Chapter 1: Witchery, thy name is Griffin!
Another artefact found in a grave near the bayou. He grabbed the strange amulet that was in the grasp of the skeleton. “Wonder what you do?” Griffin asked while dangling the chain off of his fingers.
He looked at it intrigued as to what it does but the real question was what it was worth? Unknown engravings covered the silver, ovular pendant; a translucent white gem embedded in the middle.
It was already late and he had to get back to town before the local pawn shop closed. Going on vacation, who knows when the owner would get back?
His flashlight glimmered through the trees as bright white light illuminated the foggy swamp. He put the amulet in his satchel and covered the shallow grave back up.
Griffin could hear his heart beating in fear, as the trees hummed the songs of banshees. The chilling stories of what lurked in the shadows in New Orleans, was something he’d rather not figure out.
Walking back home in his mud ridden shoes, sloshing through. Dad probably wasn't not yet home. His pacing turned running as the ground got less muddy and the Sun shined no more.
His hair falling over; should've combed it. "Slosh, slosh, Clack!" his shoes started hitting pavement. He finally made it into town. Griffin stood to catch a breath before analyzing his surroundings.
People were walking around, going back home from work or heading to restaurants. Like a criminal trying to act unsuspicious, he paced to the local pawn shop just around this corner.
Arriving, he caught a glimpse of the owner locking up for the night. “Charles, wait!” Griffin yelled across the street. Charles turned around to see a boy with messed up brown hair and wet jeans approaching.
“Griffin, we’re closed come back tomorrow,” not even a glance as the key clicked the lock.
“Come on Charles, just this one thing,” Griffin pleaded.
“Sorry kid, I got to go back home for dinner. Come back tomorrow,” he replied. Griffin squinted, "I thought you we're going on vacation tomorrow?"
"...That's next week kid. You doing alright? Got in a scrap, some kid pushed you into mud?" Charles questioned.
Griffin, first about to respond, rethought, "No, I... finished school and headed into the bayou and found this," he dangled it in front of him.
Noticing that Griffin was clearly in a blur, "What did you learn in school today?" Charles asked. Griffin stuttered, "...Math, wait no, uh no wait; it was math and then physics-"
“I’ll give you a bit of a bonus tomorrow; alright?” Charles negotiated in sympathy. Griffin sighed in understanding and pinched his lips; he nodded to the agreement.
They waved at each other as Charles strolled away. Griffin looked at his watch to realize it was half past seven. “Dad’s going to be home in a few minutes!” Griffin exclaimed to himself as he dashed back home haphazardly.
It was a school night and his father did not know of his ‘expeditions’. Reaching his door, he pulled out his keys as if he was being chased by a serial killer.
On the third try, he opened the door and fortunately his dad was not home. Griffin put away his shoes and opened the broom closet.
He removed the carpet out of the way. Grabbing a screwdriver from the top shelf, he wedged it in through the floor boards revealing a trap door.
Griffin descended down makeshift wooden steps closing the door on his way in. Cramped with drawers, set into the walls. It was filled with other artefacts he’s collected over the past 4 years.
His watch was from the bedroom of an abandoned house. His flashlight? Inside an old tree covered in cobwebs.
The flashlight didn’t require batteries and definitely did not look like it was from 1984. It was some of the many things he decided not to pawn off. A desk fixated against the cramped wall space like a shelf. It had an open book under a light.
An unknown witch wrote it long ago as her grimoire. Candles, skulls, broken pieces of jewelry and other things that would not have given Griffin much profit, all adorned what little space this desk had.
The grimoire was the key to Griffin finding these hidden treasures. The things that seemed useless yet valuable were pawned off.
The artefacts that were of some use however, were projects and experiments for Griffin to mess with. By no means was he a witch but that would not stop him from using magic imbued objects and alchemical infusions.
“There you go,” he said as he placed the amulet on the desk. The Amulet of Devil’s Flame. Said to contain the essence of an infernal fire.
“The last piece...?” he read as a small note under it. The book gave him information but hardly was a diary of the witch that once held it. With empty withered pages left, everything in the grimoire was read.
Griffin sighed as he put down his satchel and headed out to take a long-needed shower. As he opened the trap door, his eyes locked with his father.
Did he just walk in? Did Griffin miss the sound of footsteps? “Griffin? What’re you doing in there?” he asked in a shock and fury.
“Nothing! Nothing dad! It’s just extra closet space!” Griffin panicked for answers. “Dad I can explain!” Griffin yelled as his dad stormed into the closet.
-“Move Griffin! What are hiding down here!?” his father scolded. Griffin, fearing what might happen if he disobeyed his father, climbed out to let him into the hidden room.
“My God! Griffin Schphetor! Get down here!” Mr Schphetor shouted with the fury of Zeus. Griffin ran down the steps to his father holding the amulet.
“What is this!? What is all of this!?” he asked waving his hands around.
Before Griffin could reply his father called out, “Witchery! What do you think the church would do!? My own son? Toying with the Devil’s dark objects!” with a hint of sadness but engulfing in anger, he yelled.
Griffin replied with a quivering voice, “These aren’t the Devil’s objects dad! They’re just magic! It’s only evil if you make it evil! The ring I gave you for your birthday?” Griffin pointed to his father’s right hand. He wore a brass ring with a silver kite-shaped stone.
“That’s a ring of luck! After mom left and you weren’t going to work as much; we were struggling to get by each day. That ring gave you those promotions! That ring helped to get this house!
It’s not any advanced magic but it was enough to keep us from sinking,” Griffin argued as tears rolled down his eyes.
His father pulled off the ring and threw it to the floor "CRACK!" the gem shattered. They argued for minutes with no signs of reconciliation. Until, “I’m going to get a priest to rid you of this!” his dad exclaimed.
He quickly ran up the steps and shut the trap door, leaving Griffin in. Griffin rushed over to leave but Mr Schphetor pushed a cupboard down blocking the door from opening.
Griffin tried to barge the door open “Thud!” but failed. He was trapped and his father left as fast as he could. The sounds of his father’s footsteps as the door slammed shut.
With tears lingering in his eyes, he picked up the ring. Piling the pieces into his palm, he shoved them into his pocket. Griffin rubbed his eyes with his jacket sleeve, "Gotta find a way out" his mind rang.
All around him were solid rocky walls. He checked the grimoire for anything that could get him out of there with the objects he had. Or at least fix the gem so he could wear it and escape. He scanned through, page by page to no avail.
He opened every drawer and under every item. He had searched everything. All hope was lost. He slammed his back to the wall and slid down hugging his knees. All the research he had done was about to be taken away.
People were going to think he was a witch or a psychopath; or both. It was bad enough he was a social outcast at school. He just had decent grades and acquaintances; no one close enough to call friend; just another face in the crowd.
Now he’ll be known as the lunatic or the weirdo of not just the school but the entire town. These were trials that no sixteen-year-old should go through.
This was even worse for the father of the ‘lunatic’. To think his child is a witch and people judging him for it. They might even think he is a witch.
Griffin tucked his head down in shame and sorrow as the thoughts, like arrow shots, pierced into his head. All of a sudden, he heard the sound of the cupboard being shifted.
That's it; everything's over now. He gulped and said “Dad? I’m sorry. But I’m not a witch. I promise.”
The door opened and a slender shadow extended onto the floor. “Well, of course you're not,” an unheard voice projected into the room, like a siren's call; British? It was high but poised.
Griffin faced up to see a blonde woman in a brown trench coat coming down the steps. “Looks like I arrived at the right time,” she dusted off her hands after placing the cupboard upright again.
“Who… Who are you?” Griffin asked in surprise and intrigue. “These are quite the artefacts you’ve collected Griffin,” she replied ignoring his question.
“Are you… a witch?” Griffin asked with his eyes widened.
“Hells no. I’m… let’s test your knowledge, shall we?” she stopped herself and replied inquisitively.
“Excuse me?” Griffin stared at her confused. “What is, immortal, sensitive to light and has pale skin?” she asked.
Griffin looked down while thinking and said, “Vampire…” he looked up realizing in fear. “You’re a vampire!?” he answered. The woman silently clapped.
“Well done. How did you figure it out?” she asked.
“The grimoire,” he replied. “The grimoire has a page about vampires. It’s not very detailed by any means but; how did you get into my house!?” Griffin got up in distress.
“The Council of the Dead allowed it this once,” she rolled her eyes. I’m Beatrice Blackthorne and don’t worry, I’m not here to drain your blood,” she introduced.
“Then why are you here?” Griffin asked almost as if he was ready to die.
“Not many humans are good at handling magic; you however are the latter. I’m here in the hopes to progress the connection of the supernatural with the natural,” she answered.
“I’m not following…?” Griffin looked at her with a sideways glance.
“The supernatural from witches to dragons all exist Griffin. And I know you already knew that. I am the headmistress of the Bermuda Academy for All; or the B.A.A for short.
We are the only school in the isles to include any and all sentient, intelligent supernatural creatures instead of separating them.
Our goal is to one day allow the younger generation of supernatural creatures to be allowed to roam the natural world and coexist with humans in peace,” she continued.
Griffin was overwhelmed by the sound of that. “And what does that have to do with me?” Griffin still asked intrigued as to where it was leading.
“A human who has acknowledged magic and has an open mind for it would be great for the academy. As well as for other students to interact with a human,” she replied.
Griffin initially excited by the offer, sighed and relaxed his shoulders. “Well, that sounds amazing and all but I’m not… the friend making type; especially not supernatural ones at that. Plus, I can’t just abandon my life here; my dad, school…” Griffin could not finish.
The sounds of his dad and a priest coming paused his speech. For those brief moments standing next to a vampire, Griffin had forgotten why he was there in the first place. His dad stormed down the steps and noticed the woman standing there with her arms crossed.
“Who are you!?” he exclaimed. “Are you the witch who lured my son into the Devil’s craft!?” he assumed.
“I’m not a witch, nor is your son a warlock,” she calmly replied. The priest who was holding a chalice of holy water dipped his fingers in it and sprayed it onto the entire room.
She walked up to Mr Schphetor and looked him in the eyes. Her eyes glowed blue and she said “Let’s talk about this upstairs with some coffee and let’s tell the priest to go home.”
The priest ran up the steps and out the door after seeing her eyes. “Wait!” called out Griffin. “My reputation is going to be worse now if a priest tells everybody about this,” he said in anguish.
His father started walking upstairs almost mindlessly. “What did you do to him?” Griffin worried.
“Just a bit of compulsion. He’s just compelled till I tell him not to be,” she told him. “Now if your reputation is ruined let us discuss everything upstairs, shall we?” she continued with a smile.
They both headed upstairs to see Mr Schphetor making coffee in the kitchen. Ms Blackthorne faced him, “Now Mr Schphetor, I’m Ms Blackthorne from the Bermuda Academy for All. Your son has been offered a scholarship to study there and he will be there for at least four years of studies,” she explained.
Mr Schphetor still under trance murmured “what will he be studying…”
“Many things that will make him a greater person. All I need is the approval of your son,” she looked at Griffin. In reality her explanation was directed at Griffin but he was reserved with his answer.
Unsure of many things, but this was a chance of a lifetime. He was now surer than ever that the supernatural exists at least. Curious, he asked, “Where is the school?”
“The isles; or as humans prefer to call it, the Bermuda Triangle. It is an immensely large island with multiple islands around it, hidden from the human world.
Humans can only see so much of the islands and can never chart it. They easily forget the supernatural exist when they leave; or the fact that it’s an extremely vast body of land,” she explained.
“Then how will I enter or leave?” Griffin questioned instantly.
“The Council of the Dead, who oversee everything that happens will allow it this time. I’m not even supposed to be using mind control here unless absolutely necessary,” Ms Blackthorne replied glancing to his father. “So, what will it be?” she probed him for an answer taking a sip.
Griffin’s expression grew wary and unknowing as he looked to the ground; he was curious yet afraid. Just leave? Everything? What things exactly?
Leave the bullying, the odd looks, the friends he had not made? What the hell does he have to lose? It's clear if a vampire entered his house and mind-controlled his father, she could've easily killed him.
Clearly she needed his consent. With everything he's read? Why was this to absurd? “Yes,” he answered as Ms Blackthorne folded her arms and cocked her head.
“Congratulations, Mr Schphetor. You’re enrolled. Pack up all your artefacts and your clothing,” she replied, pleased that he accepted.
“I don’t have a suitcase,” Griffin stated.
“No worries, I have a few,” she replied, walking out the door. She opened the trunk of her black as coal car. It had no branding or license plate whatsoever. She pulled out multiple suitcases. “Is this enough?” she asked carrying 10; one on each finger.
“What about my school, and my life here?” Griffin asked.
“I will handle thing so that you can return once you finish your studies; I will make sure of it,” she got in her car and drove off leaving the bags.
Griffin packed everything he had; the grimoire, the artefacts, all his clothes, even the gem fragments of the ring hoping to fix it sometime soon. He said goodbye to his dad who was no longer in trance.
He had forgotten about Griffin’s involvement in witchery and truly believed his son was going to a faraway school. “See you soon, dad,” Griffin hugged him and his father did the same.
A final tear drifted into his smile, knowing his father had just been compelled to allow him to go.
Meanwhile, Ms Blackthorne went to Griffin’s school. The Council of the Dead had given her enough information to transfer Griffin out of his current school to hers. She entered the school while no one was there and the lights were off.
She was instructed to talk to the person in charge and do the transfer properly. She walked around the school and noticed how far technology had come. The speakers on the walls piqued her interest.
She simply broke the handle into the principal’s office and looked through the files for Griffin’s. She did not want to risk being burned in daylight.
Instead, she took out Griffin’s files and left all the needed documents on the principal’s desk. She wrote a note detailing that he would be going to a different school.
Ms Blackthorne drove back to pick up Griffin who was ready to leave. "Don't worry, once you are registered in the isles no more legal matters.
In the meantime, ask any questions you like; about the isles, the school, anything else..." she chatted on.
During the drive, she told him more about the school and that a new school year started every February. Nervous of the journey ahead, he barely spoke.
The car entered the borders of the triangle within hours. He saw thunderous weather as the car drove onto an unseeable road over the Atlantic.
It headed towards an island which was shaded over with clouds and auras of prismatic colours shimmered across the waters as well as the fluffs in the sky from the Sun. The isles glimmered from afar…