Ethelwine: School Of Magic

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Chapter 12

The Forbidden Floor Part 2:

Things got a little fuzzy after she walked through the door, there was darkness and unsettling silence. She didn’t know how long she was in there but knew she couldn’t take much more of it. Before she could scream for Ali or Garret to let her out, she felt a tremor and in an instant she was enveloped in cold.

She shivered as she laid in something soft and icy. Her blue eyes snapped open when she felt the familiar feeling of snowflakes falling on her face. She gasped as she sat up taking in her surroundings and feeling slightly heavier. Glancing down at her body she saw she was no longer in her leather jacket and combat boots but in a heavy winter coat and winter boots. Right away she recognized the small rows of brick houses to the north of her and the forest of tall surrounding her. She was...home.

“What’s going on?” She murmured to herself rubbing her pounding head and plopping back into the snow with a grunt.

“Aren’t you a little too old to be making snow angels Re?”

Rena turned towards the voice with wide eyes “Lev!?”
There before her stood her best friend, his own thick coat covering his body and trusty pistol strapped on his waist.

Snowflakes had landed in his chocolate brown hair which looked tousled as if he had just woken up.

“Of course it’s me Re, who else would it be?” He chuckled, his green eyes crinkling at the edges.

She rose to her feet and ran straight into his arms, “I can’t believe it’s you! It’s been so long!”

He hugged her back in confusion “Re, we saw each other yesterday. Are you okay?” His tone was one of worries. Rena then realized how crazy she must had sounded. These past months hadn’t really happened? Was it all some kind of dream? How could she not remember anything?
She stepped out of his arms and tucked her hair behind her ears in embarrassment, light blush on her face. “Sorry, I-uh had a bad nightmare last night I guess. Papa and Mama shipped me away to some school, Ethelwine, and I had to leave home....I had to leave you.”

Lev smiled and took her hand gently “Why don’t you tell me all about it while we go and hunt that beast, yeah? My papa told me they’ve found werewolf tracks this morning in our backyard. We could get lucky today”

He held out a pistol for her to take, a large grin on his face. She smiled back and took the gun from his grasp. Tucking it into her holster then grabbing his hand, letting him lead her into the forest.
It felt like an eternity before they reached a clearing, where there should be grass and colorful flowers, there was just a blanket of thick white snow.
Lev scratched the back of his head “Haven’t found any tracks yet, maybe the damn thing has left our little town.”

Rena glanced around the forest, something about this situation seemed so familiar, she couldn’t put a finger on it. She had stood there awhile, admiring the view, momentarily forgetting about her friend.

All of a sudden she felt a cold substance on her back. She gasped in shock wiping the ice off of her back “Lev Volkov did you hit me with a snowball?”

He smirked and crossed his arms “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. What are you gonna do about it Re-Re?”

Rena scowled “I’ll show you what I’m gonna do and don’t call me that awful nickname!” She reached down and made a snowball for herself before throwing it, hitting Lev’s face.

Thus the war began, they fought for what felt like hours. It had been so long since Rena had laughed like that, had enjoyed herself without worrying about...anything!
Once they had tired themselves out they laid in the snow together, staring at the grey sky above them.

“Tell me about this nightmare of yours.” He murmurs turning to face her. Rena took a deep breath before explaining all she could remember from her dream, which wasn’t much.

Lev let out a low whistle when she finished “That must have been some dream.”

“Yeah. It was.” She agreed frowning.

Lev smiled at her before grabbing her hand that was resting on her stomach. “I for one am glad you’re still here and not at some damn magical school.”

She chuckled trying to hide her blush “And why is that Lev Volkov?”

“Because I love you Beasley”

Her eyes widened in shock, was this real? Had her best friend actually confessed his feelings to her? She felt her face heat up as he stared at her expectantly “I-”

“Shhh” He says covering her mouth with his hand sitting them both up. “Do you hear that?”

Rena listened and heard nothing, which was unsettling. Earlier through their walk, birds could be heard singing and the forest felt alive. Now....there was utter silence. Glancing out into the darker part of the forest, she immediately knew why.

“Lev..” Her voice shook as her eyes met glowing yellow ones ahead of them. His gaze followed hers and he went for his pistol.

“Re, listen to me, when I say three, you get out of the way. Got it?” He murmured lowly against her hair, it was almost too low for her to hear.

“Okay.” She nods, grabbing her gun as well.

“One.” He stood to his feet, a low growl rumbled through the forest “two.” Lev held the gun out aiming at the yellow eyes “THREE!”

A roar from the beast shook the ground as it broke through the forest. Rena jumped away from him as the werewolf’s large body leapt over her and crashing into Lev.

Rena screamed as a loud gunshot rang through the air and it was silence filled the air once more. “LEV!” She screamed once more as she saw the motionless beast on the ground on top of the boy.

“I’m okay Re, help me get this thing off.” His voice shook as he struggled to move the heavy creature off.

She tugged enough to get Lev free who let out a pained groan and rolled to his side. “Are you okay Le-” Her question was cut off as she saw the red liquid flow into the white snow. “You’re bleeding!” She ran to turn him around ready to help in any way she can.

Her eyes widened in horror as she saw the large bite mark on his shoulder. She stumbled back in fear “You’ve-you’ve been bitten Lev.”

He coughed up blood and put a hand on his wounded shoulder “I know Re. You have to get out of here. I can....I can feel the beast trying to tear through me already. You don’t have much time.”

Heavy tears flowed out of her eyes “I won’t leave you Lev! My parents could-”

“No!” An angry roar left his mouth as he regained himself, calm once more “No, magic can’t help me now Rena, you know this. Go now, I can feel the change about to happen.”

Rena shook her head and held him close to her “No Lev, I can’t. I can’t leave you!” She sobbed and he held on to her arm.

“Please Rena you have-” He cut himself off with a loud scream of agony.

“Lev!” She watched in horror as claws sprung from his fingertips, blood oozing out of her arm as they dug in her skin. His body began to twist and contort as bones begun braking and shifting.

Rena got out of his grasp, scooting back as sobs wracked her body watching her best friend transform into the beast. “No Lev, please god no!”

His sad green eyes met hers, as fur sprouted out of his skin coating his body, a snout grew from his nose, and his face had begun to transform to the tale tale figure of a werewolf. “R-r-Rena...” He struggled to say, green eyes turning bright yellow “RUN!” It ended with a loud roar.

Springing to her feet Rena ran from the clearing, she heard the pounding of large feet behind her. Sobs escaped her mouth causing her vision grew blurry, she could feel it’s hot breath on her back as he grew nearer. “Please, please someone help!” She screamed running as fast as her legs could take her. She felt the swipe of his claws come across her back and blood soaking her coat. She let out a pain filled scream as she tumbled into the snow “PLEASE HELP ME!” She sobbed laying on her back in pain “ALI! BART! HELP ME!”

A horror filled scream erupted from her lips as she watched the beast leap towards her, yellow eyes ready for the kill.

“PULL HER BACK!” A voice sounded from nowhere. Out of the blue, in the field behind her, there was an outline of a door. It flung open as the group frantically grabbed hold of Rena and pulled her out of the room. To them, it was still an abandoned classroom, but to Rena it was all very real. She could still see the crisp snow, and her dear friend-turned-monster standing in the open.

The creatures face began to muddy between Lev’s and the werewolf he now was, his eyes painfully staring back at her. Ali slammed the door shut, and the illusion was over. “Hey hey, bean! Look at me! You’re back now, okay?”

She continued to sob, her eyes shut tight refusing to look at Ali “It was so real! He...he-he.” She cried out as Sor embraced her. It was so odd to see Rena vulnerable. She was usually so collected and reserved, sketching truly terrible happened behind that door.

“It’s okay Rena. You’re out now, none of that was real. You’re safe, He is uh safe.” Rena continued to cry as Sor tried to comfort her. Sor didn’t know who this person was but she assumed he was someone important to Rena. Her eyes were still shut and she seemed like she wasn’t going to open them anytime soon. What exactly had happened in there?

Ali looked at Garrett intently. “She was only in there 7 minutes tops? Why would it fall apart so quickly?”

“No clue.”

“Apparently she was back home?”

“Sounds like it.”

“But that wouldn’t trigger anything unusual, right?”

“Guys! How about we talk about anything else, yeah?” Hope interrupts looking between the two boys then down to Rena.

As the group All spoke amongst themselves, Trevor noticed something in the hallway corner behind them. It was small, and stood up like a human..but it most certainly wasn’t human. It caught his attention, before going back around the corner. No one else seemed to notice. He knew better than to follow this apparition...but his adventurous spirit was ever curious. He drifted from the group quietly around the corner.

Hope and Sor were still trying to console Rena. Bart looked at the stream of tears from her eyes. “What the hell was that? That’s your idea of fun?” He glared at Ali and Garrett. “What happened in the-” He looked at the group. ‘1-2-3-4-5’ he counted in his head. “Wait, where’s Trevor”

Ali looked around. “Shiteeee, we gotta move!” Ali and Garrett sprung to action, running the halls looking for their friends body. “Not good, not good!” The Grim building was rather large, and this entire floor was like a maze to them. Even more so than the literal maze floor in the Architect building.

“What’s going on Ali?” Sor called out from behind the two, the group was doing their best to keep up with the boys. No one was trying to get lost in this place, not after what happened to Rena.

“We have to find Trev! People cannot be alone here!” He was knocking on doors and looking around furniture. It was true, anyone who was foolish enough to explore alone never came back. Their spirit became trapped by the curse.

“Hope,” Ali said as he came to a stop. “I need you to think, aye? This place feeds on dreams. What would your brother be looking for?”

“Umm..” Hope looked around nervously trying to think. “He’s like our dad. He’s like a soldier, he won’t back down from a fight. And he’s loyal, always looking out for the people close to him. Watching people that walk by, looking for danger, things like that. Maybe he wanted to find something to help Rena?”

Bart rested his hand around the handle of his sheathed knife behind his back with one hand while opening a door with caution to look inside. “Empty” he mumbled as he closed the door.

There was a scream that echoed through the halls. “Trevor.” Bart and Ali bolted down the hall followed by Garrett and the three girls. They came to an intersection and turned left. “I think it came from here!” Ali said. It pitch black and hard to see 10 feet in front of you. They sprinted 50 feet down the hall before they found him. Ali and Bart both halted next to him.

Ali grabbed him by the shoulders as if shaking him awake. “Come on man, it’s not real.” Bart said while snapping in front of his face. Trevor was bent over, supporting his weight with his hands on his knees. His face was pale and drenched in sweat.

He was panting hard. “So... real... It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t..” he seemed to be in shock. Hope was now next to them with her arm around Trevor.

“Uhh... guys..” Garrett was standing still,staring down the hall. Bart looked at him waiting for an explanation before following his eyes. 30 feet from them standing in a door was the outline of something or someone watching them. He stood up straight, unsheathing his knife. “Ali what is that.”

Ali was completely flushed. “I-I-I don’t know...but I don’t think we want to find out.” The figure began to move towards the students with deliberate pace. Everyone started to panic.

“PICK THE BOY UP AND LET’S GO!” Bart and Hope supported Trevor’s weight on either side of him and ran as fast as they could in such a circumstance.

Sor followed behind the group, her steady breaths were now pants as she struggled to breathe. This was the most running she’s done in ages. Then a spot of green caught her eye. There it grew along the wall, leading inside an adjacent room. A vine? How in the world could a plant survive in here? There was no sunlight, no reliable water source, no soil. It was most likely going to die soon, her heart sank at the thought.

She had to get it out of here, plants were her life, if anyone was going to keep it alive, it would be her. She’d feel too guilty abandoning it. She needed to find the source and bring it with her. Falling behind the group she turned into a room, hoping this wouldn’t take too long and she could catch up in no time.

Bart turned around to make sure the rest of the group was keeping up and saw a blur of golden hair turn the corner. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Take him.” He put Trevor’s full weight on Hope then sprinted towards the door Sor walked into. The figure was almost there. He had to get there first.

NO.” He yelled at the figure as it started to go in but it stopped and looked at him. The closer Bart got the taller he saw it was. He didn’t slow down, he thrust his knife as soon as he was about to collide with it.

Next thing he knew his back was screaming in pain, his head was pounding and he was stunned. The creature had caught his knife arm, throwing him through a door across from Sor’s. Bart smashed through the door sending wood splinters everywhere and slammed into the back wall of what was a small supply closet.

Sor let out a giggle as she walked through the large garden, she was surrounded by beautiful plants of all types. From flowers to large trees to even cacti. This was her literal dream. What had Rena been so worked up about? This was amazing! She used her magic to water the greenery around her. She smiled brightly watching flowers bloom before her eyes as the water hit it. She could stay here forever.
Then, the bright sun was blocked by a large black cloud and before her eyes, the plants began to die. Her smile faded into shock. One by one, shriveling up turning into nothing. “No! No!” She cried out in horror. With all her attention on the withering plants, she didn’t notice the brown thorny vine slithering towards her.

“Please come back!” She attempted to water them and using her magic but nothing worked. They were all dead. “Plea-” Her voice cut off as the vine slithered up her ankle and tightening around her body suspending her in the air. She let out a pain filled scream as it grew tighter and tighter with each second, thorns digging into her skin and air being cut off. With what little breath she had, she made her attempt to call for help. “A-ALI, RENA-A, SOMEONE! H-HELP!”

The tall, slender creature set eyes on the four upright students that remained. He pulled out the dagger and drew back his arm, ready to release the weapon. Before his arm could move forward, however, it froze in place.

Garrett had used the little knowledge he had in dark arts to use the monsters shadow, cast under Ali’s light fixture, and bind him in place. It took every ounce of strength to hold on.

Ali used a spell to create a small, novice patch of flames on the floor, separating the group from the creature. He looked back at Hope and Rena, “You need to get that door open! And check on Bart.”

Rena nodded her head towards the other girl “You go get Bart. I’ll get Sor.”

Hope ran past her towards the room where Bart had crashed through.

“S-Sor” Bart muttered out upon hearing her scream. He struggled trying to get up but just fell back against the wall. His vision grew blurry then faded to black.

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