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JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #1 
Preface

“Tenor,” he said.

What? Me? Tenor? He was CRAZY! I was a girl, for crying out loud! But, then, I suppose, he was right. My low voice wasn’t even passable for that of a low contralto. It made me think back to my singing lessons and how wrong the teacher had been when he’d said I was a mezzo. Ha! Flaming mezzo-soprano indeed! But he wasn’t interested in my low notes, so he only found out I had a low voice when I showed him my range, which for two years, just about, had fluctuated slightly, scaring me if it got lower. I would not say I had a man’s voice. It would sound absurd. Though my voice had somehow managed to stay on the alto side of the fine line between alto and tenor over two years, I still didn’t like how low I sang. Sure, I’d mentioned my fear of sounding like my father to my old singing teacher. Was he any help? No. It had taken a year, during the middle of my first year studying music, to finally get some answers. The answer? My fear had been confirmed, and now I was left with the following questions: was it possible for girls to sing tenor? If so, was it right, or did it mean there was something wrong with me? Or was I an alto and was this teacher just crazy? I mean, I basically knew why he was saying I was a tenor, but I’d only known tenor to be a man’s voice. But since he was busy teaching the rest of the class, I’d have to find out for myself.


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #2 
Chapter 1: The Start of Things

I’m sure I’d heard somewhere before life was hard. Nah. It couldn’t be easier for me, stuck at home, doing nothing, pretty much. Being taught by my dad, I didn’t go to school, for a very good reason… or so I thought.

“Dad, what do other kids do?” I asked. I was fourteen years old and being in the same old red brick house, in the same kitchen with its tiny windows, boring old grey stove, marble-topped counters, a white fridge next to a white freezer and a white table with two white chairs either side of it, and the same old study, lounge, etc. wasn’t doing me any good.

“Other kids…” he said hesitantly, “other kids… play out, talk to each other on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social networking sites, you know, and go to school… and stuff… and –”

“Don’t turn into cats,” I cut him off – and don’t turn themselves into shadows at night… flipping heck, I was weird.

“Well, er… that’s true, but that’s not what I was going to say.”

“What were you going to say?”

“Well, honey, other kids… they’re pretty different.”

“Like what, dad?”

“They can be annoying. But some can be nice.”

“But none of them turn into cats, right?”

“For the most part, that’s true. I’m sure there might be other catlings around Vampyreland. It’s just you’re the only one around here as far as I know.”

“Well, that’s great, dad. That makes me feel loads better.”

My dad just shrugged and I automatically hissed my disapproval, something I’d have to break out of sooner or later.

I went upstairs and entered a mess – clothes strewn all over the purple chaise longue at the end of my bed, which itself was a disarray of black and purple bedding, windows open, curtains blowing about – it suited me down to the ground except when dad came up and ordered me to tidy it. I loved having a messy bedroom, but I couldn’t always do it.

The black-framed full length mirror next to the chest of drawers on the other side of my attic room showed what I was really like: long dyed black hair covering a square face with huge brown eyes and long eyelashes, pale in the flesh and short, nibbled at finger nails – I wasn’t a musician, it was just a habit. Full lips painted red with lipstick – my only make-up – stuck out. Maybe I’d missed the corners yet again, or maybe I’d smudged it too much. Whatever. It looked a mess. Bootcut jeans flared down my lower legs and improved the look of my upper legs and hips times ten. I was a very weird fourteen year old. My height screamed seven-year-old, but the rest of me was very teenager-ish. A red and black checked shirt opened up to a black t-shirt and my hands were white in the glow of the light – like I’d been cooped up my entire life in the forests of Holgeirine, under near-constant rain and not been anywhere on holiday. I looked dead, basically, but I liked it. I pushed my hair out my eyes and pulled it back into a low ponytail – my hairbrush didn’t get me anywhere if I was having a bad hair day and this was clearly one of those days. Never mind. I’d just have to deal with it. I just clipped my fringe – my long, messy, blasted side fringe – to the side with a black hairpin. It was better than nothing.

I didn’t have much. Mostly because I didn’t want much. I entertained myself with not many things. I had some dolls, a small collection of books, CDs and a CD player, a laptop and a few toys, a box of Lego, a rocking horse and some tubs of play-doh to play with. It was enough for me not to be doing the same thing day in, day out, but not too much for my imagination to cope with.

All in all, I was happy, living with my dad. He taught me stuff at home since he wouldn’t have a tutor round because of my bizarrely feline nature, which was also the reason I currently didn’t go to school.

So what’s the cat stuff all about? The answer to that is I’m a catling. My parents are human, so it’s really weird. There are all sorts of genetic quirks out there, and being a ling-hybrid [anything ending with ling, i.e. catling – that’s me] is one of them. So, how did that happen? Well, my mum only knew when she gave birth to a cute little black kitten. Roughly from the time of my birth to when I was ten years old, my transformations from human to cat were spontaneous, and so I couldn’t go to school for that reason. They’d stopped being spontaneous four years ago, so if I wanted to, I could go to school. I was considering it. I wasn’t a human permanently. I could now transform at will. I often changed forms at night since I found it easier to sleep in my cat form.

So other teenagers could be annoying, could they? Well, I’d rather find that out for myself than just go off what my dad said. Plus, looking at it this way, I was completely cut off from other people and completely friendless. I didn’t know anyone outside of my immediate family. I lived with my dad and spent four months every year with my mum. This year, it was the middle of August, and I’d spent my four months with mum already. I’d spent most of January with her and it had snowed pretty badly, so I was stuck there. I hadn’t gone back there until mid-March and that was for two weeks. Then I went towards the end of April and came back while May was in its teens, probably around the 14th or 15th. Then I spent a week with her in June and two weeks in July.

Memories of that July meeting flooded back.

“Are you still not going to school, Josie?”

“No, maman. It’s been four years since I could control my transformations.”

“I know. I’ve never seen you as a cat once these last four years. You should go to an academy – there’ll be a few around you. Talk to your dad about it over the summer – big things happen when you’re fourteen. You’ll see.”

She’d had an argument with my dad on the telephone that week about that very subject. My parents had different opinions. Or probably, my dad was just worried. Whatever. He wasn’t going to let me go easily. But I was with mum on this one – I couldn’t be alone all my life – I needed to get to know people. Plus for fourteen years, or the best part of those fourteen years, I now knew what stir-crazy meant.

I hopped downstairs to confront my dad. If he hadn’t noticed my hair earlier, I was good, but usually, he couldn’t take me seriously if my hair was unbrushable.

“Ponytail and hairpin?”

“You didn’t notice earlier?”

“No, not really. It didn’t look that bad.”

“Well, my brush wasn’t getting me anywhere.”

“That’s the third time this fortnight. Maybe you need a haircut. I’ll take you to Elle in the next couple of days,” he said.

“Dad, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“What, honey?”

“I’m fed up?”

“Of what?”

“I’ve been in this house the bulk of fourteen years. Sure we’ve been on holiday a couple of times most years and I spend four months with mum, but I don’t see anyone my age. I can’t relate to anyone my age and I’m lonely. I want to go to school. Mum said an academy would be best for me last time I saw her, which was July. I’m sorry dad, but Bella Swan’s not really that much of a friend, you know, living on the Earth plane and in America and being infatuated with Edward Cullen. That’s not real life. I’ve been stuck in this house way too long and you know it. The term starts in September. I stopped turning into a cat spontaneously four years ago. I think I know enough about things to get by and I want to make some friends. It’s now the 16th of August. I’ll give you two weeks,” and with that, I went off back to my room.

I hoped I’d given him a lot to think about. I’d meant to hit him hard – I couldn’t afford to be gentle if I was going to get what I wanted. I hadn’t said I was leaving, but by giving him two weeks, I think he’d got the message. My dad wasn’t an imbecile.

I finished reading Breaking Dawn and went to my doll basket… I chucked out all the dolls I didn’t want to play with, before realising I’d emptied the basket. I packed it back up again.

I looked at my grey rocking horse with its luxurious leather saddle and metal stirrups large enough for any feet. It was better than doing nothing…

I rocked on it for a while. My dolls had names. Names that were popular in the Victorian times on the Earth plane that I’d got out of the Beatrix Potter stories, some of them, like Jemima Puddle-Duck and Tom Kitten. The rocking horse, on the other hand, was just a rocking horse and I’d no intention of naming it.

After that, well, I wasn’t going to sit and play with playdoh for hours, so I stared at my bookshelf… no, everything on it I’d read too recently. I was finding myself not having anything to do.

Well, I might as well go cat and sleep all day and all night. My human self was bored. Bored and my human self didn’t like it. My feline self was indifferent.

The next day, I had my hair cut. Elle was nice. She knew what to do with it straight away.

“Good heavens! This has grown! And your roots are showing.”

“I’ll dye it again when I get home,” I said.

“I’ll cut it for you,” said Elle.

A lot came off the back – I hadn’t known it had got so thick!

“My fringe is wild,” I said.

“I can see that,” said Elle, trimming inches off my fringe. I shouldn’t need the hairpin much anymore.  She also tamed the sides of my hair. My hair should be much more brushable now. All in all, my hair looked loads neater. It was still long, but less messy.

“Still tie it back if you want to,” said Elle as she’d seen my ponytail today.

“Thanks,” I said. I might not need it, but I had the option of doing so just in case.

When I got home, I ran upstairs and looked at the mirror properly. Straight away, at the first glance at my hair – ugh! Brown! But other than that, my hair looked good. I dyed it, then played with my toys before going to bed.

 


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #3 
Chapter 2: Good News

It was one day in late August I found new clothes on my bed. They’d been altered to suit my height – jeesh, it must be really awkward buying clothes for me. The shopkeepers must be telling dad to look in the kids’ section. But he knew they wouldn’t fit because seven-year-old girls didn’t have hips like fourteen-year-old girls did. Like I cared what people thought of me though – I was different.  Besides my mum and dad, I didn’t know what human beings were like, and I needed to find out.

I looked at the new clothes: jeans, black bootcut ones, black tops – long-sleeved, short-sleeved and vests and thermal tops, socks galore and underwear, oh, and two new pairs of footwear in the middle of the floor – a pair of Converse sneakers and a pair of knee length black leather boots, oh, and in the far left corner of my room were black plimsolls. What on Earth dad thought I’d want the plimsolls for I didn’t know. I left the shoes out and put all the clothes away. They were all plain black – none with bits of red or purple on them. Nothing checked or lacy – all plain. I wondered what these were for… I liked a little style in my garments.

Well, I guessed I’d find out sooner or later. But for now, I just played with my toys and decided not to worry about it.

The rocking horse didn’t look that inviting, I’d read all my books too recently and I didn’t want to play with my dolls, thank you very much, so I played with my playdoh for a while, then went to bed for a while. I just wanted to go cat for a few hours.

I woke up to find several more things in my room, but these objects were not items of clothing. They were a few packs of pens of various types – Bics, fountain pens, gel pens, pencil crayons, charcoal crayons, a ruler, a compass, scissors, glue sticks – three to be exact, a protractor and some triangular ruler thingy, a couple of pencil sharpeners, two pencil cases – both black – and a big black rucksack with a few studs on it in some places. There must be a reason for all this stuff, I knew that, but what I didn’t know. Maybe dad just thought I’d like new clothes and stationery. Maybe he thought I might start writing. He’d bought me a load of writing pads as well and a couple of them were more like diaries. Sure, I could keep a diary or a journal, but it’d be pretty boring though – no exciting events and no stories to tell. No new experiences and no – well, er, nothing… I just wasn’t imaginative enough to make up stories. It just wasn’t possible for me. Nope, there must be some other reason for all this stuff – he must have spent a fortune on all the clothes alone. Yes, they were just plain black, but three pairs of jeans, a few vests, a couple of packs of underwear and socks, all the tops – a few short-sleeved, long-sleeved, must be at least nine or ten tops, plus the footwear. I mean, Converse weren’t cheap, and leather boots, well, designer or not, they weren’t cheap either. I didn’t know about the plimsolls though. Then there was all the stationery, the pencil cases and the rucksack. Dad must have spent a bit on that lot too. I was seriously going to have to talk to my dad…

A few days passed, and me and dad did have that talk.

“Dad,” I said, “I appreciate you buying me new clothes, but plain black? Nothing stylish? And the plimsolls? What’s with those? Although I must say I love the boots and the Converse.”

He laughed.

Was this to be the only response I got then?

What a poor reaction. This must be the most unlike my dad I’d ever known – he never laughed at me.

“Oh, and one more thing – the stationery? I don’t see myself writing a diary anytime soon, and I don’t have much of an imagination for stories or anything like that.”

“You don’t have to,” he said.

“Well, what then, dad? I don’t know what this is all about?”

“Honey, you’re going to school.”


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #4 
Chapter 3: First Sight

“YAY!” I said. Finally! “Where am I going? What’s it like?”

“An academy,” he answered. “Magakin Row Junior Academy. There’s a unijuniors down in Felix Liexis called Magakin Row and it’s named after that, so that’s what the Junior’s about. It’s not a massive academy, so you’ll soon get used to it and it’s got lots of great subjects to study. They’ve given me a list of subjects you can choose from. Here,” he said, giving me the list.

 

Magakin Row Junior Academy

14+ Subject List

The following is a list of subjects you can choose to study for the next two years. Please choose at least one subject from each list. You may choose up to six subjects. Alternatively, if you choose Magical Training, you may only choose four additional subjects. A fifth can be taken to study at night. Dance, Sports, Maths plus hour-long lessons of Vampire Studies and Sidhe Studies are mandatory.

A                         B                       C                            D

Charms                   Myths                  Potions                     Charms

History                   Music                   Divination                 Literature

Dance                    Literature               Sports                      Divination

Cookery                   Potions                  Cookery                    Art

French                   Art                      Politics                     Music

Politics                   French                  Myths                      History

 

Will you be studying Magical Training? Yes/No

I chose History, Cookery, Potions, Myths and Music. I also circled the yes for Magical Training. It would be an interesting subject, learning loads of magic in addition to whatever I learned in Potions and Myths.

“That was quick,” said Dad. “It’s always good to have a night subject. Means you have the option to choose another subject. And Magical Training will be good. It will teach you a lot. But I’m glad you’ve chosen other good subjects as well. I’ll take that back and you’ll get your timetable on your first day.”

“When is my first day?”

“1st September. It’s now the 22nd August.”

I smiled.

“And as for what it’s like, I hear the teachers are pretty nice, and there are all sorts of kids of course. I’ll let you judge for yourself what it’s like.”

“Thanks, dad.”

Now I knew what all the stuff was for. The uniform was black, but I’d never fit into it, so dad got me plain black clothes so I’d fit in better, and not being home-educated for the first time in my life also explained all the stationery. I ran upstairs and packed up all my stationery into the pencil cases, then put them, and the books – I must not forget the books! – into my bag.

 

Twenty minutes later, my dad came back from wherever he’d been.

“I’ve got you some textbooks and revision guides as well. I think they might help you with your lessons.”

“Thanks, dad.”

I put them in my bag, carrying a few at a time, making a few journeys. My bag was now rather heavy, but it was necessary. Until I found out what my timetable was, so I could pack my bag for each day, I didn’t know how many of my books I’d need.

I spent the remainder of my summer reading the Twilight books [yet again!], Dracula [yet again!] and Jekyll and Hyde [yet again!] and listening to my CDs. Bella Swan, I must say, I found annoying. Such a vampire wannabe! OK, I know she’s in love with Edward and he’s a vampire, and I also know the Volturi don’t want her human, but she could have a little more self-preservation! She was a bit of a whinge-bag too, and gloomy as hell when Edward left her for her own good in New Moon. I found Jasper cool though. It must be awesome to be able to control people’s emotions.

Dracula was always brilliant. The Count was sexy and seductive as he was bloodthirsty and evil – a remarkable character. Bram Stoker was very clever in inventing The Count. Also, I thought, to recognise something about his wife in Mina, he must be a romantic at heart, or he must be suffering a very great sorrow.

Robert Louis Stevenson was brilliant as well in his invention of the split personality that was Jekyll and Hyde. I mean, a potion! Simple, but effective, and an intriguing case!

On the first day of school, I arrived and went to reception.

The receptionist looked at me funny to begin with – probably because of my height. Then she decided I looked mostly teenager-ish and spoke to me.

“How can I help you?”

“I’m Josienne Hawkes,” I said.

“Hey, Josienne. Here’s your timetable,” she said. “I’m Mrs Gillenormand. If you have any questions, come and talk to me at any time.  Your form tutor is Miss Malfew. Her room is S3. It’s the big Potions room downstairs. You go through these doors into the canteen, through the doors at the end and go down through the sports department. Then go across the campus and go through a door and you’ll find some stairs going down. Once you’re down there, turn right and walk to the end of the corridor to get to the entrance.”

“Thank you, Miss,” I said, and went off.

S3 was easy enough to find.

I knocked on the door.

“Come in!”

I opened the door and went in.

“Hello,” said a pretty, petite brown haired lady with blue eyes wearing spectacles.

“Miss Malfew?”

“Yes, dear. And you are?”

“Josienne Hawkes.”

“Come in. You can take a seat next to Zephyr over here.”

I sat down.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hello. I’m Zephyr Daniels.”

“I’m Josienne Hawkes,” I said. “Call me Josie if you want though.”

He smiled.

“I get called Zeph.”

The teacher did the register and until I had to answer my name being called out and after that, I studied my timetable, trying to memorise it.

Day/Lesson

1

b

2

l

3

4

Monday

Charms

b

Maths

l

Cookery

Cookery

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

[Aft. HT] Vampire Studies 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Tuesday

Dance

b

Potions

l

Potions

Myths

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

Myths 8pm-9pm

 

Night 2

Sidhe Studies 6pm-7pm

Music 7pm-9pm

 

Wednesday

Sports

b

Sports

l

 

Vampire Studies

Night 1

Music 6pm-7pm

Dance 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Thursday

Dance

b

History

l

History

 

Night 1

History 6pm-7pm

Myths 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Friday

Maths

b

Potions

l

 

 

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

[Aft. HT] Potions 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Potions 7pm-8pm

 

Homework

 

Homework

 

Clubs

Choir  Wednesday lunch and lesson 3

Clubs

Rock Band  Thursday lesson 4

Clubs

Extra lessons [ad hoc] Friday lunch, lessons 3 and 4

 

 

 

My day began at 9:30am. Morning lessons went on for three hours – until 12:30pm. Lunch was 12:30-1pm. Afternoon lessons were an hour and a half and an hour, meaning our day lessons ended at 3:30pm. During this time, we went home and rested until our night lessons started, if we had any. They started at 6pm and never lasted any longer than two hours, but depending on when they started, we could be here until 9pm. Not a bad day though. There were some days where lessons swapped every half term. Night lessons were on a two weekly basis. Night 1 was the first week, night 2 was the second week. If we got high marks, or did things well or just did good things, we got merits. If we got twenty-five merits, we got a bronze certificate, fifty got silver and seventy-five got gold. But we could also get detentions for missed homeworks, skipping class and bad behaviour or forgetting a book for a subject, your pencil case, or your sports or dance kit. It was a good system for keeping kids in order, though at my age, or so I heard, kids tended to be more rebellious.

“What lesson do you have first?” I asked Zephyr.

“Charms,” he replied.

“Same here.”

“I’ll walk you there. The teacher’s name is Iona Mallory.”

I had a feeling you weren’t supposed to know the teachers’ first names, so I asked Zephyr what her title was.

“Mrs. But you always call her Miss.”

“How much Charms have you done?” I asked him.

“Well, this is my first time at an academy. My father taught me stuff… until last year, when I… er, took a gap year.”

He’d been hesitant when he’d said he took a gap year, so I didn’t bother asking him what he did in it.

“I was taught at home until this year,” I said.

“Cool,” he said.

Another newbie. To have not really done anything when he was thirteen years old and only gone back to education at fourteen must be pretty awesome. What did I get? No gap year, living with one parent and still being shared with my mum. Not that I minded it. It just wasn’t as exciting as Zephyr’s story. He chuckled a bit, I don’t know what at though.

It was only whilst walking to class with him that I noticed Zephyr’s complexion. It was a chalky pale white, most unhealthy looking, but he seemed to be OK.

“Zephyr, you are rather pale,” I said.

He frowned for a second before saying “Yeah, it’s just my skin colour,” through gritted teeth.

After another minute, he said, “well, here we are, and here’s the rest of the class.” Fifteen people in all.

At that moment, a tall lady with long blonde hair walked down the corridor. She had pretty blue eyes and small pixie-like features. She wore a long purple dress and a black jacket. She took a key out of her pocket.

“Go in, class,” she said as she opened the door for us.

She waited until we were all settled and then followed us in.

“Welcome to the Magakin Academy. My name is Iona Mallory. Most teachers will either want to be addressed as Miss or Sir, depending on their gender, but I have no problem whatsoever with you calling me Iona.”

She showed us a picture on the whiteboard of a highly decorated Charms book she’d put together herself.

“This is how I learnt when I was a kitten. Textbooks and revision guides like the ones you’ll be using didn’t exist then. We had to make our own books for subjects in order to revise for tests and exams. Of course, this allowed for creativity, as you can see with mine here, but yours are a lot simpler, you’ll be glad to know.”

It was called Revision Scrapbook for Charms of the Modern Day by Iona Meredith Mallory. A lot of the pages were torn and tattered and some bits of it had completely fallen to pieces. But other than that, it looked rather pretty.

“Our first topic is What Is Charms? But firstly, I’ll need to get to know you all. Let’s start with you, the goth at the front. What’s your name?”

“Josienne Hawkes.”

“OK, Josienne, do you prefer Josie?”

“Yes, please, Iona,” I replied.

She smiled.

“Can you tell me what your favourite colour is?”

“Black.”

“I never would have guessed. What do you like to do?”

“I really love reading.”

“What do you like to read?”

“Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Twilight – not just Twilight, the whole Twilight Saga – the Harry Potter series, particularly the Prisoner of Azkaban!”

“Wow. What a selection of books. I’ll bet most of this class don’t read half as many books as you do.”

I smiled.

“And lastly, Josie, what would you like to get out of this class?”

“I’d like to learn more about what charms are and how they can be used. I’m also studying Magical Training so I’ll be doing some Charms with that, but if I did this Charms class as well, I’d know more about it.”

“Very good. And you?” she asked Zephyr.

She went round the whole class, asking their names, if they had a nickname or an abbreviation in the cases of people having longer names that could be shortened, their favourite colour, what they liked to do, and if their answer was reading, she’d ask them what books they liked to read, or if their answer was watching films or TV, she’d ask them what they liked to watch, and what they’d like to get out of this class.

“Very good, class. Now, I know it’s your first day, but now, I’m going to give you your first piece of homework. Your homework is to write no more than one side of A4 on what you think charms are, what sort of things charms can be and how you think they could possibly be used. Do not write loads – I want one side of A4 at the most. And this will be in for your next lesson with me, which is the same time next week. Class dismissed.”

 





__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #5 
Chapter 4: At Night

Maths was pretty boring and uneventful. We were put into sets based on how good at maths we were. Guess where I was? Bottom set. They gave us tests and our “maths age” was what put us in our sets. My result was six. Bottom set was where I was headed, and next week, I suppose, I’d find out who my teacher was or whenever I next had a maths lesson. I looked at my timetable again to find the answer: Friday morning.

Well, at least I didn’t have Maths again for a while.

I somehow found the canteen purely by accident and ate the chicken sandwiches dad had given me alone, until a familiar person joined me.

“May I sit with you?”

“Zephyr!” Gosh, did he really just… appear out of thin air?

“You startled me,” I said, trying to forget that I’d just entertained the notion of someone of appearing out of thin air, before answering Zephyr’s question – “certainly. Take a seat.”

I pulled a chair out for him next to me.

“You’re not eating?” I asked.

“Um, no, I don’t really have an appetite at the moment.”

“Did the maths test upset you?”

“No, I did alright in that, actually. Yourself?”

“Er… six,” I said sheepishly. One class I’d no longer be seeing Zephyr in. Although, my poor result hadn’t had any effect on my ability to eat.

“What do you have next?” I asked.

“Divination, then Art. This evening I have Magical Training.”

“I have cookery all afternoon and Magical Training this evening.”

“Alright. I’ll take you to cookery in ten minutes if you’re ready – it’s good to be there a little early.”

“Thanks. I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”

“What will you be doing after you go home?” he asked me.

“Er, well, um, probably my dad might bombard me with questions about how my first day at school went, we’ll probably have a quiet dinner ‘cause nothing ever gets said over dinner, and I’ll probably do some chores before heading back here. What about you?”

“Most likely reading, or something fun like that. I can’t keep my head out of a good book for long.”

I was looking at Zephyr’s chest when he was talking to me, it was so muscular it was quite unavoidable. Besides, it didn’t sound like his beautiful voice was coming out of gritted teeth like it plainly was earlier.

I kept my eyes on Zephyr’s chest as he walked me to cookery. If I started eating my own words about Bella Swan, for crying out loud, and started obsessing over Zephyr like he was Edward Cullen, I would feel very stupid. WAKE UP! I told myself. I must be dreaming. STOP STARING AT HIM!

Zephyr’s chuckling brought me back to Earth.

“Well, here you go.”

“Thanks, Zephyr,” I said before going in.

“Hey, you’re Josienne, right, the new girl?”

“Yep, that’s me. I prefer to be called Josie though. Have we met?”

“No, I’m Helena Minskin.”

“Hi,” I said.

“And this is Rachel Edwin,” said Helena, pointing to the redhead next to her. Helena was a tall, statuesque brunette.

“The one who got a six in the maths test?” Rachel said, laughing.

“Stop it, Rachel,” Helena said, elbowing her in the ribs. “No one’s good at everything. Hey, Josie, you seriously weren’t walking with Zephyr Daniels, were you?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Isn’t he gorgeous?” asked Rachel.

“Um… yes, I think… what’s that got to do with anything anyway?”

They wouldn’t drop the subject though.

“How did you get him to even notice you, let alone talk to you and walk you to class?”

“Um, just by being told to sit next to him in registration this morning. He was the first pupil I met.”

“Oh. How unfair!” they practically wailed at me.

Wow. Poor Zephyr. The amount of attention he got was unreal.

As I went to the back of the room where the teacher was, I overheard Rachel gossiping about me.

“Why her? Why does she have to be the only one who’s not above Zephyr’s notice? She’s hardly even pretty! No, indeed! Quite ugly! Her eyes are huge and such a disgustingly dirty shade of brown I never saw! And if any girl needs make-up, she does, the amount of blemishes on her face! Why her?”

I pretended I hadn’t heard it, but rest assured I wouldn’t be talking to Rachel again anytime soon.

“Hello, Miss.”

“Josienne Hawkes?”

“Yes, Miss.”

“Hi, I’m Miss Merrystorm. You can help me clean the oven tops and work stations if you want.”

“Yes, Miss,” I said, and set about helping the teacher.

Rachel and Helena continued their stupidly Zephyr-obsessed gossip.

“Good girl, Josienne. You can get the aprons out if you will. I’m expecting twelve more. Fifteen in all, three of whom – you and these two gossipers – are already here.”

I got the aprons out and twelve more people, a mixture of boys and girls turned up.

“Alright, class, settle down.”

Most of the class did.

After we’d finished, I packed all my things up.

My dad picked me up and took me home. Surprisingly, we had a silent journey. No twenty questions? I didn’t have long to wait once we entered the kitchen though. I showed him my timetable – he could get cracking on that.

“Magical Training. Bet you can’t wait for that, huh?”

“I don’t know. Not if it’s pretty cool, but certainly, I can wait, if two stupid, romantic gossip-heads are in it.”

“Oh, dear, tell me all about it.”

So I told him.

“They’re just jealous. Seriously jealous. They only called me ugly because Zephyr doesn’t talk to anyone else.”

“Well, Zephyr’s got some fans, at least,” said dad.

“Unwanted fans, I’d say.”

“Well, you’re not ugly at all. Not a blemish on you. And your eyes are pretty. Big, sure, but not too big.”

“Next?”

“How did maths go?”

I frowned.

“OK. You’ve never been good at maths. Charms?”

“Er, I got my first piece of homework for Charms.”

“Already?”

“She spent the whole lesson questioning us and conversing with us and set us the task of writing one side of A4 on what we think Charms are and what they’re used for for homework.”

“Oh. Well, you had an easy lesson at least.”

“Dad, I’m not that hungry and I’m tired. Can I go upstairs for a while?”

“Certainly,” he said.

I went upstairs in a daze. My head was just so full of Zephyr! But I was being stupid, like those girls. I fell on my bed and dozed. Too tired to even change forms – jeesh, what was wrong with me?

“Wakey-wakey, sleepy puss – oh! Not a puss!”

“Nuh-uh,” I grumbled.

“Well, Josie, since you’ve been able to turn into a cat at will – that is the last four years – I’ve never seen you sleep human. What is with you?”

“Er – tired, lazy,” I said. Two adjectives was all I could be bothered saying at the moment.

“Too tired and lazy to go to school?”

Oh, crap! Yeah… school… Magical Training.

“No way!” I said, getting up. I quickly had a shower to rouse myself and got dressed into my school things.

There was no way on this Earth I was going to fit into the school uniform – they just didn’t stock midget sizes at the shop they sold it in. That was just one way in which it sucked being the height of someone half your age. I wouldn’t normally be that bothered, but if some monstrous old battle-axe demanded to know why I had the cheek and disregard for the rules to somehow assume it was OK not to wear the school uniform, I could get into trouble. They could put me in detention or make me write lines or whatever however many times as they wanted – I couldn’t wear the school uniform because the smallest size in the shop was too big for me. All I had to do was hope that trouble of any sort wasn’t going to happen.

In Magical Training, Zephyr sat next to me.

The class was varied, a mix of boys and girls, and fairly small, compared to Maths – about ten – twenty, maybe, if there were more people at the back.

“Hello, class. I am Eleri Minnarde, and I will teach you Magical Training. Firstly, what is Magical Training? Magical Training is one subject that encompasses all the magical subjects which can be taught. As solo or single subjects, you can study Sidhe studies, Vampire studies, Charms, Myths, Potions and Divination. In addition to these in Magical Training, you will study Magical creatures, part-human creatures, Extrasensory perception or ESP – aka psychic stuff – and magical history. This sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Yes, it is a lot, but it takes a lot to be a well-rounded magician. I hope you all have the appropriate textbooks and revision guides – you will need them.”

“Yes, Miss Minnarde,” we all chirruped.

“Eleri will do, thank you, and good, I’m glad you all have everything you need. I have a class that is well organised. That is a pleasant surprise. Most of the work you’ll be doing in this subject you can either do in a two or a three. Some of it you’ll have to do individually, but not much. If we all work hard and don’t mess about, there will be plenty of time for me to teach you most of the work. You will need to do homework once every two weeks, I think, once a week at the very most. We won’t do all one subject at a time, we’ll mix it up a bit so it’s fun. And before the ends of terms, we’ll have more fun. How does that sound?”

“Ace!” some people at the back roared.

“Excellent!” people in the middle said.

I smiled, as did Zephyr.

“Good, I’m glad we all agree. Right, pens and paper out – make some notes.”

She wrote down what we’d be studying on the whiteboard.

 

 

 

 

Charms

  • What are Charms?
  • Cheerful Charms
  • Useful Charms
  • Summoning and Banishing
  • Defensive Charms

 

Sidhe Studies

  • Sidhe Anatomy
  • Water Fairy Anatomy
  • Fairy Anatomy
  • Fairy Magic
  • Sidhe Magic
  • Sprijotts Sprites

 

Vampire Studies

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Slaying
  • Relationships
  • Law
  • Stories and Myths
  • True or False?

 

Myths

  • Western European Myths
  • Greek Myths
  • Vampyrelandish Myths

 

Potions

  • Useful Potions
  • Potions Ingredients Properties
  • Potions for other Magical Means
  • Healing Potions
  • Love Potions

 

 

Divination

  • Crystal Balls
  • Palmistry
  • Tea Leaves

 

ESP

  • ESP

 

Magical Creatures

  • Magral
  • Law

 

Part-human creatures

  • Werewolves
  • Ling-hybrids

 

Magical history

  • History of Magic in Vampyreland
  • History of Magical Creatures
  • History of Spells

 

“It’s a lot to fit into two years, but with homework every two weeks, I think we can do it.”

The class was silent.

“Now, here is an exciting topic to begin with. ESP. What do we think ESP is and what sort of things are classed as ESP?”

Someone’s hand shot up.

“Yes?”

“ESP stands for extrasensory perception and can be anything to do with the mind. It is supernatural and has never been proven to exist.”

Zephyr smiled and shook his head.

“That is your definition, is it? A sceptic. Interesting. Can anyone else say anything?”

“Telepathy,” someone else said.

“Which is?”

“The ability to read minds.”

“Correct. Anything else?”

“Clairvoyance – seeing the future.”

“Correct. Anymore?”

“Psychokinesis, which I think means moving objects without touching them.”

“Correct. Well done. Now, there are some people who are desperately trying to find ways for everyone to become psychic, some say it’s impossible and it is only a chance that some people have some sort of psychic power and some don’t know. Some people deny its existence, some people are absolutely positive it does exist, and some don’t know. Pack up! We will discuss all this at a later date because it is now time to go! Tomorrow’s lesson will be on part-human creatures. This will only be a short subject, so I’d imagine it won’t take any longer than one or two lessons. Bye, all!”

“That was good,” said Zephyr. “We aren’t doing vampire studies yet.”

He made a dash for the door and something suddenly made sense. That time in the canteen… he hadn’t appeared out of thin air. He could move fast, I’d just not been watching. But if “fast” was fast enough to make me think he’d appeared out of thin air, was I still crazy?


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #6 
Chapter 5: Mystery

Over the next few days, as I saw more and more of Zephyr, certain things that had come to my attention had me on edge and over-thinking. At least I hoped that was the case. I mean, how many guys could move so fast they either just looked like one huge blur or like they’d just appeared out of thin air, if you weren’t watching? Plus he looked like he’d never seen the sun in his life. Sure, there were pale-skinned people around. I was pretty pale myself and just got terrible sunburn if I went out in the sun, but Zephyr’s pale was unhealthy. At least it looked like that to me. Then, there was the way he’d talk to me through gritted teeth if I was looking at his face. Oh, and Zephyr walking me to class sometimes? It was his first week of not being home-educated too, so how the hell could he possibly know pretty much the whole academy? One of two things could be going on here. Either A, he was lying and I just hadn’t had my “nutter alert” on because I’d been too busy thinking how cute he was, or B – and this MIGHT sound crazy – there was a possibility he was psychic. Right, OK, no two ways about it – I was insane. I was over-thinking stuff and I was insane.

It was Thursday. I took my usual seat in registration and most of what I’d been thinking about played on my mind again and I got a seemingly cold glare from Zephyr that sent shivers down my spine. I was in trouble. Probably heaps. Oh, and no one had to tell me this wasn’t normal – no one would anyway. It was all in my head. Gosh, where was my damn mind? Where is my mind… where is my mind… where is my mind…

We were silent as Zephyr walked me to my first dance lesson. I was expecting it to be rubbish.

The lesson more than lived up to my expectations as my mind was obsessively reeling with Zephyr. Zephyr this, Zephyr that… shut up, mind.

That creepy, cold glare… did that mean he was psychic and I was in trouble? If so, how much trouble was I in?

“Josienne, are you alright?”

“No, got stuff on my mind.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Could I, hell? I didn’t want the teacher to be in trouble too.

“No, thanks. It’ll probably be forgotten soon,” I lied.

As if! Ha!

“Alright, off you go then.”

And off I went. Gosh, didn’t time fly when things were creeping you out? I was having no fun at all. I didn’t go to history. I just went home and went to bed. At least cats could hide their emotions. Or make them less clear to humans who probably didn’t know about them. I would just try to think catty things and be as cat-like as possible for as long as possible. That was my current solution.

*

I ended up skipping the whole of Friday. Friday was only a half day anyway. I didn’t think my dad noticed anything bizarre, or if he had, he’d been very quiet about it. I stayed in my cat form all day – I didn’t want the human worries I’d have to face if I changed forms.

It was Saturday morning when I decided to be a human again.

I had a shower and just put my scruffiest clothes on – like I ever went anywhere. I needed friends for that. Helena and Rachel were a likely pair, what with Rachel insulting me and both of them just gossiping about He Who Must Not Be Named all the time. I’d have to get to know the other people in my class.

Oh, but essays! Essays, essays, essays! I’d have to get cracking! I wasn’t doing anything on an empty stomach though. I ran downstairs and got myself some breakfast. Dad wasn’t there. He’d gone to work in the shop on the highway. That was good. I wasn’t driving him crazy today.

After I’d cleared my stuff away, I scampered back upstairs and looked at my planner.

Monday: Write an essay on what charms are and how they can be used. Next Charms lesson.

Tuesday: Potions: Write an essay on what potions are and how they can be used. No more than 1000 words please. Next week’s potion’s lesson. Myths: Write an essay on what you like about various types of mythology and what you like from myths. Next week’s Myths lesson. Magical Training: Summarise work on werewolves and ling-hybrids and write 500 words on ling-hybrids. Monday’s lesson.

Well, they were easy. I’d get them all done today. Charms would be an easy one. Myths would also be a relatively easy one. Potions, I suppose, this one would be the easiest essay I’d get, but it was a little less easy. Ling-hybrids, well, I’d have to try not to embarrass myself.

So I put one of my CDs on and got cracking on the potions essay, using my textbook and revision guide for guidance and within hours, I had it finished. 1000 words in total.

I took a long lunch break, making myself pancakes for lunch. I made a whole batch, so dad could have whatever I didn’t eat for his lunch when he came home at one this afternoon. I got out any sweet stuff I could find in the cupboard – chocolate spread, honey, syrup – maple syrup of course – and jam. I ate my way through half of the batch of sixteen pancakes. Served me right for being a cat and not eating for two days…

I put the pancakes and various jars and bottles of stuff in the fridge on the top shelf for dad and left a note – pancakes in the fridge – under a little round fridge magnet. Then, I went back upstairs, but not back to work. I read over my potions essay, then played on my rocking horse for what must have been over half an hour. Dad would be back and in the kitchen by now. He’d be back at work at half past two.

“JOSIE!” dad called.

Now what? I went downstairs.

“Hi, dad,” I said.

“It’s nice of you to make pancakes, but are these all for me?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Thanks,” he said.

I went back upstairs and rocked on my rocking horse a little longer. I knew I still had work to do, but I needed to keep myself occupied for the whole weekend, not just one day. I couldn’t allow myself to be distracted. That was asking for trouble. I also had a feeling reading my usual haunts would be asking for trouble. I had no idea why, but all of a sudden, they just seemed dangerous and untouchable.

This was being stupid. I pored over my textbook and revision guide for myths and got down any books on mythology from my bookshelf, trying to keep my eyes off my favourite books which had now become so dangerous. I read my books and finally chose something to write my essay about. If I got the lengthy ones out of the way today, I could have a lazier day tomorrow.

It took the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening writing my Myths essay once I’d chosen my favourite myth, which had taken a while.

I turned into a cat and went to bed at half past nine.

*

 

I woke up to several new things in my room, with a common theme, which clearly had to mean something – dad never got me anything without having a reason for doing so. The things were a keyboard, a microphone, with a stand, three guitars, I think – two of them had six strings and one had four strings, two large black boxes with various knobs and buttons on them and a load of different wires and cables and pedals I didn’t know what to do with.

There were also books and pages on things he’d printed off on the computer from the internet. They were all musical things. I knew dad’s meaning – he wanted me to be able to play an instrument or at least be able to sing. Well, why not? It would help me with my music lessons, I guessed.

I went downstairs and got myself some breakfast.

“Hey, Josie, what do you think of your new stuff?”

“Great, thanks, dad.” I’d try them out later and hopefully figure out what all the different things did, but now, I’d rather get my part-humans essay for Magical Training out of the way, preferably without embarrassing myself if I was going to have to read it out. If it was a simple matter of handing them in, I wouldn’t mind. I got cracking on the ling-hybrids, including an entire paragraph on catlings. I didn’t mention that I was one, but just made the reader think I could be from my apparent extensive knowledge of them. You would only know if you were one. Most people would struggle with ling-hybrids.

I should think most people knew about werewolves though. I did a very simple summary of Tuesday night’s lesson, using only my own notes in my book. That done, I went over to my instruments.

The keyboard was the first thing that caught my eye. I found the plug for it and put it by the bookshelf – I could plug it in there. I looked at the two books that were clearly for keyboard/piano. I soon found my way around the keyboard from A back to A again and was soon playing different chords. Major chords to begin with, then minor chords and steadily progressing to seventh chords and practising scales and arpeggios. Then I went downstairs and ate lunch with dad.

“How’s things?” asked dad. “I heard you playing the keyboard. You sound pretty good.”

“I think I got a lot done on it. I’ll check out the other stuff later.”

Well, after writing my final essay.

I went back upstairs as soon as I’d finished eating. The charms essay only took me one hour to complete. I now had a stack of essays on my desk.

Next thing, guitar. I went for the acoustic one – the one with the wider body and a big round hole in it and started making a racket on that. I learnt where the notes were on the fretboard and some open chords. It was fun playing that, and the keyboard, of course, but now, it was time to move on to something else. I looked at the two black boxes. One was a guitar amp and the other was a bass amp. There were two things that looked like they could use amplification. I’d guessed the one for the guitar amp was the one with six strings, since the acoustic guitar had six strings. The next thing was the wires or cables, whatever. I found one with three holes at one end and three pins at another. There was a speaker with three holes at the back of it and the microphone had three pins at the bottom of it. The other leads were all the same – jack leads. They went with the guitar, the bass, the amplifiers and the various pedals dad had got me. Now I had sorted that out, I decided to play the electric guitar. I found it the same as playing the acoustic guitar. I then looked at the pedals and tried experimenting with them. Distortion was a good one – gave the guitar plenty of bite. Flanging and phasing I also found pretty cool, making the guitar whoosh through the amp – it was very dreamy. Then there was chorusing. What a crazy sound! But it was still cool, although it didn’t beat the flanger. There were, like, seven or eight jack leads – spares, I suppose – so I tried layering different effects. It was mad, but I found the sound of it so funny! Then I moved on to the bass, simply getting to know it at first, then putting effects on it and messing about with the amp settings, producing all sorts of weird sounds, but I loved it.

The vocal microphone was very simple – I just plugged it in and sang a song.

“Wow, Josie!” my dad said over dinner. “You’ve done a lot today!”

“Well, I had to give them all a go.”

I’d continue experimenting right until when I had to go to bed for school the next day.

*

Zephyr flashed like a lightning bolt in front of my eyes. I saw him in the canteen of the academy. He didn’t eat anything, but only watched me eat. Then several other familiar scenes flashed before my eyes, in which I noticed his pale skin, heard him talking in his wind chime voice and for the first time since I’d met him, saw that his eyes now glaring at me burned a deep scarlet colour.

He kept on moving, appearing in front of me, then disappearing, like he was playing with the holes in my knowledge of him, letting me glimpse what I’d already seen, but dropping no hints, never giving me the complete picture.

I thought about the gritted teeth. Why would he want to hide such pretty white teeth? I searched down memory lane from when I’d read my favourite books. These descriptions, if, indeed, they made any sense, should mean that Zephyr would also have fangs, or at the very least that his teeth were sharp and pointed – neither of those things he’d want me to see.

I remember hearing him chuckle apparently at nothing, but it wasn’t nothing at all! Oh, boy, was I in trouble! I’d woken up with the human worries the mysterious Zephyr brought on. Now I knew what he was, how the hell could I face him this morning? How could I go in that classroom and sit next to him, knowing that he’d know that I know what he is? It just made me sick to think about it.

This wasn’t an over-reaction, and it wasn’t simply self-preservation. It was pure fear and stupidity. I HAD to face him. I HAD to sit by him.

I got up, changed forms, had a shower and got dressed. I wore jeans, sneakers and a high-necked top under a plain black V-neck sweater. I packed my bag for the day and set off to school. I couldn’t eat breakfast. I couldn’t even think about food. All I could think of now was surviving…

All the way down the corridor to my classroom, I was shivering like a dog on bonfire night. I could just turn around and bolt out of the academy at any moment.

I turned the handle and went inside. Zephyr was in his usual spot. I didn’t look at him as I walked to my seat.

When I reached the table, I sat as far from Zephyr as possible and mostly just stared at the table or the floor. It was pathetic, but I had to ignore him. Anything I said now would give Zephyr all he needed to know – that I knew what he was – and then my fate would be sealed.

“Josie?” that voice asked.

Oh, no, please let me have imagined that voice. That terrible, beautiful voice, deep, yet soft as wind chimes and so melodious it was almost singing.

“Josie?” It came again.

No, I wasn’t imagining it and I turned to face my worst nightmare.

 


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #7 
Chapter 6: Shiver and Shake

“H-h-h-h-ell-l-lo, Z-z-zeph-phyr,” I choked over the words.                       

He wasn’t going to talk about you-know-what, was he?

“Josie, are you alright?” he said, sounding genuinely concerned. Was he not the monster I’d thought he was?

I was more than a bit confused. And suddenly angry. Why was he here with a school full of innocent humans he was just going to murder?

Oh, I shiver and shake… when I think of how you make me hate…

I want to smash you to pieces… smash you up and screaming… smash you, helpless, down on the floor, smash you until you’re not here anymore…

It was making me shiver and shake in my seat. But how did you speak your mind to a vampire – or a person who could possibly be a vampire – and could also possibly read minds and have other psychic powers like that? I was in trouble. Serious trouble. I dreaded to think how much trouble I was in.

“Josie,” he said calmly, “you’re shaking like you’re absolutely terrified of something. What is it?”

Why was he not angry? Why was he not trying to convince me to walk off somewhere with him so he could kill me?

“Do you want to talk about something, Josie?”

“I’m – I-I… I’m alright t-thanks,” I said and tried to go back to ignoring him, but he didn’t let it go.

“Come on,” he said. “You and I need to talk. I know a good place we can go.”

No, not just us, let someone else come too… I’d rather someone witnessed this and found out about Zephyr.

I let him lead me away, taking my bag with me. Not that it would be any use to Zephyr, unless he needed a spare bag.

“We’re going to be a little late for Charms,” he said to the person behind him before we left the room.

We walked down several corridors, up one staircase and down another corridor and into a room that looked like a library. It had tons of books – fiction and non-fiction – on shelves everywhere.

He took me over to some cushioned blue seats that looked quite cosy.

“Take a seat,” he said, sitting himself.

I sat, and waited for the torrent of torture I was bound to be subjected to for my knowledge.

“You know what I am, don’t you?” he asked. He was still much calmer than I thought he should be.

“Yeah,” I said simply.

“And you’re scared of me,” he said.

“You are psychic! Yikes!”

“Yes, but you have nothing to be scared of,” he said.

Nothing to be scared of?! He was a vampire!

He rubbed my back, like hugging an upset friend. Like that would help – he was a monster.

“I’m not a monster, you know. I don’t want to be a monster.”

I just sat there shaking, fighting tears.

Then, there was a knock at the door.

“Zephyr, Josienne, don’t you two have lessons to go to?”

“Charms,” Zephyr replied. “We can’t go.”

No, we couldn’t go. Not in the state I was in.

“It was Charlie from our class,” he explained.

“You saw me move fast in the canteen, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“That didn’t shock you?”

“It did… a bit.”

“My cold skin’s not doing you any favours. Here, have my jacket,” he said, wrapping his jacket around me. It was navy blue – a bit of colour on top of my plain black ensemble.

“Thanks,” I said. How the hell could he tell I was in shock – ah! Psychic. That was it.

“You’re really not going to kill me?”

“No,” he replied. “Why did you think that?”

What? I knew what he was. Wasn’t that kind of a problem? I didn’t know much about vampire law, but I’m sure they had to keep themselves a secret.

He just continued stroking my back.

“I’ll explain later. At the moment, it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is I’m not going to kill you.”
“What are you going to do with me?”

“Nothing,” he replied. “I’ll get you a book to read,” he said.

He got up, taking no more than a few minutes, and came back with Jekyll and Hyde.

“Changes the subject a bit, doesn’t it?” he said.

What a joke! As if I could forget anything about Zephyr! But it was a welcome change, I must admit.

“Thanks,” I said.

I had my head stuck in the book and completely forgotten Zephyr was there. Robert Louis Stevenson’s writing had me hooked – I was reading and tried not to dwell on the fact that I knew who Hyde was.

“Are we off to Maths then?”

“Oh, yes!” I said, picking up my bag and running off.

“Bye,” he said.

“Bye,” I said and we went our separate ways.

I found my way to the bottom set classroom – it wasn’t far from the library. Opposite side, a few doors along the corridor.

I just did what I had to do. Hopefully, no one noticed what a wreck I was. No one said anything to me.

I didn’t see Zephyr at lunch. Maybe he’d sneak up on me, although he might be nice on the other hand and just not show up. What I did see, though, were posters.

CHOIR – WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS 12:30-2PM

ROCK BAND – THURSDAY AFTERNOONS 2:30-3:30PM

IF YOU ARE FREE AT ANY OF THESE TIMES AND WOULD LIKE TO JOIN IN, PLEASE SPEAK TO MISS BETHANY BELLAMY OR BANGHARAD ADAMMS-WALLIS IN THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT BEFORE 3:30PM ON TUESDAY. FOR CHOIR, JUST TURN UP – YOU ARE THE INSTRUMENT. FOR ROCK BAND, BRING AN INSTRUMENT – GUITARISTS, BASSISTS, KEYBOARDISTS. AMPS AND LEADS ARE REQUIRED ALSO. DRUM KITS AND MICROPHONES ARE PROVIDED FOR YOU.

FRIDAY LESSONS 3+4

EXTRA LESSONS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS: CHARMS, MATHS, POTIONS, SIDHE STUDIES, SPORTS, DANCE, HISTORY, ART, FRENCH, POLITICS, LITERATURE, MUSIC AND DIVINATION. THESE LESSONS ARE PUT ON BASED ON DEMAND AND NEED AND WILL BE AD HOC UNTIL TWO WEEKS BEFORE ENDS OF TERMS.

I’d do choir and rock band – they ought to be good. I’d have to decide which instrument I was best at and get practising. The extra lessons might be useful some of the time.


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #8 
Chapter 7: Vampire

It lay there on the floor of a darkened room, helpless and eyes wide in terror. It had pale cheeks and trembling jaws whose mouth uttered an alarming scream of “no!” A scream that gripped at you and clawed your heart out, a scream that tore at your very being to help the boy that had screamed, but it was too late. The temptress walked over to where he lay. With wild red hair and eyes bleeding dark scarlet nightmares and wearing jeans and a t-shirt, she looked rather strange.

Somewhere in the distance, thunder rumbled and lightning cracked through the sky in bright yellow forks of electricity.

The boy screamed again. His jet-black hair stood on end and his black and red outfit was wet with sweat.

“Get away from me!” he yelled and tried to crawl off, but brutally, a hand pinned him down.

“Shut up, precious,” she said.

The woman got to the boy’s head and pulled him up to her. He screamed again.

Two fangs pierced Zephyr’s neck, and again on the other side. Then the woman bit Zephyr’s hands and left him, fangs dripping with blood. Zephyr looked at the mark circled with blood on his hands and screamed as loud as he could. This scream wasn’t just terrifying because I knew who he was and I was scared a similar scene might involve me one day. Zephyr’s screams had the terror of a hundred men in them. How could that woman leave Zephyr in the terrifying state of agony he was in? I was in no doubt whatsoever that she in no way, shape or form cared for Zephyr one iota. This was a horror scene. A scene I’d rather not have to visit again.

Zephyr lay there, screaming, then panting. Dreading the day it would be over, wishing this hadn’t happened.

One final scream woke me up, sitting bolt upright in my bed, in my human form, gasping as I frenetically looked around the room again and again.

“Josie, are you alright?” dad asked. OMG, what had he heard? Then, I realised that last scream was my own.

“Nightmare,” I said.

I did not go back to sleep.

It took three whole CDs to calm me down. I even sang along to some of them.

I couldn’t eat. I just packed my bag for the day. It was Tuesday.

I sat away from You-Know-Who and read over my notes for Potions. When the bell rang, I put my Potions book back in my black rucksack and grabbed my kit bag before skedaddling off to the PE department.

I got changed slowly and followed the other girls up to the canteen. That was the space we used for our dance lessons.

“After today, we will spend Wednesday and Thursday’s lessons on this dance, then next week, we will move on to these,” Miss Nikkelsen said, holding up two games. Why she had two computer games, I had no idea.

We got changed back into our uniforms – or plain clothes for me – and during break, I handed my Charms homework in to Iona Mallory.

“Ah, Josienne, thank you. “Where were you yesterday?”

This was where I had to think of something…

“I overslept,” I said.

“Well, you need to set an alarm or something,” she said.

“Yes, Iona,” I said. I didn’t need an alarm. Usually, being a cat was enough of an alarm – I nearly always woke up when I had to – or my dad woke me up.

Now I’d just have to hope she didn’t check our class register and find out that I’d been in registration yesterday…

Oversleeping was a lame excuse… But it was the first thing I could think of.

Then I scurried off to Potions, down a few corridors until I got to the nearest staircase, down the stairs, along that corridor and outside. Down two stone steps was the yard. I ran across it to the PE department. Once inside, I walked past the changing rooms and turned right before the gym at the end of the corridor. This small corridor led to another staircase. The Potions classrooms and detention lock-ups were in a basement.

Potions classrooms were right next to each other and a folding door separated them. This was opened when larger classes came in, or more space was needed. Today, the space of two rooms was needed due to the equipment we’d be using today. We had two desks per team of I don’t know how many our class of twenty-something would be split into. On those desks were sets of equipment you might find in a science lab. We had larger cauldrons in front of one desk and at the end of one desk were plain pieces of paper. We’d be making complex potions today, by the looks of things, and making notes or diagrams of the process.

“Come in, class,” said Miss Malfew, who was in S3, the big potions room that was my form room.

“Don’t be alarmed at the chemistry set. Just stand by the wall for now.”

We stood by the wall.

“Now, I want you to split into pairs for today’s task. It will take two people to complete the task. And it will take up both lessons. Split up into pairs and go to your tables quickly.”

“Want to work with me?” that voice said.

“Er…” I tried to stall, tried to see if there was anyone left but Zephyr, but there seemed to be no one. Everyone was at their tables.

“You and Zephyr,” said Miss Malfew, “table number seven in the middle over there.”

Damn it!

I followed Zephyr to the table Miss Malfew had given us, which was in the middle of the slightly smaller potions room, S2 back towards the stairs. It was right by the enormous cauldron in the middle which a teacher would use to make a load of one potion for some reason.

We had quite a lot of equipment on our tables as well as various things in the chemistry set that we’d be using to make the potion we had to make today.

“What do you think this is?” I asked him.

“I’ve no idea,” he replied. “It’s too early for me to guess yet.”

Meaning he couldn’t be bothered reading Miss Malfew’s mind? I thought so.

Zephyr chuckled. Then he put on a poker face again.

“What are you laughing at?”

“It’s nothing,” he lied.

I’d have to make him talk somehow, although on second thoughts, did I really want to know what he was laughing about?

I thought about all the stuff Zephyr would probably be thinking about – very creepy things – and shuddered. I knew too much. On top of that, why the hell would I possibly want to know what Zephyr was laughing about? It was very stupid, and Zephyr started laughing again!

We’d done a lot of work between the pair of us – an equal share of making the potion and writing about it. We’d written one and a half pages each.

“Pack up and go to lunch. Don’t forget to come straight back here afterwards though!” said Miss Malfew.

Off we went.

 


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #9 
Chapter 8: ESP

Zephyr sat next to me.

“I’m eating today,” he said.

“I have noticed,” I replied.

I ate my bowl of soup and stared at my pasta with chicken in it. It looked a bit more appetising than a small bowl of soup. I knew why Zephyr sat next to me. He wanted to talk to me. I wasn’t having it though. I kept going back up to get more food. The more I ate, the less I’d talk. Plus, I was hungry.

Back in the Potions room, we worked like we did before.

“I know what it is,” said Zephyr after the lesson.

Of course he did.

“Going to share?”

“It makes someone psychic temporarily. It is simply called the ESP potion for this reason.”

“Thanks,” I said.

I just felt like a bad witch full of glee from doing black magic.

“I’ve got Myths next,” I told Zephyr.

“Well, I’ve got politics. Enjoy the monster stories.”

How could he possibly know that, I wondered…

I headed off to Myths and it was indeed monster stories. Vampires, werewolves and zombies. I found the vampires entertained me, but werewolves and zombies just freaked me out.

After Myths, I went home and did my homework. Well, at least that was a lot of work out of the way.

Dinner with dad was silent.

Back at school, I went straight down to the potions lab to collect some potions for myself and Zephyr. I assumed he’d want to work with me. I was just having a very careless, very Zephyr-oriented day. I hadn’t let him talk to me at lunch time though. I’d rather not know what kind of trouble I was in, thank you.

Then, I raced to Eleri’s classroom and put the small bottles of the potion on the desk.

“Hello, Josie.” What was this going to be like?

“Hello, Zephyr,” I said.

“I see you’ve brought a load of the potion,” he said.

“Is it too much?”

“No, it’s enough.”

“In your pairs, you are going to take some of the potion and describe what is happening to your partner. You don’t have to do it in here. Do it wherever you like in the school grounds.”

That was very kind of her.

Zephyr picked up the potion bottles and I followed him. He took me to the school’s library, yet again. We sat on the same chairs as yesterday and he began to talk.

“I don’t need this potion, of course. You know that.”

“So it’s all for me?”

“Yes. But we’re not going to do the task now. I will use it on you, but not now.”

“Then what are we going to do?”

“We both describe what we think the potion might do. Make it sound as realistic as possible though. That’s how you’ll get your marks.”

I did exactly what Zephyr said. Then I did my Myths homework on vampires.

“Can I read that?” he asked.

Uh-oh! I let him read it anyway.

“It’s all correct,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said. Thanks for checking my homework, but what are you going to do to me?

Zephyr sighed.

“I’ll keep these,” he said, putting the potions in his rucksack.

“Come to my house after school on Friday. I have French and Vampire Studies. I’ll get you after whatever you’ve got.”

“Thanks,” I said.

He disappeared and I immediately came to my senses.

I was meeting Zephyr after school on Friday. Yikes! Forget no damn self-preservation, where was my mind?!

Where is my mind…? Where is my mind…? Where is my mind…?

I handed in my Myths homework, then went home.

My mind was a flaming mess… I was insane.

When I got home, I went straight to bed.


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #10 
Chapter 9: Mess

The next few nights, I woke up screaming from having the same nightmare – seeing Zephyr and that… that girl. It wasn’t jealousy. It was fear and hatred. I was fighting tears, sat up in bed, staring at everything in my room. In the nightmare, Zephyr had been scared of that girl. She very much seemed like my idea of the word vampire – it dovetailed rather well with another word – monster. I felt like yelling it at different corners of the room – monster, monster, monster, monster – but I didn’t. It would have dad worried.

Zephyr seemed like a monster to me in some ways. He could be quite friendly though, and so far, had been good about my knowing his nature… but wouldn’t it be the perfect ploy to make me trust him and then strike when I was least expecting it? That was my imagination of what might happen – he could be very cunning, I suspected. Therefore, it was vital that I not let my guard down any more than I’d already done. That was bad enough, letting him sit next to me and talk like he was just a human and I had nothing to worry about. Then I’d let him work with me in potions – oh, why hadn’t there been anyone else free? And then I’d agreed to see him on Friday! Ugh! Where was my damn mind?!

It was no joke – Zephyr was quite charming – no, mesmerizing – and he made me suddenly let my walls come down and be very whimsical. Who, in their right mind, would bother seeing a monster? OK, they could have their charms, and could be seemingly friendly, but what if behind that friendly mask hid a complete psychopath, or something twisted and dark like that?

Then suddenly, I just realised today was Friday.

Oh, crap! I had to think of an excuse… that I’d done something stupid and broken my leg or something… a reason to cancel my plans. Zephyr knew I knew about him, but I hoped he didn’t know everything I knew about him.

I seriously needed to think of something. Maybe I could just skip school or skive off any lessons Zephyr and I shared. That would be Potions and Magical Training. But then, if I went in, he’d see me in registration… Oh, man, this would be difficult. I’d just not go to school. I could sleep and play my instruments all weekend.

I went back to sleep.

I woke up hours later.

“Hey, sleepy head. How are you?”

“Tired,” I replied. No need for dad to know all the gory details.

“I figured that out,” he said.

He said no more, which was good. I ate a chocolate bar and went back upstairs. I picked up Beastie, my bass. Beastie was a black Redwood bass with a rosewood fretboard. I played scales on it and tried playing a couple of basslines – something I had moderate success in, I’d say.

After that, I picked up Draco, my guitar. I’d started learning open chords on it and was also having some success with that. I’d have to teach myself barre chords at some point. Although I didn’t know when.

My keyboard, which I’d named Bellatrix – and yes it was after Bellatrix Lestrange. I’d recently been considering reading the Harry Potter books again. Anyway, Bellatrix, I found, suited me rather well. I was playing all sorts of chords, melodies and harmonies on it.

Such was my weekend – with the addition of homework, of course – but now, I’d had my fun and I had to get my stuff ready for tomorrow…

I hoped it would be a bit different than what my days had been like recently. I’d have to change a few things myself. I was done with fear and all things drab and dark in life – I was ready to get to know people and ignore my past. It was over. Now was my turn to live.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #11 
Chapter 10: Avoidance

In that potions room, I didn’t sit at the front. I went to the back.

“Er, Charlie, can I sit next to you?”

“Certainly,” he said, moving his rucksack off the chair next to him for me to sit down.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Fine,” he replied. “Yourself?”

“Good thanks.”

We talked about the classes a lot. I asked him what his favourite one was.

“Art,” he replied. “I love being creative. I used to only use oil pastels and occasionally crayons, but I’ve got to admit I’ve recently fallen in love with the paint brush.”

“Second?”

“That would be Myths – they’re just fascinating.”

“My favourite’s Magical Training – it’s cool learning loads of stuff in one subject. I think my second’s music though. That’s my way of being creative.”

“Cool,” said Charlie. “What are you into?”

“Oh, anything gloomy. I’m a dark soul.”

“I like some gloom, but not all the time – light and shade, you know?”

“I suppose so.”

Charlie wasn’t in Charms with me. He had Art first thing. A girl behind me with gorgeous red curls and grey eyes called Zoey went to Charms with me and we sat at the back.

“Hey, didn’t you used to sit at the front?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Who was the hunk you sat next to?”

“Zephyr Daniels,” I replied.

“Weren’t you friends with him?”

“Er… I’m not sure,” I said. No one else was getting into the trouble I was in, so I kept my mouth shut about the gory details.

“Oh, he’s just someone you sat next to?”

“Yes,” I said.

“That’s fine.”

In another class other people were talking about me.

“Why isn’t she with Zephyr anymore?”

“I have no idea. Were they even together?”

“Yes, they were together – she’s been with him for at least three weeks.”

“I didn’t think she was into him…”

“Who wouldn’t be into a guy like that. He’s so handsome.”

“Well, she’s not with him now, that’s for sure.”

I just wanted to yell at them to shut up. It was very annoying. Why was I the object of so much idle gossip? Zephyr was a popular topic as well, but he shouldn’t be. If they only knew the whole story… but then they’d be in trouble, and I probably shouldn’t encourage them to go digging, no matter how stupidly obsessed they were with him.

By the time the evening came and it was time to go back to school for Magical Training, I was contemplating skiving… but I’d skived all of Friday. I sat at the back again and hoped whoever I’d be sitting next to didn’t bother me about stupid, loathsome, evil Zephyr Daniels – there, let him hear that! I bet he was picking what he could out of my head, the ear-wigging monstrous sod!

Thankfully, Zoey didn’t say anything, so I was able to forget about You-Know-Who and focus on Eleri’s explanation of what we were doing.

“Today, we will learn summoning and banishing charms. To summon objects or people, you use the incantation Summi. Say it now.”

The whole class repeated the word.

“Good. And for banishing objects or people, you say Bannatte, followed by whatever or whoever you want to banish.”

“Bannatte,” the class said.

“Good. No banishing me though, or I won’t be able to teach you.”

Most of the class laughed and I chuckled.

“For homework, research the spells using your books and write a page describing their effects.”

I read what the book’s pages on them said and considered what use the examples given were:

The summoning of objects – if I was too lazy to be bothered picking up my stuff, sure. The same went for banishing objects. Maybe it was best not to think of them in everyday situations – that would be lazy.

Maybe they’d be better used for things you didn’t do every day. I read on:

If you are far away from something you want or need to use or you want to send something somewhere –

Summi ___________ force or Bannatte ____________ to ____________.

They seemed like legit reasons to use these particular spells.

The rest of the lesson was spent watching a video on the spells. We had to make notes from the video as well. I did that and packed most of my things up. Then I put my hands on either side of my head and closed my eyes. I stood still for ten seconds before suddenly opening them and pointing at my target.

“Bannatte Zephyr!”

Then I went back to packing my bag, but this time with a smile on my face. Then I went home happy. I’d just banished my worst nightmare from my head. I had a rather peaceful sleep as well, in my cat form. Probably the first time I’d slept through the night properly in ages.

I kept avoiding Zephyr all week, but the following Wednesday, he’d had enough.

“Josie?”

“What do you want, Zephyr?”

“Would you mind telling me what this is about?”

“It’s called not letting my guard down,” I snapped, then walked off to my first lesson. In the corridor, I’m sure I saw Zephyr with tears running down his alabaster cheeks. Clearly boys did cry.

I still avoided Zephyr, but now and again, I saw him crying. I couldn’t have upset him. I didn’t think psychopaths had any emotions. Still, I’d made sure I had nothing to be scared of now. He was clearly upset about something, but I wasn’t bothered what. I started getting bothered after two weeks of it though. Did he have depression or something? Could monsters like him be mentally ill? I didn’t know and I reminded myself that I ought not to care.

Maybe I had upset Zephyr. Maybe I had the wrong idea about him. I’d driven a wedge between us with my idiocy, and now I fully intended to fix whatever problem I’d caused A.S.A.P.

In my next Magical Training lesson, I explained what I’d done to Eleri and asked her how I could undo what I’d done.

“Yes, you can. You can undo it by saying Finite Bannatte.”

“Thank you!” I said. Although part of me still thought Zephyr would be my undoing and I was still worried about the trouble I was probably in, I was going to get to know Zephyr more. If he wanted us to be friends, well, then, I would damn well try with all my heart.

I put my hands on my head and closed my eyes again.

After ten seconds, I opened them and pointed at Zephyr.

“Finite Bannatte Zephyr!”

He was back in my head now.

Oh, Zephyr, I’m so sorry! I’ve been such a jerk!

“I know. You were terrified of me. I know. All I ever wanted was to be friends.”

I’ve been having nightmares…

“I know that as well.”

Can we go to the library, or will it be closed?

“It’ll be closed. Come home with me on Friday?”

“Yes,” I said. It was a clear, unashamed yes. I was going to be friends with Zephyr. I was going to talk to my dad. Zephyr was beaming. I started to think maybe I could trust him.

 


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Chapter 11: Zephyr's Story

A week went by without Zephyr being in. I’d avoided him for weeks on end, maybe he was deciding to avoid me. However, I got all my work done in class, working with other members of the class – just like it had been when I was avoiding Zephyr.

Was Zephyr lying about meeting me on Friday? Or had he forgotten? Or maybe he’d meant next Friday? Anyway, he wasn’t here. Like I cared. Meeting a vampire after school seemed like a good trick. Villains did all sorts of weird things to achieve their own ends. How did I know he wasn’t just messing with me to get on my good side… and then kill me? Well, I guess I’d better find a wooden stake somewhere…

But enough of me gloomily thinking of staking a vampire through the heart – I had Potions class.

Down in the dungeons, Miss Malfew had us reading out our essays about the luck potion she’d made and we’d had to research.

“No Zephyr again?” she asked. “Oh, well, he must be ill or something.”

I was the last to read mine out in front of the class before we packed up our things for lunch. It was a half day for me. I could go home now if I wanted to, but I liked the school canteen too much. Besides, what were friends for? You didn’t just abandon them.

I sat next to Becky, an albino wearing black, just like me, Rachelle, a wild ginger with eyes the colour of seaweed, Jazz, a brown-haired lad with smokey grey eyes and so much soot on his face you’d swear he’d just come down from a chimney, and Rodolphus, a boy with blue eyes and dyed blue hair to match.

“What have you got next?” I asked Rodolphus.

“Double History. Yourself?”

“Nothing. Jazz, what on Earth happened to your face? You look like –”

“– a chimney sweep,” he finished for me. “Only tried a spell from this book and it went totally wrong and blasted in my face – hence the soot.”

“Oh,” I said. I had no sympathy for him – meddling with advanced spells was never good.

“It’s not like I have any other classes though. I can go home and wash it off before this evening.”

“Rachelle, what have you been doing?”

“Art and Politics. I have a painting to finish and an essay on The Madhouse Council. She wants 1,000 words on them, our teacher – you could write a book about The Madhouse Council and still not have it all covered – they’re just huge.”

“Well, er, good luck with that,” I said.

“I’ve been doing music,” said quiet little Becky.

“How did that go?”

“Alright,” she said. “I’m in the school choir – I’m going to be with the sopranos.”
“Can you sing?”

She sang a few songs, and finally, I said, “soprano? Are you sure? You might find that a little high.” She wasn’t an alto, but I didn’t think she could quite hit the top notes either.

“Well, I’ll see how it goes,” she said.

“What about me?” I asked, and sang. My voice was lower, I knew that, but I didn’t know how much lower.

“Definitely an alto – there’s no way you’d sing soprano.”

“OK, cool.”

After lunch, I put my bag on my back and headed for the exit nearest to me, reception.

I was walking towards the gate with footsteps behind me getting louder until they disappeared and a high-pitched squeaking noise probably produced by someone swinging around a pole or something like that replaced them.

“Boo!”

I looked up, and there he was, grinning, fangs on show. I jumped back an inch.

“Zephyr!” I gasped.

“Come on then,” he said.

We walked about a mile – we were past my house by a few streets.

“Where have you been all week?” I asked.

“All in good time,” he said.

The houses here were varied – from tiny, three-roomed bungalows, bungalows with extensions – these extensions were at the backs of them and in the roofs, meaning they had an extra floor – to small houses, some of which were extended in places. They were nothing special. I didn’t think my house was very big, but with five rooms and a utility downstairs and four rooms and a large bathroom upstairs, it was bigger than these. This was just a little piece of cheap side. Well and truly cheap side. I wondered what Zephyr’s family did. He’d never mentioned any family though.

“This is mine,” he said, taking me to one of the bungalows.

“You live in cheap side?” I asked him.

“Yeah, it’s not exactly a mansion.”

“Or your average town house.”

“No, but it’s home.”

The walls were bare in every room. The front door opened to a small hall. Stairs on the left, three doors on the right and a fourth door at the end. It had been extended at some point.

“The hall and these three rooms here – the front room, the study and the utility was the original bungalow. There was a family living here until recently. They added the kitchen and the dining room and the upper floor. Then, upstairs, we have the master bedroom, the bathroom, that was their boy’s room over there on the right, and this room here was the girl’s room. Now it’s where I crash.”

“How recent is recent?”

“About a year and a half or so now.”

Again, no mention of any family. If he didn’t want to talk, I wouldn’t ask.

“This is my room,” he said, taking me into the old family’s boy’s room.

“It’s – er-”

“Simple, I know. I haven’t had time to decorate the place since I’ve been here. I don’t like how plain the place is either.”

There was his bed – some vampire he was, not having a coffin! But at least he slept and he had somewhere to sleep. There was also a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. How very, very plain.

Nothing said he’d been here any length of time – it all looked too neat, like he’d only just moved in.

Two bottles stood on the chest of drawers.

“You still have those from weeks ago?” I asked.

“Yeah. Here you go,” he said, passing them to me.

“Zephyr, what’s this supposed to do?” I asked suspiciously.

“Let you inside my head. I know you don’t think you can trust my mouth, but you can trust my head, I promise you.”

We sat on the bed, and I drank both the tiny bottles of the potion. It was sweet-tasting stuff. I hadn’t been expecting that.

Zephyr sat in a strange room in a different house. It was warm and sunny outside, but nonetheless, he sat inside.

“What do you want to do for your birthday, Zephyr?” a man in his thirties asked him. It was Zephyr’s dad. I saw the resemblance straight away. Black hair, brown eyes.

“Can I invite my friends round for tea?”

“Certainly,” replied his dad. “Who are you thinking of inviting?”

“Zéphine, Matt, Louis and Georgie.”

“They’ll do,” replied his dad. Georgie was short for Georgina.

Zephyr hand wrote his invitations.

Zephyr Emmett Ronald Daniels

Would like to invite you to his

Fourteenth birthday party at his house on

14th July 2014

At 5:30pm till 8:30pm

RSVP Fred Daniels on __________

By 12th July.

Zephyr showed his mother, Fifi, the invitations.

“Lovely, darling. Take them to school with you tomorrow.”

There was a different academy, in a different town.

Zephyr never used to live by me – it was only recently he’d moved. I didn’t know why though.

In his first lesson, he gave out the invitations.

“Thank you,” they all said.

Zéphine was a pale, dark-haired girl with dark brown eyes wearing black and red. Matt was blond and lanky. Louis was a muscular redhead that looked like he’d be good at any sport. Georgie was as much a fairy princess as I was with her plain face and messy hair. Her clothes were an ugly sight as well, but Zephyr liked her.

Then, I saw another scene. It showed the school canteen.

“Hey, Zephyr, are you and Kat still together?”

“Yes,” he replied. “I have a date with her tomorrow, in fact.”

Wow. Thirteen going on fourteen and he had a girlfriend.

And there was Kat walking beside Zephyr to a lesson they both had. Now and again, Zephyr would steal a kiss. Something about Kat looked horribly familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

The scene quickly changed back to Zephyr’s house. It was his birthday party and all four of his friends were there with him, all sat round the table, eating, chatting and singing merrily. Zephyr opened his presents, tearing off the wrapping paper with excitement and enthusiasm.

Zéphine had got him chocolate, Georgie had got him some socks, Matt had got him a new PlayStation and Louis had got him games and a couple of controllers for it.

“Thanks, guys!” he said.

After all his friends had gone, Zephyr took all his presents upstairs to his bedroom. He stashed his chocolates in one of his drawers. He’d scoff them at some point. He put his socks in his drawers as well and set up the PlayStation by the TV and put the games near it as well. Then he went to bed.

Next, he was with Kat. In school, walking down a corridor with Kat. She looked like trouble. Smoking hot, but I had a strange sense of fear – like I’d seen her before…

They walked out of the school and suddenly they walked down a street I hadn’t seen before. They weren’t going to Zephyr’s house.

The street led to a dead end and they went to the second house in it.

In an upstairs room, Kat kissed Zephyr and then in a flash, Kat pushed Zephyr down on the floor, and he cried.

“You’re such a weakling,” said Kat.

“NO!” Zephyr screamed. It was possibly the lowest scream I’d heard – not very high at all. Zephyr was a bass.

Kat bit Zephyr on both sides of his neck and he screamed again.

“Bye, my precious,” she said before running off and leaving him. Zephyr just lay there screaming in pain.

Next, he was back with Kat, but this time looking thoroughly disgusted as she wiped out a whole village, just about, draining them all of their blood. She’d left a few for Zephyr, but he didn’t kill them. He didn’t want blood on his hands. Kat finished the few Zephyr hadn’t touched.

“Pathetic, you are!” Kat yelled at him. “What are you going to eat now?” You’re very stupid.”

Shortly afterwards, she left.

Zephyr ran off himself, crying. The crying Zephyr kept on running and running until he got to a park in a nearby village. Some children were playing there and as if on a whim, he killed them all. But he started crying again shortly afterwards.

A few days later, when he knew his parents would be at work, he went back to his house and packed up all his clothes into a suitcase, but left all his games and toys there. His parents threw them away when they knew Zephyr wasn’t coming back. They believed him to be dead.

Zephyr ran and ran until he got to my village. He slept rough, out on the streets for a few days until a man walking by found him.

“Where do you live?”

“Nowhere,” said Zephyr.

“I live in that house there. Myself and my family are moving out of it tomorrow. You can have it if you like.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Zephyr.

The next morning, the family moved out and Zephyr moved in. He now had a home to live in, and one goal: to find Kat and kill her. He hunted occasionally, going as far away as possible to do it and killing about twenty people a month, or sometimes just over a month. Kat was murderous and greedy – she ate loads every single night. Zephyr tried tracking her down, but gave up after a year or so. Zephyr was now out of his newborn phase. He was in better control of his thirst and though he was cursed to spend an eternity as a vampire, he would try to help humans and be friends with them. By August that year, he was thinking of going to school, and that was how me and Zephyr met.

Zephyr had shown me what had happened to him in over a year. If he was human, he would be fifteen. He was a year older than me. Not that it mattered, of course. But anyway, he’d had one nightmare of a year.

Then I suddenly remembered why Kat was familiar – she was in my nightmare.

“Go home, Josie,” said Zephyr.

I went home, feeling sorry for Zephyr. He lived a terrible life. If I could help him, I would, but I was afraid I couldn’t.

The wind howled through the trees when I walked home and rain splashed me relentlessly. The gloomy grey sky with its ominous clouds made me race through puddle after puddle in order to get in my house which was sure to be warm and dry.

I wasn’t disappointed. I ran upstairs and turned into a cat. Then I leapt onto my bed, curled up on the pillow and pulled the duvet over me with my teeth. Yes, cats had fangs too, but I didn’t like to describe mine in that way. They were just long, sharp teeth.

I put Zephyr and Kat out of my mind for now and slept all evening and all night.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Chapter 12: Cat Instincts

The next morning, I woke up and stretched out my furry black paws on my purple bedding. Hmm… I wondered what it’d be like to have a cat bed… I hardly ever slept human… naw, I was happy with my bed. It was cool.

I got up and in true cat fashion, I softly padded across to the edge of my bed and jumped down. It wasn’t a long way down – besides, what cat was scared of heights? It was one thing I liked about my alter ego – my human self didn’t like heights at all. I stalked across the room, watching at the window for any signs of Zephyr. I ought to put garlic about the place, I suppose. It might work -  he was more like Dracula than Edward Cullen. Count Zephyr – I liked the sound of that. No, it would be Count Daniels. Dracula was Vlad Dracula – Dracula wasn’t his first name. Anyway, Count Zephyr Daniels wasn’t there. No need for garlic just yet.

I went downstairs to where dad was sitting.

“Oh, er, hi, Josie.”

“Meow,” I replied. I couldn’t talk to him, but I didn’t care.
“Just a bowl of milk for you this morning, is it?”

“Meow,” I said again.

“Sounds about right,” he said.

Then he put a bowl of milk down on the table for me. I jumped up on to the chair nearest to me and then jumped on to the table where I lapped up the milk with my fuzzy rosy pink tongue.

I then jumped down off the table and went back upstairs. Upstairs, I jumped right back on to my bed and snoozed for bloomin’ Vampyreland. I was a very lazy cat.

Much later on, I woke up and went over to my keyboard, Bellatrix, jumped onto the stool and pressed a load of buttons until I found the power button. Then, I pressed some random buttons, choosing what my Bellatrix would sound like. Then I played a few random notes, a few whole scales and walked up and down it a few times and even sat on it.

Downstairs, dad could be heard chuckling to himself – I’d clearly amused him. I ought to just go cat more often. I decided I wasn’t being a human - I was having a catty weekend. I continued playing the keyboard, actually playing a couple of tunes here and there - melodies I could pick out with my paws – when I wasn’t just obsessed with playing random notes, walking all over Bella or sitting on her. Indeed, I liked sitting on Bellatrix – it was music to my catty ears.

It was like that all weekend – messing about on Bellatrix, meowing for the hell of it, having the occasional prowl out on the streets, drinking milk, eating meat sometimes and then curling up on my bed and snoozing for bloomin’ Vampyreland. It was quite amusing, I’d imagine. It’d probably amuse Zephyr as well. It certainly amused my dad. I was definitely having a catty weekend. Having a catty weekend and loving it. 


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Chapter 13: Bad News

 

 

At school the following week – yes, Zephyr had been off for a whole week – he told me he had some bad news. Very bad news.

“Kat’s at her old game again, by the look of things.”

“What?” I asked.

“There’s been stories in the news about disappearances – they’re all boys about my age. They’ve had a girlfriend and disappeared one day. Also, there’s been reports of a string of murders in the areas these boys all lived in. It’s exactly the sort of thing Kat does.”

“Exactly what she did to you as well,” I said.

“Yes,” he said sadly.

I hugged him.

“Aww… thanks, Josie,” he said, then rubbed his eyes – he’d been starting to cry and I bet those lights gave him headaches.

“Not like they give you headaches,” he replied.

“We could go after Kat,” I said. “We could stop her.”

“How?” asked Zephyr. “You wouldn’t…” he trailed off.

“What?” I asked.

“You think I’m cursed, don’t you?” he asked.

“Well, you are, aren’t you?” was my reply.

“Er… sort of. But when you say we could go after Kat…”

“Yes?”

“I can’t do it on my own – I’ve been chasing her for the best part of a year. And I’m not sure how much use you’d be human – you’re very vulnerable, in fact.”

“Well, I… er… I don’t mind if I have to become like you.”

Zephyr gritted his teeth – he hadn’t done that in ages.

“I’ll think about it,” he said. “You think about it as well. There’s no going back, you know. I’m in this forever.”

Right. OK. Zephyr turning me into a vampire. I wasn’t sure what I thought about that. I thought about Kat. She was obviously a very bad vampire with absolutely no regard for human life. Zephyr on the other hand was different. He certainly didn’t waste lives. He hunted only when he absolutely needed to and he’d said once he didn’t want to be a monster. He’d been so ridiculously nice to me since I’d discovered he was a vampire. I didn’t think he was a monster at all now. I trusted him completely. But whether I could trust myself not to be a monster if I became a vampire, if Zephyr agreed to do that to me, was a different matter entirely. Zephyr might just end up killing me anyway, purely by accident – if he became that frenzied. I’d let Zephyr make the decision when he’d thought about it. Being the vampire expert out of the two of us, he’d know what he wanted to do. I didn’t know how wild I’d be. Zephyr hadn’t said much about his newborn phase. But anyway, I’d let Zephyr make the decision on me becoming a vampire.

I looked up at Zephyr who held me tight in his strong arms – he wasn’t going to let me move anytime soon. But I didn’t care really.

“How much do you like being a catling, Josie?” he asked.

“Not that much really. Being able to turn into a cat and the cat instincts are OK, I’d say, but I live a pretty miserable existence.”

“And you think I don’t? You’re my only friend, Josie.”

“You’re my only friend, Zephyr.”

As he’d had a looser grip on me before, I’d been able to stand away from him, but now, he’d obviously noticed how far away I was from him and pulled me back in again. This time, I was right up close to him and he held me tighter this time, as tight as he could, holding me against his chest. Now I definitely had no hope of escaping!

“Zephyr,” I said. “You seem to like holding me a lot.”

“Yes,” he said. “I don’t want you to move at the moment.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because if I let you go, I start shaking.”

“What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“I know what Kat’s like, Josie, and I’m scared for both of us. She probably doesn’t know that I’m after her – she doesn’t stay in the same place all the time, but still, she’s evasive and as crafty as a fox when she needs to be.”

I shuddered at his description of her as well and grasped Zephyr’s back as tight as I could.

“Are you sure you want to be a vampire, Josie?”

“I’m letting you decide whether you’ll do it or not,” I reminded him. “I’m hardly the vampire expert. But I don’t mind. I’d like to be of some help if I could – stopping Kat is something you obviously want to do. At the moment, the best part of my life is being able to turn into a cat, which is pretty miserable.”

“You’d rather turn into a bat, would you?”

“What about being a newborn?” I asked him.

“I’d keep an eye on you,” he said.

I smiled.

He looked down at me for a few minutes and stroked my back. What he was thinking, I didn’t know.

I gazed up at him again, and he turned away.

“Don’t stare at my eyes, Josie. You might end up being possessed.” He sort of chuckled afterwards though – he must have been joking.

“Yes, I was joking,” he said. “But still, you shouldn’t do that really – unless I tell you. I wouldn’t make you do anything bad.”

I looked down again.

Zephyr was just frozen to the spot, staring into space sometimes, then looking down at me.

“I’ll do it,” he said. “Then we can go after Kat. After that, you can do whatever you want.”

“Thanks, Zephyr. When do you want to do it?”

“Tonight,” he replied. “I’ll be at yours around six-ish. I’ll excuse us both from Potions – Malfew will understand. Is that alright with you?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’ll see you then.”

Then he let me go.

STRINGS OF MURDER AND LOVE TORN APART

In several northern villages in Vampyreland, there have been several murders of boys aged between thirteen to sixteen. They have been said to have been on dates with their girlfriends and then to have disappeared.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #15 
Chapter 14: Blood And Venom

At home, I quickly did a piece of homework that needed to be in next week – it was on vampires. We’d been given a description of them and we had to write whether it was true or false. Zephyr might be able to help – I didn’t know if he would though. Maybe he considered me observant enough to spot the signs.

Dad made dinner early, which was good – I’d be able to eat before Zephyr came for me. I didn’t know how he’d come in – the window in the room, probably. Or maybe he’d want to meet my dad or he might just use the door to be considerate – or maybe he’d need me to invite him in. That was something I needed to think about. From about quarter to six when I’d finished washing up onwards, I waited by the front door.

“What are you doing, Josie?” asked dad.

“I’m expecting a friend of mine to visit.”

“What’s their name?”

“Zephyr Daniels.”

“Zephyr Daniels? That rings a bell.”

“Oh?”

“I used to know a woman called Fifi Daniels. Don’t see her anymore, but I’m sure she had a son with a name like Zephyr – not a common name, is it?”

“No, it isn’t. Well, what about it?”

“She said he disappeared or he’s dead or something like that.”

“Hmm…”

“Do you know anything?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “He’s a vampire. He left his parents to protect them, and before he started at my school this year, he’s been trying to hunt down the vampire who turned him into one.”

“Oh,” said dad. “Well, poor guy.”

“I suppose he thinks his parents are better off believing he’s dead. I know he won’t go back to them.”

“Where does he live then?”

“In this horrible little house a few streets away – cheap side.”

“Oh. How did he come by a house at all even if it’s in cheap side?”

“A family moved out for some reason and basically gave it to him. I don’t know who pays his bills for him – not that they come to much.”

Knock knock.

“Oh, here he is,” I said. “I’ll let him in.” Then I dashed to the door – jeesh, I was eager.

I opened the door.

“Come in, Count Zephyr,” I said.

He chuckled and came in.

“Hi, Zephyr,” said dad.

“Hi, Martin,” he said.

“I’ll take your cloak for you,” said dad.

Zephyr took his cloak and boots off and gave his cloak to dad. I put his boots next to mine.

“Thanks, Martin,” he said.

Then I took him upstairs – I noticed his fangs were slowly coming out.

“Did I have to invite you in, or was that you pretending to be like The Count?”

“I could have come in your window,” he replied, “but I was being Count Zephyr. Besides, I thought it’d be more polite.”

“You know I’m not bothered, so I’ll just go with the Count Zephyr stuff – you’re not exactly like Dracula, you know,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “I’m a good version of him – or a bad version of Edward.”

I chuckled.

“Yes, I know you read Twilight as well. And have you been turning into Hyde recently?”

“What? I’m not an evil black cat, thank you. Though it’s a split personality or an alter ego – whatever – it’s not like I drink a potion and I’m either Jekyll or Hyde now, is it?”

“True. Sorry I used that analogy.”

Zephyr’s fangs were fully protracted by the time we were in my room and I’d got on my bed. Zephyr sat next to me and ran his hand down my neck. His cold skin was a shock, but I didn’t mind it. Not after a few seconds anyway.

I lay back on my bed and Zephyr knelt down beside me. He lifted me up gently and easily in his strong arms and his mouth soon found my neck. His fangs easily tore through my flesh and vein. I lay very still – the stillest I’d ever been to the best of my knowledge. I felt Zephyr’s cold hand underneath my lower jaw, keeping my mouth shut, but it wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t going to scream. Then I felt something wet – Zephyr’s tongue licking the wound shut. Then he bit the other side of my neck. Again, he stayed there for about ten seconds once he’d dug his fangs in, then took them out and licked the wound shut. After that he bit several marks into my arms. It was a lot of pain, but it’d be over in a couple of days or so.

I rolled over slightly, so Zephyr could look at me without meeting my eyes.

“I’ve done a good job there, I think,” he said.

I looked at my arms and my neck – or what I could of it. He certainly had done a good job of it.

“What did Kat do to you?” I asked.

“Bit my neck and left me,” he said. “It was horrible.”

Ah, yes, now I remembered. Poor Zephyr.

“Thanks for not doing that to me,” I said, then I cuddled him.

“How are you able to move?” he asked. “Isn’t my venom burning you?”

“It is, but let’s just say I can put up with stuff.”

Zephyr bit my neck again.

“Why?” I asked.

“The more of my vampire venom that’s in you, the sooner you’re a vampire. It takes ages to spread – mine took five whole days. I’m hoping you’ll take a lot less than that because you’re much shorter than me and I’m biting you more.”

I looked up at his face. He saw me and smiled.

“Yes, now you can look at my eyes.”

I stared at his scarlet eyes and he stared at my brown ones – his were much prettier, although I supposed they were red because he now drank blood.

Zephyr smiled.

“Do albinos suck blood? No. Their eyes look red because they have no colour. Same with me.”

“Ah, yes – colourless – I didn’t think of that. Sorry.”
“It’s alright.”

“About the Hyde cat thing – I didn’t think of it before and now I’ve thought about it, you could say it is sort of like that I suppose.”

“Not entirely though. Anyway – can you feel anything?”

“No,” I replied.

“That’s good.”

“When you were off all week, were you hunting?”

“Yes,” he replied. “So I don’t need to hunt again for ages.”

“I’d imagine not.”

Zephyr kept staring at me. He was pulling me upwards with the power of his eyes. I felt like I was being pulled upwards off my bed. I could no longer feel the duvet beneath me.

 Zephyr moved back to the other side of the bed, but kept his eyes on me the whole time. Then suddenly my eyes shut and I landed with a thud onto the bed again.

*

I opened my eyes to find Zephyr staring at my instruments.

Draco flew over and Zephyr caught it. He then started playing it and then I heard his deep bass voice – he was singing. He had a beautiful voice. He wasn’t singing low really, but I guess he wasn’t singing high either – not that he’d be able to sing high at all.

He played for a while, occasionally singing a couple of high notes – well, notes that were high for him – and sometimes singing very low. He smiled at me like he’d just done something he found very easy.

“I bet you find low notes easy as well,” he said. “Obviously, I don’t mean that low – if you sang as low as me, I’d be worried.”

“My voice only gets that deep if I have a cough or a sore throat,” I said. “Otherwise I don’t know what my voice is. I can sing quite low though. High notes evade me.”

“Alto, probably. Anyway, did you have a good sleep?”

“Yes,” I replied, “I think? You had me floating off my bed and suddenly I fell back down again, then just now I hear you playing.”

Draco flew back to his stand.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“Psychic,” he said, tapping his head.

“But – that… you just…”

“Psychokinesis,” he said. “That’s part of it.”
“Could I do this, do you think?”

“Probably not. It’s not very common.”

“Oh?”

“Not for it to happen just out of the blue anyway.”

“Right, OK.”

I gasped. I felt all the fire running through me.

“You’re alright, Josie. Your skin’s getting paler.”

I looked at my hands – he was right. I still hurt all over though.

I couldn’t go to Zephyr. It was horrible. I was stuck where I was.

Zephyr came back by my side and cuddled me.

“Alright, Josie. I’ll make it go away.”

I stared at his scarlet eyes again and he stared at mine. It didn’t take him long to have me asleep again.

*

When I woke up again, the pain was starting to fade. It was almost over. Zephyr looked happy.

I got up and as the pain slowly ceased to exist, I walked over to my mirror. I was now quite pretty and my eyes were as deep scarlet as Zephyr’s. My fangs shone.

“You’re a vampire now, Josie.”


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JDcat4

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Chapter 15: The Killing Moon

I smiled. I could help Zephyr now.

“Hey, beautiful,” he said.

“So am I Jekyll or Hyde?”

“Neither,” he said. “You’re just you. That was a stupid thing to say anyway – you’re only a tiny bit Hyde when you’re a cat.”

I found I could still turn into a cat. I still had my catling things.

“You’re a vampire catling,” said Zephyr. “Cool.”

“I didn’t think that’d happen,” I said when I switched forms.

“Me either.”

I went back to cat.

 Cat Josienne was still the same. Only vampire Josienne was different – I used to be human.

I walked all over Bellatrix just for the heck of it.

“Oh, poor Bella!” said Zephyr.

Not poor Bella at all! She was Bellatrix Lestrange. My keyboard was a Death Eater.

Zephyr laughed.

“Well, it’s still poor Bella, you cheeky little cat.”

I sat on Bella and purred loudly.

“Can you play it?” he asked.

Um… sort of. There’s not much you can do with paws.

I switched forms so I had hands.

Zephyr played Draco and I played Beastie. He’d been sort of left out recently.

Zephyr began to sing. I sang as well as I could when he wanted me to sing, but it was nothing like Zephyr singing.

I meowed grumpily whenever I tried – and failed – to sing any high notes.

What a dis-ah-ster, darling!

I didn’t go to school for a while. Nor did Zephyr. He helped me with the work we were missing though, so it wasn’t so bad.

We wrote songs like we’d done after I’d become a vampire for a while.

Zephyr also read the newspapers and watched TV a lot while he was at my house – he was looking out for any sign of Kat.

“Anything?” I asked.

“Yeah. Loads.”

“Where?”

“About five miles south of here – she’s getting closer to us. She’s been going further north.”

“Tell me when you’re ready then,” I said.

A few days later, Zephyr told me he was ready to hunt. I was too. There was a full moon in the sky, not that it mattered.

“Shall we go after Kat as well?”

“That’s the plan,” he said. “I met my fate – she’ll meet hers.”

“Zephyr, look at the moon! It’s beautiful!”

It looked astonishing to my vampire eyes.

Zephyr only said “it’s just another killing moon.”

 


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Chapter 16: Fate Up Against Your Will

“Where?” I asked Zephyr when we landed.

“Shush,” he said – “quick, behind this bush!”

We hid and suddenly Kat made her appearance. Silky, long brown hair, wide red eyes on a snow-white visage and a beautiful, tall figure. Kat was exactly what I’d imagined her to be.

Zephyr jumped out and stood behind her.

“Long time, no see, Kathryn.”

She turned around.

“Zephyr Daniels. What are you doing here?”

“Ah, stupid question, Kathryn. What would I be doing here? Saying hello? Ran across you for a quick chat? You must know why I’m here.”

“You’re no match for me.”

“Oh, but I am. Josie!” he called.

I ran out as well.

“Ha-ha! A little midget! Where did you meet her?”

“At school.”

“You don’t go to school. You stopped going to school and living with your parents over a year ago.”

She laughed. It was a high-pitched cackle.

“I moved, not five miles from here. Dear old bloke and his family moving out of a house and they give it me. I don’t hunt nearby – I go far away. Spent the bulk of the year chasing after you!”

“Epic fail!” she said.

“Yeah, I know,” said Zephyr, “so I went to school, where I met Josie. And I’ve got something you’ll never have – a friend! And when I was human I had friends!”

Kat laughed.

“And I took ‘em all away from you as well as your old miserable life! You should be thanking me, Zephyr.”

Oh dear… what a git Kat was.

“Well, you have one friend – if you miss having friends that much, why don’t you make some?”

“I won’t damn people, Kat.”

“You’ve damned Josie,” she countered.

“Nah. She asked for it.”

“Did she now? Why was that then?”

I grabbed Kat’s hands and tore them off her.

“Ow!” she complained.

Zephyr kicked her over and pulled her head off.

Then he tore the rest of her to pieces with a bit of help from me.

“I kept an old cigarette lighter dad gave me,” said Zephyr.

He gave it to me. I burned the pieces of Kat – she could no longer terrorise people. I smiled. Zephyr looked relieved.

“Well, let’s go hunting then.”

“Yes, let’s go hunting,” said Zephyr.

We turned into bats and flew off miles away from the site of Kat’s death.

Finally, we stopped in a small market town. There were people looking around several stalls selling various things.

“Here?” I asked. “We’d have to wipe out everyone here.”

“It’s enough for the both of us – these’ll last us about a month.”

“Alright,” I said, and we killed all the humans in the market. None of them paid any attention to what was going on, which made it really easy for us.

Kat dead, us full of blood, we flew off back home.

Zephyr went back to his house in cheap side and went back to my house and turned into a cat and prowled the house, looking for dad, but he was nowhere to be seen. Huh… weird. He didn’t usually work late. I finally gave up and went to bed.

 


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Chapter 17: In the Snow

When I got up in the morning, the house was chilly and I didn’t know why. I got out of bed and jumped up onto my window sill. Snow was falling outside. I pushed the door open to the downstairs part of my room. I silently padded down the stairs and pushed the door to the landing. Then I ran downstairs and jumped up on to the kitchen work top. I used my teeth to grab the little handle that opened the larger of the two kitchen windows – the small one was too small and too high up – and yanked it hard to move it enough for me to get out of. When it was open, I jumped out and played out in the snow, rolling over, kicking snow about with my paws. After about half an hour, my black fur was covered in snow. I jumped back through the wide open window, jumped down and shook the snow out of my fur on the kitchen floor. Then I walked back upstairs and got myself ready for school. Why I couldn’t just have a snow day, I didn’t know.

I shuffled through the snow, dawdling to school. By the time I got there, it was nearly the end of registration, so I went to my first lesson, which was Charms.

Iona Mallory let me in a bit early. I took my usual seat at the front of the classroom, took my rucksack off and got my things out of it. We were looking at memory charms today. Lovely. Just so I could blast my dad when I next saw him so he didn’t know me. No, I wouldn’t use it like that. In fact, I wasn’t planning on doing anything with it – idle, boring, useless information. I wondered if I’d be doing anything interesting today… I’d have to wait and see what happened. This morning was certainly boring. Ugh.

I skived Maths and the afternoon – I could do with trying to find dad. But I was also exhausted. I felt like I was losing my mind again, but it was nothing to do with Zephyr. That ship had definitely sailed.

I went home – I was proper skiving, not just skipping class and hanging around school. I’d probably get done for playing truant, but it was no good staying in school if I couldn’t concentrate because I was exhausted. Was it a vampire thing? I’d have to wait and see. Although Zephyr was never tired during the daytime. He could sleep pretty much whenever he wanted to, just like a human could.

I went upstairs, turned into “Hyde” as Zephyr called it and went to bed. I pulled my duvet over me with my fangs – well, cat teeth – cat fangs, whatever. They were still long and sharp.

When I woke up, I lay on my bed for a while, staring into space – what a lunatic I was. Then I got up and stretched out all my paws, then rolled over. What was wrong with me? My humanoid self would be crazier – it was useless denying it. I stayed cat for the rest of the day until it was time for me to go back to school.

I soon started running around, cackling. Cackle, cackle, cackle. I couldn’t go to school like this – I was CRAZY!

I flopped down on my bed, laughing my bloomin’ head off. I was having a ridiculously good time, but it was all for no reason. I’d suddenly started behaving like a complete and utter maniac: the difference was I had the odd sane – or almost sane – moment when I knew just how crazy I was.

I didn’t stop laughing – or rather cackling – for hours. I was absolutely mental. I’m glad no one saw me – they’d think I was a loony escaped from a loony bin.

I didn’t want Zephyr to see me like this, but there was no stopping it. The beast had made its appearance. Dr Jekyll was ill at ease and in a bad place rather a lot after Hyde had clearly done too much damage – I was beginning to wonder if Zephyr had meant anything by it when he’d said about my cat form being Hyde… But that would mean I was a total monster. Aagh! Shut up, mind! This just wasn’t happening!


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Chapter 18: Zephyr's News

Since dad wasn’t here, I flew off to mum’s – I wondered if they’d secretly got together again… nah, they wouldn’t. If that was the case, they’d both live under the same roof. And that roof would most likely be dad’s, so I didn’t have to move schools. Why was dad gone? It didn’t make any sense. Besides, I hadn’t seen mum in a while.

After hours of flapping through the sky, I landed at mum’s house. Doors open – well, not open, but unlocked – I went in and looked around. Not in the house. I looked in the garden. She wasn’t there, either. How bizarre. I stayed at mum’s for a while in case she’d gone out somewhere and was coming back later. I stayed there the rest of the day and most of the night. She wasn’t back.

*

Back at my dad’s house, I was the only thing there. Something was going wrong, but I didn’t know what. I went to school and flew back and to from my mum’s house again at the weekend.

On Monday, I saw Zephyr looking rather worried.

“Zephyr?” I asked.

“I’ll talk to you later,” he said.

We went through the day’s lessons faking normality as much as possible. I sat with people I’d met when I’d been avoiding Zephyr. Becky sat opposite me. Jazz, the chimney sweep boy I thought of him as after his bad mistake of attempting an advanced spell only for it to go wrong and blast soot in his face, sat next to me, Rachelle and Rodolphus sat between Jazz and Becky and myself, opposite each other.

“Hello,” I said to them.

“Hey, Josie,” they said. “How’s things?”

“Not bad,” I told them.

“How’s Zephyr?” Becky asked.

“He’s fine,” I told her.

“What does he get up to?”

“Ah, not much,” I replied. “Usual stuff.” They didn’t ask what, which was good. They could just go with whatever lies and half-truths I gave them about Zephyr. I knew “usual stuff” to mean something quite dark, however.

“Usual stuff?” asked Jazz.

Oh, why?

“I’m not at liberty to tell you that,” I said.

“Why? Is he something bad?”

“No, not bad. He’s good. He’s just different.” And so was I. They may have noticed. None said anything. They hadn’t noticed.

“Why can’t you tell us?”

“Well, he hasn’t said I can’t tell you, but I won’t anyway. You might be a bit scared – but it’s nothing sinister.”

They all gave me funny looks, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t getting them in trouble.

“He sometimes has a week off. Why does he do that?”

Same reason I did – we had to hunt.

“He goes out hiking with his family, and sometimes I go with them.”         I gave them the reason Edward sometimes wasn’t at school – it was lame, and if they found out Zephyr didn’t live with his family, I was screwed, but I couldn’t think of anything else off the top of my head – I wasn’t up to being that creative today. Besides, I wasn’t a good liar.

“You like Zephyr, don’t you?”

“As a friend, yes.”

“And him?”

“He likes me too.”

There. Nothing they could gossip about, hopefully.

“Enough of me,” I said. “What have you been doing?”

“Nothing much,” they said. “You’re not much fun, are you, Josie? The one person who’s anything to Zephyr and you don’t talk to us about him.”

Ugh. They were just after gossip.

“You’re not eating, Josie?” Jazz asked.

“No, not hungry.”

This was where I really needed Zephyr. Of course people would find it odd if I consistently didn’t eat. Zephyr had eaten once while I’d known him, but no one noticed him other than how handsome he was – they didn’t have a clue what he was like or what he did.

Maybe I should just not have friends. I didn’t know. It was a miserable thought, but unless they could stop gossiping, I might have to consider it.

“Just shut up about me and Zephyr,” I told them, and stormed off.

“Alright?” a deep voice asked.

“Zephyr!” I gasped. He was always doing that.

“Hey, Josie. Alright?”

“No, bunch of gossip-heads. They noticed I wasn’t eating anything.”

“They would do if they paid attention.” His face fell.

“You ate once.”

“I remember it. We can eat, just not a lot.”

“Thanks,” I said.

We went back to pretending to be normal for the rest of the day, sitting still at our desks in class just like everyone else.

*

At my house, Zephyr sniffed everything and sighed.

“What?” I asked him.

“Have you seen either of your parents?” he asked.

“No,” I replied.

“Me either. They’ve been kidnapped and their kidnapper left their scent. It’s the same person. We need to do some digging.”

“What do you think it could be?”

“No idea,” he replied. “It’s familiar, but I can’t think from where. How long has Martin been missing?”

“This week at least. Same with mum. I have checked.”

Zephyr sighed again.

“Someone’s out to get us,” he said, then went off.

The next day at school, I asked Zephyr what he intended to do. He was the hero.

“We’ll do what we did with Kat – keep an eye out for clues and strike when the culprit’s close by.”

After class, I bumped into Jazz.

“Josie!”

“Jazz!”

“How are you?”

“Good. Yourself?”

“Yeah, I’m alright. Want to sit with us?”

“Yeah, sure.”

I decided I’d play human and eat. Zephyr had said it was alright.

“Not eating much?” Becky asked.

“She ate nothing last time she was with us.”

I couldn’t play human all the time though. I had to find a way to appear normal and not eat too much.

“What have you been up to since I last spoke to you, Becky?” I asked, changing the subject.

“Well, I’ve started having guitar lessons. They’re going alright, but I’m very slow changing chords.”

As was I, admittedly. But I preferred my keyboard and my bass to my guitar.

“Good. I play and sing a bit myself.”

“Cool.”

I smiled.

“Jazz?” I asked.

No reply. He was daydreaming.

Rodolphus shook him.

“Jasper, Josie’s talking to you.”

“Oh.”

“What have you been up to, Jasper?”

“Writing a book,” he replied.

“What about?” I asked.

“Fairies, unicorns and fantasy stuff like that.”

“Oh. Dull.”

“What sort of stuff do you like?” he asked.

“Gothic stories,” I replied. “Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde are my usual haunts. The Twilight books I read quite often as well. Other stuff as well. Harry Potter is cool – particularly the Prisoner of Azkaban – very dark!”

“Does Zephyr like Dracula as well?” asked Jazz.

“Hmm…” what a question. Yes, he was asking what Zephyr liked, but it had the potential to go in a dangerous direction. However, I answered it.

“Yes, he does like Dracula. The cloak though… it’s only a little Dracula-like,” I fibbed.

“Does he like looking like a great big bat?”

Uh-oh.

“Next,” I said.

“What does Zephyr do?”

“Sings, plays guitar.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“Just don’t go there!”

“OK.”

“Haven’t you boys noticed Josie’s eyes?”

“What?” they and I asked. That was a bad thing.

“They’re red,” said Becky.

“Maybe she has contact lenses?”

Yes, maybe I had contact lenses, which I couldn’t wear because they’d just melt after about half an hour or so.

“No, you’re not allowed coloured contact lenses, so she’s either breaking the rules, or her eyes are red.”

Like I’d wear contacts anyway. If I had contacts at all, they’d be brown, as close to my old shade of brown when I was human. But it was pointless though.

“I’m a bit of a rebel,” I said.

“You must have red eyes,” Becky insisted. Damn it.

“OK, I have red eyes. Happy now?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

It stopped after red eyes though, something I was glad of.

Rodolphus hadn’t been doing anything in particular. Rachelle had been walking her dog and baby-sitting her auntie’s cat as she, her mother and her other sister were on holiday.

“Let’s hope they don’t say anything else,” said Zephyr, when I’d told him about the whole irksome conversation.

“Could they know?” I asked.

“The way things are at the moment, it’s best not to, but if they find out, they find out. It wouldn’t bother me too much if they did find out, but we’d have to tell them to keep quiet.”

“Yeah.”

He’d tell me the way things were later.

 


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JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #20 
Chapter 19: The Way Things Were

Back at home, dad was staring at the kitchen worktop, looking bemused.

“What’s up, dad?”

“Ah, nothing. What do you want to eat?”

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Oh, yeah! Of course! Silly me. Is Zephyr coming later?”

“Yeah, probably. Why?”

“Just wondering. Haven’t spoken to him in a while.”

Dad mentioning Zephyr had me worried. Zephyr had properly played the count and knocked on the door once. That time, I hadn’t known if he could fly in through my window until he’d said he could have. Since then, he’d flown in through my window – I couldn’t care less, but if I thought he’d only knocked on the door for my dad’s benefit which was a load of old tosh – dad knew very little about vampires, but he could be trusted not to blab to anyone. He couldn’t seriously be bothered about one person he rarely saw and hardly knew, could he? Well, I just hoped Zephyr had the sense to use my window again.

I went upstairs and opened my window. After that, I waited. Half an hour later, I could say I wasn’t disappointed – and he’d proved me wrong about the whole dad thing – I didn’t need to worry.

Flap, flap, flap – he just flapped until he sort of crashed on my bed. What was he playing at?

“Zephyr? Are you alright?” I asked.

I looked at the small-ish bat that was on my bed – it looked alright – probably a bit disoriented, but nothing else.

At that moment, he crawled using the tips of his wings and his toes, to the edge of my bed and disappeared.

Five seconds later, a tall vampire wearing his black cloak among other things stood in the corner.

“Of course I’m alright,” he said. “Did you honestly think I’d crashed?”

Yeah. It was rather silly of me. I laughed. He did too.

“You worry too much,” he said finally.

“What were you doing when you fake-crashed on my bed, by the way?”

“Well, since you were worrying about your dad and the door thing, I decided I’d try and make you laugh.”

I smiled.

“I don’t think your dad’s that bothered, to be honest.”

“So, what do you want to do?” I asked him.

“Well, I think you want to know about the way things are with vampires at the moment and I suppose I should have told you ages ago. I’m sorry about that.”

“OK, well, how are things?”

“Well, the whole story is a rather long and somewhat tedious and boring one, unfortunately, but in short, the answer is bloomin’ ridiculous.”

“Well, I don’t mind hearing the whole thing. How long is it?”

“It depends how much about politics you know.”

“So it could take all night then,” I said jokingly.

“Yeah,” he chuckled.

“Well, we have all night,” I told him. “That’s plenty of time, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” he replied.

Well, I knew some stuff. What I knew was pretty laughable, but surprisingly, it worked.

Vampyreland was ruled by two fairies, Lunax and Lucas Blue. Fairies had their own history, but I wasn’t going to say it here as it was irrelevant today – all those fairy wars and Lunax and Lucas being entirely reliant on two girls to solve all their problems for them were in the past. Now those two fairies were reliant on a bunch of kids and mermaids. Why was it laughable? Because fairies, being the size of your arm, had small brains, and therefore were almost completely useless. Furthermore, you might also think having kids as politicians was pretty useless and mermaids would only be obsessed with their looks and singing all day. Plus, mermaids only spoke one language – Mermish. A couple might speak English, I don’t know, but for the most part, mermaids only spoke Mermish, which very few humans spoke, but they must be of some use.

As for the kids, they had a name – The Madhouse Council. They were aptly named! The lot of them were lunatics! Originally, there were nine members, but one got kicked out for being the accomplice of a wicked witch or something like that, and I hadn’t a clue where their numbers stood now. Now they dealt with how the land was run generally and dealt with most problems they heard about judiciously. Whether that applied to what you’d call mythical creatures as well, I didn’t know. They dealt with a lot of things, and clearly there must be some sort of government or something for mythical creatures – and yes, that meant vampires, too. Whether it included the mermaids or not, I didn’t know that either – I didn’t know a lot.

“Well, you know more than some,” said Zephyr. “Yes, The Madhouse Council did have nine members – Lyra and Raelle McKinnon, Lily and Ray d’Aro, Jacques Lim, Louis Virr, Mortishia Moraine, Stanley Chatsdon and Kimi Narla. Kimi Narla is the one who got kicked out. Then a boy called Caius joined them – back to nine, then Mortishia’s brother, Mordred joined them and Caius’s friend, Adrianeon joined them a few months ago, I think. So they’ve grown a bit. Two of them – Lyra and Mordred – can speak to the mermaids, and the mermaids know rather a lot. Some of The Madhouse Council are mad, yes, but they’re all quite funny. They’re about our age as well.”

“What about us?”

“Yes, everything that’s classed as a mythical creature has laws kept by something separate from the monarchy and the Madhouse Council – the Department for the Control of Mythical Creatures. They’ve been around for ages, and little has changed over time – just literally that they’ve expanded their territory – and their uselessness.”

“How?”

“They’re based in Vamps’ Row. The original Department only governed the mythical creatures in Vamps’ Row, so they mainly dealt with vampires. Because of their small territory and its populations of vampires and humans being more or less even – give or take a hundred or so – they made up their rules based on that, which worked for them – and us – at the time. Mavericks and miscreants were dealt with efficiently and those who abided by their laws were rewarded.

As time went by, there were more and more problems elsewhere. The DCMC’s resolve was to rule over their territories as well. But they soon discovered the monsters often weren’t to blame – it was other things, so they changed who they ruled over. Mermaids are exempt from these rules as there are only one group of them and they belong to The Madhouse Council, and by extension, the monarchy. This is the ridiculous bit, where they no longer work – they haven’t changed the laws, so they are still based on Vamps’ Row’s populations of mythical creatures and they think they should work for all of Vampyreland. Of course it doesn’t!

But fortunately, The Madhouse Council do deal with stuff to do with mythical creatures. They know a lot of the uproar there is in Vampyreland caused by mythical creatures is actually in protest against Vamps’ Row’s harsh rules and so, as of six months, maybe less than that, ago, they started keeping an eye on us and have only acted when things have got seriously out of hand. They’ve just been very, very lucky that Vamps’ Row have been slow to notice stuff. Most of the time though, they’ll just have a word with whoever’s causing a riot. I believe they are working to change things as well, and I also believe a few members of the DCMC either are very lenient sometimes and don’t always keep people at the top informed or are actively protesting against things as well. But basically, the whole system’s completely kaput.”

“Sounds like it. But it’s good The Madhouse Council are starting to take things into their own hands, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” said Zephyr. “They’re the good guys.”

“If they base their rules on regional populations, what are the rules then?”

“Because of the more or less even numbers of vampires and humans, the vampires are only allowed to be in areas where there is a slight shortage – they have an exact number of vampires they think can go unnoticed by humans. They’re obsessed with secrecy, Vamps’ Row are. The three main areas of Vamps’ Row – the region, I mean, not the DCMC – and I think twenty are allowed in the smallest part and sixty are allowed in the biggest part – they’re very strict. The vampires who live there are not allowed to draw attention to themselves or other vampires living nearby them if they can help it and another thing they’re very strict on – ridiculously strict on, in fact – is humans knowing about vampires. They are insistent on humans being kept in the dark as much as possible, but obviously, people aren’t stupid and you get some who find out. But, fortunately, the vampires do get a say here – it’s the vampire’s choice what they do with the human.”

“What? So, ages ago, when I thought I was in trouble –”

“We don’t live like that for a very good reason,” said Zephyr. “You would have been trouble with them, of course, but they wouldn’t have found out. You never needed to worry about me. I don’t exactly stick to the rules – well, most vampires out of Vamps’ Row don’t, in actual fact.”

“So, what would you have to do then?”

“Well, you could just be a monster and kill them – you probably would anyway if you just existed for blood.”

“Well, we kind of do, don’t we?”

“I used to think that, and I hated it,” he said. “I refused to hunt at first, but I soon realised it was the only way to survive. No, what I mean is, there are vampires like Kat who will just murder and murder… they sleep in their beds – or coffins, wherever – and their whole existence is killing people. We’re not brutes like that – we do stuff. Like this for example –” he stared at Draco, my guitar, and grabbed it and put its strap over his shoulder when it came near enough to him, then started strumming chords.

“So, you could kill humans – or –”

“Turn them. Only us over here don’t stick to that rule. Vampires around here don’t want to kill every human they see, or every human that either does or might know what they are just to stop them blabbing, nor do they want to damn them.”

“Damn – Zephyr, what are you talking about?”

“That’s the way some vampires see it anyway.”

“You’re not damned. It’s not possible.”

Zephyr smiled, then he changed his chord.

“What are you playing, by the way?”

“Hmm… if I play this…” he played a little lead riff twice, then went back to his chords.

“Still no idea.”

“OK,” he said, looking me in the eye. As he went back to his first chord, he started singing.

“Under blue moon, I saw you, so soon, you’ll take me up in your arms, too late to beg you or cancel though I know it must be the killing time, unwillingly mine.”

“Of course!” I said. “The Killing Moon!”

“Fate… up against your will,” we sang together at different octaves – I didn’t like singing low, and Zephyr was singing low.

“Well, I can’t sing it like, oh, what’s his name – I’ve forgotten his name – sings it – it’s too high for me, so I’m singing it an octave down.”

“Zephyr,” I said, “if the DCMC are so obsessed with secrecy, why are people taught about vampires and whatever at schools over here?”

“Because things over here are completely different, and to be honest with you, I’m glad whoever came up with the idea of it being taught in schools did – its needed badly. It’s impossible to apply the same rules here and it doesn’t make any sense to – that would mean there’d be an enormous shortage of vampires everywhere else. At some point, whoever’s running the DCMC in Vamps’ Row is going to be kicked out because it’s just not fair.”

“What if the DCMC has to be shut down?”

“It could happen. I wouldn’t mind it, but then, is it right to chuck the responsibility of keeping an eye on all the creatures in Vampyreland on The Madhouse Council?”

“Oh. Yeah. I didn’t think about that.”

“Let’s not worry about that anymore – let’s just be happy that we’re us and we just do what we want.”

“Agreed,” I said.

 


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Chapter 20: Martin's Story

“I need to ask my dad something.”

“Go on then,” said Zephyr.

I ran downstairs to where my dad was in the kitchen.

“Is Zephyr still here?”

“Yes, he is, but I need to ask you something.”

“Fire away,” he said.

“Me and Zephyr went hunting about… well, almost a week and a half ago now and when we came back, you weren’t here. Where were you?”

“I’d been kidnapped by this vampire called Skylar. He said he’d kidnapped me – along with your mother and Zephyr’s parents – because he thought we might know something about someone called Kat. None of us knew anything of course. He said something about Zephyr knowing her. Then his parents burst out that Zephyr was dead. Skylar laughed. It was heart breaking. I wanted to tell them, Josie, but then I was afraid I’d get Zephyr into trouble. This Skylar loves Kat, whoever she is, and apparently, she loves him. He’s looking for her, Josie. He only let us go after we’d all told him a hundred times we knew nothing.”

“Oh, jeesh! Zephyr – and I – are in trouble!”

“Josie, what is it?”

“Yes, Zephyr did know Kat. He was at school with her when he lived with his parents over a year ago. Kat was an awful vampire – she made victims out of human boys who fell for her charms and she murdered loads of humans.”

“Kat did this stuff? Where is she now?”

“Thanks to me and Zephyr, Kat is now a pile of ashes by a bush in a town five miles south of here. She was on the rampage. I helped Zephyr find her and get his revenge.”

“Oh, well, you have something to tell Zephyr then.”

“No, I don’t. He’s psychic. He’ll already know pretty much everything we’ve said.”

“Oh, OK.”

I went upstairs and found Zephyr crying on my bed. It was obviously about his parents. I had nothing to say. I turned into a cat and walked up to my bed. I jumped up and went up to Zephyr.

“Meow,” I said, and rubbed myself against his side. I meowed again and lay down beside him. He tickled my head and I purred. I rolled over and stretched my paws out. Zephyr stroked me again, and I purred. I was doing my best to comfort him.

“Aww… Josie… you funny little catling.”

I sort of half-meowed, half-purred. I wished Zephyr would stop crying – he was worrying me.

Zephyr sat up and propped up one of my pillows and leant against it. I walked over to him and curled up on his lap. He placed his cold hand on my back and said to me “We’ll let this Skylar come for us and we’ll be ready. I don’t believe Kat had a boyfriend – she wasn’t able to love, I don’t think. But, then, she must have been a very good actress.”

That was a good point – if she was incapable of loving someone, it would be impossible for her to have a boyfriend. Besides, this Skylar guy – if he ran around with Kat when she wasn’t busy terrorising boys like Zephyr, he wasn’t exactly trustworthy.

Over the next few days, we looked at any newspapers we found – The Holgeirine Gazette, Catling Woods News and Hybrid News were the local and regional ones we found and we also looked at The Vampyreland Chronicle. There was nothing in the headlines, which were the obvious places to look for monstrous vampires – Kat was all over them. We looked through the rest of the newspapers, scanning through the articles, just in case, but there wasn’t anything to suggest he was making a scene – Skylar was keeping an annoyingly low profile. We were entirely reliant on Zephyr’s knowing this vampire’s scent.

“Skylar… Skylar… the name doesn’t ring a bell. I never knew anyone called Skylar… so why is his scent familiar?”

“You never saw him with Kat, or never smelled him around her?”

“I never saw him, no, but it’s possible that Kat’s and his scents crossed.”

Well, we had a mystery on our hands. A mystery and no small amount of trouble.

Do you think Skylar knows you?

“Well, if it’s true that he knew Kat, then he will do – I don’t think she’d have kept all her victims a secret from him if she was his girlfriend, do you?”

No, I don’t either.

Plus, I didn’t believe my dad would lie about something – or someone – so terrifying. Ugh – talk about monstrous.

I curled up tight on Zephyr’s lap, leaning on Zephyr’s belly.

“It’s alright, Josie. We’ll sort this Skylar out like we did Kat. Then no one will be under threat.”

Zephyr, you poor thing! It’s been coming at you from all sides since you were fourteen!

“I know,” he said. “All because I had a girlfriend once.”

Yeah, first Kat and now this.


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JDcat4

Exercise One
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Chapter 21: Questions

“Zephyr?” I asked – I’d turned back into a form which could speak – therefore, my vampire form.

“You have some questions for me. Fire away.”

“How long did it take you to turn me into a vampire?”

“Only a day. It would normally take at least two days. But I made it not last long at all so we could have got Kat sooner than we would have otherwise.”

I smiled.

“How did you turn me?”

“Vampire venom – my fangs are coated in the stuff – and now yours are too. Next.”

“What were you like as a newborn?”

“Not as wild as most newborns, but wilder than I am now. You’re not a wild little newborn yourself – you’re very tame, in fact. Next.”

“How did you meet Kat?”

“At school. She was in the year above me. She was fourteen really, same as you and me, but she was quite tall and didn’t look fourteen, so got away with pretending to be in the year above me.”

“I bet a lot of boys were jealous of you.”

“You can’t imagine it – although I wish I could just go back there, find out if they’re still alive, and tell them they had nothing to be jealous of.”

“Well, at least Kat won’t be breaking any more hearts – or spilling any more innocent blood.”

“No, she won’t.”

“How long have you played guitar for?”

“Six years.”

“Cool.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you miss your old friends?”

“Of course I do. But what could I do but leave them when I’d thought I was a monster?”

What, indeed. I had to agree with him there.

“Zéphine, Matt, Louis, Georgie – I miss them all. What wouldn’t I give to see them again… if I could know they were still alive…”

Kat might have killed them, of course, but we had to hope they were still alive.

“I miss my parents too, of course. I miss all my old life – but if they knew about Kat, or any of this – it’s horrible for them – they’ve thought I’m dead for months on end. Five months or so after I disappeared from them, having not seen or heard from me, and no one else having seen me, they gave up hope of finding me. It’s terrible for them, not knowing – because I – or my body’s not been found. That’s what they know. I’d like to be able to tell them everything one day, but I just don’t know. I don’t know how or when I’m going to do it. It would probably scare them to see me. I can’t bear the thought of upsetting them anymore than I’ve had to.”

“How can you live in that dodgy little part of town you live in?” was my next question. “Don’t you hate it?”

“It’s certainly not pleasant, and the house is bog-standard and a hideous tip, as you’ve seen, but, you know, it’s… well, let’s just say I’ve got a roof over my head.”

“Have you ever considered asking Martin if you could live with us? I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”

Zephyr chuckled.

“No, I haven’t. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be a burden.”

I chuckled.

“Zephyr, you’re not a burden.”

“Thanks, Josie.”

“What do you want to do now?”

“Nothing,” he replied.

“Nothing?”

“Absolutely nothing at all,” he said, staring at Draco. He brought it over to himself and grabbed it when it was close enough to him for him to hold it. Then he started strumming softly, a pretty, light melody, using his higher four strings.

“You’ve asked me loads of questions. Now I have one for you.”

“Go on then.”

He started to sing.

What he was singing was ridiculously romantic. This was his way of asking me would I go out with him. 


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JDcat4

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Chapter 22: Zephyr's Love

He could not be serious! I thought as he finished his ballady, arpeggiated tune. It was rather flattering that he’d write a song about me, and it was very dreamy – a bit too dreamy. Lips like sugar, indeed – there was another great joke – it was like Zephyr and his thing about the moon – ugh! How stupid! He could simply have told me he loved me rather than play as silly, overly dreamy, sissy old ballad.

“You’re not serious,” I said when Draco was back on his stand.

“I’m perfectly serious,” he said.

“Right. OK.” This wasn’t OK – it was silly.

“Josie, are you alright?”

“Oh, I don’t know!” I said rather agitatedly.

I didn’t know what to think.

Zephyr loved me. That was all I knew. Zephyr loved me enough to have written that for me. OK, that wasn’t all I knew – he was completely bonkers as well.

But how did I feel? Well, he was my best friend. I spoke to him a lot more – OK, one hell of a lot more – than I did to Rodolphus, Jasper, Becky and Rachelle. We’d been out hunting together once, I’d helped him kill Kat, his terrible ex, he spent quite a bit of time with me to be fair. But did I love him? I didn’t know.

“Well, Zephyr,” my dad said, “you should know something. Josie isn’t at all like her mother. She tends to find romance a bit silly, if you ask me. Most likely she hasn’t given you an answer because she doesn’t want to tell you she thinks you’re daft.”

“Oh,” said Zephyr dully. I’d imagine a frown when right along with that tone too. Nice one, dad. I hadn’t said much to Zephyr because I genuinely didn’t know how I felt and that sucked.

“How long have you loved me?” I asked Zephyr when he came back upstairs.

“A while,” he said, “but it doesn’t matter – it’s not like you love me. You can say I’m daft if you want to, Josie.”

“You – ugh. Men.” Particularly fathers.

“What?” said Zephyr.

“DAD!” I all but yelled down the stairs.

“What?”

“WHY DID YOU TELL ZEPHYR I THINK HE’S DAFT?!”

“Well, you do, don’t you?”

“OF COURSE NOT!”

“Well, what have you said to him?”

“NOTHING!”

“Because you think he’s daft.”

“NO! IT’S BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO HIM!”

“Do you have to shout at me, Josie?”

“APPARENTLY SO. UGH – TRUST A FATHER TO THINK HE CAN READ HIS DAUGHTER LIKE A BOOK AND INVARIABLY GET STUFF WRONG – LIKE REALLY CATASTROPHICALLY WRONG – BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE!”

“So you do love him then? Well, you little hypocrite.”

“HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A HYPOCRITE! YES, AS A GENERAL RULE, I’M NOT A ROMANTIC, BUT IF I DID HAPPEN TO FALL IN LOVE, SO WHAT?”

“So you love him?”

“I DON’T KNOW, DAD, I JUST DON’T KNOW! AND NOW YOU’VE GONE AND HURT HIS FEELINGS, YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!”

“Sorry.”

“YEAH, YOU BLOOMIN’ WELL SHOULD BE!”

Then I stormed off to my room, lay on my bed and cried. Stupid dad. Ugh, why did love exist? It just drove people mad and got them in a fine old mess.

“Josie?”

“Oh, leave me alone, Zephyr,” I said, still irate.

He went off and I sobbed into my pillow.


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #24 
Chapter 23: Skylar and Kat

“Zephyr?”

I was at school and we were in Charms class.

“Later,” he said. How the heck did he know – oh! Gosh, I was being stupid! Zephyr laughed.

“Something funny, Mr Daniels?”

He shut up.

“Would you like to share it with the class?”

Jeesh, Iona, pick on Zephyr much? Just because he’s cute… and a genius as well, I suppose.

“I was laughing at the pictures on the wall,” he said.

“I see,” said Iona Mallory.   

Someone was in a bad mood. Anyway, it would have to wait.

Pictures on the wall, indeed! They were hardly anything to laugh at, but I suppose out of other boring things he might have said, that one was sort of funny. If I didn’t know otherwise – or I was having a stupid day and not just one stupid little moment first thing in the morning – I might have found his excuse of laughing at the pictures on the wall funny. I didn’t know why, but I just knew today was going to be a funny day for some reason.

Why didn’t he tell the truth? Because I’m sure to most humans, hearing that he was laughing at something in my head would sound just a bit creepy. In fact, they’d probably be pretty freaked out. On the other hand, I’d imagine if they knew Zephyr was psychic, they might be a bit more careful about flirting – or thinking of flirting – with him all the time and whatever else Zephyr didn’t like that they thought about him. It was scary to think how big the list might actually be – again, poor Zephyr. In fact, sometimes, I almost wished other people were psychic so they’d know what Zephyr was just way too much of a gentleman to say. Almost. Well, it’d serve ‘em right. Ugh, I was being horrible! I laughed.

“And what are you laughing at, Miss Hawkes?”

“Er, nothing,” I said, still laughing hysterically.

I got up and went outside. Zephyr followed me.

“Calm down, Josie!”

“I can’t!” I panted breathlessly.

“Josie, just breathe.”

I eventually calmed down. Zephyr patted my back.

“Can we just skive?” I asked him.

“No, get back in there.”

He was right – there was nothing wrong with either of us. We were both in a good place – we had no dark things.

So we went back in the classroom and listened to Iona drone on about Charms. And I’d written about half a sentence down in my notepad, it was that interesting [heavy sarcasm there]. I scribbled out my half-sentence and packed my stuff up.

Maths… oh, great. I was seriously skipping Maths.

“So am I,” said a certain bass voice behind me and before I’d turned around, he was gone and had dashed around me in what must have been less than a second – I only just made out a red and black blur.

I disappeared – well, went off running to the end of the corridor.

“I can appear out of thin air too,” I said. Not exactly. That was impossible. Vampires just knew how to move fast. And I mean seriously fast.

Me and Zephyr went our separate ways and didn’t speak to each other until the evening.

“Zephyr, what is it?” I asked. He was looking a bit down.

“Vampires,” he said.

“Yeah?” They’d been doing it for a few weeks that we knew of – we’d been going to various lessons on and off since, well, stuff happened and Mr. Psychic hadn’t exactly been paying attention either. Some psychic he was. No, he was great, but it must be annoying to be totally reliant on it all the time. I was starting to feel sorry for Alice Cullen having all those nightmarish visions and the headaches that came with them – no wonder all the humans thought she was mad.

That made Mr. Psychic laugh actually.

“Mr. Psychic,” said Zephyr. “It’s not so much being annoyed by it all the time – although it can be annoying sometimes – but it’s difficult to pretend to be normal if you’re psychic. It’s great fun being able to move stuff about just by staring at it – like your guitar – and the mind reading is sometimes useful – and seeing the future. But I tend not to use them all the time just to pretend to be normal.”

That made sense – Zephyr pretending to be normal! He was a funny vampire! It made me think back to all those times he’d not used – or not showed any use of – his psychic powers. There were quite a few.

The first day we met, my first day at school, he’d pretended to be normal and I hadn’t suspected any trickery. Showed how observant I was. The only time he hadn’t been normal was when he’d dashed across the room when I wasn’t looking, therefore seeming to appear out of thin air.

The first time I’d considered he might be psychic was when I’d been at home and I’d caught myself thinking about Zephyr, but then I’d thought I was over-thinking stuff and I was insane. Only to realise I wasn’t over-thinking at all when I got back to school the following week. But he’d asked me if I knew what he was rather than just saying it. Another time was when he’d pretended to crash on my bed in his bat form. Other than that, it was pretty much around most, if not all, of the humans in school and not paying attention at all while we’d been on and off going to school and skipping lessons. He pretended to be normal a lot.

“So, do you think I’m stupid then?”

Did I think Zephyr was stupid? No. Sure, he could be silly. He could be very silly sometimes – like the bat crashing on my bed thing – but then, the silliest people were actually quite intelligent. Zephyr was absolutely not stupid.

“Thanks, Josie.”

And I suppose stuff had happened – he’d been through a lot. I didn’t blame him for not paying attention to everything that went on in our busy lives – it would give him headaches. But if he hadn’t paid attention to the more important things, I dreaded to think what might have happened. Well, I knew one thing - Kat would still be on the rampage, collecting her jar of hearts – and I could sort of speculate at other stuff, but I wasn’t going to get that morbidly obsessive about all the horror in our world. It would just be mad. Mad, mad, mad. Zephyr patted my back.

“Everything’s mad. Until we’ve sorted You-Know-What out, I don’t think things are going to stop being mad.”

“Silence!” Eleri Minnarde said, ready to begin teaching us.

“Did you all do your homework?”

Homework? Ugh… Zephyr! But then, we were too busy to be bothered with homework, so it was a good thing actually. He was forgiven.

“Apart from Zephyr and Josie who weren’t in?”

“Yes!” the rest of the class chirruped.

“Good. Now, who remembers what we’ve been talking about?”

“Slaying vampires!” someone shouted out.

Oh my gosh! Needless gore and quite possibly a chance for more people to be after me and Zephyr.

“Yes, and now we will be moving on to stories and myths.”

Everyone got their notebooks out and started copying from the board.

Myths about vampires come from the various stories that are written about them. They are partially true, but these stories often paint vampires as the bad guys. Read through the stories and determine what is true and what is false about vampires.

There were texts from Dracula and Twilight mainly and some I didn’t know where from. Me and Zephyr got everything right though:

Cold, pale skin

Fangs

Red eyes

Super speed

Super strength

Live on human blood

Can eat a little food sometimes

Can turn into bats

Don’t burn or sparkle in sunlight

Most of the rest of the class got stuff wrong though.

Evil

Demonic

Psychic

Can have special talents, i.e. reading minds

Can turn into mist

In league with werewolves and zombies

SPARKLE!

Live on animal blood

These were things a lot of people said. How wrong they were.

“Very good, Josie and Zephyr. Well done. Let’s see… Rachel, why do you think vampires sparkle in sunlight?”

“Because they do.”

“Wrong. They don’t.”

I felt like sneering at her, the Twilight-obsessed lunatic.

“Er – Tom, explain why most vampires aren’t psychic, please.”

“Because they aren’t born psychic when they’re humans?”

“Didn’t you learn a thing last term?”

She was being picky. Extremely picky.

After Monday, we didn’t go back to school until Friday when we could go home early. This weekend, we’d sort Skylar out before he came to get us.

 


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Posts: 556
Reply with quote  #25 
Chapter 24: Skylar's Note

Saturday. I was curled up on my bed when I heard the flapping of wings outside. I got up and changed forms – I needed to be able to speak. The bat flew in and landed in his other form the minute he got inside.

“Shut your window!” he panted. “I’m being followed.”

I immediately shut the window.

I made sure dad was in the house.

“DAD!” I yelled.

“JOSIE!” he yelled back. “WHAT IS IT?”

“JUST CHECKING YOU WERE IN THE HOUSE!”

I wondered if I should tell him stuff… it could be anyone following Zephyr. It could simply have been another bat who felt like flying with Zephyr. It could be another vampire in their bat form. This was what we were worried about. A vampire we hadn’t had any encounter with before may not be a problem – the only slight problem there would be is that my dad was human and his blood would be tempting. But we were worried it could be Skylar. And I suppose dad would have a right to know about Skylar, since he’d been kidnapped by him once. I wondered why dad had come home – and mum and Zephyr’s parents. The illogicality of it made Skylar even more dangerous – he was completely unpredictable. Surely, he’d have made us seek him out, or killed his captives once he’d discovered they were honestly of no use to him. He was a very unpredictable vampire indeed.

Knowing what we knew about Skylar and his antics, I’d rather kill Kat all over again, and I was sure Zephyr felt the same.

Zephyr was currently pacing about my room like my dad might be if he was waiting for me to come back in after being out late. He was very anxious.

“This means we can’t go anywhere. And nor can your dad,” he said to me.

“My dad needs to work, Zephyr.”

“But if this thing does turn out to be Skylar, he might get him. Then he’s got another shot at getting at us.”

“Zephyr, I know what you’re saying, but dad’s got to go out sometimes. I’ll just tell him to be careful when he goes out, that’s all.”

I couldn’t exactly tell dad not to go out at night – it would be just like Skylar to go out in pure daylight because you wouldn’t expect it. Not that we weren’t day walkers as well, but we had to be. We went to school and tried to blend in with the humans, not stand out.

“Yeah, tell your dad to be careful. He’ll have to lock us in every time he goes out.”

I’d rather not think about blood until I had to – and I knew Zephyr didn’t want to hear me thinking about it – but if it was Skylar and he was circling the house or the area, and Zephyr was too scared to go anywhere because of it, then we might have a few problems… it was about a week, just over, perhaps, until the full moon. I knew what Zephyr was like about the full moon – “just another killing moon,” he’d said.

We could track Kat through the newspapers and hope she hadn’t moved on by the time we got there and she was very predictable – she did exactly what you’d expect and evil vampire femme fatale to do, so she was easy to get rid of.

With Skylar, on the other hand, mum, dad, Zephyr’s parents disappeared without a trace, he questioned them, then let them go. There was absolutely nothing in the newspapers that said vampire attacks since Kat had been killed, meaning he was untraceable, and he did some pretty odd things for a vampire.

Now Zephyr was too scared to leave my house. I was worried too, of course. I was probably in as much danger as Zephyr was in. Skylar was searching for Kat. If he knew Kat was dead, he would, of course, suspect Zephyr, and he’d suspect me because I was never far away from Zephyr. We were either at school or at my house – the only times we weren’t were when Zephyr was in his house. I knew nothing would have changed since I’d been there – he’d been too busy doing other things. I knew there’d be little hope of him being happy while he thought there was a possibility Skylar could be outside. What a scary thought. I sat on my bed and stared at the pillow. Then I heard footsteps up the stairs, on the landing. Downstairs, my bedroom door opened.

Zephyr dashed over towards me and armed himself with Draco – weren’t his fangs enough of a weapon?

My bedroom door – the downstairs one – shut. The footsteps continued in my little office downstairs and came up the stairs – they were on the attic level of my room now. They had only to open the door and they’d have us.

I shivered under my duvet as the door slowly creaked open.

I heard Zephyr sigh as he realised who was there.

“Martin,” said Zephyr, putting Draco back on his stand.

“Hi, Zephyr. Where’s Josie?”

“Oh, she’s under her duvet,” he replied. “Josie, it’s not Skylar. It’s only your dad.”

I got out of bed.

“What’s going on, you two? You look scared as hell.”

I told dad what I had to tell him, with a bit of help from Zephyr.

“So, Zephyr, you think that bat following you could have been Skylar?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Yikes! I’d better be careful then.”

“We aren’t going anywhere,” I told dad.

“No,” he agreed, “you’re not. I’ll keep any eye out and let you know if I see anything odd.”

“Thanks, dad,” I said.

“Thanks, Martin,” said Zephyr.

*

Over the next few days, I tried to keep Zephyr busy, suggesting we play our instruments and write some songs or something like that. He liked the idea. We wrote about ten songs.

When dad came home on the third evening, he came running upstairs to us with a note. It was scrawled on a scrunched up piece of paper and it wasn’t particularly neat, but it was still legible.

 

Zephyr and Josie – come and meet me outside at midnight – Skylar.


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E. J. O.
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