Chapter 8 Black Fury
It’s so hard to concentrate after our run in with a muck demon. And talking to Red and Tiny and the elephants at the zoo. There is an enormous world out there that I didn’t know existed and I feel responsible for it. How can I sit here at school and learn anything? Mrs. Simpson isn’t here. I really need her. I hope she is ok. Violet will not get through this well. I can feel it all ready, it’s her scientific brain, it cannot handle all of this. Jon is great, of course. They are actually taking this pretty well considering muck demons and talking animals. Finally, the bell rings. I get up quickly and run to Violet’s locker to check on her.
“Hi,” I say, but she walks right by me and doesn’t even look up. Oh, great, maybe she is not taking this as well as I thought.
“Violet! Violet!! Wait up! Hey, stop!” I yell.
Suddenly everything stops, everyone but me. Everything is paused in midair. I walk over to Violet, who isn’t moving. I touch her hand and it’s stiff like she’s frozen. She has her headphones on—maybe she just can’t hear me?
I don’t know what’s going on. I call for Mrs. Simpson, but no one answers. Then I smell something like sulfur, and this thick, black fog pours around the corner. A magnificent black panther appears through the darkness, except that it has wings and a long tail with strange fur at the end. It almost looks like a broom. There is a woman riding it. She looks scary and has this awful black fog all around her. She’s chanting: Da de da de da la la. Her body changes from fog to a big black bird to a woman and back to fog every time she moves. There is the Hollow, the slimy snakes, it’s coming out of the walls. There are hundreds of them, they are trying to reach for me.
“Well, well, well, the prodigal daughter has powers. Bet you didn’t know you could freeze time, did ya?” she says as she swoops around me on the huge cat.
She has this eerie laugh, and the giant panther hisses at me then lies down so the woman can climb off of it. Never taking its eyes off me.
I’m scared and now I’m shaking. “What do you want?” I ask.
“It’s not what I want... I need nothing from you other than for you to disappear.” She says, laughing. Her body keeps flipping from black fog to the blackbird to evil woman as she walks towards me. The slimy snake is coming closer, trying to touch me. It moves when she moves.
“Where is Mrs. Simpson?” I yell, getting angry.
“Oh, poor princess, losing her friends one by one. Pretty soon there will be no one to help you. Unfortunately, I can’t get rid of Mrs. Simpson. Only pause her, if you will, for a short time. But it’s been just enough time for me to do a little damage.”
Oh no, what did she do? I’m really getting angry. I can feel my body heating like fire. I smell sulfur everywhere, I can barely breathe. Then I see bits of shiny black fuzz falling on me through the black fog. Suddenly my body gets so hot it lifts me from the ground, and I sneeze. Lavender comes out of my lungs and spreads over the fog and the slimy snakes. The fog disappears, and the fury is on the floor covered in lavender and seems to melt into her. Her leg falls off of her body and on the floor she falls. She tries to get up. The snakes are screeching and slithering back into the wall. She flips from her ugly witch self to a bird. Then back again.
“Oh, you can’t get rid of me that easily,” she says and her body just pulls itself together and she disappears into a fog and reappears onto the black panther.
The panther stands up. Its wing span is so large it’s breaking through the surrounding walls. The ceiling is caving in slowly as it spreads and pushes through the walls of the classrooms and lockers, breaking each door with its powerful wings. It lunges towards me, trying to scratch me with its paw. I put my hand up and it can’t get through. It’s almost like I put a barrier up. Then the cat’s tail swings around and all these wooden spikes fly from it, shooting at me. The spikes can’t touch me. They just bounce right off my imaginary barrier. I can’t hold too much longer. A sudden light comes out of my hand and the cat shrieks and licks its paw. Then its paw turns white and changes shape.
“What?!?” exclaims the fury. “You must have found a stone.”
“Your power is getting strong,” she snarls.
“What power? I don’t have any power.” I snarl back. Hoping she can’t read my thoughts.
“I’ll be watching you,” she says as she disappears on the panther through the ceiling, black fog following her.
As she disappears, I can feel the ceiling and roof fall on top of me and everyone else I have frozen. Enormous pieces of drywall are coming down, landing on everyone, but still no one is moving. I try to get up and reach Violet before she gets hurt. As I touch her shoulder, everything goes back to normal. It’s like nothing happened.
“What?” she says, turning around, annoyed. “Oh, Opal, hi, sorry I’m late for class.” She looks down and pulls her glasses up to her nose.
“Oh, it’s ok.” I say looking right through her.
I look around and wonder if I’m dreaming again. “Just wondering how you are. I haven’t seen you all day.”
“I’m ok, just late, that’s all. I have to go. I’ll see you later, ok?” she says as she walks away.
“Oh, ok,” I say back.
I go to my locker. I need to go home. What was the fury talking about? What did she do to Mrs. Simpson? I grab my bag and shut my locker door and turn around to go. Miles is standing there, he is covered in slime. Just like the nurse had all over her.
“Are you ok? What happened?” I ask.
“Are you ok?” He asks back. “Yes!” I say quickly, waiting for him to explain.
“I was walking toward you and everything froze except me. I could smell sulfur and this black fog was everywhere I could barely see you. Then out of the black fog, muck demons were trying to grab me. There were so many, I couldn’t get to you in time. I’m so sorry.” He is wiping the slime from his arms so she can cross them in front of him.
“It’s ok, I’m fine. They have Mrs. Simpson.” I tell him quietly. Looking around to make sure there is no one listening. “We can’t trust anyone. Let’s go!”