Chapter 7: The Note
That evening I hung out with Jordan in his room. We were just sitting on his bed, watching TV, occasionally bringing up the events of today. We laughed as we talked about Morgan slamming his head into the desk in Mr. Hans’s class. Personally I think Mr. Hans should have used his unique ability on Abigail, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers, or whatever that saying is. We talked for a while, barely even acknowledging the TV was still on.
“So,” I said, after we were done talking about our excitement for tomorrow, where we would be attending different classes. I have a feeling I’m not going to like most of them. “What was up with you getting all tongue tied when talking to Alicia? Do you like her or something?”
Jordan smirked. “Jealous?”
“Oh, very.” I teased. Truth is I didn’t care for Jordan like that. What we have was something stronger than any romance. “Seriously spill. I promise I want say anything to anyone.” And I meant it.
Jordan hesitated. “Well…I really…like her. I think it’s awesome that Ms. Hardwick put us together in Magic and Spells. But I don’t know her very well. She didn’t attend school with Morgan, Gabrielle, and I as we were growing up. I think she’s from somewhere else.”
“I think she is,” I tried to remember that day before the orientation when I met Alicia and Jennifer. They said something about a city. “I think they live in…Fandora. I think that’s what they called it. I’m not hundred percent sure, though.”
“Fandora,” Jordan said. The name of the place seemed to mean something to him. He looked slightly envious. “That’s the capitol of Eden. It’s the biggest city in this world. The only place with cars.” I grimaced at that last part. They weren’t wrong about that. I just recently learned that most demon hunters rode around in carriages and wagons, especially in these parts. Eden is a very old-fashioned, modern world. “It’s almost like…New York city. It’s a place where dreams come true.”
“Well, maybe we can go someday. How far is it from here?”
“Hmmm…I’m not really sure. But I think it takes about a day or two if you have transportation.”
“That’s not too bad. So I guess you and Morgan have never been.”
“No, but it’s been our dream – Morgan, Gabrielle and I. We plan to move there when we graduate.” He paused, thinking hard about something. “It used to be where the king and queen lived. That’s until he kept killing them off every time they brought someone new to the throne. Now it’s just the Herald and the government that takes over Eden. No one has been brave enough to become king or queen. They say that the job is cursed.”
I was shocked by this valuable information. Eden was once ruled by a king and queen? Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Did they live in a big castle and everything?”
“Something like that. But no one lives there except maybe the Herald.”
“What’s a Herald?”
“The Herald is the second most important person of Eden besides the king and queen. He’s the one who writes the laws of our world. He’s also the head of the government now that Eden has no more royals. It’s really sad, because most of them were pretty awesome.”
I don’t like this Herald person. He’s probably the one who made the rule about hunters not being allowed to have relationships with the Powerless. What a snob. “What’s the Herald’s name?”
“Brian Burlington. The biggest control freak of Eden.”
“He sounds like it. He also sounds like a creep.”
“Oh, he is. The biggest creep you’ll ever meet. They say if you defy him – that if you break the rules more than once – he’ll put you in the chair.”
“What’s the chair?” I asked, bemused.
“Believe me,” Jordan said, his eyes widening in fear. “You don’t want end up there. You know how you were hanged in the old days if you committed a crime?”
I just nodded.
“Well, here you get sentenced to the chair, and I’ve seen what it can do in some documentaries. That’s one chair I do not want to sit in. Not even for casual conversations.” He shuddered involuntarily.
“But it’s just a chair.” I said. “What’s scary about that?”
“It’s an evil chair.” I couldn’t help it – I started laughing hysterically. First everyone in Eden is scared of a name, now I find out that they’re also scared of a chair! How hilarious. “It’s not funny, Spencer. I’m serious.”
“It’s a chair, Jordan. What’s so scary about it?”
“Because this is no regular chair. It’s been designed to kill and torture its victims. No one who has sat in that chair has every survived.” He paused, smiling wryly. “That chair was the last thing they’re butt’s every sat in.”
“Now you’re just being funny.”
“But it’s true.”
“And I believe you. I just don’t understand why the Herald would treat his people like that.”
“Because he likes power,” Jordan said. “And he knows he has that as long as he has that demonic chair of his.”
Jordan, Morgan, and I sat in the bleachers just like yesterday as we waited for Mr. Howl to get here. According to my schedule, he wasn’t just our Combat and Training’s teacher, but our coach as well. I couldn’t believe they had PE here. Wasn’t it bad enough that I had to deal with this class back in the Powerless world? Did I really have to deal with it here, too? I am the furthest thing from coordinated. I can barely stand without sometimes falling over. Personally it should be illegal for me to play sports of any kind. I’d end up causing more damage than someone getting smacked in the face with a basketball. I’m a hazardous when it comes to PE.
It was then that Scarlett took a seat by me. She looked agitated. “I hate PE. I hate sports. Why are they making us take this class? We shouldn’t have to if we don’t want too.”
“Amen sister.” I said. Scarlett’s outbursts were contagious. “And why are they making us take it so early? I’m still half asleep. Nobody wants to run around the gym when there feeling lethargic. It makes me cranky.”
“Right.” Scarlett said. “I’m not a morning person. And I can tell from the look on your face that you’re not either. It’s almost cruel to make us exercise and play sports when your already half dead.”
“My point exactly.”
“Will you two stop whining?” Morgan demanded. Scarlett and I just glowered at him. “You guys may not enjoy PE, but don’t ruin it for others that do.”
Scarlett snorted. “Of course you of all people would like PE.”
To mine and Scarlett’s relieve we didn’t have to do anything today. It was basically like yesterday. Mr. Howl told us the rules. We weren’t allowed to use magic when playing sports. They considered it cheating for which I could understand. You had to participate in every game we played in here. I suddenly felt bone tired. This is going to be a long year after all.
I looked back every now and again to stare at Alexander. He didn’t look too thrilled about PE either. I smiled at the thought of him playing sports. Honestly, he doesn’t seem like the athletic type. He did look like he worked out quite often, but that wasn’t the same thing. Or was it? I wanted to groan as I realized that I was probably going to humiliate myself not just in front of my friends and classmates, but in front of Alexander as well. God, I hate PE.
Next period was English 1 with our instructor, Ms. Holly Call. Now this class was going to be exciting. English has always been my favorite subject. I love to read and write. I’ve always been better in this class then the others. I’ve never made a bad grade on any of my assignments back home. I parted ways with Jordan, Morgan, and Scarlett as I headed that way, with barely contained excitement. I think I recall Gabrielle telling me that we had this class together as well. And I was right. Sitting in the front row was Gabrielle and Mia. They waved at me as I stood in the doorway. I took a deep breath and walked towards them, taking a seat next to Mia.
To my disappointment we didn’t do much. Ms. Call just went over the syllabus and rules of the class. I looked through the syllabus and saw the book list. I scanned it quickly. Ms. Call has good taste in books, but unfortunately I’ve read all this material. Mice and Men, Sense and Sensibility, Scarlett Letter, the Count Monte Cristo, and Wuthering Heights. That last title made me sigh in anguish. I thought of Katie as she ripped pages from my copy of Wuthering Heights, smiling the whole time. What a troll. Well, I got her in the end, but I lost my book in the process.
The day went by uneventful after that. In Human History, it was Jordan, Morgan, Gabrielle, and I as we all sat side by side. Gabrielle was wedged between Morgan and Jordan, while I sat by an earth user named Kevin Long. He was cute in a weird way. He’d be cuter if his hair wasn’t a bright orange. My eyes seemed to water every time I looked at his hair. It was almost like looking at the sun.
After that we all walked to lunch, chatting friendly with one another as we discussed about our classes and homework assignments. Even Morgan seemed in a better mood after spending an hour passing notes back and forth with Gabrielle. I thought that was odd. Gabrielle didn’t seem like the type to be passing notes in class, but what did I know. Maybe she didn’t get a choice. Morgan seems like the annoying, persistent type, especially when it means getting his way.
During lunch, I noticed in the far right corner of the cafeteria, a table that was shrouded in shadows, with somebody seated there. They were alone.
I knew who it was. Alexander had a tray of untouched food in front of him as he held a book in hand – reading. Now that did make sense. What better way to ignore your troubles and to escape the world in which you live in then by reading. Alexander was a bookworm – I could tell by how relaxed and peaceful he looked. Kind of how I am when I read. I was thrilled to know I had something in common with the guy. Alex seemed to sense my gaze as he looked up. He didn’t look mad or upset like he did yesterday.
“I’ll be right back.” I said as I got up and made my way across the cafeteria. I could feel my friend’s eyes on me as I took a seat at Alexander’s table. He didn’t look at me as he continued to read.
“People are staring.” he said emotionlessly.
He was probably right, but I didn’t care. “I wanted to apologize for yesterday. I was clearly out of line for bringing that stuff up. It wasn’t right. I-I’m sorry. As if you need reminding of something you probably think about every day.”
He didn’t say anything for the longest time. I was just about to get up and walk back to my table when he put his book down. His face was unreadable. “You seem like a sweet girl. Annoying, but sweet. Now, clearly I’m not used to being treated with kindness. And I guess you probably think that’s sad, but the last thing I want is your pity.
“Your right, I think about that incident with my mother every day. I don’t need reminding,” I flinched at the harshness of his voice, but remained silent as he went on. “But you were kind to me. No one has been this kind to me in a long time. Not since…my mom died. So thanks.” He added gruffly, embarrassed.
I just smiled.
“Doesn’t mean I like you.”
“That’s fine,” I admitted. “I get that you have a hard time trusting people. I probably would too if it were me.”
He didn’t say anything – just looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you later then. We have next period together. You’re welcome to sit with me if you want.” I hope he will, but maybe it’s best not to get my hopes up.
Alexander just shrugged.
I smiled at him one more time before heading back to my table. I could feel the eyes of everyone in the cafeteria on me as I took my seat and resumed eating my lunch.
“What the hell was that all about?” Jordan demanded as he, Morgan, and I took seats in our Communications class. I have feeling I’m going to hate this subject.
“I needed to ask him about something. It wasn’t important.” I felt a twinge of guilt lying to Jordan, but in my defense it was none of his business what went down in the cafeteria between Alex and I.
“Well, it must have been important considering you just probably ruined your social life.” Morgan said. I frowned. Since when did Morgan care or worry about my social life?I hardly had one to begin with. “And what did you want to ask him? He’s a nobody.”
I felt a spark of anger at Morgan. “Just because his father was the man that terrorized the people of Eden doesn’t make him a bad person. God, what is wrong with you people! Are you really that judgmental? And what about me?” I asked, outraged. “I’m only half-Reaper. Not to mention my father was best friends with Azazel and don’t—“They both flinched at the sound of his name and were about to rebuke me when I pointed a warning finger at them. “Tell me to not say his name. I’ll say if I want too.”
Jordan and Morgan seemed puzzled by my attitude, but didn’t comment as Mrs. York came into the room.
“Hello everyone.” she said happily. My frown deepened at her cheerfulness. “This is Communications. I trust most of you know one another by now, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to go through the class and introduce ourselves.” Everyone in the class groaned loudly in unison. You have got to be kidding me. “Let’s start at the front row. You there,” Mrs. York said, pointing at Jordan. “Stand up, introduce yourself, and tell us one thing about yourself. It can be anything like your favorite color, what your hobbies are etc.”
Jordan looked uneasy as he stood up. “Um…my name is Jordan Grey and one of my hobbies is…writing.” Jordan blushed a deep crimson as he hastily took back his seat.
Interesting. “I didn’t know you like to write?” I asked, intrigued. I was trying to be inconspicuous as I leaned towards him, my eyes still staring straight forward.
He shrugged, noncommittal. “Yeah, but it’s mostly poetry. I only write when I’m really bored.”
His statement seemed I unlikely, but I just nodded as Morgan went next. His irritation was palpable as he introduced himself to the class. “My name is Morgan Grey and Jordan,” he cocked his head in his brother’s direction. “Is my twin brother in case some of you losers were too stupid to figure it out.” Everyone, including Mrs. York, was speechless as Morgan sat back down. Jordan just shook his head, his eyes on his desk as he tried to avoid everyone’s stares. I felt some sympathy towards Jordan. Having Morgan as a brother can’t be very easy. When it was my turn I felt like I was going to hyperventilate as I stood up. Everyone was watching me with anticipation.
“My name is Spencer Mason and I like to read.” God, everyone must think I’m boring. Of course, Mrs. York didn’t think so.
“Fascinating,” Mrs. York said. “What kind of books do you like to read?”
I blushed. “U-um,” I stammered. “Mostly classics, but I’m not choosy about what I read. I’ll read anything.”
“Well, it’s good to know that we have some young readers out there. When I was your age we didn’t have television. So we mostly read in our spare time. Wonderful.”
I took that as my cue to sit back down. I exhaled loudly and tried to calm my racing heart. Well, that was completely galling.
“That was awful.” Jordan just smiled apologetically, while Morgan rolled his eyes. I had this urge to stick my tongue out at him.
Next was Scarlett. “Hi everyone! My name is Scarlett Blackthorn and I like se—kissing.” Everyone giggled in the classroom as Scarlett stood there, looking flustered. “I like kissing.” Jordan, Morgan, and I tried to hide our smiles as Scarlett sat back down, her face completely bright red. “How embarrassing. I almost told my teacher that I like sex. I’m such a moron.”
“I could have told you that.” Morgan smirked.
Scarlett just turned to glare at him.
We looked behind us to see who was standing up next and saw that it was Cameron. He seemed the most valiant so far in our class. “My name is Cameron Johnson and I like shy, quiet, intelligent girls. Especially if there redheads.” He winked at me when he saw me staring at him in astonishment. Abigail was giving me some more dirty looks. To my amusement, I saw Alexander gape at Cameron, who was still appraising me with interest. How odd. For some reason I couldn’t fathom, I felt my lips stretch into a smile.
I made an attempt to get my face under control as I looked to see who was next.
“My name is Alicia Lawrence,” Jordan seemed to perk up at the sound of her voice. I stifled a laugh. “And I like spending time with my best friend and N’Sync, Jennifer Allen.”
Jennifer smiled and hugged Alicia as she sat back down.
I nearly groaned when Abigail stood up. God, she looked like such a…bitch. Her lips were curled back angrily as she glared at me, her face completely hostile.
“My name is Abigail Westchester and I don’t like people who think there better then everybody just because they can do all five elements. Well, whooped dee doo for you.” She sat back down, her friends cackling as she eyed me with malice. Jeesh…
I didn’t really listen to most of my classmates after that as they introduced themselves one-by-one. I was still hurt by Abigail and her harsh words. I really couldn’t help it that I could do all five elements. Why hold resentment towards me for something I can’t control? Was Alexander right? Was it because I was getting all the attention and she wasn’t? Is it because she was used to the spotlight that having it taken away from her made her feel insecure or something? What was her deal? I waited impatiently as everyone took turns introducing themselves. There was only one I was really interested in. When it was his turn, the class went completely still and silent as Alexander reluctantly stood up, looking uncomfortable as everyone in the classroom looked at him.
He sighed loudly. “I’m…Alexander Torchwood…and I…” he seemed be struggling with himself as he scanned the class. Everyone was eyeing him inquisitively.
“Go on Mr. Torchwood,” Mrs. York encouraged. I liked that she wasn’t being mean to him like most of the other teachers and students here.
“I don’t want to do this.” He said obstinately. If I didn’t know any better I could have sworn his voice shook.
“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but all your classmates have introduced themselves and now it’s your turn. Tell us something about yourself.”
Alexander scoffed. “Like anybody here would care to know anything about me.” He’s eyes slid in my direction, as if by some impulse. He looked uncertain.
I just smiled at him. It wasn’t much but maybe that will be enough to coax him to go on.
It must have worked because he sighed once more and said in an emotionless tone, “I like to draw.” The whole class continued to gawk at him as he plopped back down in his seat, trying his best to avoid everyone’s eyes. Well, I’m proud of him for trying.
Mrs. York did too. “Thank you, Mr. Torchwood.” She then went on about the class and the rules, speaking so fast that most of us couldn’t catch a word she said. Mrs. York looked to energetic and bubbly for a woman her age. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with her. I finally just gave up on listening and waited impatiently for this dreadful class to be over.
I parted ways with Jordan and Morgan when next period approached. I think they were a bit relieved. Probably still mad at me about lunch and what I said at the beginning of class. Whatever. I cared about Jordan a lot and I intend to keep my vows that I made as his N’Sync, but I wasn’t just going to sit by while they treated Alexander like he was scum. No way in hell.
I walked with Scarlett as we went to our Algebra class. I grimaced. I hate math. I’ve never been good at it and it doesn’t matter how many times you teach me the material. I’m completely incompetent when it comes to numbers.
I noticed that this was my first class with the unique users. As we entered the room, I looked at some of the Were-Creatures in our class. They were socializing amongst each other, ignoring most of the ice and fire users that shared this class with them. Abigail and her gang looked at them as if they were bugs that needed squishing.
“Let’s sit here.” Scarlett suggested as we took seats near the very back. I didn’t mind. It was a new change and it meant I would be closer to Alexander.
As if on cue, Alexander materialized through the door as he scurried to the back of the room, trying to stay inconspicuous as he took a seat. I was trying to be discreet as I stared at him. He continued to stare voluntarily at the front of the room. Or maybe he was just trying to ignore me. It was very disconcerting.
After that, Scarlett and I went to the library during Independent study. As we both tried to finish last minute homework, Scarlett would occasionally break the silence by telling me some of the academy’s juicy gossip. I tried to feign interest as she prattled on.
After that I headed to the science building with the fire and unique users, where we would be attending biology together. I tried to be attentive as we went over rules and the syllabus together. But it was no use. My mind was completely in the clouds.
“Thursday I’ll be giving you a quiz on the syllabus so study it while you can.” Mrs. Donald said soberly. “You will be graded.”
The class groans seemed inaudible to me as I turned around in my seat, my gaze fixed on Alexander.
In just two days I was becoming overfamiliar with Alex as I stared at him all through Biology. He always looked stern and inattentive. I wonder what he’s thinking. I hastily looked away as he turned to stare at me. It almost seemed sensible that he would look at me in that moment. I could feel his penetrating gaze staring at the back of my head. I felt compelled to turn and look back at him, but I fought it as class came to an end. When the bell rang, I sighed. I tried to suppress the thought of Alex and his eyes on me as Scarlett and I left the room. As Scarlett and I walked at a slow pace through the science building, I could feel someone walking close behind me. They were walking so close that they were practically stepping on the backs of my feet. I turned my head around, about to snap at the person behind me, and saw that it was Alexander. He was looking at me with blue, inquisitive eyes – eyes that seemed to have questions in them. My mouth went completely dry. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled awkwardly at him before looking forward again. I was feeling inexplicably warm all over.
Jordan and I walked in a companionable silence as we made our way to Mr. Grey’s room. Today we would be starting our training. I was bit nervous. I had no idea what Mr. Grey had in store for us. We’ll probably start off with some exercising – just to warm us up, but what about after that? Surely – since I’m new to all this – he’ll take it easy.
Jordan and I wore sweats and tank tops as Mr. Grey went over some fighting techniques, demonstrating and using Jordan as an example as they scrambled around on the dark, blue mat that was displayed in the middle of the classroom. I cringed from time to time as they fought, but remained attentive as Ash explained the reasons behind these fighting techniques and maneuvers. Most of what he said sounded gibberish to me.
An hour later, I could feel my muscles protesting in pain after we finished. When I was done putting on that dreadful uniform, I headed back to the dorms. Jordan was too immersed in his conversation with his uncle that he didn’t seem to notice me as I left. As I was walking through the lobby, I had this compelling urge to go to the roof – just to see if he was there.
Inwardly I smacked myself. Leave the poor boy alone, my subconscious hissed. He probably doesn’t want your company anyway.
I sighed morosely and listened to my subconscious for once as I made my way to the dormitory building, feeling conflicted the whole way there.
I ignored the people that were calling my name as I walked dejectedly up the stairs. As I approached my room, I pulled out the piece of paper with my password out of my bag, and began typing the letters and numbers into the little keypad. When I heard an audible click, I opened the door, sighing quietly as I closed it gently behind me. I stopped in my tracks when I heard the sound of paper crinkling. I looked down as I lifted my foot and sure enough there was a folded piece of paper with my name typed in small letters on the front. I picked it up tentatively and unfolded it, feeling unsettled for some reason. Why would someone write me a note?
You must leave Hunter Academy immediately.
Bad things are about to happen if you don’t.
I’ll make sure of it.
My heart was beating a thousand miles per minute as I read the note over and over again. What could this mean? And who wrote this? Obviously someone who doesn’t like me, but who? My mind immediately thought of Abigail, but why would she go through all this trouble to type out a letter when I know she isn’t hesitate to tell me in her own, verbalized words? Not to mention she would have left a signature to let me know it was her. So it must be someone else – someone who is either too afraid to tell me in person or they don’t want their identity to be known. I’m positive it’s the latter. With the note still in my hand, I rushed to Jordan’s room. Surely he would be in there by now. Unless he was downstairs with the others, socializing. I looked first, but there was no sign of him.
I rushed up the stairs and down the corridor, looking at the names attached to the doors. When I spotted his, I immediately started banging on his door, feeling desperate and disconcerted as I waited for him to answer.
Jordan looked irritated when he opened his door, but his expression changed when he saw it was me. He looked puzzled. “Spencer,” he said, genuinely surprised. “What’s wrong? You look really—“
I held the note out to him, my hand shaking visibly. “Read this.” I demanded.
He took it quizzically, but read the note hastily. He seemed baffled. “Do you know who wrote this?”
“I haven’t got a clue. What I don’t understand is why?”
“Maybe it’s Torchwood. He seems to be the type who would write letters to scare and intimidate others.”
I frowned, feeling piqued. “I don’t think it’s Alex.”
“Abigail, then. Everyone knows that she absolutely loathes you.”
“Yeah, I thought that too. But Abigail doesn’t seem like the type to write letters to get her point across. No. She’s more of the type to get in your face and tell it to you straight.”
“Well, if it’s not Abigail…then who?”
I bit my lip as I tried to think of anyone else who might hold some sort of resentment towards me. So far I couldn’t think of anyone besides Abigail and maybe some of her groupies.
“I don’t know.” I murmured.
“Well,” Jordan said, sounding unsure. “Maybe it’s a joke or something.”
I frowned. His explanation didn’t sound unreasonable, but I was having hard time believing it.
“I don’t think so, Jordan. There’s just something about this note that makes me think that whoever wrote this was serious. This note has got a bad vibe to it.”
“I believe you, but we can’t really do much if we don’t know who wrote it. Now, I know you don’t want to believe it was Alexander, but hear me out—“I couldn’t stop the scowl that was beginning to spread across my face when he mentioned Alex. “But it seems to me he would be our number one suspect. He is after all his son. Just for my sake, keep an eye on him. I know you’ve got some protective instinct towards the guy, but don’t completely rule him out as a suspect either. It’s usually those that you trust the most that become the ones that are trying to hurt you.”