued.
SMACK! Lydia’s hand landed hard on her bottom. Annabelle whimpered.
“Be quiet.” Lydia’s voice was quite firm. “You need to be more careful, Annabelle. Do not let the headmistress notice you too much. You’ve already been labeled a trouble maker. You think I’m tough? This is nothing to the punishment that she would have given you!”
SMACK!
“Ow… I’m sorry.” Annabelle winced as she felt Lydia’s hand for the second time, knowing they hadn’t even started yet. “I know I messed up.”
“Yes, you did.”
SMACK! SMACK!
“Buuuut…. I didn’t mean to! I mean… okay… I meant to a little. But I didn’t mean to sleep so long. I was only gonna sleep a little and then say I had been sick in the bathroom and that was why I was late to the nurse. I didn’t think I’d be out of it all day.”
“You shouldn’t have lied and skipped class,” Lydia scolded.
“I know… I just felt grumpy and I wanted to be alone. I felt like…”
“Like being bad?” SMACK!

“Giving your teacher cheek when she asked for your homework that you hadn’t done?” SMACK!

“Lying to get out of class?” SMACK!
“Ow… yes… okay okay… yes. I felt like being bad. I’m sorry… and I’m really grateful that you and Dorota got me out of trouble. Well… not out of trouble because… I’m over your knee, but out of trouble with that…” she sighed “that woman!”
She had wanted to call the headmistress a hag, but she really didn’t think it would help her in this situation, and she was related to Lydia. Even if she treated Lydia horribly she didn’t know how Lydia felt about her own family.
“And you know… it’s not like I’m getting away with it. Even if you hadn’t decided to spank me, I’d still have to stay here… for days!”
“I thought you said you were pleased you got out of history class.”
“Yes… well… that’s a positive, you know how I feel about that Spryt woman, but now that I have thought about it, I think it will be pretty boring. I mean, none of my friends can come in here and keep me company. I’m supposed to be contagious, remember? It will be like being confined to my room all over again, except this time there’s a nurse around.”
“Well it’s nothing less than you deserve, young lady.”
Without saying anything else, Lydia started spanking her for real. First over her nightgown, but even with that protection it still hurt. Lydia wasn’t sparing her backside, and even if this hurt a lot, it was still much better than being handed over to the headmistress who had a big wooden paddle in her office.
Annabelle tried not to squirm and take her punishment, but it wasn’t easy as Lydia’s hand came down rapidly on her bottom. She had barely given one stinging swat before there was another.
“Are you starting to understand the seriousness of your actions, young lady?” Lydia had paused the spanking and was rubbing Annabelle’s bottom.
“Yes… I know that…umh…” Annabelle hesitated because it wasn’t easy to say.
“You know what?”
“I know I shouldn’t get on the wrong side of the headmistress,” Annabelle said. It wasn’t what she had meant to say but it was so hard to say what she wanted to. “She could make my life very difficult.”
“She could,” Lydia agreed. “And I don’t want that for you, or any of the witchlings in here. You shouldn’t give her any reason to punish you. I am trying to keep you out of trouble, to protect you, and I will gladly spank you if it keeps you in line and out of her reach. Don’t think I won’t, because when I spank you, you know it’s because I care. You do know that, don’t you?”
A tear ran down Annabelle’s cheek. She quickly wiped it away hoping Lydia didn’t notice. There was no way Lydia could possibly know how much it meant to her to hear her say that, for Annabelle to know that there was a person in this school who cared and looked out for her. It made being away from Gwen and Aisling much more bearable.
“Yeah… I know. And I’m really glad you got me out of… umh… that little situation.”

“Little situation?”

SMACK!

“Owwww…. okay okay. I mean… thank you, Lydia for saving me from that mess. Before I came here I was told to stay out of Onbush’s way. I don’t think it’s a secret where I come from and who my family is.”

It felt good calling the ones at home for family, but they were. She smiled to herself. But not for long as she felt Lydia pulling up her nightgown.

“Yes, Annabelle. I know who’s waiting for you at home, and how they feel about my great grandmother. I take it Alexis is not happy with her?”

“No, she’s not. Nor should she be.”

“No, she shouldn’t. And living with Gwen, Aisling and Alexis you surely know, don’t you, that my great grandmother is a dangerous woman? That the order is dangerous?”

Annabelle gasped. She had, by now, realized that Lydia was looking out for her and the other witchlings, that Lydia did not agree with the headmistress about everything, but this was pretty much a confession that she was not siding with the order. Within this castle that was being a traitor to the “cause”. If Kendra Onbush knew that one of her own teacher’s, that her own great great great grandaughter told students this, she would get rid of Lydia. But from what she had overheard of their conversation earlier, it sounded like she was already considering getting rid of her. Where would she go? Would the headmistress just let her walk out of her and go back home? She wasn’t a student, she was a teacher. She was a witch, not a witchling. But having been on the inside and seen what the teachers taught the students, would she just allow her to leave and spread the word? Maybe not. Maybe this was dangerous for Lydia too.

“Yes, I know that she is dangerous. I was warned not to cause trouble on the inside. Alexis told me the order did not have our best interest at heart.”

“And she’s quite right.” Lydia pulled down Annabelle’s panties. “So the questions is? Why can’t you stay out of trouble?”

She continued to spank Annabelle’s bare bottom, and she did so thoroughly. This time it did not take long for her to squirm over her knee. It hurt! It seemed that Lydia was determined to make sure Annabelle’s entire bottom was red and sore.

“Owww! Lydia, I’m sorry! I promise I won’t get in trouble again!” She mostly said this to get Lydia to stop spanking her, because as she said it she reminded herself that they were planning to organize a mischief group to make the headmistress’ life hell.

“I don’t know if I believe that, Annabelle, but I’m at least trying to make sure you will be good for a good while! The headmistress is already suspicious of you, and it’s best if you don’t let her notice you in near future. Both she and Octavia are watching you like a hawk.”

SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!

“I will stay out of trouble! I promise! I’ll be good!”

“Good, because if I catch you even so much thinking about making trouble, I will put you over my knee and make you think better thoughts!”

She helped Annabelle stand up. For a second she was relieved thinking the punishment was over, but then Lydia spoke again sounding stern.

“Bend over and touch the chair.”

“What?!”

Annabelle looked at her as Lydia put her hand into the pocket of her black witch’s robe. When she removed her hand it was holding a strap.

“You have got to be kidding!”

“Bend over, Annabelle.”

“But…”

“Do not make this worse for yourself. I am giving you ten, do you want more?”

Annabelle shook her head.

“No ma’am.”

She bent over. She felt Lydia pull up her nightgown that had slipped down. She closed her eyes as she felt Lydia rest her left hand on her lower back and tapped her already red bottom with the strap. Then Lydia removed the strap and it came back with a WHACK!

“Ow!” Already from the first lick, the strap stung like hell.

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

Annabelle almost got up. It wasn’t on purpose, it was like an unconscious protective instinct.

“Stay in position, young lady.”

“Yes,” Annabelle whimpered.

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

“Do I have your word, that you will stay low and try your best not to get the headmistress’ attention?”

“Yes,” Annabelle said, tears running down her cheek.

“Do you understand what can happen if she gets fed up with you?”

“I think so…”Annabelle mumbled. “I’m not sure…”

“What do you think she is capable of?” Lydia asked seriously.

“Can she… umh… can she get rid of us? Like… lock us up somewhere? Or…kill us?”

There was a silence. Lydia took her time to think.

“Yes, I think that is a possibility. She’s not letting you go back home like this Annabelle.”

“I know… ”

“Now…  you’ve got three more. Then we’re done, and I want to see you try harder to stay out of trouble. Because you just got out of house arrest yesterday, and you were almost sent to her office today. Stay out of her way, you hear me?”

“Yes, Lydia.”

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

Lydia gave Annabelle the last with the strap, and put it to the side. Then she took Annabelle in her arms and cuddled her close while Annabelle rubbed her bottom. Lydia stroked her hair and kissed her forehead.

“Get into bed, I’ll tell Dorota we’re done. And I’ll be back.”

Annabelle nodded and climbed back into her bed. She was pulling over her cover when Lydia came back, Dorota following her. Annabelle was just now reminded that the nurse had been outside, and she had probably heard her getting spanked. She blushed.

“Are you going to be a good girl now,” Dorota asked her. “Because you know… we’ll be seeing a lot of each other these next couple of days, and I don’t let anyone get away with being naughty.”

“I’ll be good,” Annabelle promised her. “You just make sure I get my desert next time.”

Dorota chucked as she went into her office.

Lydia sat down next to her on the bed. She wiped Annabelle’s tears away and continued to stroke her hair.

“Lydia?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you… are you on the other side? Like… are you and Dorota not supportive of the order?”

Lydia gave her a smile.

“Will you tell on me?”

Annabelle shook her head.

“Never.”

“Then… yes, I guess I am on… the other side. My family ordered me to come here, and I accepted the offer, not that I had a choice in the matter, but I acceped because… well… I didn’t have anything else to do, and I thought I could protect the students from those who didn’t care about them.”

“Thank you.” Annabelle took her and and kissed it. Lydia smiled.

“Lydia?”

“Yes?”

“Will you be able to stay? It’s just… if you’re so nice to the students, maybe the order will get suspicious.”

Lydia looked at her suspiciously. Almost as if she could tell that Annabelle had heard the conversation she had with the headmistress earlier, but how could she know?

“You are very perceptive, you know that?”

Annabelle didn’t answer. She only looked at her expectantly.

“I don’t want to upset you, but…” She hesitated. She looked so sad.

“But what?”

Lydia’s eyes filled with tears. Annabelle sat up. She put her arms around her. Lydia didn’t resist, instead she gave a sob and leaned her head against Annabelle’s shoulder. Annabelle had never done this before, but she had some experience from having been comforted by Gwen or Aisling.

“What’s wrong, Lydia?”

“I… I think… my great grandmother is going to ask me to leave this school.”

“And you don’t want to leave this hell hole?”

“No… yes, part of me, but no. I want to stay and protect the students, if I have to leave I failed you all. Who’s going to be nice to you with all these evil hags around.”

Annabelle gave a laugh. It was quite refreshing to hear a teacher call her colleagues evil hags.

“Dorota will be here.”

“Yes, but she’s a nurse. It’ll look weird if she sees them all the time. I’m the potion teacher, you have classes with the every day. I feel like I’m important here. Like people need me.”

“They do,” Annabelle agreed. “You’re the person they come to if they’re in trouble…”

“Exactly. I support them.”

“And you don’t have a big wooden paddle.”

Lydia laughed.

“You should sleep.”

“I’m not tired, I slept all day.”

“And who’s fault is that?”

“Well… I fell asleep in your lesson first soo….”

Lydia raised an eye brow, but she was only pretending to be stern.

“Do you need more spankings, young lady?”

Annabelle laid back down on the bed. “No, ma’am. I’m gonna be good.”

“I’ll come back to see you tomorrow when I can. But I can’t be seen.

“Okay.” Annabelle smiled at her.

Lydia tucked Annabelle in and kissed her forehead.

“Is there anything you need before I go?”

Annabelle rubbed her bottom under the covers.

“Can you ask Dorota if she has a potion for pain relief?

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

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Annabelle (part 24)

Dear, Annabelle
How are you holding up? I hope this letter reaches you and that you have the opportunity to write back, but I imagine that you would respond with some snide remark and then complain about the horrible rules you now have to live under. We haven’t known each other for a very long time, but I feel confident in saying I know you that well.
I know this not easy for you, and I wish you were still here at home where you belong, but we’ve got to do our best and believe that we will see each other again. I think, by now, you have realized that it might be longer than we first anticipated. Aisling and I both miss you very much, but it is our wish that you stay where you are and do your best to stay out of trouble. Do what they ask of you, don’t ask too many questions, and don’t draw attention to yourself. It would be best if you lay low, it is not your job to “take down” the order, you don’t have enough experience or knowledge, it’s your job to be safe.
Since I know you very well by now, and since I know Eylion, I expect you two have already gotten into a spot of trouble, and let me just say that you are lucky not to be within swatting distance and that you better pull yourself together right now, young lady. Do as you are told and stay out of trouble!
Now, lecture over, I will give you an update on things back home. Albert is doing fine. As you might have expected, Aisling has taken on that responsibility, and she takes very good care of him so you don’t have to worry. He gets enough to eat, plenty of exercise and lots of love. He’s a very happy horse, but I’m sure if he could talk he’d say he misses you a lot.
As you also might have expected, we were not the only people who were upset by the way you girls were taken, and there are a lot of unhappy and heartbroken mentors out there. A couple of days after you were taken, all the young wizards disappeared too, but this time people were prepared. However, unlike with you, we have no clue as to where they took them. It would have been easier if they had just taken you all to the same place, but your dear Headmistress is a little too old fashion for that.
Alexis has become somewhat of a leader among those who are unhappy, and there are many. We have tried to solve this peacefully through communication for a long time, before even you came along, but we’re speaking to deaf ears and so we’re taking it a step further. It’s time we formed a resistance to overthrow the order. This is not an invitation for you to do something stupid, by the way! I’m actually glad you witchlings are out the way so you don’t get caught in the middle, but I tell you this because we also fear you will be used against us and I want you to be aware of what is going on in the outside world. You just stay put and stay safe, we’ve got this. We have plans and Alexis is in charge, though sometimes I think my mentor has many more plans inside her head that she shares with me. It’s infuriating, actually, but I do trust her, and I think she is the best for the job.
So that’s what’s been going on, I hope that helps with all the questions you must be having. Be good. Oh and do you still have your locket? Don’t lose it! And destroy this letter when you’re done reading it.
I miss you, and I love you. Aisling says she loves you too.
Gwen

Annabelle read the letter one last time, tracing her fingers over the word ‘love’ written in Gwen’s handwriting. She then took a deep breath before she put the letter in her paper bin and waved her hand over it causing the letter to burst into flames. It hurt, seeing Gwen’s words on the paper crumble together and turning into ashes. She wanted to see her so badly, she wanted to see all of them. Her eyes stung with bitter tears that ran down her check, hot and wet.
She hated the order! She wanted to mess things up for them so bad, yet Gwen expected her to do nothing, expected her to just stay out-of-the-way. Alexis had plans, she said, plans that she kept from Gwen. Annabelle gave a snort of laughter as she thought of the irony as Gwen complained to her that Alexis kept her in the dark, when that was exactly what she was doing to her. What was so important about her locket? Everyone kept saying that she had to keep it safe, but they never bothered to tell her why.
But she knew something that Gwen did not, because Alexis had mentioned to Christophe that Annabelle could go find Andromeda. Apparently she had not mentioned this to Gwen because Gwen was telling her to stay where she was. If she had known of this idea to find Andromeda, what would she say? Would she tell Annabelle to go? Probably not, which was probably why Alexis had only told Christophe, because she knew Gwen and Aisling would say no.
Annabelle got into bed and looked up at the ceiling of her four-poster. She wondered what Eylion’s letter said. Would her letter have the same information she got, or would Leda tell her more than Gwen had told Annabelle? Would Leda know of this plan of possibly running away to see Andromeda? She was her mentor, after all.
She wished she could see Eylion right away, but she couldn’t as the door to her room was locked, and it would only be opened when someone came to deliver her meals. She still had four days left of her confinement. It was so boring she had started looking forward the homework she was given every day to keep up with what the other girls were learning, just so that she’d have something to do. The punishment had sort of worked, because Annabelle had no desire to do anything bad for a while, because being confined to her room with no one to talk to was torture. She sighed and rubbed her temples.

“Just four more days.”


“We’re alive!” Eylion said as she saw Annabelle for the first time after a week a part. “I thought I would die in there!”

“Me too!” Annabelle said hugging her. “I’ve missed you! Let’s not do anything like that for a while, okay? I say someone else can get in trouble next time.”

“Well someone might have gotten in trouble while we were away, how would we know?”

They hadn’t. Being given an update by their friends over breakfast, they learned that the other girls had been exceptionally good for the week they had been gone. They hadn’t even questioned Ms. Spryt’s abysmal history knowledge.

“No one dared to!” Jean said frowning. “The day after you two caused trouble, we all got punished for laughing at your prank!”

“What? No way!”

Annabelle looked at the other girls who all nodded.

“We did! Everyone had to go to the headmistress office in groups where we all got six whacks with this enormous paddle. It really hurt! And all because we all thought it was funny when they talked backwards.”

“We felt that paddle too, didn’t we Annabelle? Is was this long and this thick.” Eylion measured with her hands. “But we never meant for anyone else to get in trouble for what we did,” she said sullenly. “We just wanted to cheer you guys up and to get the teachers back for being mean.”

“Oh it did cheer us up,” Tilly said grinning for ear to ear. “I’d take a paddling to see that any day! You two should get an award, it was brilliant.”

Eylion got up and took a bow. The others laughed.

“What is going on over here?” The sharp voice of Octavia Spryt rang in their ears as she came over to their table.

“What do you mean? We’re just talking,” Eylion said giving her a defiant look.

“Don’t talk back, missy. You two better be on your best behavior or I’m sure the headmistress will not hesitate to order you back to your rooms for another week.” She gave an evil smile. “I’ll be keeping an eye on you.”

No one said anything as she walked back to the teacher table.

“That hag!” hissed Eylion. “She’s out to get us, it doesn’t really matter if we behave ourselves or not. We ought to teach her a lesson.”

“Yes, but we’re not going to, not right now,” Annabelle reminded her. She leaned closer to Eylion and whispered in her ear so that no one else could hear. “I’ve been wanting to talk to you in private. About… ya know… the letter.”

Eylion’s eyes widened like she had totally forgotten about the visit they had both gotten from Christophe. She nodded.

“Oh and… we need to explore the passages further,” Annabelle said. “Maybe we can use them to our advantage.”

“What are you two whispering about?” Jean asked suspiciously.

“Nothing,” they both said in unison.

“Right…” Mina said. “I bet they’re planning something else. What are you two going to do?”

“Nothing,” they both said again.

“We’ve decided to be good for a while,” Annabelle said. “At least… we are going to try to be good. Besides… how come we have to be the ones to cause trouble? Someone else might pitch in a bit.”

“Here here,” Eylion agreed. “If we’re the only ones causing trouble, then all those hags have to do is remove us and the problem is solved. I think what we need is to team up and take it in turns to stir things up. And if there are more of us, it’ll be easier to get away with things because we can back each other up and cause confusion.”

Eylion looked around the table seriously as though expecting someone to say something. It was quiet for a while.

Jean broke the silence, but she spoke quietly so that all the other girls gathered closely together.

“I agree. We should group up. What if we ask around discretely and see who might be on our side? If we feel we can trust them, we can invite them to join us. We can create this network of trouble makers to make things difficult for the order. It will also help if we can meet and talk about what is going on. It’s not good to be alone in our anger and confusion. If we can talk about it with each other, it will be difficult for the order to brainwash us because we’ll constantly be on the alert and be critical to anything they say. If people are afraid to voice their concerns it will be so much easier for the order to get to them.”

All the other girls nodded in agreement around the table. Ms. Spryt who had been paying attention to them was walking in their direction again.

“We might know where we can talk in private, but Annabelle and I need to explore a little more to find out if it’s safe,” Eylion whispered quickly before Ms. Spryt came within hearing distance.

“Alright, girls,” she said as she approached. “I don’t like how close you are all sitting together, you look like you are up to no good. I think we better split you up.” She raised an eyebrow at them.

“We’re just talking,” Tilly said standing up looking angry. “Since when is it against the rules to just talk?”

“Watch yourself, girl,” Ms. Spryt said sternly. “Sit down, now.”

She pointed at Annabelle.“You. Go sit at that table over there.”

Then she pointed at Jean. “You, over there.”

Then she directed Eylion over to another table. When they got up looking angry, but having no choice but to obey, she said,

“I don’t want to see this group eating together for the rest of the week. If you all behave I might reconsider in the future, but for now this little group is banned at meal times. Now… go.”


It was around one in the morning that Annabelle heard a knock on her door. She hadn’t had a chance to talk to Eylion all day since they were separated at breakfast. She assumed that she’d come over at night to talk. She got out of bed, put on her cloak and opened the door to find Eylion waiting for her.
“Let’s go exploring,” she said, grinning.
“Just a minute,” Annabelle said. She quickly put a pillow under her duvet to make it bulge up a bit.“Just in case someone decide to stick their head in to check on me.”
They made their way through the corridors as quietly as they could. They were both bursting to talk about the visit from Christophe, but it wasn’t safe to talk until they had made it into the passages. They found the cupboard with the cleaning supplies, crawled behind the wooden crates and went through the tiny hole in the wall behind the old tapestry. It was so dark they couldn’t see a thing so they both conjured a tiny little ball of flames that they held in their hand. It was warm, but it didn’t hurt, it just tickled the skin.
“What if the teachers know about these passages?” Annabelle wondered out loud.
“It doesn’t look like it though,” Eylion said looking around. “You’d think if they did, Spryt and Lydia would have known to look further last time we were here. And it’s not exactly clean here,” she said looking up at a cobweb. “If they were using the passages, wouldn’t they have made sure they were cleaned?”
“You’re right. I just don’t want to get into more trouble just yet.” Annabelle looked around. “Should we walk the other way this time? We know we can get to the kitchen that way,” she pointed down the passage way.
“Yeah, but we got lucky. It split in some places, and I wonder what else we can find.”
“Well… okay… we know one way, let’s focus on one tonight as well. Let’s take it step by step and try to map out this thing.”

She pointed in the opposite direction from where they went last time. “This way, tonight?”
“Yeah, okay. Let’s go.”


As they walked through the narrow passage ways they talked about their visit from Christophe. Annabelle told Eylion about her letter and the little information she got out of it. She also told her about Alexis having mentioned finding Leda’s mentor Andromeda.
“Have you ever met her?”
“No, Leda doesn’t mention her that often. I have asked her where she is, but she always changed the topic.”
“So then Leda didn’t mention Andromeda in her letter either? I guess Alexis has hidden this idea from her too.”
“Actually… she did mention it.” Eylion stopped and looked at Annabelle seriously.
“What? Really? So then Alexis told her.”
“Well… I don’t know for sure, but maybe… maybe Leda was the one suggesting it? I don’t know, Annabelle, but in the letter she wrote to me Leda did mention the possibility of you going to find Andromeda.”
“You mean we.” Annabelle gave her a look.
“No, Annabelle… you.” Eylion looked at her with a sad expression.
Annabelle’s tummy made a lurch. She was going to have to go alone? Didn’t Eylion want to come?
“Eylion… what are you saying? Don’t you want to get out of here?”
“I do, but… someone has to stay here. Someone needs to make sure that the others don’t get affected by the orders propaganda and brainwashing. Before I even got the letter I thought about it and we could never have run away with the other girls. It’s too easy to find a large number of people.”
“But we could have run together. Just the two of us.”
“But then who would make sure the others were alright? It’s not like we have found any great rebel leader here. They were without us for a week… one week, and they did nothing. They didn’t even object to being fed lies. Jean is right, we need a group, and we need to find a place for our group to meet and talk. We need to keep the thoughts of resistance alive, and I think I need to be here for that. I think that is what Leda wants me to do. Well… I don’t think she wants me to get into trouble, but I think she wants me to make sure the order doesn’t succeed.”
“But… she wants me to leave this place? Alone? Didn’t she say that I should stay put? That’s what Gwen told me.”
“I think I need to stay because I know a lot and I can teach the others things, things the order will not teach them. And I think they need me to keep their spirit alive.” Eylion brushed away a tear that ran down Annabelle’s cheek. “I think Alexis and Leda want you to find Andromeda because you have an important role to play elsewhere and Andromeda can help you with that.”
“What role?” Annabelle asked, her voice breaking from crying.
“I don’t know, Annabelle. I wish I did, but I think you might be special, and I think our mentors are suspecting this. I think Alexis knows more than any of us, but she has so many secrets it drives me insane. This locket of yours…. I mean… what the hell?”
“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking.”
“When you got it, Leda said they had it made for you, and I believed that because it is tradition to give a witchling something when she gets her powers, but it wasn’t made for you, was it? It’s old. Heck, you haven’t even been able to open it. It can’t be new.”
“Maybe it was,” Annabelle said thinking about it. “What if… what if the locket was made for me, but not by them? I’ve been thinking about it and I think they are suspecting something about me. Gwen said she didn’t know where I came from or who my parents were, but that was just a week after I got here. They could have found out more later, and I swear, sometimes when Alexis looks at me it feels like she is looking at someone she has known for a long time. She’s the one who keeps saying I should hide the fact that I didn’t grow up here. I know she knows more than she’s letting on, and it makes me so pissed that she’s hiding it!”

She banged her fist against the wall. There was a bang and a brick fell out and landed on the other side of the wall, leaving a hole.
“Shit! Do you think someone heard? Where are we anyway?”
“I dunno,” Eylion said looking through the hole. “Hey… it’s a library. With books!”
“Well duh…” Annabelle snorted.
“Let’s see if we can find a hidden hole in the wall that leads into it.”
They went a little further, checking the walls thoroughly so they didn’t miss anything. No lose bricks, no lever they could pull or anything like that. The only thing they could find was a little mark in one of the bricks closer to the floor, with a specific shape as if someone had carved it there.
“Wonder where this comes from, think it’s significant?”

Eylion crouched down to have a look. She rubbed the sleeve of her cloak over it to remove some dust. Then she looked closer almost pressing her face to the wall.
“What the… Annabelle, come down here!”
“What is it?” Annabelle crouched down too and looked closer as Eylion backed away a little to give her some space.
“Look familiar?” Eylion asked pointing at the mark.
“No… it can’t be. This symbol…” Annabelle stroked her fingers lightly over the mark in the stone. The symbol carved into the stone looked exactly like the symbol on her locket.
“Did you bring it?”
“Yeah…” she took off her locket and held it near the carved symbol in the wall, comparing the two.
“Well? What are you waiting for?”
“Huh?”
“Place the symbol into the mark, maybe it is a key or something. I always thought that thing was kinda useless, it doesn’t even open.”
“Maybe it does open, but there’s a special way to open it.”
“Yeah, maybe, but for now let’s see if it can open this wall.”
Annabelle turned her locked to the symbol was facing the wall, then she pressed it into the carving in the stone. It was a perfect fit, almost as if the locket was a seal that had made the mark.
The mark and the locket lit up and a hole formed in the stone wall, it got bigger and bigger until it was big enough for a person to get through. Annabelle removed the locked from the mark and hurried through with Eylion behind her.
“Wow! Holy broomsticks!” Eylion rubbed her eyes almost as if she didn’t believe what she was seeing.
They were in a room and there were books, literally everywhere. Hundreds of old tomes, maybe a thousand, and only they knew about it. The order couldn’t possibly know, if they did they hadn’t made much of an effort to dust them off. The only place not covered in books were a little corner where there was a big oak desk and a reading area with leather furniture.
“So… this is the library,” Annabelle said looking around.
“Yeah…”
“I thought it would be bigger, I mean… considering the size of this castle.” She had to be honest, she did.
“Yeah, I see your point, but it’s still bloody fantastic, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah, amazing, and I can’t believe my locket is the key. What’s up with that?”
“This is getting weirder and weirder,” Eylion said nodding.
“Maybe… maybe there is more to the library? I mean… look at that desk over there, it looks like this is a personal library, not a kind of library that a lot of people can use. I can imagine that a lot of people lived in this castle at some point, and wouldn’t many people want to use it?”
“Right, and why would you need a locket to enter the library? I don’t think there are many of your lockets lying around, I’m pretty sure there are few… maybe only one.”
“Fuck…” Annabelle sat down in an old chair and buried her head in her hands, a cloud of dust came of the leather. “What the fuck is this thing?” She looked at her locket? “Who owned it before me? Why do I have it now?”
“It probably belonged to a Glasegrove? Maybe the others think you’re from that family, which is why they don’t want you to tell anyone about your mysterious past.”
“Fuck them!” Annabelle shouted in anger. “Fuck those stupid…” She made a growling noise. She was so angry, it was hard for her to keep it together. “How could they do this to me? Why can’t they just tell the fucking truth? It’s my life, I deserve to know.”
Eylion sat down next to her and put an arm around her.
“On the bright side… this castle might actually belong to you.”
“Why would that be a good thing? It’s not exactly a happy place, the stupid order has it and they ruin everything. Why would I want to be a Glasegrove? By the looks of it, they’re all dead.”
“Well from a girl with no mother and the daughter of the town drunk, imagining your family super wealthy and walking the halls of their giant castle is not so bad. I mean… don’t get me wrong, I loved that bastard, but it didn’t help my reputation much.”
“We don’t know that I’m a Glasegrove. All we have is a locket that fits into a wall in some castle.”
“A castle owned by the Glasegroves,” Eylion added. “Well I think they were Glasegroves, since this is Glasegrove castle. Do people name their castle after their family name? Dang… why don’t we know more people who own castles?”
“The owner of the locket could have worked here or something. And we don’t know if I’m supposed to have the locket. Just because it’s mine now doesn’t mean that it was made for me, or that I am related to its previous owner. I just have it because of those bothersome hags at home.”
“Wow there, girl,” Eylion raised her eyebrows. “I know you’re angry at them holding back information, but they love you and you love them.”
Annabelle took a long deep breath and let it our slowly. “I know. I’m just tired of this.”
“I know you are,” Eylion said hugging her close.

“I’m tired too. You’re not the only one in a horrible situation. I’m not trying to say that you don’t have the right to be angry, but we are both locked up in this castle, and so are the other girls. None of us want to be here, and we all miss our mentors.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I just want to know where I’m from.” Annabelle yawned and leaned in closer to Eylion who rested her head on top of hers.
“And you will, one day. Right now we’re picking up clues that might be useful, and the fact that you have been given a locket that works as a key is this humongous castle seems like an important clue.”
She got up and brushed dust off her clothes.
“Let’s go to bed. You’re tired. We can explore more tomorrow night.”
Annabelle nodded in agreement and followed Eylion back out of the library. They used her locket on the mark to close the hole in the wall, and then they made their way back.
After following Annabelle back to her room, Eylion continued to her own. Annabelle climbed into her bed exhausted and with her head full of questions. How the hell would she be able run away from this place, not get caught and returned, and find Andromeda all on her own? And if she did get caught… would they kill her?

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in Annabelle, Uncategorized

 

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