Ethelwine: School Of Magic

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Chapter 13

The Forbidden Floor Part 3

Bart was standing on the lawn staring at the front door of the familiar house house. The sun was shining bright on him. Happiness flowed through him more than he had ever felt. He shouldered his bag and walked to the front door. He didn’t knock, he didn’t need to.

He walked into his home. “Look who decided to show up!” Ali got up off of a bar stool, clapped Bart’s hand and gave him a quick hug.

All his friends were there in the living room. Rena slugged him in the arm. “Bout time Winchester. We were going to eat without you.” Hope had gotten up from the couch, the largest smile on her face as she gave him a tight hug.” Trevor gave him a quick wink from his seat.

“Well if it isn’t my baby brother.” Augustus came out of the kitchen. He clapped Bart on the shoulder, “How was your semester?”

Bart beamed at him. “Fantastic. But I’m glad to be home for the holidays.”

Mr. O’Malley was sitting next to Sor on the couch. “He’s brilliant. He and Rena are top of their class.”

Augustus overflowed with pride. “That’s my brother. Mom and dad should be coming down soon, dinner is almost done.” Bart’s heart did a flip.

“Mom and da-” footsteps were heard from the stairs behind him. There they were, his parents beaming at him with joy. Their golden blonde hair was similar to his and Augustus’ and their familiar blue eyes shone with pride.

“There’s my Barty.” Bart wasn’t even embarrassed that his mom said that out loud. She was the only one who called him that.

He dropped his bag and took a step forward but stopped. Suddenly there was a bloodcurdling roar that stunned everyone. The flap of wings could be heard above. Bart’s eyes went wide knowing what the sound was. He lunged at his parents “NO”

Flames burst through the front door sending and explosion through the house. Bart’s parents were engulfed as Bart was blown through the glass patio door into the back yard. He hit the ground hard, rolling. His friends landed scattered through the yard as well. Bart coughed from the smoke, struggling to his feet. “No. No no no.” He limped over to Ali. He was completely still, eyes glued to the sky. Rena was on her face, her body lay in a broken angle. One by one he checked. Sor, Trevor, Garrett, Mr. O’Malley. All dead.

His eyes laid upon Augustus. “No. Please.” He fell to his knees. “Get up! Please!” He shook Augustus’ lifeless body.

He hit the ground with his fist. The dragon could be seen in the distance flying away. A few yards away, Hope has been blown and landed in a sitting position against the fence. Her head hung low. But then it slowly lifted. “B-bart.”

Bart’s heart leapt, “Not everyone. Someone is still alive.” He limped towards Hope.

“Why” she said in a low struggling voice. “Why didn’t you protect us. You could have done more. It’s your fau-” her head fell limp.

Bart fell back, in complete shock. Tears ran down his face. “N-no.” Everyone was gone. Just as it always happened, everyone in his life was gone again.

“Bart come on you gotta get up.” He was being pulled up by someone. “It wasn’t real! Work with me here, we have to go.” It was dark again. Once again he opened his eyes, the blurry vision allowed him to see he was sitting against the closet wall.

Get up Bart!” Suddenly someone yanked him to his feet.

Rena used her leg to try to kick down the door “Come on you damn door!” She says frustrated, kicking as hard as she could but it remained closed.

“Ali! I can’t get the door!” Rena cried out “I need help!” She could hear Sor’s muffled screams from the other side.

Ali ran over to help Rena, releasing the spell in the process. “Okay okay okay...there’s gotta be some way to get this to open!”

He tried to cut a hole with his wand, but the door continued to repair itself. Sor’s screams could still be heard from the other side.

“I don’t know what to do! I don’t kno-” they heard a thud behind them. Garrett had used every bit of his strength on a curse, and couldn’t hold on. He passed out and crumpled to the floor.

Hope emerged out of the closet supporting Bart as they walked . They got a few feet when Bart made her halt in her steps, “S-stop.”

“No come on.” Hope pulled at him to keep going.

“H-help Sor.” He said shakily. He let go of her support and leaned against the walls “Help th-them.”

Rena pressed her ear to the door, no longer hearing Sor’s screams but the sounds of choking and her soft whimpers.

“Guys! She’s choking. We have to hurry! She’s going to die!” Her eyes filled with fear and she and Ali continued to pound on the door. “How do we get this damn thing open?!”

Ali looked right at Rena. “Trust me?”

“What do you mean trust you that doesn’t help-”

The creature, free of restraints, lunged at the two students. Without a second to spare, Ali pulled Rena to the ground as the creature crashed into the door, breaking it at the hinge.

Rena scrambled to her feet and ran into the room where she abruptly stopped with wide eyes. There, suspended in the air was Sor, clawing at her neck as if someone...or something was choking her.

“Ali come help!” Her eyes landed on the creature still laying on the floor next to the broken pieces of door, she was still unsure if it was alive or not. She didn’t want to take the chance.

Hope helped Ali up by the arm and they both walked into the room. Bart limped down the wall towards Garrett. “Trevor get him.” Trevor nodded still in a daze and picked up Garrett to throw him over his shoulder. Bart grabbed a long piece of wood from one of the doors and held it in his hand like a bat while leaning his shoulder against the wall.

“Bring her down slow!” The friends each grabbed hold of Sor, bring her back down onto the eroded floor. She was still struggling for air, her body trying to wiggle free. To them it looked unnatural; evil even. Ali cupped Sor’s face in his hands. “Bean! BEAN! You need to snap out, aye? It’s not real! Come back!”

Sor’s eyes snapped open and she gasped in air. Tears filled her eyes as she gazed up at the boy over her “Ali?” Her voice was soft and quiet, as if she was afraid she would lose precious air once more. “T-the plants...they.... Please tell me it wasn’t real.”

“It wasn’t. It was fantasy.” Ali said through a relieved sigh. “You’re back in reality now.”

Sor looked around and noticed the long monster laying on the floor as well. She looked back at Ali like a deer in headlights. “Yeah, perhaps this isn’t ideal either..?”

Bart poked his head into the door. The body on the ground started to stir. “Trevor is at the door with Garrett. Let’s go. NOW.” Hope came out of the room and once again supported Bart on her shoulder as they limped towards the exit followed by Ali, Sor, and Rena.

The group made their way towards the exit when they heard a loud screech from behind. Rena glanced back to see the creature making its way towards them at a rapid pace. “Okay, now let’s hurry out of here!”

They broke out into a run towards the door. “Go, go, go!” Ali urged as they all piled out of the room, he shut the door right as the creature leapt in the air.

A loud thump was heard against the wood as they slumped against the wall of the hallway, all breathing heavy.

“We” Rena pants out “Are never going back in there.”

“What now?” Trevor asks looking around at his friends.

“My dad is out of town for the night. Let’s go to my house.” Ali suggests running a hand through his hair.

Trevor came down the stairs with Ali. “Garrett should be fine. He just needs rest.” The group in the living room was silent. Nobody said anything when they walked into the O’Malley house.

Rena was sitting on the counter that looked into the kitchen from the room. Bart sat on the floor against the side of a chair that Hope was sitting in. Sor was still pale, sitting on the couch and staring at the floor.

Bart’s hands were still shaking. He took steadying breaths trying to settle down
“ anyone hungry?” The whole room stared Ali down at such a boneheaded remark.

“I don’t think any of us have an appetite right now Ali.” Rena states with a raised eyebrow.
Bart looked up at him without saying anything. A flash of Ali’s lifeless body appeared and left. Bart’s fist clenched as he put it against his forehead. He finally found his voice. “W-why is that floor at Ethelwine. What could they have use of it for?”

Ali sighed. “It was a Grim masterpiece. When it first opened up, the professors and upperclassmen worked together to create it. Originally, it was meant as a way of connecting. Mind and spirit. When you train so much in dark need some form of release I can imagine.” Ali tossed water bottles to each of his friends. “The problem is, when you train so in dark magic, it’s hard not to let that take you. They toyed with the floor so much, they unknowingly cursed it. The greatest of dreams became the most frightful nightmares.”

Bart went silent again. Hope looked at him as he tried to steady his shaky hands. “And that thing?” Hope flashed into Bart’s mind, limply sitting against the fence.
“Did they put that in there too?” Hope’s voice was upset and harsh.

Ali tensed up. “I have no. Idea. What that was. The magic of the room is that only you can see what it is that you see...but we ALL saw that. We physically interacted with it! I don’t know how it got there or why..”
“It’s obvious isn’t it?” Trevor was now sitting on the couch next to Sor. Both of them flashed in Bart’s mind. He ran his hands through his hair trying to stop the images. “That was the same thing we saw our first night. It’s what killed Henry.”
“We don’t know that Trevor.” Rena argues back, her voice shook slightly “There are plenty of other possibilities.”

“Name one then.” He looked around the room for an answer.

The room remained quiet. Even if they wanted to argue, they all knew the truth. This...thing...was familiar to them.

“So..” Hope said. “What was it that you guys saw? What were your nightmares?”
Rena shifted in her seat uncomfortably thinking of her nightmare. How could she explain it? Her eyes wandered to Sor who looked pale once more, she must be thinking the same thing.

“I-” It was hard for Trevor to get his words out. “Mom was alive. We were all a family again.” Hopes eyes started to water up as she looked at Trevor. “I got accepted into the Army and was in the same unit as her. It was amazing fighting beside her. But..” his voice faltered. “We got flanked, and she got hit in the back before I could react. When I got back home... dad was bad. He blamed me. So did you. Last thing you said to me before I got kicked out was that it should have been me.” He took a shaky breath.

Hope got up and sat between Sor and Trevor. “It’s okay though, it’s over now. It never happened.”

“I uh..” Bart went back and forth inside his mind. He knew he should tell his friends what he saw, but decided against it. “It was nothing.”

Ali put his face into his hands. “We shouldn’t have gone there. It was foolish and dangerous.” He couldn’t look anyone in the eye. He wasn’t even sure if they would still be friends after all that had happened.

“It WAS foolish and dangerous.” Hope still had her arm around Sor, her eyes had lingered on Bart after he told his story but she now looked at Ali. “But you didn’t make us go. We chose to go.”

Ali moved from the kitchen to the living area, falling onto the floor face towards the ceiling. “It all would have been fine too! If that...that thing wasn’t there.”

How DID it get there? And for how long? Did the beast know someone was coming?
Sor looked up through tears. “We have to tell somebody. Right?”

“Wellll, the thing about that bean,” Ali exhaled deeply. “We kind of took an oath of silence. And I don’t...quite...know how to remove that spell?” Add that to the list of things he clearly did not think through tonight.

“And what exactly happens if that oath is broken?
Trevor did not like where this was going

“...I also don’t know?”

“Oh my...” Rena slapped her forehead with her hand, “so we’re stuck with these marks forever?”

“Maybe not forever...but for now, aye. I don’t know, I think the mark is kind of we’re a gang of sorts yeah? A gang that just so happened to fight some evil magic creature and live!”

“An impressible gang apparently.” Bart said quietly but still loud enough for everyone to hear. They all looked at him as if he had never spoken and then looked between him and Ali who looked like he still needed to defend himself.

Everyone started laughing. Bart joined in a few seconds later. Ali still looked like he needed to defend himself but eventually started chuckling as well.

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