DANCING WITH FEY
When sixteen-year-old Jade Fayette was brought to Evahlyna's School for the Gifted and Talented, after being orphaned at a young age, she thought her whirlwind of an existence would finally come to a screeching halt. Even though the school's main requirement for entry is basically being a juvenile delinquent, Jade attempts to remain positive. She settles in to her class schedule, flashes her innocent smile at her teachers while batting her eyelashes to maintain her grades, and causes a little trouble here and there to keep life interesting. Jade even manages to meet Benjamin Tran, a genius that doubles as her best friend. They pass the dreary time within the school walls by computer hacking, reading comics, and playing too many video games.
Just when everything seems to be going perfectly, students begin disappearing from the school in the dead of the night, never to be heard from again. One evening, Jade hears an eerily beautiful song played upon a fiddle drifting through the looming trees outside the iron gates of the school. She can't help but feel a haunting and insistent pull from the tune. When she follows the call of the music she discovers that the students are being hypnotized by the sorrowful song and lead off into the night by stout hairy faerie men called Brownies. Shocked and horrified by what she discovers, Jade literally falls into the arms of Christopher Knight, a man who is as mysterious and intriguing as he is ruggedly handsome. Jade, determined to discover his connection to the disappearances, convinces Christopher to reveal that a centuries old war between the ruling sisters of the faerie realm, the Seelie Queen, Divanyah, and the Unseelie Queen, Sylestiana are to blame. Jade isn't sure if he is insane, or if he makes perfect sense.
Within two days of meeting Christopher, Jade and Benjamin are thrust into the nebulous, gritty, and treacherous world of the Fey. Trying to navigate through otherworldly politics and mysticism, while staying true to their friendship proves to be nearly impossible as Jade discovers that she belongs more in the faerie realm than she ever could have dreamed. Meanwhile, Benjamin struggles to come to terms with the knowledge that Jade's unrequited love has found a new avenue in Christopher.
Sylestiana, hell-bent on punishing her sister, and taking control of the faerie realm in order to unleash her evil faeries on the unsuspecting mortal world plays the enchanting song that attracts the desperate youth to her intoxicating faerie dance. Once the young mortals step into her clutches they are turned into golden soldiers who become mindless minions within her army. With Sylestiana growing ever stronger, and Divanyah moving Jade, Benjamin, and Christopher against her sister like pieces on a chessboard, it becomes clear that Christopher's dark past may hold the key to defeating Sylestiana, saving both realms and finding their salvation.
With love, deception, and power swirling all around them it is up to Christopher, Jade, and Benjamin, the three most unlikely heroes to prevent a faerie war, or else face the wrath of not only Sylestiana, but the spurned Divanyah. Dancing with Fey follows Christopher, Jade, and Benjamin on a journey toward destiny.
I think this whole place is bullshit. Evahlyna’s School for the Gifted and Talented is a place filled with kids who are way more trouble than they are worth. Hell, doing a stint in juvey is practically a requirement to get in. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but seriously, you have to have gotten in trouble everywhere else before you end up here. This is where your parents send you to rot, or where they send you if you don’t have parents. I don’t have parents.
“Ms. Fayette? Ms. Fayette?” Ms. Evahlyna spoke my name sternly through perfectly lined red lips.
“I know, telling my teacher to go to Hell isn’t acceptable. I will try to choose my words wisely in the future.” I gave in, and told her what she wanted to hear, but with a flippant tone.
Ms. Evahlyna pressed her lips together and frowned at me over her black horn-rimmed glasses. I actually like the glasses. They have little gemstones in the corners that make her slanted blue eyes sparkle. She is perched in a throne-like black leather chair, behind a high wrought iron desk. For the Dean of the school Ms. Evahlyna is young with dark black hair that is always piled on top of her head. She has never been seen without a crisp skirt and suit jacket combo covering her thin figure. Ms. Evahlyna understands us. That is why she brought us all here. Each student attending the school is requested or recruited by her personally.
“Thank you. Now off you go. Isn’t it about lunch time?” She dismisses me without looking up from writing with her purple feather pen. I think it’s a real bird feather.
I don’t wait around and accept that I got away without a punishment. Her ancient book lined office bids me farewell with its silence and smell of sandalwood incense. I take one last deep breath of the warm scent before leaving her to the rapid scribbling. The hallway sounds greet my ears with the buzz of students eager for their two-hour-long lunch break. I begin to duck, squirm, whirl, and twirl through the students. I’m too small to see over the crowd. It gets annoying being so short. Not only do people underestimate you, but they come up with ridiculous nicknames like “short stuff” and “pint-size.”
“Jade! Jade!” Benjamin calls to me from down the hall.
“I’m following the sooooounnnddd of your vooiiiccceeeee.” I sing to him.
We run smack in to each other and end up squishing with our backs against a set of lockers in order to avoid being trampled by the varsity football team in their purple and black varsity jackets. I stick out my tongue and pull down the bottom of one eyelid with my index finger as they walk away like Usagi from Sailor Moon. Assholes I curse silently. I shove my hands deep in my black leather jacket pockets, and leaning back, I lift one untied combat boot against the cherry wood lockers.
“You want to go somewhere for lunch? The cafeteria is going to be crowded as hell with freshman.” Benjamin asked me nervously pushing up his glasses. He reminds me of an Asian Harry Potter.
“Sure, lets hit a Macdonald’s or something.” I shrugged. “We can stop at Lost World on the way back and get some comics.”
I made sure to look up at him and bat my dark eyelashes. I hope my green eyes work their magic. Ben hated being late for class. He also hated being called Ben.
“We’re going to be late then.” He admonished shaking his head. He shoved his books under one arm, and tucked my hand into the crook of his arm.
“Live a little Benny-Boy!” I grin mischievously and pat his cheek.
We head out to parking lot B arm in arm. B is the resting place of the cars of students who were fortunate enough to have parents who would buy them a car. No one at Evahlyna’s is allowed to work. Benjamin comes from a rich family. His mother is a doctor of some kind, he told me once about her occupation, but I didn’t really pay attention. His father is an engineer. Ben landed here at Evahlyna’s when he was 15 because he hacked the local police stations system, in order to remove another kid’s criminal record. The kid obviously threatened him. He is 17 now, and too smart for his own good. His options were jail or reform school. He still hacks systems, just not the governments.
We climb in to his fairly new blue Honda Civic, and he tosses our books in the back. The keys jingle as he shoves them in the ignition, and with a turn, the car rumbles to life. I roll down the window to smell the crisp autumn air as we pass through the immense wrought iron gates covered in vines. At the very top of the gate, stands the symbol of the Goddess in all her glory. One full moon in the center, with two crescents facing outward on either side. Evahlyna’s is lucky it’s a private institution, a public school would never allow such an obvious religious symbol.
“When are you going to get rid of that Rubik’s cube keychain? It makes you look like a loser!” I tease and stick my tongue out playfully.
“I don’t complain about your goth girl combat boots.” He shoots back.
“It’s almost time for the Samhain festival.” I tell him as we pull away.
“I don’t know why you insist on celebrating Halloween.” He shakes his head, flipping through the radio stations.
“It’s fun Benjamin! Besides, it’s when all the things that go bump in the night come out!” I practically squeal as I run my hand up his arm with my fingers, mimicking a crawling spider.
He laughs and swats me away. I love moments like these. Simple moments that make all the shitty things in the world drift away. Ben is a good friend. He is the only friend I’ve got. After 14 years in and out of foster care, this is where I’ve ended up. Ben makes it bearable. I should thank him for that. I probably never will.
The car breaks out of the woods that surround the school, and the road turns towards the city. It isn’t long before we are singing at the top of our lungs, with the windows down and the music up. Benjamin’s red polo collar flaps in the wind, and my long shinning black hair surrounds us both. Neither of us cares. The golden arches of deliciousness call to us as we pull in to the MacDonald’s parking lot, and stroll in with linked arms still singing and laughing. We order our food and plop down in a booth. I slather french-fries with mayonnaise and stuff them in my mouth while sipping on an extra-large Coke. MacDonald’s Coke is the best.
“You dropped this.” A rough and calloused hand slides Benjamin’s black sketchbook on to the table.
Neither of us heard the man walk up, and we both jump with surprise.
“Oh thanks man. I appreciate that! I would’ve been shit out of luck if I lost this!” Benjamin looks up at the man at the same time I do. His glasses slide down his nose just a little. He pushes them up out of habit.
My jaw goes slack. This man is beautiful, not handsome, beautiful. His long brown hair falls to just above his shoulders with a few pieces straying around muddy eyes. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but for me it is his facial structure that stops my heart. High cheekbones, and a delicate, but firm jaw lay covered in stubble. His assertive nose makes itself known, over lush pink lips. He furrows his eyebrows at what I can only assume would be my staring. I blink and for a second, I can see my green eyes reflected by his intense stare. He pulls his hand from the table and our skin brushes. I get the shivers. I think everyone in the restaurant can see me shake.
“No problem.” He spoke casually breaking our connection without a second thought.
“Yeah. Thanks. That is great that you, um, returned the book.” I tap a chipped black fingernail on the cover of the sketchbook and force a smile.
I feel like my cheeks are on fire. So much for keeping my cool. The guy gives a nod at us and adjusts his black pea coat, before walking out the door, leaving the smell of dew at midnight hanging in the air. I take a deep breath and let it out. I don’t think I wait the appropriate amount of time, before putting my head down on the table with a loud thump. I always cause a scene in front of guys. Fight or flight response I suppose.
“Well that was slick, and people think I’m the nerdy one!” Benjamin laughs and pokes at my arm.
I groan, whacking his prodding fingers away.
“So was that your prince charming? He had to be at least 22, way too old for you anyway miss-shake-like-leaf!”
“Very original. I wonder who he was? I’ve never seen him around before.” I finally lift my head as the burning in my cheeks subsides.
“Who knows maybe he’s from out of town.” Benjamin returned flippantly, as he downs the remains of a sandwich.
“Maybe.” I returned to staring at the door the stranger left out of. He definitely isn’t from around here.
“Well let’s get to the Lost World and back, before the gate keeper decides to go into lock down mode.” Benjamin snaps me out of my stare with his words, and I sit up in a swift movement, collecting his sketchbook off the table.
I walk slowly towards the door, flipping lazily through the pages. Benjamin is the best artist in the whole school, at least in my opinion. People discount his talent, because he focuses most of his drawings on Anime style characters, and creatures that come from the depths of nightmares. I appreciate his style, but every once and a while I’ll come across a portrait or landscape scene, that takes my breath away. I ignore him grumbling about, picking up my empty fry carton and half full drink and tossing it in the trash along with his own garbage. I and use my free hand to open the glass door and make my way back to the car.
The ride through the streets to Lost World, our favorite comic shop; correction, the only comic shop for miles, is short. The sign outside is a familiar bright yellow, with Lost World printed in scrawled black letters, two anime characters hold up either side of the sign. One is a boy with shaggy brown hair and a flannel shirt that is haphazardly buttoned, exposing his chest. He has an expression filled with laughter as he gazes at the parking lot, his two gloved hands grasping the sign. The other character is a girl with red hair and silver eyes, she looks more refined than the boy. Her lips upturn at the corners with only the slightest inclination that she may laugh. I’ve never been able to recognize them from any show I’d seen, or Manga I’d read.
“Why don’t you ever draw me? I would make a great hero!” I question Benjamin with a scowl on my face as we walk in, and the characters disappear above our heads. The bells on the door ring to notify the clerk, who I assume didn’t go to college, that we’ve entered the store.
“Do you ever think that maybe you’d be the villain?” Benjamin returned. I started to laugh, he didn’t.
“What is that supposed to mean anyway?” I grab his wrist and drag him towards the Marvel section, since there is a particular new X-Men comic I’m looking for.
“You’re just not hero material.” He shrugs as I bend down to sift through the shelves.
“Do you need help finding anything?” A too thin, blonde, greasy looking boy appears next to me. I shake my head and he glances at Ben, but he stays silent. Finally, after an awkward silence, the boy backs away staring. I guess girls, at least attractive ones, aren’t seen in here too often. I hate stereotypes.
“You didn’t answer my question.” My fingertips make contact with my prize, and I stand up with a triumphant smile.
“You’re a little too vain, pessimistic, and bitchy to be the hero.” He tells me waggling his eyebrows.
I begin to frown deeply and roll up the comic in my hand. He takes a step back and lifts his arm to block, but I get a good smack on the head in anyway. Now we’re both laughing like maniacs and whacking each other with comics. We whack at one another all the way to the front of the store. As we check out and walk back down the steps into the afternoon sun, I feel the eyes of the heroes on the sign looking down at me, and I can’t help but wonder; would I be the hero?
Back at the school we pull up to a closed front gate. I don’t even glance at Benjamin, after all he would only say “I told you so,” which he does as I get out of the car and walk over to the gate keeper’s small red brick office. From there he can see the entry road and man the gate, a job that he takes very seriously.
“Mr. Dartanyan?” I call out, while leaning over to rest my elbows on the counter, and peek through the glass at him.
“Ms. Fayette what a surprise, you and your partner-in-crime late again?” Dartanyan’s face stretches into a crooked tooth filled grin, as he takes his grubby mud covered boots off the counter. He leans forward to peer at me. His chair gives a loud squeak as he swivels and begins writing on a slip of paper.
“There was traffic, Mr. Dartanyan.” I reply sweetly, while I curse his name silently. The back of his head is balding with long strands of thinning hair hanging to his shoulders. The deep green vest he wears for a uniform looks particularly bright against the tattered, once white, collared shirt underneath.
“Here are two detention slips for you and Mr. Tran.” He grins at me with his eyes crinkling deeply at the corners as he turns around and slides them under the glass. His yellowing fingernails even have dirt under them. “You will be serving those detentions today, young lady.” He adds with a satisfied chuckle.
I slam my hand down on the passes swiping them off the counter like a defeated child, turn on my heel, and stalk back to the car. I hand Benjamin’s slip to him. He raises his eyebrows but doesn’t say anything. Yep, he’s pissed. The gates creek open and he parks in his spot in parking lot B.
I hurriedly told him I was sorry while we stood in front of his locker before I had to spring to my Algebra class. Then I offered to buy him lunch tomorrow when we passed each other in the hallway that afternoon. Benjamin did not take the bait, and I knew as we left the commons and tossed the remainder of our dinner—cafeteria meatloaf—in the garbage, that detention was not going to be any fun tonight. I was getting the silent treatment, and it was really beginning to get on my nerves.
“C’mon Ben I’ve apologized like a hundred times, now you’re just being ridiculous!” I groan, walking two steps behind him on our way to detention.
“Some of us are trying to turn things around Jade, not continue doing what got us sent here.” He says flatly.
“I got sent here because my parents are dead, and apparently Ms. Fayette knew them.” I respond. “I didn’t do anything to get here, I am simply a product of my lovely environment.”
“Don’t play the sympathy card,” his words come out short. He even began walking a little faster.
I sigh and reach forward, grabbing the back of his black Star Wars T-shirt. “Look I’m sorry!” I say as convincingly as I can, making my eyes into sad orbs. I knew that if I wanted to I could make tears fall. I won’t do it though; the situation isn’t that extreme yet.
“Listen, I know you’ve got no home to go back to, but I do! My parents won’t let me come home until they see an improvement. Continuing to get detention is not an improvement. I don’t get it, if you’re my friend, why are you so damn selfish? You don’t care about what I want you’re just focused on what happens right now, in this moment. Who cares about tomorrow and the next day? Who cares if Benjamin wants to go home?” His face begins to turn red as he holds up his arms exasperated, and knocks my hand from his shirt.
“Benjamin if you leave, I’ll be all alone.” I admit, staring at my feet. The tears begin to well up. The odd part is that this time, they are genuine.
I listen as his footsteps echo down the hall, and watch his tattered sneakers the whole way to the detention room. The door opens and then shuts with certain finality. I wipe the tears away and sniffle one time. If that’s how he wants to be, then fine, some best friend. I look up and decide to skip detention. Who cares about something so stupid anyway? I pull out my IPhone and check the time. It’s 7:30 and growing dark. He wound up late for detention anyway. Detention at Evahlyna’s lasts from 7pm to 8pm, which leaves enough time for dinner before punishment and enough time for homework after the torture session. Lights out is at 10pm.I would have enough time to take the half hour walk across the grounds, and hop the four-foot brick wall surrounding the property to spend some time in the woods before bed check.
When walking across the grounds of Evahlyna’s you almost get the feeling that everything is watching you. The crows caw at you, the fearsome gargoyles atop the buildings glare at you from their perches, and the plants snake their way around every lawn ornament. I am very careful as I walk through the grounds, sticking to the edges of the buildings. Every structure is set in a wide circle surrounding the open courtyard. There are three dormitory buildings that make up the back of the circle, including the boy’s dorm, the girl’s dorm, and the faculty dorm that separates the two buildings. The other two buildings at the front of the circle face the main gate and are made up of the course building, where all the classes are conducted, and the library. The library is the largest building on the property, and the least used. The layout forms a star when you look at it from the rooftop of the girl’s dorm. I discovered that on my first night here.
As I slither along the edge of the teachers’ dorms I can recall so clearly, the day that I was forced into Ms. Evahlyna’s care. I’ve spent the majority of my life bouncing from foster home to foster home since I was three years old. When I was 13 years old the most recent family I’d been placed with, the Marshall’s, decided that I was a bit more than they could handle. They were good people who went to church on Sunday and did charity work. The second I started acting up in school and upending their lives, they took me right back to the adoption agency that smelled of urine and despair. Who can blame a kid for acting up, when she watched her parents burn to the ground along with their home, at three years old?
My family died in a blaze of yellow flames and ash, while I sat on the front lawn, holding the hand of a furry little brown man. No one believes that this man knocked on my window, and led me out on to the lawn, while the fire raged. I’ve told psychiatrist after psychiatrist that I was saved by something that night, a man who wasn’t a man. They all say the same thing that I had an overactive three-year-old imagination, and that I now have a bad case of PTSD.
About a week after, I got dumped back at the orphanage Ms. Evahlyna showed up with some papers stating that I was her next of kin. I don’t think those papers were real, because when my parents died the authorities searched for relatives and found nothing, but she pretty much saved my life, so I’ve never asked her a single question about it. She keeps me at an arms length, and treats me like a student. The only difference between me and all the other troubled kids here, is that she set me up with a trust fund that she claims was left by my parents.
I make it past the faculty dorms and breathe out a sigh of relief. I am now beyond the edge of the circle, and out of the range of the tall light posts that illuminate the courtyard. The large red barn at the edge of the property comes in to sight. It holds nearly twenty horses used for equestrian sciences and pleasure riding. Ms. Evahlyna is a big fan of trail riding. I must admit, the equestrian classes here are pretty awesome. I run my hand over the chipping red paint as I pass the barn, and listen to the soft noises of the horses crunching on their nightly hay. There are only a few more feet between me and the brick wall that leads to a little bit of freedom. I zip my jacket. One. Two. Three. A quick silent count, and I begin to run the last few feet, jumping and grabbing the top of the wall. I vault myself over in one fast movement. I don’t stick the landing. I’m always ending up on my ass.
WILL YOU HEED THE CALL?
The sun bleeds orange and pink as it sets behind the dark trees. What leaves that are left hanging, are deep orange and red in color. A stray purple leaf pokes through the others, here and there. My favorite color is purple. I scrunch up my nose and blow a few strands of hair out of my face, as I look up at the leaves. My muscles relax as I flop down against the cold dirt floor of the woods. I’m in no hurry to get up. Benjamin’s pissed at me, which means nobody will miss me anyway.
The pattering of rabbits scampering by, draws my attention from the sky that is now dark. The stars begin to twinkle softly, as the full moon makes her appearance. I turn my head towards where the leaves rustle. There is not one rabbit, but several running between the trees and into the woods. I stand up and dig down in my pocket for the pack of Camel Crushes that I keep there in case of a stressful situation. I’d say today is stressful. I tap them against my wrist. Tap. Tap. Tap. The cigarette slips lightly from the pack and my fingers tremble as I place it between my lips. The lighter flickers and dies. I cover the tip of the lighter with one hand trying to get the flame to sputter to life. It dies again and I stomp my foot, frustrated, before shoving the lighter back in my jacket pocket and then tucking the cigarette behind my ear, securing it in place with a lock of hair. The rabbits are more interesting anyway.
Curiosity killed the cat; I mutter quietly, as I silently wonder why I’m trekking through the woods, following a herd of rabbits. I take the time I spend following them to count three grey rabbits, two black rabbits, four brown rabbits, and finally one white rabbit. The white rabbit leads the bunch of them.
“I think I’ll name you Ferdinand.” I tell the white rabbit. He looks back at me inquisitively before carrying on. Maybe he understands me.
My feet carry me forward, and I get a bit distracted by imagining the rabbits in top hats and suit coats. I figure Ferdinand would be the official leader of these rabbits, and so I imagine that he would have a crooked cane that would signify his wisdom and age. Perhaps these rabbits have tea on Sundays, and then frequent the nearby stream to socialize with the other animals of the woods. I am lost in my fantasy for so long, that when the rabbits pick up speed and disappear by running through a browning bush, I realize that I’ve strayed away from my usual path. Great, now I’m lost.
I roll my eyes at my own stupidity and lean against a withering tree. A sigh escapes my lips and I look longingly in the direction of the rabbits. If only I could follow them down their rabbit hole. I push off the tree planting both feet heavily on the ground, and decide to try and catch up with them, but before my feet begin to move my ears hear a faint and beautiful noise.
The music floats through the trees on a breeze, as cool and seductive as a siren, and wraps around me with leaves twirling in its path. The music spreads from my ears, to my heart, to my mind. I’ve never heard something so lovely and yet so sad.
As I stand listening, I hear more rustling coming from around me. I look from left to right, and on either side of me, I see the outline of people walking towards the sound. An eerie grey cloud covers the moon and all I see are silhouettes. I reach out a hand towards them and my lips part. I don’t want to call out, for fear the music will stop playing. I try to convince my feet to follow. They won’t move. I am stuck in place.
Smaller silhouettes come to grasp the hands of the people, as the clouds move overhead I discover they are students from the school. One of them is a blonde haired freshman that transferred to Evahlyna’s from a group home in Houston. I can’t remember her name, I only remember her story because her room is on my dorm floor. The smaller silhouette takes her hand and she walks faster. I only see a glimpse of what appears to be brown hair, before the two fade in to the darkness. I look to my other side and realize the other silhouette is gone.
For what seemed like hours, all I could do is stand in place and allow the music overcome me. I fell in love with the tune. My heart began begging for more. It aches for more. The crunch of heavy footfalls behind me, and a rush of air startle me. Even though I know I cannot move, I try to turn away from the song. Suddenly, without any rhyme or reason, I am knocked from my feet. One roll. Two rolls. Three rolls. I’m starting to make a habit of counting things in threes. Three rolls and I am haphazardly landing deep in the bush that Ferdinand and his friends disappeared through. The brush scrapes my exposed face and hands. I think I hear my shirt tear. I grasp my chest with one hand. I can’t breathe. My vision is obscured by hair, and my body pressed down by a heavy weight. The hair is not mine, neither is the weight.
“What the hell!” I whisper, I don’t know why I’m whispering it just seems appropriate. I inhale and exhale rapidly. I think I got the wind knocked out of me.
“Shut up!” The hair is flipped away to reveal the stunning face of the man from Macdonald’s. Now I really can’t breathe.
He adjusts his body in a nonchalant movement and places his hand over mine. He leans his chest in more. “Focus on my breathing. Mirror my breathing, breathe together.”
His muddy brown eyes meet mine, and I quickly focus on his chest. I’m too scared to feel embarrassed or nervous, but I think my cheeks are flushing red anyway. Within twelve breathes, that I count in threes, I am back to normal. Although my breathing is no longer erratic, the embarrassment sets in. I’m pinned under a handsome stranger, gasping for air…humiliation washes over me.
I try to push him off, but he covers my mouth with a large firm hand. My eyes widen, and I suddenly believe that I am about to be kidnapped, raped, and left dead in a ditch. He doesn’t break eye contact, as he tilts his head to the left. I nod letting him know I’ll be silent. He lets go and I turn my head as slowly as possible. Just outside the bush standing perfectly still are two tiny hairy feet. I smirk because they look about the size of a toddler’s feet. He shakes his head the slightest bit. The feet retreat. We both listen in silence still breathing as one.
He must feel that it’s safe, because he rolls out of the bush, dusts himself off, and turns to extend a hand to me. I hesitate, but then take it. Upon standing I assess my own damages. My shirt is definitely torn right down the middle. The dark green bra matches my eyes, and makes my skin look tan. I appreciate Victoria Secret and her push up bras right now, however I don’t appreciate the cool night air hitting my chest. I cross my arms to hide the exposure even though I secretly hope Mr.-tall-dark-and-handsome already snuck a look.
“Here you look cold.” He slips off his jacket and extends it to me. It’s the same black pea coat from earlier. I slip it on buttoning the front. The jacket hangs on me like a dress. At least I can stand comfortably.
“Uh thanks. Look, I don’t know what all that was about, but I don’t think it was necessary to hide in the bushes from a two-year-old. I mean, unless that two-year-old was homicidal, but even then I think I could take him.” I laugh nervously and look up at him.
He pulls his hair back in to a ponytail and shakes his head. I realize the music has stopped. My heart breaks a little. “That was not a two year old, it was a Brown Boy.” He turns on his heel and begins to walk away. I follow. I don’t know how deep into the woods we’ve gone, and I hope he is leading me back towards the school.
“Well, he was awfully hairy, but I don’t get it…a Brown Boy?” I ask, taking three steps for his every one step. He has very long legs.
“Yes. They are the servants a very evil woman. I suggest you stay out of the woods at night from now on.”
“Or else what?” I demand. I don’t do well with taking orders. I want to mention that I’ve seen one of these Brown Boys before, when I was a child, I was saved by one. I decide against it because I don’t know this man, despite the fact that he may have just saved my life.
“Or else next time I may not be there to save you. The Brown Boy will take you to your death.” He says this as though it is fact, and while I appreciate him not being some crazy kidnapper, I do note that he is crazy.
“I think I can handle it.” I grumble remembering the Brown Boy that once saved my life. “What was that music anyways?” I smile fondly at the memory of it. “It was enchanting.” I add, trying to use a word to describe the sound. Enchanting still does not do the melody justice.
“That was a fiddle, and the weak of heart are drawn to it. Tell me, were you drawn in to the song?”
“No, I was following Ferdinand.” I say shaking my head. I raise a hand to my mouth as he stops and turns. The bush cut my lip. I wipe a bit of blood away and smile. “I meant the white rabbit.”
“You named the rabbit?” He asks me raising an eyebrow. His black t-shirt does his lean muscular body justice.
“Well you can’t talk to something without a name, how would you address it?” I smile widely and my eyes grow large. He laughs a warm and hearty laugh. He chuckles so hard that he bends over and places both hands on his knees. I laugh with him.
“I’m Christopher Knight.” He says when we are laughed out, and extends a hand.
“Jade Fayette.” I respond grasping his hand. Electricity floods my body with warmth just like earlier that day.
We walk the rest of the way back to the school not talking much at all. I think he’s absolutely insane, with his talk of Brown Boys and death, but I don’t mind looking at him, so the silence is acceptable. As we draw near the low brick wall, I realize I don’t want him to leave. If he isn’t insane, and he did save my life, then I owe him one.
“So what are you doing gracing Evahlyna’s with your presence?” I ask trying to sound casual.
“I’ve actually been hired on as security.” Christopher responds lightly.
“Yes with all of the recent disappearances, like the ones you saw in the woods tonight, Ms. Evahlyna thought it wise to hire security.” He returns.
“So you’re staying at the school?” My voice cracks, giving away my anticipation. He nods.
“How did you know that sketch book was Benjamin’s today?”
“When I flipped through it, there were a bunch of sketches of what I assume are you in the back.” He shrugged. I felt speechless. I didn’t flip all the way to the back, when I glanced through the sketchbook earlier. The sign outside Lost World and its all-knowing eyes distracted me.
“Sorry I ask a lot of questions.”
“I’m used to people who ask a lot of questions.”
We stop at the low brick wall and I face him. He reaches up and plucks the cigarette from behind my ear.
“Maybe if you didn’t smoke these death sticks, you wouldn’t have panic attacks.” Christopher breaks the cigarette between his fingers and scatters it in the wind.
“I think I’m going to call you Christopher, if that’s all right. I’m assuming your friends call you Chris.” I ignore his comment.
“Not as formal as Mr. Knight.” I smirk.
I don’t say anything else to him, because I don’t know what else to say. I don’t ask if I’ll see him around, because I’m almost positive I will. Instead I hop over the wall and walk towards the dark buildings of the school. I begin to contemplate our brief moment in the bushes where I think he saved my life. When we lay there together chest to chest, my heart was beating so loudly in my ears that it was overwhelming. The strange part though, was that his heart didn’t seem to be beating at all. I look up and realize the lights are blinking out in the boys’ dorms, and I only have a few minutes to make it back before bed check in the girls’ dorms. I play it cool all the way around the barn and then lean against it with my heart fluttering. I hold on to his coat tightly and take a deep breath of his scent. His smell makes me think of moonlight and fresh nighttime dew. Christopher Knight. Christopher Knight. Christopher Knight. I think silently and take off running towards the safety of the dorms. I don’t care if I get caught I am so giddy that all I can do is run.
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