Taming a Killer

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(ch 18) Allowing Himself to be Disillusioned (Hayden)

<Hayden>

An hour had passed already and Hayden was still sat lounging on the couch in the Deputy Headmaster’s office. Why was no one returning? Was there something that had he missed?

With a scowl, he reminded himself of what he had done. His first attempt at trying to kill off at least one of the Rossi boys had failed. A student had saved him? Seriously? Fuming, he stormed from the office, hating the world. He could have already been fifty per cent done with his task and it was only the first day! But no, someone had to butt into his business and ruin it for him.

If he was honest, it had been a golden opportunity for him. Sure, there were risks and holes, but he was sure nobody would remember what had happened exactly. Especially if there was a bump in the track that could have made him into fall against Gabriel. That would have been perfect. The momentum of the train’s speed could have made it an accident he could apologise for. But if someone behind him had seen what he did, they would immediately say it was his fault.

He wanted to smack himself in the face for his lack of foresight. Thinking back, he forced his mind to remember where everyone had sat whilst on the train. Closing his eyes, he brought back the scene in front of him. Gabriel had been to his left, which had made it easier for him to push the boy. To his right had been earth and part of the hill they were travelling on. Two rows in front of him were Molly and Aria. He nodded his head and kept his mind on playing the video of the last hour. The train had been particularly large and able to hold at least 27 people besides the conductor. This hadn’t been good for Hayden because with them only being seven, everyone had spread out. Hayden had waited until the conductor got annoyed and used the man’s anger as an excuse to get in and not sit alone. Molly, missing a mother figure in her life, had wanted to sit next to Aria. Of course, Aria not having any daughters had loved the attention.

Hayden squinted his eyes shut. Giovanni was still angry at his other brothers for whatever reason and had sat all the way in the front. He was petulantly ignoring everyone like the child he was. A few seats behind him were Johnny and Vernon. As Hayden counted off with his fingers, he finally opened his eyes in satisfaction.

Nobody had sat behind him. Nobody had seen. He was safe.

Smirking and feeling a weight lifting off his shoulders, Hayden let his mind wander again. Despite no one having the possibility of noticing what he had done, he was still afraid. In the first few minutes after they had run to Gabriel, Hayden had felt terrified down to his core. What if they came rushing back, pointing fingers at him in accusation? But first twenty minutes had passed and then thirty, and still no one had returned. Was he not threatened? The clock kept ticking, angering Hayden the slightest bit. No one seemed to care that he was all alone, so why did it matter what he did at that point?

Now, with his first failure, he would need to devise a new plan. He would have to avoid places that had cameras and anywhere there might be witnesses. Feeling exhausted only having to think about it, he put his hand to hold his head and pressed down on his temples. How the hell was he going to find a way to kill them without stabbing them? Stabbing was too dirty and too obvious. Stabbing always left a trail. Hayden knew that if he didn’t come up with a tight plan, all his attempts at murder would end up in failure.

So into his thoughts, Hayden didn’t realise someone was in front of him until he had bumped right into them. He was about to express his regret, but the eyes looking up at him stopped his apology short. The girl in front of him didn’t even reach his chest. She was like a tiny pixie. Her eyes were so light, the grey blue colour was haunting rather than inviting. Her eyelashes were white, and her skin was alabaster and snowy. She was remarkably thin, too. If Hayden felt like it, he could grab her and break her spine like a twig. Yet, the girl in front of him didn’t have the semblance of someone weak. The fear Hayden felt was undescribable. He took a step back, but the girl in front of him closed the distance again. Hayden knew something terrible was about to go down, and the frightening girl in front of him was the reason.

Heart hammering in his chest, Hayden stepped back again, bringing his hands up in front of his face. He felt immediate shame at feeling vulnerable in front of such a small person. Her existence was so powerful that Hayden felt he couldn’t hide from it, no matter what he did. What was this girl doing? Why was her aura so terrifying? Out of the shadows came another pixie looking human. This time it was a boy, and if Hayden wasn’t fearing for his own life, he would have laughed out loud. But the boy, though small that he was, had the same terrifying energy that the girl had. Both of them had hair that was almost white. The girl had her hair in an intricate braid that Hayden was reluctant to admit of its beauty. The boy had his hair down to his shoulders. He had corn braids against one side of his head, leaving the other side to fall against his shoulders in waves. Even down to his scalp, Hayden could see that his hair was a natural white. The relationship between them was likely siblings.

Great, he thought, a witchy duo. Hayden turned away and then fled down the corridor so he wouldn’t need to see them. Somehow, when he was about to reach the staircase, they were there, right in front of him again.

‘What the hell!’ Hayden yelped, clutching at his chest. This wasn’t a bloody fantasy! Why did people like this even exist?

The girl went to his left and the boy on his right and gripped his arm.

‘You ought to follow me,’ the girl demurred, as if the situation he was in didn’t make his body tremble from head to toe. He felt dizzy and had to clutch the railing lest he tumble down the stairs. It wouldn’t matter that the pixies were holding his arms. They would fall along with him. A bead of sweat trickled down his face, but still he didn’t want to move. If he moved, that meant this was real.

‘U-um?’ Hayden gulped, yanking his hands free when he felt them tug him in the direction they wanted to go. ‘No, thank you?’ Why couldn’t he act like a man?

‘You don’t really have a choice.’ The boy told him dreamily. Hayden took a deep breath and found his bearings. First, he would need to get away from the stairs. If he fell and died, no good would come from that. He tried running down the corridor again, but this time, when they caught up with him, he wasn’t surprised.

‘Oh my god, am I having a bloody nightmare or something?’ Hayden fell back against the wall, not having any more room to run. The two of them had circled him again, and they looked scarier than earlier with the storm blazing in their eyes.

‘Sit down,’ the girl demanded of him. Her sharp voice mixed with her creepy eyes, forced his body to listen to her. It didn’t seem to matter that his mind was adamant against being bossed around.

Hayden sat.

‘Now that you are behaving, I think you will listen to what I have to say.’ The girl’s eyes sharpened to steel. Hayden had to withhold a shiver as she stared down at him. The boy had sat down right next to him, as if his presence alone would keep Hayden in place. It irked the previous runaway that this was true.

‘He won’t go anywhere, don’t worry, Gaia.’ the boy said quietly, a sweet smile on his face that didn’t match the situation at all. Hayden let his eyes fall over the tiny boy next to him.

The boy turned to stare at him, flashing a smile, his eyes serene. It was unlike his sisters, whose eyes were terrifying and haunting at the same time. Pixie boy had an earring made of feathers and beads hanging from his right ear. They dangled almost to his shoulder, brushing against his t-shirt every time he moved his head. One feather was green and yellow colour while the other was pink, purple and white. It was pretty small, but stunning all the same. Hayden speculated if there was any prestige associated with the feather or not. Maybe it had to do with whatever cult these siblings were a part of. He also had a ring on his finger that had a smaller ring attached to it. His left ear was so full of studs that it made Hayden wince in pain. He doubted this little rabbit of a boy felt pain, though. He counted six studs and two circular earrings before looking away. Gaia coughed to catch his attention again after he spaced out, staring at his company.

‘Yes, thank you, Alatar. I know you can keep him well managed.’

The strangeness of the situation had already caught up with Hayden, and his heart calmed down. He could catch his breath again, he could think about what he needed to do. He had never been held captive in his life, and he was hoping this was something he’d laugh about in a few months. ‘Alright, can we get to the point now?’ Hayden groused, disliking how much control he lost and how much time he wasted.

‘Do you want the hard, bitter truth or the version that you’ll actually believe?’

‘You guys are witches and super scary. You always hold people hostage for fun? Hm, you like messing with people’s heads?’ Hayden deadpanned at Gaia, who had the audacity to laugh at him.

‘Yes, and no.’

Hayden groaned in disbelief. ‘Please tell me that the “no” of that statement was for being witches.’

‘Sorry, no, that was the yes part.’ Alatar purred, his voice soft as he flicked his feathers into Hayden’s face.

‘Oh, my god.’

‘Anyway,’ Gaia continued, crouching down in front of Hayden, whose pale face started matching hers. ‘Your aura is disgusting.’

‘Well, thanks.’

‘It’s not a joke!’ Gaia glared at him, her eyes flashing dangerously. ‘I can read your aura, and Alatar can feel your energy. When both of us are together and we both can feel the horrible black sludge around you, then that is a problem.’

Hayden stared at her, shaking his head in incredulity.

‘And ah… I can see the future, too.’

‘Yeah. No. I don’t believe you. Let me go now.’ Hayden growled, attempting to stand, but was pinched in the arm by Alatar. ‘Why the hell are you pinching me? I can easily mess both of you up. Don’t bother me anymore!’

Hayden stood up hastily, pushing Alatar to the side. Dashing to the end of the corridor, Hayden tried to get to the stairs and go down successfully this time. It was annoying that the little dweebs kept stopping him.

‘You tried to kill someone today.’ Gaia hissed, her usually sharp voice decibels lower. It sounded exactly like her brother’s tone, which was such a complete change, Hayden shuddered. Gaia smiled at him. Even her demeanour matched his, her previously scary aura gone with the wind. ‘But you weren’t successful, were you?’

Hayden stopped short, nearly falling down the stairs for the second time that day as his legs crumpled beneath him. There was no way. He was certain that no one had seen! And he had never met these people in his life! How the hell would they know?

‘You also plan on trying again, if my visions are correct.’

Gaia walked over to him, where he shook on the staircase. She pulled him away from the edge, smirking slightly. ‘Still don’t believe me?’

But Hayden was done talking. He leant against the wall, as far away from the staircase as possible. Hayden stayed where he was, ignoring the witchy twins entirely. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but when he looked up again, the witchy siblings were long gone. His butt was on the floor, giving Hayden the assumption that he had sat down during his panic attack. ‘I think I must have passed out...’ Hayden mumbled to the empty hallway.

Hayden stared out into the corridor that was now completely dark. The light was no longer shining from the windows, and the few lamps that lit the corridor had burnt down. He would need to find the others, but with what just happened, Hayden felt like someone was watching him.

The witchy siblings could see through his facade. They would see his future before he even made any kind of plan. What other things did they do? And would they be able to prove what he planned on doing or what he did? Did anyone else in the school know that they were witches? He should have denied it right away. But his reaction had made it obvious that he had done exactly what they said.

When Hayden trusted his legs to work for him, he approached the staircase for the third time that day. Tentatively, he stepped onto the first stair, and when he didn’t collapse, went down the rest. He would need to muse further. According to Gaia, he still had plans for the future. So that would mean they don’t snitch on him. But if that was the case, what was the point of scaring him so thoroughly?

With a shake of his head, he neared the Great Hall, but despite the enormity of the school, he didn’t see a single person. He scowled with the misery of having met the two witches when he could have met literally anyone else.

It was past eight, and it spooked him out now that it was so silent. Deciding what to do, he took out his phone and called Molly. He should have been thorough and got all the Rossi’s numbers. With death on his mind, however, information was at the bottom of his list of priorities.

‘Oi, Molly.’

He tried to act jolly, and luckily for him, Molly was too busy chilling with the Rossi’s to notice his insincerity.

‘What’s up, boyo?’ she asked him. ‘Hold on, let me go to a quieter corner to hear you.’

Hayden tapped his foot impatiently as he held his mobile to his ear. He wished he had never taken this job. Now that he did though, and he was already at this school, Hayden didn’t think he had a choice anymore. ‘Where are you?’ Molly’s voice came through the phone clearer than before. ‘We are at the swimming pool right now.’ Molly gushed enthusiastically. ‘Hayden, they have a swimming pool! How freaking exciting is that?’

Hayden murmured noncommittally into the phone, and again, Molly didn’t notice.

‘Alright.’ Hayden fumed, gritting his teeth. ‘I’ll just find my way, shall I? No, it’s not my first time at this school.’ But Molly had already hung the call. Infuriated, Hayden screamed in frustration. First failing, then the witches, and now Molly being unloyal. Could his day get any worse?

Peering around, Hayden saw a directory in the corner of the Entrance Hall, and rapidly made his way towards it. He stared at the smart catalogue in front of him and pressed the search button. It was a huge touch screen tablet that was bigger than him. He typed “pool” and was delighted when the screen beeped at him, displaying the results.

‘Hold on.’ Hayden mumbled out loud, his annoyance intensifying. ‘There are two pools, are you kidding me?’

‘Are you new here?’ He heard a male voice behind him and had to hold himself back from jumping. After the run in with the witchy siblings, he wasn’t in the mood for another interaction with anyone.

‘Yeah, mate. Do you need help to find something?’

It was another unknown male voice, and Hayden sighed before turning to face his new audience.

‘I’m looking for the pools.’ He told them without preamble.

‘Well, almost the entire school left, so you might have a hard time finding what you need,’ the taller of the boys told him. One had dirty blond hair and tattoos, while the other had light brown hair but no visible tattoos. Hayden hid his pout at this. He felt tattoos were an art-form of expression.

‘This school allows tattoos?’ he asked instead, switching topics as they started walking. ‘I have some, too. I’ve kept them hidden so far because I was nervous.’

Hayden followed them hastily, not wanting to lose the possibility of a guide.

‘Yeah, they don’t care. I guess you are new. Have you been sorted yet? We’re in Vecvagars.’

‘I have not been sorted yet, no. Would you mind directing me to the pools?’

‘Well, which one do you need to go to?’ the shorter one asked.

‘Ah… good question. I don’t know. I didn’t realise you guys had two of them.’

‘One is outdoors and more recreational and for fun. It’s got cool things built around the pool. Whereas the one that is indoors is just as big, but it’s meant for learning to lifeguard, as well as for the swim team. I suppose if you want to do laps that would be your go to.’

‘Let me find out, hold on.’ Hayden redialled Molly, but she didn’t answer. He tried again while the boys stared at him expectantly.

‘I’m sorry.’ Hayden apologised, feeling like a moron. ‘But I don’t know. I only have the phone number of one from my party, and she isn’t answering her mobile.’

‘That’s fine.’ The boy with tattoos told him, wrapping an arm around Hayden. They went towards a side door and when they opened it, Hayden welcomed a smack to the face of moist, chilly air. This must be the dungeons, if the darkness and wetness were a sign to go by. When they closed the door, the breeze enveloped them, and the coolness felt nice against his skin. He wondered if it was like this in the winter, and if people avoided the dungeons because of the coldness.

‘What are your names?’ Hayden asked them both, realising he did not know.

‘Oliver Garcia.’ Tattoo boy said, smirking at him.

‘Logan Jackson.’ Short boy added.

‘I’m Hayden Wilson.’ Neither of them offered their hands, so Hayden kept his hands to himself like they did.

Even though the dungeons were cold, it was a pleasant change from the heat outside.

‘The gym is down here as well as the pool and the game room.’ Oliver explained, pointing down various paths as he spoke. Hayden nodded dumbly, trying to memorise what Oliver was saying.

‘We have cool things outside as well, near to where the pool is.’ Logan continued for Oliver, happy to take up the explanations. ‘Like Starbucks and other cool food areas if you prefer that over the school’s food.’

Logan and Oliver both grinned at the look of surprise on Hayden’s face.

‘You guys are very cheery.’ Hayden muttered, hastening his steps when he sniffed the chlorine.

‘Mostly, with people in our House, we are careful not to be too friendly. The people in our House will take you and stab you in the back if it will benefit them. Friendship is scarce, so if you find someone that you trust and are good with then you stick with them and only them. You’ll find people in Vecvagars protecting others they are close with from other Houses. People don’t mess with us anymore like they used to. Now it doesn’t happen often that fighting is necessary, but you’ll see it develop over problems in other Houses. Like if siblings or lovers are not sorted in the same House, they will threaten your life if you go near their people. It’s an interesting prospect, I suppose. It’s the most intense House from what I’ve seen.’

Hayden gaped at Oliver when he finished talking. ‘I’ll keep that in mind, I suppose, thank you.’

Oliver nodded and pointed to the doors in front of them. ‘Directly in front of us is the swimming pool. You can prepare in either of the locker rooms for your gender. Boys go to the left, and girls on the right. But if you are already in your swim clothes or are visiting like us now, you can go straight inside.’

Hayden nodded and opened the door. Regrettably, Molly was nowhere in sight, and neither was anyone else from the Rossi family. The pool itself was gorgeous. It looked to be as big as an Olympic sized swimming pool. Windows surrounded it, so the sun could stream in during the day and stars came through during the night. ‘This is freaking gorgeous!’ Hayden stared at the pool in awe.

‘Ha. Wait until you see the one outside. It’s even better.’

‘Yeah, they both have chairs and places to relax here, but this is very formal. Outside is almost like a water park, though not to that big of an extent.’ Logan clarified.

‘It’s not like a water park at all, Logan.’ Oliver rolled his eyes. ‘But it is beautiful. The water is a lovely colour, too. The pool is enormous enough to fit hundreds of people with no problem. But few people go to the pool at one time. There are also water fountains and other cool things within the pool to relax next to.’

‘Yes! And night time it’s magnificent, everything is lit up and it looks like you are in a new world.’

‘Well, it doesn’t seem as if my people are here, so I guess show me this wonderful pool that you speak of.’

Hayden smirked as he started to enjoy himself. He was glad that he met these boys, after all. It seemed they vibed well together.

When they had gone back up to the Entrance Hall, Hayden felt a new respect for this school. Everything was spotless and clean, the walls were all made of varying colours of white marble. The floors, like the walls, were all black marble, with white and gold lines on each tile on the floor. It was stunning and it took his breath away.

Hayden found this extremely impressive, but Oliver and Logan didn’t give it the slightest bit of thought. It made sense that the awe factor reduced when you were in luxury all the time. He followed them out the large doors in front of the school and then off to the side. It differed from when they had first arrived, when they walked down the middle path.

It was only around the bend when Hayden could see the outdoor pool, even from a distance. The boys hadn’t been lying. It was tremendous and glorious. Even from a distance, he could hear Molly’s voice carrying in the gentle breeze. He felt himself smiling. Allowing himself to be disillusioned for the night. Forgetting about the danger he knew he was in, forgetting about his mission, and forgetting about death.

Pushing all that to the back of his mind, Hayden ran forward to join the group of people he had been close to for the past few days. Oliver and Logan followed him, and he laughed freely with them. He let himself forget he would need to kill some of them before the year was over. For now, he was going to be a child.

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