Chapter 1: Our Cursed Child
The Wiggin brothers were proud to say that they were the strangest principals of no ordinary school. Wiggin Academy was founded to protect the kids who are special- like them. But after maintaining this academy for over three-hundred years the Wiggin brothers have caught the eyes of the unwanted. Oldest of the two, Caden Wiggin paced through a familiar long bricked hallway waiting for his letter to be answered by his youngest brother John. Caden raked his long dark hair back as the autumn wind kicked in reminding everyone the beginning of a new school year. A slow smile curled up Caden’s lips- something he rarely did but when the hallways of his school would fill again with bright laughter’s, chattering kids trying to find their way through this ancient school and he would teach again, a weight would always lift off of him.
Hearing the sudden flutter of wings, he looked up to the grey sky easily spotting his red hawk approaching fast, he extends his arm out for Hawkie’s little clawed feet to land perfectly on it. And it did. Caden opens the tiny casket strapped on Hawkie’s back pulling out a letter. Recognizing the blue waxed seal with the letter W carved on it, he knew it was his younger brother’s. Seeing his own message on top clearing stating for John to return and why it would beneficial for everyone if he did, Caden felt pretty positive that his brother would never agree, since John was the type to look for adventure while travelling the forbidden or forgotten places of the world. But as his grey eyes traveled down the letter for John’s response- Caden stared wide-eyed, it said; I’m coming back Brother, signed Johnny. And that was it. Caden released Hawkie as his big beefy hand caught fire to destroy the letter.
-On Clifford Street-
“Mom, I will not be going to that school,” said Mako as her tiny feet quickly took her up the windy stairs. Her mother followed.
“Honey, you have to go to school,” said her mother.
“Nope, not this kid.” Mako closed her rooms door- breathing heavily from her escape. But her mother still charged in and stood guard in front of the door so she wouldn’t run away again. As small as Mako was running through her mother’s legs wouldn’t be hard, but her mom knew better than to even give Mako that chance. Her mother closed the door behind her and sat on the bed that was always too big for Mako. Gesturing for her to sit down too; Mako reluctantly did.
“Why don’t you want to go to school?” Her mom asked.
“Because it’s a school for kids with cool powers,” said Mako. “What I have isn’t cool.” Mako looked up to the same blue eyes as hers that were always filled with so much warmth.
“Sweetie, the school you will go to trains and helps people with your type of power,” said her mom. If it was one thing that Mako needed it was training. She still remembers the day she was sent home for accidentally releasing black smoke into her entire classroom, the school had been closed for days.
“Yeah, while everyone is running around with element magic, I will have fun alone with whatever black smoke I control,” said Mako, like always but she didn’t say that out loud, not wanting her mother to know that she had no friends in school.
“Sweetie, you know I have the same power,” said her mom. “And I didn’t have any problems finding friends.”
“You had dad,” said Mako.
“Well, we still had to become friends first.” Mako groaned.
“Look, the school you will be attending is for the unique like us. You will find friends who will easily accept you for who you are,” Mako nodded stiffly. “Your dad is almost home, so clean up and get ready for dinner.”
Mako sighed desperately trying to ease the nerves as she stood in line for her administration papers. “Dad, did you like Wiggin Academy?” Mako looked up meeting honey coloured eyes behind gold rimmed glasses that rested on an aristocratic nose and neatly cut brown hair, unlike hers which was curly and black like her mother’s.
“Yeah, I did, why?” Her father looked at her puzzled.
“Just curious.” Mako looked around the dark hall with high ceilings and massive chandeliers that had cob-webs hanging from them- Mako always hated spiders. The hall had marble dark green floors and tiled walls that looked almost like the night sky with small twinkling stars. She spotted other kids, some fighting with their parents and others crying to leave. Holding onto her father’s hand a little tighter Mako reached the long podium with an old lady seated behind it. A large book was open as she searched hastily for Mako’s photo with her long-wrinkled finger as a guide.
“Mako Hawthorne,” mumbled the old lady. Looking up at Mako’s dad her inky black eyes seemed to light up. “Minister Hawthorne, what a wonderful surprise meeting you here today.” Mako wasn’t surprised when the old lady become much nicer as she realized her father was the Henry Hawthorne- Minister of Alchemy, the youngest to ever take that position. Mako remembered reading it in the newspaper once, which surprised Mako since her mother was the first to ever give birth to another Black smoke user but that wasn’t in the newspapers.
“It’s nice to meet you again, Mrs. Griddle,” said her father politely.
“Indeed, it is,” she said. “I still remember when I gave your application for Wiggin Academy.” They both shared a knowing brief laugh.
“Well, I’m here for my daughter now.”
“Your daughter.” Mrs. Griddle looked at Mako and smiled. So, did Mako; awkwardly.
In the car as they drove home, Mako looked at her application. It had regular information like where she lived, phone number, parent’s names, but the part that made her stomach hurt terribly was the classification section which meant, what were her powers. Reading the list, it consisted of; water, fire, air, earth and smoke. Mako cursed at her power for the hundredth time today.
Strolling into their house, her parents began discussing what had happened today while Mako began filling out the form. Easily putting in her information- Mako left two spaces blank before dinner, the first was, her classification and second, what she wanted to achieve at Wiggin Academy.
Mako was startled when her door creaked open behind her and a tall shadow hovered over her. “Yes, dad?” She turned seeing her father with a small smile curling his thin lips.
“What is my daughter doing?” His eyes went to blank sections of the application that rested on her table. “Your mother told me how you were feeling about going to school.” Mako groaned and slammed her head on her table harder than she was supposed to- making her small lamp shake wildly.
“Dad, why don’t I have cool powers like you?”
“What makes you think your powers aren’t cool?”
“It’s black smoke,” said Mako. “Last time I checked, you can’t do anything with black smoke.”
“Well, that’s not true,” said her father. “Your mother is exceptional with her black smoke.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever be that good.” Her father’s arm went around her shoulders.
“Mako, it doesn’t matter if your powers are strong or not, because your powers do not define who you are,” said her father. “What defines a person is how you treat others and how you use your gifts.” Mako nodded to her father as he left her and she began filling out the blank areas until she was satisfied with her answer, holding up the piece of paper she smiled slightly before the paper suddenly lit-up blue and vanished into thin air.
She rushed out her room. “Mom! The paper lit on fire.” Mako screamed down the stairs.
“That’s supposed to happen dear.” Her mother said casually. Mako walked back into her room baffled.
“Professor Wiggin, should you really be using your time on reading all the application letters yourself?”
“It’s not a waste of time, Professor Grimaldi,” said Caden as he lifted his eyes from the papers scattered neatly in two piles on his table. He spotted a tall lean woman standing severely straight. She was wearing a cloak, a navy blue one. Her black hair was drawn into a braid revealing her sharp purple eyes and thin lips that were always held in a tight line.
“I didn’t say it was,” she said raising an eyebrow at him. “What I meant was other teachers can easily do this task and faster.”
“Professor, this task isn’t about efficiency,” said Caden. “It’s about learning the types students that will come to this school. Their minds and their goals are very carefree and relaxing for me- unlike our older students.”
“Any interesting ones?” Grimaldi asked.
“Many want to be famous artists, some want to be strong benders, the rest want regular jobs and homes.”
“What about the checklist?” She asked suspiciously. “Any black smoke students?” Caden’s grey eyes looked down to the paper he was examining earlier. “Mako Hawthorne, seems to be a black smoke user,” he said. “Hawthorne, that name seems familiar.”
“Because it is,” she said. “Minister Hawthorne, the youngest to ever take the seat. I believe his daughter is of age to start school this year.”
Caden noticed the repeated scratch marks on the black smoke user box before his eyes drifted to the last section. “My father told me that your powers don’t define who you are. But instead what defines a person is how you treat others and how you use your gifts. I don’t care about what job I want or if I will get married. What I want to achieve at Wiggin Academy is to truly know if my powers can help this world or not.” Second time in a week Caden smiled.
“I would’ve expected Minister Hawthorne’s daughter to want to follow in her father’s footsteps,” said Professor Grimaldi.
“Something tells me she will,” said Caden, observing the small picture in the corner of a girl with unruly black hair, bright blue eyes and freckles with a button nose. He expected the minister’s child to be orderly and regular. But the child in front of him reminded Caden of himself- when he went to school. Unlike him who is a blue fire user, she had been gifted with black smoke- an extremely hard power to control and harness. He would know since most of his scars are from his younger brother who is also a black smoke user. Summoning a blue flame on his finger he tapped a page leaving a glittering ‘W' and off went an acceptance letter.
“The child intrigues you,” said Grimaldi.
“She reminds me of my brother and myself truthfully,” said Caden. “Is everything ready for the student’s arrival?”
“Yes, it is,” she answered curtly.
Mako ran back and forth with a broom shining the hard-wood floor, completing her chores vigorously since she never liked going to the nearby parks- the last time she went her mother found her watching all the other kids playing.
Suddenly, she spotted a bright dancing light glowing in her dark room. Walking in cautiously, she recognized the flame. It was blue like the one that burned her application. Reaching her small hand forward, the flame went out and a piece of parchment landed on her floor- even with her attempt to catch it. A blue waxed seal with a glittery letter ‘W’ carved on it told Mako where it was from. She ripped the letter open, she pulled out a white paper that rolled down with a huge checklist of books and things needed for the school year. She was accepted. But Mako noticed another paper slipped into the letter, opening the small paper, it said;
Headmaster Caden Wiggin,
Mako Hawthorne, your answer for what you want to achieve has come to my attention and I am glad a student like you is coming to Wiggin Academy. I am looking forward to helping you find your true potential. See you soon.
Mako was staring at the letter wide-eyed thinking if everyone received a letter like this or if it was just her? Putting the letter in her jacket pocket Mako took the checklist to her parents and began getting an unruly feeling in her gut.
Mako followed her mom to the attic as she began digging through old boxes. Her mom began to pull out old wrinkled books and papers. Picking up the ones that had Black Smoke Users written in clear block letter, Mako began turning the pages and found instructions and guides on how to improve one’s skills. Quickly taking everything to her bedroom, they began packing her luggage and bags for Wiggin Academy of Alchemy.
“How are you feeling?” Her mom asked as they stood on the corner of street Clifford waiting at a stop apparently no one else could see- Mako watched their neighbours walk by casually.
“I’m fine,” said Mako.
“Alright here it is.” Mako looked at her dad’s outstretched hand and saw a shiny blue card with the letter ‘W’ on it, turning it around it had her name and photo with some type of code number on it. “Mako it is very important for you to never lose this,” he said. “This is your student card and the only way you can go to school and come back home to us.” Mako nodded to her father as a black bus approached. A man jumped out the bus cheerfully. He had big brown eyes, dark brown hair and a nose that looked like it had been broken a couple of times. White bandages circled his arms covering all his skin even his neck- that was unusual even for Mako.
“Hello dear,” he said smiling.
“Hi,” she said. He grabbed her bags and ran to the back of the bus, but Mako had no clue where he put them when he came back empty handed.
“Okay Mako here you are,” said her mom. “Be careful and have fun.” She hugged her tight, so did her father. And Mako went up the bus’s steps- spotting a very dark figure in the driver’s seat. She couldn’t see his face, just greyish long thin hands and a grey misty cloak.
“Tap the card,” said the hooded figure. But Mako gave him a puzzled look, until the man with the bandages came up behind her.
“The card your father gave you earlier,” he said.
“Oh!” she said taking the shiny blue card out hastily from her pocket. A black screen said, “Tap here.” And she did. The screen lit up showing Mako a picture of herself and the same
“Since you’re the last house,” said the man. “Sadly, you get the room at the back of the bus.”
Mako followed the man down a long path which suddenly made her dizzy, when she realized the inside of the bus didn’t resemble a bus at all. The path was lit with small pod lights and on each side of her were separate little rooms with seats and windows filled with chattering kids.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?” she asked, but instead of receiving an answer, she got wide brown eyes. “Er- you don’t have to tell me if you don’t-”
“No,” he interrupted her. “I was just surprised.”
He stayed quiet until he said, “My name is Bard.”
“I know who you are,” he said. “You’re the minister’s daughter.” Mako nodded. They finally reached a small room at the back of the bus. Not only did it have a flickering light but the window was cracked too. He opened it for her and let Mako in, leaving her alone with another girl. Turning around she sat on the cold cushioning and turned to the girl her age.
“Hi, I’m Penelope Primrose,” she said cheerfully extending her pale hand out to Mako. She had blonde straight hair and round green eyes, with freckles like Mako. She had her school uniform already on- unlike Mako.
“Hi, I’m Mako Hawthorne.” She shook her hand gently.
“You wouldn’t be related to Minister Hawthorne?”
“Yeah, he’s my dad.”
Penelope’s bright green eyes widened. “Really that’s so cool!” Mako smiled.
“Do you have the same element as him?” Penelope asked Mako.
“No, I’m a Black smoke user,” said Mako hesitantly.
“I’ve always wanted to be a black smoke user,” she said grimly. “My whole family are only water alchemists you see. But I think, I remember my dad telling me something about my great, great, great grandmother being black smoke user or something.”
Mako listened to the girl in front of her as she told everything about where she was born to her favourite colour. But surprisingly she had a way of easily getting Mako to answer her questions too. So, Penelope not only knew Mako’s birth date but her favourite colour and ice-cream.
The bus was going through a dark windy road with long trees shading them, so Mako couldn’t see clearly out her cracked window but she definitely saw a sign saying; Wiggin Academy 4 kilometres.
“I should probably change into the uniform,” said Mako. Lifting her bag from the top she slipped her uniform out, unlike Penelope who was wearing a navy-blue skirt and grey vest with a white shirt. Mako chose the black trousers, with grey vest and white shirt. But both their vests had the ‘W’ insignia on it and matching navy-blue ties.
“I think the washroom is on the left,” said Penelope.
“Got it thanks.” Mako walked to the wooden door that said washroom and said unoccupied and looking from the door there was only one washroom. As she reached for the knob another hand landed hastily on hers. The hand was frozen. She saw a boy, with pitch black hair that rested on his forehead as his black beady eyes stared at her coldly. He was pale as paper that contrasted against his black turtleneck, black pants and a black jacket.
She spotted him holding his uniform. “Go ahead,” she said offering the washroom first. He slid the door open and walked in first. He strode out a few minutes later with the same uniform on as her except he didn’t take his turtleneck off. He gave her a hard look and walked off with his hands in his pockets.
“What’s wrong?” Penelope asked.
“I just met the weirdest boy,” she said.
“Well, were going to meet even weirder people at the school,” said Penelope chuckling softly. “My siblings always tell me about Wiggin Academy.”
“My parents barely told me anything,” said Mako.
“They probably didn’t want to freak you out,” said Penelope. “I heard that the teachers there are a little bit crazy and the halls are guarded by grim reapers. Well that’s what my brothers told me.”
Mako stared in disbelief- grim reapers weren’t school guards, right?
“Students.” A loud voice echoed through the bus catching everyone’s attention, Mako recognized the voice. It was Bard. “We will be arriving soon and leave your luggage’s it will be sent to the school.” The voice cut.
Mako’s stomach lurched with nerves and Penelope’s skin became even paler, as they slowly exited the bus by stumbling on each other’s feet trying to get a better look at the school. But all they got was a massive forest and a dark tunnel.
Bard came running from the other end of the bus with a bobbing lantern- he started to count the students silently. “Alright, looks like everyone is here,” he said. “Make sure you follow me and stay close, we don’t want anyone getting lost now do we?” Everyone huddled together while following Bard and his lantern through a tunnel, with hissing bugs and dripping cold water. A bright light illuminated the end of the tunnel making it impossible to see anything, as they approached closer Mako’s eyes squinted with the bright light.
They were many, “Ooooh!” They all gathered at the end staring wide-eyed at a massive castle guarded by mighty mountains and glittering waterfalls. They could see the castle since the huge doors magically slid open slowly revealing the grounds of her new school, Wiggin Academy of Alchemy.