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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 September 14, 2017 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?

 

 

 
35 Comments

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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Annabelle (Part 23)

Okay… I have posted this next part. If you find any mistakes, I am terribly sorry, but I am super busy these days with exams, but I took the time to quickly put together what I had. I’ll fix any mistakes if there are any. I  just thought “Oh look 2 am and I need to work tomorrow morning, I should post my story”. So yeah, this is what you get. I’ll be extremely busy until mid-December, and then I will try to write an X-mas story like usual. 😀 Enjoy.  ❤

Also… I know the lines are really close together and that’s annoying. I’ve tried to put some space between the dialogues, but every time I do, it just goes back to the way it was before!!!! So I’ll try to fix that, but right now it just looks that way. Sorry. 🙂

Life in the castle had, so far, been alright; Annabelle and Eylion had managed to stay out of trouble, but that might have been because classes hadn’t started yet, or even more so, because they hadn’t been able to spend much time together. The day after they arrived they had a tour of the castle… well most of it; they were showed their class rooms, the great hall where they had their meals, and along the way Ms. Spryt, who showed them around, showed them all the places they were not allowed to go. Annabelle took extra notice of those as she was determined to explore those places with Eylion when they got the chance. They had done three days of kitchen duty, but they hadn’t got a chance to plan much because Ms. Spryt had wanted to supervise or making someone else supervise; she was true to her word about keeping an eye on them.

On the fourth day classes began. Annabelle had showed up for her potion lesson without reading the chapter they had been asked to read beforehand. Lydia, who was teaching the class, had raised her eyebrow, but after Annabelle had mumbled an excuse about being busy scrubbing pots and pans, she decided to let her off the hook.

“But only this once, young lady,” she had said sternly. “Next time there will be consequences.”
She had then, to Annabelle’s displeasure, proceeded to place Annabelle next to Clare Dupont, the girl Ms. Spryt had apprenticed. She looked haughty and not at all happy to be paired up with someone who hadn’t even prepared for the lesson. Annabelle also suspected Ms. Spryt for having warned her about fraternizing with trouble makers.

————

After break that day they had a history class, taught by no other than Ms. Spryt herself. Annabelle didn’t know too much about history in this world, but she knew a little. Ms. Spryt, started their very first history lesson with a lecture about life three-hundred years ago and talked about the vicious vampires who killed for fun and terrorized people. She also talked about vampires in this day and age.
“Today, Saunderdale is just a ghost village, thanks to those dark creatures,” she said seriously.
Although Annabelle knew very little about history, there was something not quite right about Ms. Spryt’s knowledge of history too.“Ah yes, you in the back, do you have a question? Get up, child. What is your name?”
Jean, who came in the carriage with Annabelle and Eylion stood up. Annabelle figured it was just like her to ask questions and participate, she had noticed that Jean seemed like a very clever and studious person.
“My name is Jean, ma’am.”
“Alright, Jean. Did you have a question?”

“No… well yes, sort of.” Jean hesitated. “This story of the Saunderdale vampires… well that just doesn’t make sense. The pact between the vampires and the elders of the order was made that year, and since then there has been little unrest. The local vampire clans are very peaceful and…”
Ms. Spryt came close to Jean, looking stern. “Jean, that’s enough. How dare you?”
“What?”
“This is a place of learning; we do not have time for you made up ideas.”
“But it’s not made up ideas,” Jean tried. “It’s facts.”
“Jean, I warned you not to tell lies.”
“But…”
“But nothing,” Ms. Spryt said sternly.
“Ma’am… I’ve heard Jean’s version too,” said a pretty, redheaded girl looking stubborn. “She’s telling the truth, my mentor taught me all about it, I read the history books and I’ve met friendly vampires before…”

The girl was a little short and when Ms. Spryt turned to her, she towered over her, her face reddening.
“And you might be?”
“Olivia Perkins, ma’am.”
“Right… Jean, Olivia… to the front of the class. I will not tolerate such nonsense in my class.”
Both girls looked confused.
“Now!” Ms. Spryt yelled and Annabelle could swear she saw little droplets of spit fly out of her mouth, making her grateful she was seated far from her.
Jean and Olivia both made their way to the front of the class. Ms. Spryt followed them, and to everybody’s horror, she steered each girl to the teacher’s desk and bent them over. She then took out a ruler from her drawer and gave each girl six hard strokes on their bottom.
Embarrassed, teary eyed and rubbing their bottoms the girls were instructed to go back to their seats, where they sat down gingerly, and Annabelle swore she would get back at Ms. Spryt for them. She would have to be punished, and it would have to be public and humiliating.

—————

After history class, Annabelle hurried down the corridor. They still had one more class for the day, but hopefully she’d have time to talk to Eylion before it started. She saw her in a crowd of older girls making their way towards the potion lab.

“Eylion,” Annabelle called after her.
Eylion saw her and stopped. Another girl told her they should hurry or they would be late, but Eylion told her to go ahead.

“What’s up?” she asked as Annabelle approached her.
Annabelle looked around and lowered her voice. “I need to get my potion book and my little bottle of potion. Can you help me?”
“Already?”
“I… the teachers are being totally unfair. In History, that Spryt hag hit two girls for simply telling the truth. She’s a terrible woman, this school… they teach us lies.”
Eylion sighed. “I know… it happened in my class this morning too. They try to make an example of those who speak up so that we’ll stop questioning their teachings.”
“I want them to be punished,” Annabelle said angrily. “They need to pay.”
“You do realise that if you put a potion in their food, they will most likely guess who did it, right? We’re the only ones on kitchen duty.”
“Yeah, but it will might boost morale among the other girls. I don’t want them to give up and give in.”
“Yeah, I understand.” Eylion studied her closely. “Tell you what… we’ll do it tonight after lights out. Okay?”
“Yeah, I agree,” Annabelle said.
“Okay, hurry up for class. Don’t want to be late, do you? I’ll knock on your door sometime after lights out and we’ll try to find a way out to the grounds.”

——————–

It was a little after midnight when Annabelle heard a light knock on her door. She was wearing her night gown in case any of the teachers came snooping around, trying to catch people out of bed. She quickly jumped out of bed and opened the door to let Eylion in. She too was wearing her nightgown still, but she had her black witch’s cloak on.
“Put your cloak on, that way we’ll be hard to see in the dark, and if we pull up our hood no one will be able to tell who it is if they look out the window.”
“Good idea, why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you’re still just a novice, my girl,” Eylion said winking, and for good measure she gave Annabelle’s bottom a slap.
“So… do you have a plan? I’m not sure what the best way out will be…”
“Well this isn’t the first time I’ve been sneaking around at night,” Eylion admitted. “I mean… a girl has to know her way around so she can sneak snacks from the kitchen. Which incidentally is the best way out.”
“But the kitchen is on the other side of the castle,” Annabelle pointed out.
“Yeah, but it’s going to be hard to sneak out the front door. First of all, because the lock is much trickier, and second, because they might have people patrolling that area, but I think I might have an idea… we could look for the hidden passages.”
“What hidden passages? Why haven’t I seen them?”
“Because, Annabelle… they are hidden,” Eylion said rolling her eyes. “This is a castle, there must be hidden passages, there just has to be. If not, then this is not a very cool old castle at all. Everyone knows that cool castles need secret passages.”
“Yes, but we don’t have all the time in the world,” said Annabelle impatiently. “How about, we head for the kitchen using the way we know, and if we happen to stumble across any secret passages… well that’s great, but we don’t have time to look for them now.”
“Oh alright, but it’s going to make it harder…” Eylion mumbled.
“That’s true, but I also have an idea, genius,” Annabelle said smirking. “You can transfigure into a cat. If there are people outside and we need to sneak past them, I think it should be you because you can become a little kitten and it’s much harder to see.”
“That’s not a bad idea. Why didn’t I think of that?” she said smacking her palm against her forehead.
“Look, this could go wrong, but we don’t have any other options at the moment, not other than waiting until we know the castle better, and I’m not that patient. I want pay back, and I want to do it sooner than later. We need to stir things up before people start accepting that there is nothing we on the inside can do. I think we should just wing it.”
“You’re right. Let’s just go,” Eylion said nodding. “No plan is my favourite plan anyway. It’s much more exciting.”

—————

The corridors were dark and the castle was silent, it had a gloomy atmosphere. Their feet were cold, but the “school” hadn’t bothered getting them slippers for night time prowling, they only had their white stockings for school, and right now their feet were bare. Annabelle supposed that the castle could be a nice place to live if they lived there by choice and the place wasn’t tyrannized by the terrible power-hungry headmistress. It could have been a happy place, but enough food and their own rooms with a comfortable bed was not enough, the regime they were living under made it impossible to enjoy.
They had been walking the corridors for about five minutes and they were nearing the staircase on the fifth floor, when Eylion, who walked first, stopped abruptly. Annabelle walked almost right into her.

“What are you…”

“Shhh…” Eylion held up a finger against her lips. “I think I hear something.”

Annabelle focused, trying to hear approaching footsteps. She heard them too. Her eyes widened. By the sound of it, there were more than just one set of footsteps. They were coming closer and she knew that, whoever they were, they were coming in their direction.
“We need to hide,” she whispered as silently as she could whilst still being understood.
Eylion grabbed her arm and pulled her back down the corridor from where they came and tried the first door she could reach. Most of the doors in this corridor lead into classrooms. This particular door was a small door, leading perhaps into a cupboard or something. It was locked, but Eylion muttered a spell and there was a sound like a click from the lock. They opened the door and hurried inside. Inside there were buckets, mops and cleaning supplies.
They carefully moved a big wooden crate so as not to make too much noise but Eylion accidentally knocked a metal bucket over. It made a metallic clang as it hit the floor and the sound gave Annabelle the chills. They hurried behind the crate trying not to knock anything else over, and once behind, they crawled along the floor, behind boxes into a corner of the cupboard almost flattening themselves to the floor, trying to hide from view.
She knew that the sound had not gone unnoticed, and she laid still, her heart pounding in her chest like a drum, like it wanted to be heard. She saw Eylion crawling even further into the room, trying to get her to follow. She tried shaking her head, thinking there was no time, but Eylion kept waving her hand at her. It was then that she saw Eylion crawling to the side, almost as if she went through the wall, and she crawled as fast as she could towards her.
There was a small hole in the wall, almost unnoticeable, hidden behind a tattered dusty old tapestry that looked like it had been stuffed in this cupboard because it wasn’t beautiful enough for the rest of the castle, but then why not just throw it away.
Annabelle had just reached the hole when the cupboard door opened, her eyes widened and she thought she was done for, just as she felt Eylions hands grab her and pull her through before covering the hole with the tapestry again.
From the other side they could hear voices and the metallic sound of the bucket on the floor, like someone’s foot was poking it.

“Strange,” said a voice that was all too familiar, “that this should fall to the floor by itself, don’t you think, Lydia?”

“Ms. Spryt, I don’t think there’s anyone in here. Why would someone enter a cupboard?” Lydia’s voice sounded uncertain.

“Because, young lady, a witchling out of bed after lights out, wouldn’t want to get caught,” said Ms. Spryt, and it sounded like she was moving boxes, probably to look for anyone hiding. Had they not found the hole in the wall, she would have found them.

“I think you should give them more credit than that,” Lydia said, “ma’am” she quickly added, and Annabelle could imagine Ms. Spryt giving Lydia a stern look, like she herself had been on the receiving end of.

“I think your grandmother would be very interested in hearing how trusting you are of the girls, Lydia,” said Ms. Spryt.

“She’s not my grandmother, she…”

“Yes yes, great great grandmother, I know.” Ms. Spryt sounded exasperated. “The point is, your family is expecting you to do your duties for the order, and coddling the students is not helping. They will take advantage, my girl, give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. Especially those two nefarious creatures who are so loyal to Alexis Nightshade. Beware of them, Lydia, I told you.”

“I have only gotten to know Annabelle so far, but I think she seems like a lovely girl,” Lydia started.

“Then you have already let her fool you,” Ms. Spryt said cutting her off. “Enough of this, there’s no one here, let’s continue our patrol.”
Annabelle turned to look at Eylion, wideyed.

“Nefarious creatures?” Eylion said stunned. “How dare she!”

“So that’s what Lydia is doing here, she’s related to someone in the order and her family expects her to be loyal,” Annabelle said. “I knew she was too nice to fit in with that crowd.”

They both turned around to have a closer look around. They were in some sort of narrow space between two walls, a passage way.
“Guess we did stumble across a passage way after all, eh?” said Eylion grinning. “Lucky!”

—————-

The passage was narrow and dark, and the walls were made of stone. It was, if possible, even colder in there and they had to use magic to light the way. It split somewhere in the castle, and they had to choose left or right. They had no idea where they were, but there wasn’t any time to explore. All they knew was that by chance they chose the right way and ended up somewhere near the kitchen. If there was a goddess, she was on their side tonight. They decided that Eylion should go outside alone and transfigure into a cat. Annabelle had told her which tree and what the markings were, and after about ten minutes of waiting Eylion came back holding the hidden treasures in her hand. They would give Jean her ring back in the morning. Annabelle knew she would be glad; it was really special to her. And tomorrow night, the teachers would get what they had coming to them.

———-

“Hey, girls. Get ready for some entertainment today.” Annabelle sat down next to Mina at the table.

“Yeah, it’s going to be great!” Eylion said grinning as she sat down next to Jean.

“Why? What have you done?” Mina asked, leaning forward across the table, her voice lowered.

“You just wait. It’s going to be super magical.” Eylion said pouring water into her glass, smiling happily.

They started eating their soup, looking up at the teacher’s table just waiting for the moment their prank was put into action. They knew they would get busted and that they would get into trouble, and that made them feel nervous, but at the same time they felt really excited.

The teachers started eating, continuing their conversation, and as they were talking they looked confused. Then…

“No gniog si tahw?!” Ms. Onbush yelled angrily. The room went quiet at once. Her harsh voice gave Annabelle chills down her spine, but it was also hilarious because it made sense to no one.

“Tahw?” Ms. Spryt asked confused, her eyes widening as she realized that she too was speaking nonsense. “No gniog si tahw? Ssertsimdaeh?!”

The girls roared with laughter. Apparently the prank had been appreciated.

“Ecnelis!” Ms. Onbush roared, but the girls kept laughing. “Siht did ohw tuo dnif lliw I!”

Annabelle concentrated on her soup trying not to laugh, but then again, if she did, she wouldn’t stick out as all the students were laughing. She looked up and caught Eylion’s eye from the other table, she gave Annabelle a little wink.

“Uoy!” Ms. Sprytt pointed at Annabelle and Eylion. “Ti dniheb eb tsum yeht, ssertsimdaeh!”

“Won, eciffo ym!” The headmistress roared, pointing at the door, before she, herself, left.

Ms. Spryt walked over to Eylion and took a firm grip around her upper arm and motioned for Lydia to bring Annabelle.
Annabelle had just enough time to see admiring looks from her fellow students, before Lydia took her arm and dragged her out of the hall.

————–

“You’ve really done it this time, young lady,” she said as they walked down the corridor. Apparently she hadn’t had the time to eat the soup yet.

“You didn’t find it funny?” Annabelle asked innocently.

“No,” Lydia said firmly, though for a tiny second Annabelle swore she could have seen a hint of a smile on her lip.

“Not just a little bit?” Annabelle asked, and she was pulled up the stairs to the floor where the headmistress had her study.

“Annabelle, this is serious,” Lydia said seriously.

“Really? What are they going to do? Expel me and let me go home?” Annabelle asked.

Lydia stopped and looked at her.
“No. You don’t understand…” she started.

“What don’t I understand?” Annabelle said harshly. “You don’t think I know what’s going on here? You don’t think I know what this place is? This isn’t a school, it’s like a prison. None of us want to be here! We are all old enough to be in charge of our own lives yet we are made to be here, and they try to teach us lies, to brainwash us. Our mentors were much better, they taught us the truth.” She felt anger now and disappointment. She hated the fact that she liked Lydia. What was someone like her doing there? Surely she must have noticed how the order had taken a turn towards corruption.
“Lies,” she repeated more calmly. “They know it and you know it too, Lydia. There’s not an ounce of truth in the history lessons we have been given, and if we try to correct them we are punished and accused of lying. We might be young, but we’re not stupid. So I suppose you want to tell me to behave myself and do as I’m told, you want me to buy into their propaganda…”

“I want you to be careful,” Lydia cut in. “You can act up all you want, but they’re not going to send you back home until they are happy with your progress, until they feel they have gotten through to you.”

“And what if they can’t?”

Lydia gave her a sad look. “We should hurry. We don’t want the headmistress to look for us. Don’t tell anyone we had this talk.”

———–

“So… you think this is ynnuf?”
“What?” Annabelle asked while Eylion let out a laugh that she unsuccessfully tried to pass as a cough.
The headmistress took a deep breath. “Funny! Do you think this is funny?”
They both look down at the floor.
“Well?”
“It was pretty hilarious,” Eylion finally said smirking.
Ms. Spryt interrupted. “You see, headmistress? I told you from the start, these two would cause trouble.”
“Yes, I see that now, Octavia. And what do you girls suppose we do with troublemakers such as yourselves?”
“You could expel us and let us go home,” Annabelle suggested. “It seems we’re not really cut out for school.”
“I don’t think so, girl.”
“But…”
“No one gets expelled from this academy. You’re not leaving this establishment until I am satisfied with your progress here, and I have time… plenty of time.”
“If you think we’ll stay here forever…” Eylion started.
“My dear, I can keep you as long as I want. You won’t have to stay here forever if you show me that you can be a good girl and do as you’re told. But you will not leave this place until I say you can, so I suggest you start now.”
“And what if we don’t…” Annabelle said defiantly.
“I will not let untrained witchlings lose into my country. You can stay here and reform or… well… like I said, I will not let untrained witchlings lose in my country.”

———-

Annabelle lay on her tummy rubbing her bottom. After a long lecture, they had gotten a sound spanking that would leave them sore for a long time. In addition to that, they were both confined to their rooms for a week, not even being allowed out for meals or to go to class.
If the castle wasn’t like a prison before, it was now; her room had become her cell and the door was kept locked around the clock, only opened when her food was brought up. It felt really lonely as she didn’t have anyone to talk to; the people who brought her food were usually other students she had never talked to before, and they were under strict order not to talk to her. She had no idea what Eylion was doing in her room, and she no idea what the other students might have been taught while she was away. She was sure that by now, no one spoke up against the teachers in fear of punishment.
The third night of her house arrest, she was sitting by her desk concocting plans on how to escape the school when she suddenly heard a “woosh” from the open window. She looked around and saw a bat fly under her ceiling. Then there was a “pop” and the bat turned into a familiar vampire.
“Christophe! How… how did you find this place?” She got up from her desk and hugged him, and he put his big muscular arms around her.
“Alexis had an inkling where they were taking you,” he replied, his bright green eyes twinkling with a smile. “I’ve been flying for an hour, looking into windows trying to find your room.”
“Is Alexis here?” Annabelle ran over to the window and looked out of the window. Ever since she had met Alexis she had had the feeling that she knew much more than she was letting on, but she was so secretive it was impossible to know, she didn’t even know if Gwen knew and she was one of the people most important to her.
“She’s in the forest, she can’t come near the castle, it is too risky. There are guards around the walls, including a protection spell which makes it impossible to fly over the walls with a broom. Luckily they hadn’t thought of bats, I don’t think the order is aware of the close alliances your mentors and their friends have with my clan and others.”
More secrets. What alliances? What friends?! Annabelle tried to hide a scowl and so far it went unnoticed by Christophe.
“We decided to come late at night, since it’s so hard to spot me in bat form after sundown, I was able to pass without much difficulty.” He ruffled her hair, clearly happy to see her. “So, Miss Annabelle, how’s school going?” He winked.
“It’s horrible! Christophe, we’ve got to get out of here! They teach lies, punish people who tell the truth, and… well I think… I think they will kill anyone who doesn’t reform. They hinted at something like that.”
Christoph frowned. “Yes, your mentors were afraid of that, which is why they told you to do as you were told.”
“They didn’t say we were in risk of being killed off if we proved difficult to brainwash!”
“They didn’t want to scare you, especially since they didn’t know if that was what would happen,” he said gently. “Though I must admit… they did have a strong suspicion,” he added in a murmur.
“Well what if it had happened and they hadn’t warned me?”
“You mean warned you to do what you were told and not to make trouble?”
“Yea… no, I mean, they could have warned me it could have gotten me killed, they only said that they were not nice old ladies with my best interest in heart, they said I shouldn’t give them a reason to harm me,” Annabelle pointed out.
“Harm as in, they could potentially kill you for trying to ruin their plans to expand their power over our world?” He narrowed his eyes. “You were told to behave yourself, were you not?”
Annabelle sighed. “Yes…” she grumbled.
“Indeed,” he said nodding. “I’m guessing you haven’t been behaving yourself then? Has anyone threatened you?”
“Sort of…” Annabelle said frowning. “They said they wouldn’t let us leave before we were ready, and then they said they would never let untrained witches loose into society… with the emphasis “never”. Unless we do give in to them, and we won’t, that could only mean two things, couldn’t it? Either they will keep us locked away forever or they would kill us.”
“Yes, that sounds about right. What did you do for them to threaten you?”
“Christophe, I have not been that bad… they are horrible hags,” Annabelle protested.
“Annabelle,” Christoph gave her a smile. “I’m only asking because there are four anxious witches back home who wants to know how you’re doing. I repeat, what did you do?”
Annabelle scratched her nose and smirked. “Well… we didn’t do anything that bad, honest. It’s just that Eylion and I were on kitchen duty, and because the teachers had been so horrible to all the girls who tried to correct their teaching, hitting them with a ruler for example, and since they told us lies about vampires and stuff, we thought it would boost morale among the students if we got back at them a little bit. So we put a potion in the teachers’ soup, so that they spoke backwards during supper in the great hall. It was a harmless prank, that’s all.”
Christophe chuckled as he shook his head.
“They all laughed and gave us smiles as we were dragged off, but I don’t know more than that because we were confined to our rooms for a week. I haven’t seen or talked to anyone since then.”
“I think you are lucky your mentors can’t visit you, you would be in such trouble!” He laughed. “But I suppose you got into enough trouble with the headmistress, yes?”
“Yes!” Annabelle said nodding. “Big trouble.” She smiled at him. It felt so great to finally have someone to talk to, it had been three days! And it was really great to finally be able to see someone from back home. She just wished she would be able to see the others too, she missed them so much. “So… are you going to tell them what we did?”
“Yes.”
Annabelle sighed. “Well… I guess it doesn’t really matter since they’re not here anyway, but perhaps I should write them a letter so you can bring it back to them. That way I can make sure they know my motivation for causing trouble.”
“They will probably still want to kill you, but yes, that’s a good idea. I brought you a letter from home too, and I’ve got one for Eylion too. I suppose it will be easier to find her room if you know where it is.”
“Yeah, it’s on the South side of the castle, two floors up on the far right.”
“Good, easy enough to find, another thing, make sure to destroy your letter once you have read it. I know you might want to keep it and read it again later, but we can’t risk anyone finding it, okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” she said disappointed. She had wanted to keep it and read it again, it would be a great comfort to read their words and imagine them talking to her through the pages of the letter. She had no idea when she would be seeing them again. If they did manage to find a way out of the castle, they wouldn’t be able to just go back home. If they managed to free themselves they wanted to stay free. Her eyes welled up with tears thinking about everyone back home.
“Hey… it’s going to be okay,” Christophe said hugging her.
“No, it’s not. I just want to go home, and I want to sleep in my own bed and train witch with Gwen and Aisling. They don’t teach use many useful things here. All they do is lie and try to form us to be witches that are easier to control.”
He looked at her and used his thumb to wipe away a tear. “You’re going to run away, aren’t you?” It wasn’t really a question, it was a statement.
“I… I think so. Yes. We have to Christophe, we can’t stay here! But… if I do manage to escape… well it’s not like I can just go back home and forget about this place, if I go back home, they’ll know where to find me.”
He was silent for a moment, like he was thinking about whether he should reveal something.
“Okay… look, if you do decide to run away, and I’m not sure I would advise it because it could be really dangerous, but if you do decide to run away, Alexis told me that your best option would be to find someone called Andromeda. Do you know who that is?”
“Leda’s mentor,” Annabelle said at once. She didn’t know much about her; in fact, she didn’t even know that she was still alive. The only time she had heard her name mentioned was when Aisling told her the story of when she came from the North.
“Yes, that’s the one. Apparently she lives in a cave up in the mountain, don’t ask me why she decided to go primitive, but the point is… not a lot of people know this and so there you will be safe. If you are going to run away, wait until I come back with more information about how to find this witch. Alexis only just mentioned it today, I don’t know where this mountain is, but I’m sure I can find out. Please do not leave until I have a chance to come back, promise?”
Annabelle nodded and sniffled. “I promise.”
She said goodbye to Christoph before he went to find Eylion’s room to deliver her letter. After talking to him she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Now she had a goal. If they could only get out of this place, they would have somewhere to go, somewhere safe where the order would not find them.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Annabelle

 

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Annabelle (part 22)

“But… but… you can’t!” protested Eylion.

“Yes, we can and we will. So come along girls, there is no time to waste.”

“You… you haven’t given us any time to prepare,” Annabelle cut in. “We need to pack and we need…”

“You don’t need anything, girl. Everything including books and uniforms will be given to you upon arrival; anything you bring will be confiscated. The only thing you need to bring is yourself. Now come along.” Wynne pointed towards the door, her facial expression was impossible to read. She did not look angry or happy, if anything she only looked determined.

“But we need to tell our mentors,” Eylion said looking nervously around for Leda as if hoping she’d come and save her.

“They are not your mentors anymore. Get in now.” She placed a hand at their backs and pushed them gently towards the carriage.

Annabelle could see other women her own age in the carriage. They all looked really nervous, apparently they had not been warned either. Why hadn’t anyone told them when they would be leaving? They couldn’t do this. Who would tell Gwen and Aisling? Who would tell Leda? What if no one told them and they’d go out looking for them only to have to give up?

Annabelle and Eylion were pushed into the carriage where they sat down. Wynne slammed the door shut and locked them in. Annabelle felt like a prisoner.

“What do we do now?” Annabelle asked Eylion, she was on the verge of tears. She was scared and she wanted to go home. How long until they saw them all again?

“I don’t know… well… I know one thing…” she whispered.

“What?”

“Are you still wearing the locket you got when you got your powers?”

“Yes, I always wear it,” Annabelle replied puzzled.

“Good! We need to find a way to hide it once we get there. Under no circumstances must it be confiscated, okay?”

“Okay… but what is so special about it,” Annabelle asked.

“I’m not sure exactly,” Eylion said. “But Leda told me that when we were taken I had to make sure that you still had your locket.”

“Why? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Probably because they didn’t want you to know,” Eylion said giving her a look and rolling her eyes. “You know how they are.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know, Annabelle. You know how they always want to pretend to be the grown-ups and keep us in the dark. It’s what they do. The less we know, the safer we’ll be. But remember they told you they had it made for you? Not true. It’s a very old locket. Leda let it slip by accident, but she refused to elaborate. They have been keeping secrets from us all this time. I tried to talk to Leda about it, but she just pretended not to know what I was talking about and changed the subject. It made her irritable because she didn’t want me to dig and try to find things out.”

She looked around, making sure the other women didn’t listen to their conversation.

“We need to hide it before they take our things. One of us must create a distraction and the other must give them the slip long enough to find a hiding place. I say we hide it in a tree somewhere and mark the tree so we can find it again.”

“I think you should cause the distraction. That’s your area of expertise,” Annabelle managed to whisper. She had to focus to stay calm; all this new information was unsettling. She reached for her locket and squeased it in her hand. It felt warm against her skin.

“Yep! I knew my talents would come in handy one day.” Eylion tried to give her a smile, but Annabelle could tell that she too had to make an effort. They were both scared, they both wanted to go home to the safety of their mentors.

“I wonder how long it will take for them to realise that we’re gone,” Annabelle said, a single tear ran down her cheek. It was torture thinking of Gwen and Aisling looking for them and not knowing where they were.

“Yeah, me too… but… hang on… Annabelle!” She slapped her palm against her forehead. “I can contact them with magic, like that time in the forest when we got caught by the vampires.”

“Yeah, of course! Do it now please,” Annabelle said sitting back giving Eylion some space.

Eylion held her hands up and closed her eyes to focus. Smoke appeared in front of her and formed a ball in the air like before and it started glowing.

“Leda!” She spoke into the ball. The outline of a woman appeared. “We’ve been taken! We’re in a black horse carriage not far from the field. It was Gwen’s mother; she says they’re taking us to school. She’s locked the door.”

Out of the smoke came Leda’s voice though it was not as clear as it normally would have been. “We’re on our way.”

“I hope they make it, but Annabelle, I don’t think that they’ll be able to take us home. I think we will have to go with them, but at least now they know where we are and we can say goodbye.” Eylion put her arm around Annabelle.

“Can you use that spell when we’re at school to?” Annabelle asked her, thinking she had to learn how to do that.

“I don’t know, if the school is far away I might not be able to. It helps to know where the person is. It’s tricky to even do it from here. Leda is much better at it than I am; she is a very powerful witch.”

“I can’t believe they just took us without giving us time to prepare,” Annabelle said angrily. “I hate them.”

“Yeah, me too,” Eylion said agreeing. “Bloody hags.”

———–

It didn’t take long before they could see them coming. They all came, zooming on their brooms, looking really angry.

Annabelle could hear Gwen yell, “Stop! Stop this instant!”

The carriage slowed down and stopped. Annabelle and Eylion looked out the window. They saw Wynne come down from the carriage meeting them.

“Just what do you think you are doing?!” Gwen yelled at her.

“Taking them to school, of course,” Wynne replied calmly.

“But… but you can’t just take them! We haven’t even been told when they had to go,” she said looking up to the window at Annabelle and Eylion.

“That’s not my fault,” Wynne replied calmly. “I was just told to pick them up and take them to school.”

“But…” Gwen tried.

“But what? I can’t let you take them back with you, Gwen. I can’t disobey orders. If I did, then someone else would come for them, you know that.”

“Just let us say goodbye,” Gwen asked looking defeated. Tears ran down her cheek.

“Gwen… I need to get going.”

“Please, do it for me. I’m your daughter.”

“Oh so now our blood ties are suddenly important,” Wynne said narrowing her eyes. “I thought you didn’t think of me as family.”

“I don’t. You were never there for me, you left me for weeks and weeks on end.”

“I always left gold for food. I don’t see what you are complaining about. I let you do whatever you wanted, what more could a child want?”

“I wanted a mother!” Gwen said angrily. “Please… I’ve never asked for anything. It’s the least you could do.”

Wynne took out a pocket watch and looked at it. “Oh alright… you’ve got two minutes, but no funny business. If you try to run off with them, there will be trouble. The head witch is not going to like that very much.”

“We won’t run off,” Gwen said looking at the girls longingly. “We just want to say goodbye.”

Wynne went round to the back of the carriage and unlocked the door and opened it. “Okay, you two, you’ve got two minutes. Then it is back into the carriage without any fuss, do you hear?”

They nodded and jumped out. Annabelle ran to Gwen who started sobbing as she hugged her. Even Aisling, who normally seemed so tough, couldn’t keep the tears in as she joined them.

“Annabelle, don’t lose your locket,” Gwen whispered. “Do you hear me?”

“They are going to confiscate our things,” Annabelle whispered back looking nervous.

“You must find a way to hide it,” Gwen said kissing her on her forehead.

Annabelle nodded wiping her eyes. “I will.”

After both girls had hugged them all and said their goodbyes, which took more than the two minutes they had gotten, Wynne ushered them back into the carriage. They both looked out the window waving as the carriage moved away. They watched them getting smaller and smaller as they got further and further away.

When she couldn’t see them anymore, Annabelle turned around looking miserable.

“Annabelle, what’s this?” Eylion held up a tiny bottle with pink liquid. She had found it in her satchel.

Annabelle smiled. “It’s a potion to make you talk backwards,” she whispered so the other girls wouldn’t hear. “Is there a book in there?”

“Yeah, there is,” Eylion said taking it out. “Now this looks familiar. I reckon we should hide this too!”

They both grinned at each other. If they were going to be forced to attend this school, they might as well have some fun there.

—-

The school really was a long way away. Annabelle tried to recognize the way, but in the end she gave up. She had never been this long away from the cottage. She recognized the stone archway in the forest they had walked through on their way to the order’s meeting, but after that it was all new to her.

Inside the carriage the girls had started to talk and getting to know each other. The other girls were Anna, a tall blonde girl with piercing blue eyes, she reminded Annabelle of a younger Aisling; Jean, a browned haired, plain girl, but who seemed good natured and extremely intelligent; and the twins Tilly and Mina who like Eylion seemed to have mischief radiating from their eyes. They were complete strangers to Annabelle, but Eylion, who had been around this area longer, had seen them around in the village, but she didn’t know them either.

“Are we the only ones?” Annabelle suddenly asked, she was surprised there were only six of them.

“Oh no,” said Anna shaking her head. “I think there are over a hundred young witches coming, but they are taking us in small groups. That way they have more control over the people arriving. The lady in the front said they were going to take our things, I suppose it’s easier to make sure they get everything if we’re a smaller group.”

“Oh… damn,” Eylion said frowning. “That’s going to make it harder on us, Annabelle.” Deciding she could trust the other girls she said “We have some stuff we need to hide, maybe if we cooperate one of us can hide stuff while the others cause a distraction. Anyone want in? It can’t be something big though, just something small.”

“I do,” said Jean at once.

“Okay, hand it over to Annabelle before you leave the carriage. She is going to hide our stuff too. I’ll create a distraction, and you just play along.”

Jean nodded and looked at the others.

“Yeah, we’ll play along too,” said Tilly winking. “We need to stick together.”

“Great!”

——

After several hours the carriage went through a gate in huge stone wall; shortly after it slowed down to a halt. They all looked out the windows. They were in front of a big, formidable looking stone building with big towers on the sides.

“I don’t believe it… the school is a castle?!” Eylion said her eyes wide. The castle was surrounded by green grass and lots of trees. The stone walls they went through seemed to surround the entire area, keeping strangers out… and keeping witchlings in.

“How on earth did they manage to get this place? It must cost a fortune.”

“They didn’t pay for it,” Jean said. “This is Glasegrove Castle. It used to belong to some important family, I can’t remember their name.”

“Who are they?”

“No idea, they’re not around anymore. I have just seen a sketch of this castle in a book once. I’m sure this place has a big library, I’m sure there’s a history book about it.”

Wynne came to unlock the door.

“Alright, girls, out you get. Form a line in front of the carriage.”

Jean handed Annabelle a small ring she wanted her to hide and Eylion a small pocket knife. She whispered to the other girls.

“I say we run out of the carriage in a playful way. Annabelle I’ll chase you over to those trees, and then you hide our things in that tree over there. Do you remember the spell I taught you?”

Annabelle did. One of the few spells she mastered very well was a spell that allowed her to push her hand through hard materials. By using this spell she could stick her hand into a tree trunk to hide their treasures without anyone being able to tell.

“Yes, I remember,” she replied, nodding. “Okay, everyone… run out, don’t form a line.”

They ran out, deaf to Wynne’s protests. Eylion pretend chased Annabelle, laughing and Annabelle pretend hid behind a tree while sticking her hand into the tree trunk, hiding Anna’s ring, her locket, Eylion’s pocket knife, her potion bottle and potion book. Now the important thing was to remember which tree, because there were hundreds of them. She focused her magic and made a mark into the tree bark that only she would recognize.

“Girls, get back here this instant!” Wynne shouted. “I said form a line. Honestly, you’re not children!”

“Why are we being shipped off to school against our will then,” Eylion said cheekily as she returned towards the carriage.

“Don’t start,” Wynne said sharply. “Pull yourselves together. The headmistress will not be impressed with this kind of behaviour.”

They gathered in a line in front of the carriage, smirking at their own genius scheme.

“Now… you be good girls and stay put, I will go inside and get the headmistress and some of the staff. The driver will keep an eye on you; I suggest you don’t cross him.”

She went inside and the girls congratulated each other will a well done distraction.  They had been lucky it was only the driver and Wynne, for when Wynne came back out, she was followed by seven stern looking women; in front, the headmistress who was none other than Ms. Kendra P. Onbush, the head witch of the order; and following her, six of her minions.

“Girls, welcome. I am Ms. Onbush your headmistress. You will address me as headmistress,” she said briskly, looking stern. “Is that understood?”

“Yes,” they murmured.

“Yes, what?”

“Yes, headmistress,” the girls replied.

“That’s better.  Now, I will call your names and when I do you will follow one of my members of staff into the castle. They shall take you to your own room where they will help you dress in an appropriate attire, remove all of the things you have brought with you, and then they will inform you of the rules. As this is the first day and we don’t have time to show anyone around to make sure you don’t get lost, you will stay in your rooms until someone comes and gets you for supper.”

“Now then… Anna Hier…”

—-

Annabelle was the last person to be called. Alexis had spread the word that her family name was Brown; a very common name and Alexis had relatives with that name too. It was fake, of course, but no one seemed to be suspicious about it, which was good, because Alexis had said it was a bad idea to draw attention to the fact that she had only just come through the portal months ago, and that until then she had no idea she was a witch. However, Annabelle was nervous about attending a school for witches, because once they found out how little she knew they might get suspicious. She wasn’t really sure why it was a bad idea to just tell the truth, but she trusted Alexis’ judgement. Annabelle had always had a suspicion that Alexis knew something about her that she herself did not, because the first time she had seen her she had looked at her almost as if she recognized her. And now there was this mysterious locket they had given her; the one that they told her was made for her as a gift when it really was an old locket. Why had they given it to her? And what was so special about it.

“This is your room,” said the witch who followed her. Her name was Lydia, and Annabelle was glad she got her, she was a lot younger than the others and she didn’t look quite as stern. Eylion was dragged along by a really sourly looking old lady that Annabelle wouldn’t want to cross. Lydia had sandy hair, a little bit taller than herself, and looked like she was still in her twenties; however, Annabelle knew not to be fooled by her youthful appearance, at first she had thought that Gwen and Aisling were in their early thirties, but they were both nearing a hundred, and Leda had already passed a hundred. Witches live a lot longer than mortals, thus the physical aging process it completely different. Wynne and Gwen who were mother and daughter looked almost the same age.

Lydia unlocked her door and stepped aside letting Annabelle in first. It was about the same size as her room back home, with a big four-poster bed, a writing desk and her own bathroom. When she had imagined the school, she had imagined that the girls would have to share rooms and that it would be crowded and that they would have no privacy, but this wasn’t so bad. She’d still prefer to stay with Gwen and Aisling though.

“Right,” said Lydia. “Take off all of your clothes.”

“All of them?” Annabelle echoed. She didn’t really fancy getting naked in front of a stranger.

“All of them,” Lydia repeated. “Come on, I haven’t got all day. You haven’t got anything I haven’t seen, you’re the seventh girl to strip naked in front of me today and you won’t be the last.”

Slowly but grudgingly Annabelle began taking off her clothes. When she was completely naked Lydia asked her to hold up her arms and spread her legs so as to make sure she hadn’t tried to smuggle anything into the school. She felt like a criminal.

“Good girl, now this is your uniform,” she said pointing at a stack of clothes on the bed. “Put it on, and there’s another set in your cupboard for when this one needs cleaning.”

The uniform was a plaid skirt, a white blouse, a grey cardigan with the school’s crest on it, a maroon tie, long white stockings, black shoes and a black witch’s cloak.

“I have to wear all of this,” Annabelle said holding the cloak up.

“You may take off your cardigan in class if it is too hot, but you might want to wear it come winter as the castle can get really cold. The cloak you wear outside, but you might want to use that during winter too. The rest you will have to wear at all times, except for bed, of course. There are nightgowns for you in the cupboard.”

Annabelle put on the skirt, the blouse and the stockings. She then held out the tie for Lydia to show her, because she had never even seen one before. Back in her world people didn’t tie bits of fabric around their necks. There were many common things that people used every day in this world that Annabelle couldn’t even name, but Gwen and Aisling had been a great help. When she first arrived she had been fascinated by indoor plumbing which was not something she had seen before, but which she now could never live without.

“Now for the rules,” said Lydia once Annabelle was fully dressed in her new uniform. “There are quite a lot of them which is why we have a book of rules, you will find it in your desk drawer. I will, however, go through the ones that you will need to know straight away. Understood?”

Annabelle nodded.

“You must wear your uniform at all times…”

“Unless I’m in bed or taking bath,” Annabelle added.

“Yes, that’s right,” Lydia said with a smile. Annabelle was glad there was a person in this castle who seemed capable of smiling. “You must attend class unless you are ill in which case the school nurse will come and see to you. Breakfast starts at 8.30 am, classes start at 9 am. Don’t be late. Lunchtime is at noon. Then you get a break until 1 pm when classes resume. You will also find a schedule in your desk drawer. With me so far?”

“Yes,” Annabelle said nodding.

“Homework will be handed in on time. We advise that you do your homework before you do anything else on your free time. For now we will leave it up to you, but if you have a problem getting things done, we might make you stay after class to work on your homework under a teacher’s supervision.”

Annabelle was just thinking that she’d rather stay up all night working on it than stay behind, when Lydia said, “Curfew is 9.30, you will get ready for bed by 10 pm, lights out is at 10.30 and someone will come around to check that you are all in bed.”

“What? But… we’re not kids,” Annabelle started, but Lydia interrupted her.

“Even grown women need their sleep, Annabelle. We need you to be awake in class.” She gave her a stern look, but it was not unkind. “I think that’s enough for now. The book of rules is in your drawer, if you have any questions you can ask me or another staff member. If you break any rules you will have to be punished and you don’t want that,” she said seriously. “I’m going to go welcome the last group of girls; you will have to stay in here until I come to get you for supper, headmistress’ orders.”

“Can’t I go visit my friend in her room while we wait?”

“No.”

“Why not?” Annabelle asked.

“Because that’s not what the headmistress told you to do.”

“But…”

“No, stay here.” Lydia gave her a firm look. “I have to go now. I, or someone else, will come and get you when it’s time for supper. In the mean time you can familiarize yourself with the rule book.” She picked up all of Annabelle’s confiscated things and left the room.

“Fat chance,” mumbled Annabelle to herself and flung herself onto the bed. “Why would I want to do that!”

———
Annabelle didn’t have to wait long before she heard a knock on the door.
“Already?” She mumbled to herself, thinking it couldn’t have been more than twenty minutes since Lydia left. She opened the door and in came Eylion.

“Hello!” She said happily as she came in. “Quick! Shut the door before someone sees.”

“Eylion, we’re not supposed to leave our rooms.”

“You’re in your room, which by the way, was really hard to find! Mine is in a completely different part of the castle!”

“Really? I wonder why,” Annabelle wondered out loud.

“Well I have an idea… get this… we’re not in the same class!”

“What? We’re not going to be together?!”

“Nope… makes sense though… since… well I am a little older than you,” Eylion said. “But it’s stupid to divide people into different age groups, because we could still be on totally different levels.”

“Yeah… but I’m not even near your level,” Annabelle said frowning. “This is terrible! You were supposed to be there and help me if they asked me to do stuff I couldn’t do yet. I am so far behind all the other girls!”

“Hey, you don’t know that yet. You might be able to cope, and I can help you after class. We’ll find a way to make it work.” Eylion put an arm around her. “We’ll stick together. Oh and… if you want to spend time with me, I’ll be scrubbing pots and pans in the kitchen every day after supper for a week.” She winked.

“No way!” Annabelle rolled her eyes. “You have already managed to get punished!”

“Hey don’t blame me! You saw that grumpy old hag who showed me to my room, it was impossible not to get on her wrong side! I give her a little cheek about the uniform, next thing I know I’m bent over my bed while she whacks a ruler at me!”

“She spanked you!”

“Yeah! AND I’ve gotta work in the kitchen for a week!” She threw herself onto Annabelle’s bed. “You know… you could get in trouble too, then we could scrub stuff together and work out plans to make life interesting in here.”

“Hmm… tempting… but for now I think I’ll pass,” Annabelle said smirking.

“Yeah, I hate cleaning too,” Eylion said looking up at the ceiling.

They both laid back on the bed, and soon Annabelle could feel herself getting drowsy. It had been such a long and emotional day. She was so tired.

——–
“What’s going on in here?!”

Annabelle opened her eyes. “Hmm… what?”

“I said no one was to leave their rooms,” Lydia said coming closer.

“I haven’t left this room,” Annabelle mumbled rubbing sleep out of her eyes.

“Honest, lady, she hasn’t,” Eylion said yawning.

Lydia narrowed her eyes at them. “Don’t move. I need to let Madame Odiosis know that I found you, Eylion.”

She walked out the door.

Annabelle looked at Eylion. “You’re in trouble now,” she said.

“Yeah… well what else is new?”

When Lydia came she was not followed by Madame Odiosis, but by Octavia Spryt, the witch they had met before the order’s meeting.

“Well, well, well, you two have been here for less than two hours and already you are causing trouble. I told the headmistress we should keep an extra eye on you!”

Eylion smirked, clearly pleased she already had a reputation.

“You two are on kitchen duty for a week!” Ms. Spryt said glowering at them.

“But…” Annabelle started.

“One more word from you, young lady, and you’ll sleep in the dungeon tonight!” she threatened.

“Cool! Can I come with!” Eylion said looking exited.

“Be quiet, girl! I’ve got my eye on you two. Lydia can I have a word outside?”

“Sure, Octavia.” Lydia followed her out.

Eylion turned to Annabelle. “Wow… she really is an idiot! I already had kitchen duty for a week!” She laughed. “Sorry, I got you in trouble too though.”

“It’s okay,” Annabelle said half annoyed half amused. “This way we might be able to sneak a potion into her tea.”

“Girl, you are devious!” Eylion grinned.

Lydia came back into the room looking stern and carrying a strap with her.

“Alright you two, I’m sorry, but we have to show you two what we do to rule breakers in this establishment. Bend over the bed. And be quick about it, we have to get down to supper.”

Eylion and Annabelle both swallowed nervously, but obeyed.

“You will each get six, and I hope that will teach you to behave in future.”

She pulled up their skirts and swiftly pulled down their white regulation panties. She gave them each six licks with the strap. They stung, but Annabelle thought they could be worse. Maybe Lydia’s heart wasn’t all in it; she would bet a lot that Ms. Spryt was the one who ordered the punishment.

When it was over, Lydia gave them both a soft pat on their bottom. “Okay, now pull up your panties and follow me down to supper. I don’t want any more trouble from you two, okay.”

“Yes, ma’am,” they both mumbled.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Annabelle

 

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Annabelle (part 21)

“That’s it, I need a new cauldron.” Gwen sat down by the breakfast table looking unhappy. The cauldron had a leak at the bottom and was no longer of use to anyone. “I have had this one for ages.”

“It shows,” Annabelle said looking up from her breakfast. “That cauldron looks positively ancient.” She took a bite of toast and winked at her mentor.

“It is not ancient,” Gwen protested. “I got this cauldron when I was just an apprentice like yourself,” she said waving her finger at Annabelle.

“Exactly,” Annabelle mumbled into her tea cup, smirking.

Gwen raised her eyebrow at her, half smiling, but trying to look stern. “Oh very funny, I can see you’re in a brat mood today.” She paused as Annabelle nodded and grinned. “It has great sentimental value, young lady. I bought this when I first started earning my own money from potion making. I will have to go to the village today and get a new one. Your’s is a little tiny for my potion making.” She studied Annabelle. “You should come too, you need new shoes.”

Annabelle frowned. “What’s wrong with the shoes I have?”

“They have holes in them, sweetheart. And I don’t think it’s any use patching them together. You’ve had them for quite a while.”

“But… I can’t afford any shoes,” Annabelle said looking down at her plate. She knew Gwen didn’t intend for her to pay for them, but she still hated the idea that she couldn’t buy her own things.

“Don’t be silly, Annabelle. I will buy new shoes for you,” Gwen said as expected. She gave her apprentice a reassuring smile.

“But… can’t I try to sell some of the potions I have made to pay a little myself?” She didn’t like idea of Gwen paying for her things, it made her uncomfortable. She already lived in her house and ate her food. Gwen and Aisling’s kindness often made her feel guilty because she could never repay them for what they had done for her. What they had given her and still gave her was priceless.

“I don’t think you’ll get much for them, Annabelle,” Gwen said. “They’re just simple remedies.”

“And prank potions,” Annabelle mumbled. She looked nervously up at Gwen. She knew how Gwen felt about her making potions without her being there.

“Prank potions? When have you been making prank potions?” Gwen said sternly.

“When you were out,” Annabelle said attempting to sound nonchalant. “But… It’s okay, Alexis supervised. I wasn’t doing anything on my own.”

Having Alexis around was having supervision, but at the same time it meant she could make potions Gwen wouldn’t have let her make and she could make them without someone constantly watching her. Alexis was more laid back and seemed more than happy to help Annabelle with some mischief. “Goddess knows I suffered her pranking when Gwen was your age,” she would say shaking her head. Having Alexis around was almost like having a grandparent spoiling you, or at least that is how Annabelle imagined a grandparent to be like, she had never had the experience herself.

“And you want to earn a living selling prank potions?” Gwen said looking at her sternly. “Is that why I am apprenticing you? So you can help trouble makers prank people?”

“I want to be able to pay for my own things,” she said looking sad. “It would make me feel more self-reliant.” This was true, but that wasn’t really why she was making prank potions. For the most part she just felt this rush of excitement knowing she was making something “naughty” that could get her in trouble, even if when she did get in trouble she wish she hadn’t.

Gwen sighed. “Very well… we will try to sell your prank potions, but I’m hoping that in future you will make a living by creating something useful.”

Annabelle nodded solemnly.

“And Annabelle… you have no need to feel guilty about staying here. You are an apprentice now and it is therefore my responsibility to teach you, feed you and clothe you. Okay? It is not uncommon. Leda does the same for Eylion.”

“But Eylion can make things that are worth more if Leda tries to sell it,” Annabelle said sadly.

“And so will you once you’ve had proper training.”

“But… I won’t because I’ll have to leave soon and I never got to repay you.”

Gwen got up and walked over to where Annabelle was sitting. She bent over and put her arms around her. “I don’t want you to repay me,” Gwen said hugging her and kissing her forhead. “I don’t know when, but when you get out of that school I want you back here with me and Aisling where you belong. You must promise to be safe and you must promise to come back, is that clear?”

“Yes, Gwen,” Annabelle said getting up too, burying herself in Gwen’s embrace. “I promise to come back.”

“Come to think of it… it’s good we are selling those potions, then I won’t have to worry about you trying to smuggle them into the school,” she said rubbing Annabelle’s back.

“Well… we don’t have to sell them… at least not all of them…”

“Oh yes we are, young lady. I can’t believe I just gave you that idea. We are selling the lot of them today. We’ll go after lunch you get some studying done first; in the meantime, I need to go out harvesting for a potion.”

————–

Annabelle looked through her potion book for prank potions. It had been confiscated after her fiasco last attempt to make a potion on her own. Instead of making a potion that turned people into frogs for a short period of time the potion had blown up and Elyon had turned into a big fat toad. Luckily Gwen hadn’t thrown out the book, she had only hidden it from Annabelle, and Alexis was more than happy to tell her where she kept it. Though Alexis kept saying Gwen was a troublemaker when she was young, Annabelle had a feeling that Alexis had once been quite the handful too. “I’m pretty well-behaved,” she thought to herself, justifying her own trouble making.

“A potion that will make you talk backwards,” she mumbled to herself. “That doesn’t sound dangerous at all, but it does sound funny. They won’t know what hit them!” She grinned to herself and set up her little apprentice cauldron.

————–

After three failed attempts Annabelle finally got it right. She poured her precious potion into a little glass bottle. It was pink and it gleamed in the sunlight from the window. She smiled to herself feeling a great amount of pride at having made something all alone without any supervision. She wasn’t supposed to do anything on her own, but that was hardly the point. She quickly hid the bottle in her satchel along with her potion book as she heard footsteps nearing the kitchen.

“Ready for lunch, Annabelle? I sure hope you have gotten some studying done so we can go to the villa…” Gwen stopped in her tracks and took a look around. “What in the world has been going on in here?”

“I eh… I had a little accident… well three little accidents,” Annabelle said as she backed away trying to get as far away from Gwen as possible.

The kitchen was splattered in sticky potion. Some of it was slimy, some of it was blue… the counter top had a nasty burn; all in all, it was just a real mess. She hadn’t really planned what to do next. When she started making the potion she had had plenty of time to finish it before Gwen would be back, but having failed three times she hadn’t had time to cleaning up and hiding the traces of her mischief.

“Annabelle, you know you’re not supposed to make potions without supervision,” Gwen said sternly as she folded her arms and looked at the state of her beloved kitchen.

“I… emh… yes, I know,” she said trying to sound ashamed even if she was still excited at having made something on her own.
“Look at my kitchen!” Gwen said sounding really angry.

“I know it’s a bit messy, Gwen… but… but it’s nothing a good cleaning spell can’t fix, right? I’ve seen you do it plenty of times,” Annabelle said making sure to keep her backside far away from Gwen for good measure.

“Cleaning spell? Oh no, Annabelle, you are on your own with this. You will clean this kitchen without any help from me. That should teach you not to disobey the rules.”

“But… but Gweeen…” Annabelle tried. “What about going to the village? I need new shoes, remember?”
“If you can finish cleaning before I leave for the village, which I doubt, then, yes, you can come. If not, then we’ll just have to get the shoes another day. And you just be glad that I feel too upset to put you over my knee, young lady! You better be on your very best behaviour for the rest of the day or I’ll swear you will have your backside properly warmed before bed. Now let’s have lunch in the sitting room, I don’t want to eat in this messy kitchen.”

————-

“Annabelle, I’m leaving now. If by some miracle you’re finished you may come,” Gwen called before she went out the front door.

Annabelle sighed as she heard the front door slam shut. She was nowhere near being done. She had only started with a sticky puddle on the floor and it proved really tough to clean. Well… she hadn’t really tried to clean it yet, she had been distracted by how fun it was to touch and then time just went by and before she knew it, it was time to leave. If only Gwen had done her cleaning spell then she could have gone too. Why didn’t she know the spell herself? Why hadn’t Gwen taught her? Why hadn’t she read about it? She had read about spells. You could use words, but Gwen never did. Skilled witches didn’t need to use words, words were usually just an extra help. Annabelle had read about the oral spells, you didn’t necessarily have to say an exact incantation, mostly it was the thought behind the words that counted, but for people who don’t have too much control over their minds, like say an apprentice, they help you as a guide. In Annabelle’s book the incantations were always in some old language. Gwen had made Annabelle study it, but she didn’t really know it. She only knew single words.

“Well… it can’t hurt to try,” she said to herself.

She got up raised her hands and closed her eyes and focused on the job she wanted done. “Mundatio, cucina, saponem!” She wasn’t sure if she said it correct and if it would work. It sounded fancy, but all she had tried to say was “cleaning, kitchen , soap!” because she didn’t know much about this old language and how it worked; however, it was a clear instruction and her little incantation did something for suddenly her wooden scrub started moving on its own, in fact, several scrubs started moving around and cleaning the kitchen for her.

“Yes!” She did a little happy dance. She had no idea how she had done it, maybe it was the words, maybe it was how focused she had been to make the object clean the kitchen for her, all she knew was that she was going to the village with Gwen.
She knew that Gwen would have taken the broom, but she always flew so gracefully and careful that she’d have no trouble catching up to her if she grabbed Aisling’s broom and go after her.

—————

“Gwen! Wait for me,” she called after her as she zoomed twenty feet over the ground.

Gwen turned to look back and stopped, hovering in the air.
“Annabelle, what do you think you are doing?”

Annabelle flew next to her and stopped too. “You said if I cleaned the kitchen I could come with you,” she said smiling.

“I said if you finished cleaning the kitchen before I left, you could come. And I most certainly did not say you could fly a broom, young lady!”

“But… but you’ll be with me now, so you can supervise me flying the broom, but I don’t really need you too… look!” She soared around her in a circle showing Gwen her flying skills.

Gwen closed her eyes and counted to ten. She took a deep breath. “Annabelle….”

“Are you upset with me, Gwen?” Annabelle asked frowning. “I just wanted to come to the village with you… I was really looking forward to it. And you said I needed new shoes…” She pouted. “I’m sorry…”

“Oh don’t you try that with me, young lady! It won’t work. You knew it would not be okay for you to borrow Aisling’s broom and come after me,” Gwen scolded her. “I have had it with your attitude and misbehaviour. You clearly haven’t learned your lesson.”

Annabelle bit her lip sensing she was in big trouble.
“I’m sorry, Gwen. Look… I’ll just go back home, okay … I deserve that. I won’t come to the village.” There was no one around and she thought it was better to calm Gwen down quickly or she’d might get a good walloping right there by the side of the road.

Gwen was quiet for a while, thinking.
“You may come,” she finally said, but she still looked stern.

“Really?” Annabelle grinned. “Thanks!”

“Yes, but only because we are almost there, and only because you need new shoes; it will not be a fun trip, we won’t be hanging around. We will do what we need to do and go straight home. And don’t think for one second that this means that you are not in trouble, because I can assure you that you are. Remember what I said earlier about anymore misbehaviour?”

Annabelle frowned. “Emh… ya… but…”

“No, butts, Annabelle; you were warned what would happen, and something tells me that you need a little discipline the way you have been acting out lately. Now land that broom immediately, we are walking from here.”

“Gweeeen…”

“No, Annabelle… we are walking.”

————-

Once they got to the village they went to the potion shop where they sold their potions, and Gwen hadn’t been lying when she said that Annabelle’s potions wouldn’t sell for much, but Annabelle didn’t mind. It felt great knowing that she had earned the money herself with her own abilities. She didn’t have them for long though, because next they went to the shoemaker and as promised Annabelle handed over her money to Gwen, helping out to buy her own shoes. It was nowhere near enough, but “every bit helps,” Gwen told her.

————

“Gwen!” A lady hurried over towards them as they came out of the cauldron shop.

When Gwen saw her she gasped, but she quickly pulled herself together. Seeing her reaction Annabelle was willing to bet money that Gwen would have hidden if she had seen her first, but sadly this was not the case.

“Who is that?” Annabelle asked coming closer to Gwen. She felt unease as the stranger approached them.

“No one special,” Gwen answered. “Stay close.” She grabbed Annabelle’s arm and held her close to her.

“How are you, darling? I haven’t seen you for several decades. How is Aisling?”

“She’s fine,” Gwen said stiffly holding Annabelle’s arm even tighter. It was as though she needed her there because she felt uneasy around this person too.

Annabelle didn’t like her, even if the lady did smile at them. She was beautiful like Gwen. They were the same height, had the same build, had the same eye and hair colour, but Gwen always radiated warmth and kindness; the stranger seemed cold.

“Is this my granddaughter?” she looked at Annabelle who’s eyes widened.

“No,” replied Gwen.

“Great-granddaughter?” she asked again smirking.

“No, mother!” Gwen replied. “She is not related to you.” She seemed angry and defensive. “Why are you here?”

“Gwen, can’t a mother say hello to her own daughter? I haven’t seen you for such a long time.”

“And I’m supposed to believe that you have missed me or something?” Gwen said angrily.

“Well… missed is a strong word,” mumbled the lady.

“Why are you here?” Gwen repeated.

The lady sighed. “Well… if you must know, I am here for the head witch. She has asked to see me. It’s got something to do with that new school of hers.” She looked at Annabelle who frowned at the mention of the school.
“Are you going to the school, girl? You seem about the right age.”

“I don’t want to,” Annabelle said defiantly.

“Is not a question about wanting to, little girl.” She grabbed Annabelle’s chin with her thumb and forefinger and lifted her face so she could look her straight in the eyes. “It’s about doing what the order tells you to do.” She gave Annabelle a cold look and patted her cheek. Annabelle folded her arms and looked the other way.

“Quite the temper on that one, Gwen. She should learn to respect her elders.”

“I only respect elders who aren’t complete…” Annabelle started, looking furious.

“Annabelle, hush!” Gwen silenced her.

“But Gwen… she…” Annabelle tried looking at her mentor.

“I said be quiet. Don’t let your anger get the better of you. It’s not worth it.” She turned to her mother. “We have to get going now….” She hesitated not really sure what to say next. In the end she just said “goodbye” and walked off dragging Annabelle with her.

———–

The trip back was very quiet. Gwen didn’t say anything, and Annabelle knew better to question her about her mother. She had even let Annabelle fly the whole way back. Annabelle guessed she was so upset she just wanted to get back as soon as possible and walking would take a lot longer. It did confuse her because Gwen always said it was for her safety that she wasn’t allowed to fly yet, but now suddenly because she was in this mood it was alright; however, Annabelle was not about to complain when Gwen so willingly let her fly. She was never allowed to fly, which reminded her of how much trouble she was in. Gwen had made it really clear that Annabelle was in for a spanking before bed. But that was also confusing, why should she be punished for doing something, when Gwen suddenly had a change of heart about the whole thing?

———-

When they came back they went in the kitchen door, or correction, they tried to enter the kitchen door. They opened it and they both gasped as foam came out. Annabelle had completely forgotten that she had used a spell to clean the kitchen. It was now full of waist-high, soapy foam. If the kitchen was clean underneath, they could not see it.
Annabelle looked nervously at Gwen, fearing she was going to put her over her knee right there in the garden. Instead she just walked around the house to the front door and threw her broomstick angrily on the ground before walking inside. Annabelle picked it up and placed it up against the wall outside and followed her in.

———

“Did you girls have a good time in the village,” Alexis asked when they came in. She was sitting in the living room with a book petting the neighbor’s cat, Mr. Whiskers.

“It was fine,” said Gwen snapped before she hurried upstairs and into her bedroom and slammed the door shut.

“What’s got her broomstick in a twist?” Alexis asked Annabelle who looked sad.

“I… I’m not sure,” she replied. It wasn’t entirely true; she knew what had upset Gwen, at least parts of it, but she didn’t know if she was allowed to tell anyone about their encounter with her mother. “I think maybe it’s her week,” she said to relieve Alexis of her suspicion and only after she had said it was she reminded that Gwen was ninety-years-old, but then again she was a witch and not a mortal.

“Oh yes… that would explain it. She has always been a little cranky around that time of the month,” Alexis said nodding to herself. “Best to stay out of her way.”

“Yeah, I think that’s for the best,” Annabelle agreed.

“Alexis…” Annabelle approached the older woman, trying to look very innocent.

“What have you done?”

“How do you know I have done something?” Annabelle asked frustrated. So far her innocent act wasn’t going smoothly.

“Intuition, my dear; I have been in the game for a long time, young lady. Nothing will get past me.”

“ Oh… well okay… well see the thing is… there has been a slight accident in the kitchen.”

“What sort of accident, Annabelle?” Alexis put down her book and got up.

“Emh… I was supposed to clean the kitchen or I couldn’t come to the village… so I sort of made up my own cleaning spell and left.” She bit her finger nervously.

Alexis sighed. “Oh dear…”

“Yah… you can say that, alright. The whole kitchen is full of soapy foam! That might also be part of the reason Gwen snapped…” she looked down at her hands shamefully.
Alexis chuckled. “I had forgotten what life with an apprentice in the house was like.”
Annabelle breathed out in relief. She knew Alexis had a tendency to spoil her, but she knew that there was a certain limit that should not be crossed, she just wasn’t aware of where this limit was yet. Glad that Alexis didn’t think the soapy kitchen a punishable offence she followed her into the kitchen where Alexis put it straight within five seconds. The foam was gone and the kitchen was so clean every surface shone.

“I think I should make dinner tonight,” Alexis said opening the door to the pantry. “Knowing Gwen in this mood, she won’t be coming down anytime soon.”

Annabelle nodded. “Yeah, she seemed very upset.”

“And you…” Alexis said putting her arm around Annabelle’s waist. “You can go stand in that corner for ten minutes.”
“What?” Annabelle protested. Apparently, she had crossed the line after all.
“That’s right. You can think about the trouble you caused, little apprentice.” She swatted Annabelle lightly into the corner. “And you be glad I don’t put you over my knee.”

—————-

The next morning when Annabelle came downstairs she found Aisling sleeping on the sofa in the living room. She guessed Gwen was still in a terrible mood, but that wasn’t poor Aisling’s fault. Annabelle felt annoyed with her. She did not like the idea of Gwen making Aisling sleep on the sofa, not at all. If she had known she would have offered to share her own bed with her.
Gwen had not come down for dinner the previous night; Alexis, Annabelle and Aisling had eaten without her. Gwen had not followed through with her spanking threat either, in fact Annabelle hadn’t seen her since they had come back, and she was not stupid enough to tell Aisling that she had one coming, because she might decide to do it instead.
She went into the kitchen and found Alexis putting breakfast on the table. She had put on an apron and her new wooden spoon was sticking out of it. She really hadn’t been joking when she told Annabelle and Eylion that she would be carrying it around with her.

“Will you please wake up Aisling, dear? And tell her that if she doesn’t come I will wake her myself.” She pointed at her spoon while winking.

“Yes, Alexis,” Annabelle said and went back into the living room.

She walked over to the sofa where Aisling was sleeping. Poor thing, her feet were sticking out on the end because the sofa wasn’t long enough.

“Aisling,” Annabelle called her from the door frame.

“Hmmgrf…” Aisling made a grunting noise that meant “what is it you want now?”

“Alexis says breakfast is ready and if you don’t come now she’ll come and wake you herself… and I think maybe she will bring her wooden spoon…”

Aisling sighed. “Yes yes, alright… I’m coming.”

She raised her hand to rub her eyes. Annabelle only realized too late that something was wrong. SPLAT!
“What the… ANNABELLE!” Aisling got up her face splattered with cream.

“It wasn’t me, I swear,” Annabelle said backing away from her as Alexis came out the door.

“What is going on in here,” she asked sternly before taking one look at Aisling and laughing.
“Life with an apprentice, eh?” She chuckled.

“It wasn’t me, Alexis,” Annabelle repeated. “I swear!”

“You, my dear, are in big trouble,” Aisling told her before she went into the kitchen to wash her face off in the sink.

“But…but… “Annabelle stammered.

“Come on, brat. Let’s have breakfast,” Alexis said leading her into the kitchen and giving her a light swat.

Annabelle sat down by the kitchen table looking grouchy. Why wouldn’t they believe her?
She was joined by Alexis and Aisling who both filled their mug with coffee. Annabelle took a bite of toast, glaring at them both.

“Annabelle will you stop giving us the evil eye,” commanded Aisling. “I can promise it will not soften me up. You could say you’re sorry, you know.”

“But I didn’t do anything,” Annabelle replied angrily.

Alexis took a sip of her coffee, not a second after she spluttered it out again making a terrible face.

“What in the world…”

“What’s wrong with you coffee,” asked Aisling, sniffing hers.

“It’s salty!” Alexis said looking at Annabelle.

“Don’t look at me,” Annabelle said taking another bite of toast.

Aisling dipped the tip of her finger into her coffee and tasted it; she too made a face. “Yup, definitely salty. Care to explain, Annabelle?”

“Oh for crying out loud, I said I didn’t do it,” Annabelle said throwing her toast down on her plate.

“There is no need for a tantrum, young lady,” said Aisling sternly. She pointed at the door. “I think we’ve had enough of you for the time being, you can go to your room and stay there until I say you can come out.”

“Why? I’m not six-years-old, Aisling,” Annabelle replied getting up and stomping her foot, which didn’t really help her argument.
“Annabelle, I will not tell you again,” Aisling warned. Her face was getting red, which was never a good sign.

Realizing there was nothing she could do that would make them believe she was a victim of someone else’s plans; she left the kitchen before things turned nasty. She had not forgotten how hard Aisling’s palm was.

————-

“This is just unbelievable,” she muttered to herself as she threw herself onto her bed. “So unfair!”

Someone was up to no good, but who on earth could it be. Eylion? She was a prankster alright, but she would never let Annabelle take the blame for it. And how come she had been sent to her room like some naughty kid?

“No, this is ridiculous, I’m not staying here,” she said to herself and opened her window. She and Eylion had once climbed down the gutters here, it was quite easy.

Making sure to put pillows under her bed covers first so it looked like she had gone back to bed, she went out the window and down to into the garden. She took a sneak peak in the kitchen window to see that Alexis and Aisling enjoying a new cup of “unsalty” coffee, before she got a broom out of the broom shed.
Getting on she soared towards the meadow and her favorite beech tree.

——-

When there, she left the broom on the ground, climbed the tree and found her favorite branch and lay back against the stem of the tree. She let out a loud dramatic sigh. She knew if Aisling caught her she’d be in trouble, but at the moment she didn’t really care because she had told Aisling the truth and she had sent her to her room like some snotty little kid.

“Meow.”

Annabelle looked up. A little grey tabby kitten was approaching her.

“Oh hi! Aren’t you a pretty little kitten! How did you get all the way up here by yourself, huh?” She picked it up and started petting it.

“Where is your mummy?”

“Meow.”

Annabelle scratched the purring kitten behind the ear and looked around for a bigger cat. After a little while she spotted another, bigger cat on a branch above her, but it wasn’t grey; this was a ginger tabby cat. “Well… it happens,” she thought.
She turned her attention back to the little kitten and held it up towards her face. It gave her a little smack with a clawed paw.

“Ow!”

“Eylion, for heaven sakes! Behave yourself!” Leda’s voice appeared out of nowhere.

“Eylion? Leda? What is going on?” Annabelle looked around.

The ginger cat jumped down onto the branch next to Annabelle and gave the kitten a stern look. If anyone ever wondered if cats can give stern looks…well… they can.

The little kitten stopped in its tracks as it was biting Annabelle’s finger. It looked guiltily at the ginger cat. Or what was the ginger cat, because now it was not. Leda was sitting where the ginger cat had been only seconds before. She picked a leaf out of her red hair.

“You? But… how…” Annabelle stared at her and then at the little tabby kitten. “Is this… Eylion?”

“It is indeed,” Leda replied. “We’ve been practicing animal transfiguration, but I’m afraid she insists on being naughty in any kind of form.” She held out her hand motioning for Annabelle to hand Eylion over. She then put the little kitten in the pocked of her witch’s’ cloak and climbed down from the tree.

Following her, Annabelle watched as Leda pulled the kitten out of her pocket again and put it on the ground. It immediately ran off; it seemed that Eylion did not want to turn human just yet.

“Oh will you come back here, young lady!” Leda yelled after her, but the little kitten had already hidden behind the tree.

Annabelle giggled.

“Oh very well… I suppose she can run around for a little longer,” Leda said shaking her head. She spotted the broom on the ground.

“Are you supposed to have that?” she asked suspiciously.

“Well… technically… no, but I had to get away,” Annabelle said frowning.

“Oh really? Was there an emergency? A fire perhaps?” Leda asked sternly.

“No… but… but Aisling and Alexis were being mean!” Annabelle said defensively. “So I had to get away quickly.” Not sure she had convinced Leda yet, she continued. “You see… I woke up this morning and Aisling was sleeping on the sofa…”

“Aisling was sleeping on the sofa?” Leda asked with wide eyes.

“Yes… probably because Gwen has been in such a foul mood. She could have just asked to sleep in my bed, I wouldn’t have minded.”

“Ah yes… well that might not have helped with Gwen’s mood,” Leda said smiling.

“Why not?” Annabelle asked confused.

Leda chuckled. “You are so innocent.” She stroked Annabelle’s cheek. “Why don’t you continue telling me why Aisling and Alexis are mean,” she said smiling.

“Oh righ, that… well… So Alexis asked me to wake Aisling up, but someone had put cream in her palm and she splattered it all over her face, and they blamed me! And then when we were going to eat someone had put salt in their coffee, and they blamed that on me too! But it wasn’t me and then Aisling told me that I had to go to my room, which is just not fair at all because I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t even get to finish my breakfast…” She pouted, feeling sorry for herself.

Leda shook her head and sighed. “You’ve all had an eventful morning, haven’t you?”

“Please don’t make me go back, Leda,” Annabelle begged. “I really didn’t do it, but no one believes me.”

“I believe you Annabelle, but we should still go back so we can sort this out. You see Aisling and Alexis seemed to have forgotten that they have another prankster living with them other than you.”

“They do?” Annabelle asked confused.

“Oh yes… I can sense the mischief of Gwendoline from a mile away.”

“You think Gwen did it?! Gwen?! Miss-I-love-rules-Gwen?”

“Oh you’d be surprised what she can do when she is in the right mood, Annabelle,” Leda said looking around for Eylion. “Now let me just catch my naughty, little kitten and we can go back and sort this out.”

———-

After unsuccessfully trying to keep Eylion still long enough to turn her back into a human, Leda had picked up the kitten and stuffed her back into her pocket. Then she had taken Annabelle by the hand and led her back home by foot. When Annabelle tried to convince her to let her fly the broom back she said, “I think you’re in enough trouble already, don’t you think?”

When they walked through the front door and into the living room they met Aisling and Alexis, they were both soaking wet. When they saw Annabelle they both rounded on her, both seemed pretty angry.

“You are in a world of trouble, young lady. What is this, Annabelle? Do you feel like you don’t get enough attention? How many traps have you put around the house?”

Annabelle’s eyes filled with tears and she hid behind Leda. How could they think she was misbehaving when she hadn’t even been in the house? She sniffled.

“You two really are the limit!” Leda scolded. “Annabelle has told you over and over that she didn’t do it and you still blame her. Did it even occur to the two of you that there might be someone else in this house that is in need of attention? Aisling, why did you sleep on the sofa? Has anyone see Gwen today?”

“You think Gwen is behind all of this?” Aisling asked confused. “Why would she do this?”

“Why would Annabelle?”

“But… Gwen?!” Alexis cut in. “She hasn’t acted like this in several decades.”

Annabelle stepped forward. She wiped tears off her face. “I didn’t do it,” she said once again, hoping that this time they would believe her.

Aisling came closer and looked her in the eyes. She suddenly looked really sad.
“Oh honey… I… I am so sorry.” She put her arms around Annabelle and hugged her tight. “I could kick myself!”

Annabelle had thought about this carefully and made her decision.
“I need to talk to you about Gwen,” she said looking into Alexis’s eyes from Aisling’s embrace. “I think I know why she is acting so weird.”

“Oh really? Well do tell! I’m getting fed up with this behaviour,” Alexis said sharply.

“Well… you see… when we were in the village she met this lady. A very unpleasant lady,” Annabelle said.

“Who?” asked Aisling and looked down on Annabelle.

“It was her mother,” Annabelle said looking worried. “She was in a good mood… well not good because she was a little fed up with me, but she was normal until we met her in the village, and after that Gwen was acting really strange. I think she’s really hurting and that is why she is doing all these weird things.”

Alexis sighed. “So Wynne is back, is she? Well that would explain why Gwen is acting so strange. Well I know how to deal with it.”

“What are you going to do?” Annabelle asked.

“I’m going to give her what she needs and probably what she is craving.”

“What is that?”

“Boundaries.”

Annabelle’s eyes widened. “You mean… eh…”

“Oh I think she has earned herself a trip across my knee,” Alexis said huffing. She looked over at both Leda and Aisling who both nodded.

“All these tricks?” Alexis continued. “That girl is asking for it!”

————-

They suddenly heard a loud racket outside; it was the sounds of buckets being dropped on the ground and Albert neighing. They all hurried outside, Alexis was first. Annabelle was surprised how fast Alexis could move when she wanted to, usually she just sat on her bottom asking everyone else to get her things, blaming her old age even if, for a witch, she really wasn’t that old.

“Hold it right there, young lady,” they heard her yelling from the back garden.

They came round the corner and saw Gwen amidst the mess with Alexis holding her ear in a firm grip.

“Owww! Alexis! What are you doing?!” Gwen winced.

“We have been blaming Annabelle all day for these little tricks, and it turned out to be you. Would you like to explain why you’ve been acting like a little girl,” she scolded.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Gwen said stubbornly.

Alexis let go of her ear and pointed to the kitchen door. “Get in!”

“No!” Gwen replied defiantly. “I’m busy. Leave me alone, will you.”

Alexis swatted her backside hard.

Gwen gasped. “Ow! What do you think you are doing?”

Alexis swatted her again. She gave her back a push and swatted her all the way into the kitchen.
The rest of them followed them inside.

“Sit down, Gwen,” Alexis said pointing at a chair.

“No, I don’t think I will thanks,” Gwen said trying to leave the kitchen, but Aisling blocked her way.

“Gwen, that’s enough. Sit down right now,” she said looking angry.

Gwen turned around trying to make her way out the backdoor into the garden, but Alexis grabbed her arm.

“That’s it; I have had enough of this.” She sat down on the chair herself and hauled Gwen over her lap and gave her backside half a dozen sharp smacks.

“Ow! Alexis you can’t do this! I’m not your apprentice anymore; I’m too old for this!” Gwen protested.

“You might not be an apprentice anymore, but that does not mean that I am not your mentor still, and you are most certainly not too old to be given a spanking, young lady.”

“But… you can’t spank me in front of my own apprentice…” Gwen sniffled.

Annabelle was glad to hear it, because she didn’t want to be in the room when Gwen got her spanking.

“I understand that, sweetheart, but if this is the position that will make you calm down and explain what is going on, then so be it.” Alexis rubbed her back. “I will not dish out a full spanking… yet, but you must calm down and tell me what is wrong. If I let you back up, will you be willing to talk to us?”

Gwen sniffled. “Okay,” she said sadly, admitting defeat.

“Good girl. Let’s go into the sitting room and we can all have a chat.”

———–

“Gwen, tell me why you are upset.” Alexis sat down next to her on the sofa, and Gwen seemed to be very interested in the floor.

“I’m not upset,” she mumbled.

“You’re not in a good position to lie to me, young lady. You are in enough trouble already. Come on… tell me.” She put her arm around her.

“It’s… it’s my mother,” she finally said putting her head on her mentor’s shoulder.

“She is back in town?”

“You mean you didn’t know?” Gwen said sounding almost accusing.

“Alright… I’m not going to lie… I was told, but only very recently and after you started acting so strange. Gwen, you could have told me that she was here, and if not me at least you could have told your wife.” She looked across the room where Aisling was sitting on the sofa with her arm around Annabelle. Leda sat in a comfy chair with Eylion still as a kitten purring on her lap as she was petting her.

“It’s not just that she is here… well mostly… I’ve always hated her guts, but she is working for that woman! She is part of that horrible group that will take Annabelle away from here.”

“And you see that as another betrayal?”

“Why does everything she does feel like a kick in the stomach? Why can’t she do something good for a change?” Gwen’s eyes filled with angry tears.

“Oh honey,” Alexis said stroking her forehead. “She has done one thing right?”

“What?”

“She gave birth to the lovely young woman next to me. It’s the best thing she ever did or will ever do, and that she cannot see that herself is her loss, but I am forever grateful.”

“Alexis…”

“Don’t you dare say it’s not so,” she warned. “Her loss, sweetie, but my gain. Focus on the people who love you and are there for you, and forget people like her.”

“But… she is my mother… and I hate that!”

“No, she is not, sweetie. She just gave birth to you. Has she ever been a mother to you? No, she has not. You don’t owe her your tears and she is definitely not worth them. She does not deserve you as a daughter.”

“Gwen,” Leda joined in. “Who took you in as a young rebel? Who taught you? Who raised you to become the witch you are today?”

Gwen looked up. Her eyes were swollen. “Alexis…” she mumbled.

“That’s right!” Alexis said giving her a hug. “And you are like a daughter to me. I have had the privilege to have you in my life for almost eighty years, my girl. And I like to think that I have done my part to bring you up. I was not there from the beginning, but wouldn’t you say that I have been more of a mother than anyone else?”

Gwen nodded. She was still crying, but smiled weakly.

“We have a somewhat untraditional family. We don’t have our own by blood, but we take in those in need of a family. I’m glad to see that you followed in my footstep.” She winked at Annabelle.

“And Annabelle and Eylion… this is for life. Going away doesn’t change anything. We’re still family when you come back.”

Annabelle nodded and Eylion said “meow.”

Alexis gave a little nod towards Leda who understood. She stood up and put Eylion on the chair she had been sitting on. For a moment it looked like the kitten was going to jump off, but when Leda said “Sit!” it sat down again looking up at her.
Next thing the little kitten started growing and quickly transformed into a human being again.

“Done playing around, kitten?” Leda asked raising her eyebrow.

“Ya know… you should scratch me behind my ear more often,” Eylion said grinning. “It’s so calming.”
“Uh huh… get up,” Leda said.

Eylion got up and Leda sat down and hauled her over her knee. She gave her a dozen hard swats on her backside before letting her back up.

“Hey! What was that for?” Eylion said rubbing her backside.

“That’s for all the mischief you got into as a cat,” Leda said.

“What mischief?” Eylion said innocently.

“You smacked me in the face,” Annabelle said. “AND you bit my finger!”

“That’s right,” Leda said. “And it was also for biting my tail!”

Everyone except Leda laughed at this. She narrowed her eyes.

“Don’t think that just because you are the cutest little kitten anyone has ever seen, that you would get away with being naughty.”

“What about being the cutest human anyone has ever seen?” Eylion asked hugging her mentor looking up at her and batting her eyelashes.

Leda chuckled and put her arms around her. “I think we both know you don’t get away with mischief as a human,” she said patting her backside. She kissed her forheard. “Now take Annabelle with you for a walk.”

“But… oh…” Eylion avoided looking at Gwen. “Ah okay… Annabelle… let’s go climb some trees or something.”

Annabelle got up feeling anxious. She had really not appreciated being blamed for everything that Gwen had done, but she didn’t want her to be in trouble. Her stomach turned or growled more like.

“Oh dear, she hasn’t eaten more than a couple of bites of toast,” Alexis said, suddenly remembering that Annabelle had been sent to her room without getting to finish her breakfast. “Hold on, Annabelle, I shall make you a sandwich to bring with you.”

Annabelle nodded, but she didn’t have much of an appetite; however, she knew that there was no way she’d be allowed to leave without it.

“Annabelle, come here.” Gwen patted the seat next to her and she walked over to her and sat down. Gwen put her arms around her and Annabelle rested her head against her shoulder.

“I am really sorry that you got in trouble for what I did,” she said kissing her forehead.

“It’s okay…” Annabelle mumbled.

“No, it’s not. I didn’t mean it, but I should have realized that you’d be the first suspect for such pranks.”

“Eh… thanks,” Annabelle said looking up at her, rolling her eyes.

Gwen chuckled. “Ops… I mean… well… you know… I’m so much older and I don’t get into trouble very often… so…”

Annabelle smiled mischievously. “Well… I suppose I do cause a lot of trouble,” she said and quickly looked away remembering Gwen’s promise to warm her backside.

“And I should have believed you when you said you didn’t do it,” Aisling said. “I’m sorry, Annabelle.”

“Yeah me too,” Alexis said coming back into the room with a sandwich for her. “But you must admit… with the trouble you caused the day before we just assumed.”

“Yeah… but I said…”

“Yes, we know… you said you didn’t do it, and that should have been good enough.” She handed Annabelle the sandwich.

“Now… you youngsters, scoot! You go for a long walk; you both look like you could use some fresh air.” That was code for “Gwen is getting it good so we don’t want you in the house.”

—————

The two apprentices said their goodbyes and went outside and started walking. They were walking down the road towards the forest, Eylion kicking stones and Annabelle nibbling on her sandwich, when they saw a carriage coming towards them. It was big and black and was dragged by two horses. There were windows, but no visible doors. There was probably just one door in the back.
Sitting in front was a man dressed in black, holding the reins and a witch wearing midnight blue robes. She looked familiar and when the carriage came closer Annabelle saw that it was Wynne, Gwen’s mother.
The carriage stopped in front of the two of them.

“You can’t go see Gwen right now,” Annabelle said quickly. “It’s not a good time.”

“I’m not on my way to see Gwen, little girl. We’re here for you,” she said smiling coldly. “Oh and you too. Eylion, right?”

They looked confused at each other and Annabelle looked into the windows of the carriage. Sitting inside looking nervous were four other girls.

“No!” Annabelle said at once, realizing what was going on.

“Yes, girl. Now come along, we don’t want to be late for school.”

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Annabelle

 

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