August 18, 2016 by Lyn
Rix’s Guest Story
First Day, Year Twenty-Four of the Addergoole School
“What have we here?” The long limbed, olive skinned girl looked the two new boys up and down in a predatory manner that didn’t, quite, extend to licking her lips. Her two companions lounged against the walls behind her, somehow making the corridor seem much narrower.
“We’re Sextus and George sh’Penstemon.” The one who was only carrying a thick envelope had answered. Similar enough to be brothers they were about seventeen and the same general description would have fitted them both. The details made telling them apart quite easy: the precise shade and curl of the brown hair; the inch difference in height; the difference in eyebrow shape; the precise form of the nose; and the particular angle of the cheek bones. They were reasonably attractive, farm boys perhaps, and fit looking with an accent she couldn’t place and didn’t remember hearing recently. “You’d be cy’Fridmar, I suppose. Our Mum was cy’Fridmar,” he and his brother, who was carrying a single layer wooden box with bottles visible inside it, glanced briefly at each other, “And she asked us to deliver a present and some mail to the Professor when we arrived.”
“Olivia cy’Fridmar,” she acknowledged coolly, “So what’s in the box?”
“Our Mum’s homemade plum jam,” volunteered the boy holding the wooden box, “It’s really good.”
“Maybe we should open it and test it then,” one of the boys in the background, levered himself into upright off the wall and stepped forward, “Make sure that plum jam is all it is.” Dark eyes gleamed under near red hair.
“Our mother Promised us that it is normal plum jam made of plums, sugar and water with nothing else added.” The first boy, probably Sextus, paused and added, “You could test it, of course. But then you’d also have to explain to the Professor why you were intercepting his mail.”
“Come on Raz, Ked,” Olivia included the darker boy still leaning against the wall in her gesture, “We’ll leave the…children to their errand.” She walked off down the hall, using her heels to give a deliberate rock to her hips.
“Uh, Sext?” George reclaimed his brother’s attention from that very attractive vision, “Can you knock on the door already? This jam is getting heavy.”
Later, their charges delivered, the twins were walking back to their rooms. “So,” Sextus asked quietly, “Are we gonna get jumped?”
“Oh yeah,” George agreed. “Probably not today, but we’ll need to watch out.”
Unmasked, Olivia was a feline inspired nightmare. Black tufted tail and ears. Needle fangs, just too many and just too long. Sharp, retractable claws that seemed over large for her digits. Maniacal eyes, one golden orb and one emerald green, both with a slit pupil. Dropping from the ceiling out of nowhere she was terrifying.
Sextus’ fear reaction was a palm heel strike to her nose. The crack of her nose breaking was followed, after she stumbled backwards from the unexpected force to her face, by another crack as the back of her head hit the wall behind her. The last thing she heard as she slid down the wall into unconsciousness was “Shit!”
She came to slowly on a bed in the clinic, and found George gazing at her from a chair parked against the wall. “Ah, you’re awake,” he smiled. “Dr Caitrin asked us to watch you. They’ve had a few other people come in, and you were a bit complicated so they got behind. If it’s any consolation, you really did scare Sextus.”
“Complicated?” Her nose ached. Her head ached. Departed gods, it wasn’t supposed to be this hard to catch a first year.
“Broken nose and fractured skull,” elaborated George. “I’ll let the doctor know you’re awake as soon as Sextus comes back. By the way,” he added, “You’re not to try and get up until Dr Caitrin’s seen you.”
Actually, really, she didn’t want to get up yet. She gingerly felt her nose. It seemed okay.
“Hey, you’re awake!” Sextus’ voice came from the entrance to the cubicle, sounding far too cheerful. She looked over at him.
“You’re the same colour as the walls,” was all she could think to say.
“Yeap,” he agreed cheerfully with a goofy grin on his face, “And I’ve got wings!” He shook a bat-like appendage with translucent membrane at her. “There are still things happening to my hands and feet. I’ve had a blue pill,” he added, perhaps unnecessarily.
“Sext,” his brother put in, “How about you sit on the chair and I’ll go tell the doctor Olivia is awake?”
“Okay,” Sextus agreed, “I need to figure these things and chairs out or else I’ll get into trouble in class.” He sat in the newly vacated chair and spent the time it took for George to come back with the doctor working out what to do with his new wings. It turned out that he seemed to have a natural rest position that worked but, “I have to get a taller chair for my room,” he announced.
“Why?” It was certainly more interesting than staring at the ceiling while she waited for the doctor.
“The bottoms of my wings are on the floor. Hang on,” he paused, “Oh, that’s interesting.”
“I have these little hooky claw finger things on the ends of my…struts? I can move them,” Sextus folded his wings forward in a way that would probably be impossible for a bird, “And this one on the hinge joint is a bit like a thumb.” He extended his right wing up and forward and he wriggled each of the extensions he’d mentioned in turn. “I wonder if I could use them to help climb or hold on to stuff?”
Olivia looked at him critically for a moment, “Are you taller?”
“How…that can happen?” He looked at her in surprise.
“Says the guy who just got wings.”
“Oh, right, yeah.” He gave her a sunny smile. “I’m glad the doctor could fix your nose, it’s such a pretty nose.”
“That’s not the reaction I get from people,” lightly said but with an underlying bitterness.
“I think it’s a pretty nose.” He looked at her again. “I think all of you is pretty. Perhaps when George comes back,” George and Dr Caitrin appeared in the entrance of the cubicle but Sextus apparently didn’t hear them, “We can go find that wanna be vampire girl in our year George likes and all have lunch together.”
“Please tell me,” said George to Dr Caitrin, “That every word he thinks coming straight out of his mouth is just a temporary effect of the blue pills and that I don’t need to kill him now?”