The Secret of Erlfog Boarding Shool
Written by Bluejay Smith
In the darkness,
In the Night,
I awoke to shining light.
In the shadows,
In the moonlight,
I see a battle in the starlight.
Alexandra woke up groggily, hearing an abnormal morning sound, one of a constant thud, then she sat up with a start, wide awake.
The thudding was on her door.
“Alex! Are you planning on sleeping through the science fair?”, asked a voice from the other side of the door.
“No.”, she replied.
“Then you'd better hurry.”, said the voice of Rayana, ascending back down the hall joining their two rooms. Alexandra rubbed her scratchy eyes, and picked up her cell phone charging on her nightstand table.
Alexandra gasped, she had to be at breakfast in five minutes, and on the bus by nine thirty. She scrambled around, thankful that she had set her clean clothes aside. After she had grabbed all her things she ran out of her room and into the bathroom and shut the door. She soon, in record time, was out and dressed. Her long scarlet hair done in a neat braid down her back, and her stuff for the science fair in her hands. She quickly ran down the stairs into the mess hall, and was greeted by loud talking and laughing. She grabbed a piece of toast and slathered it with creamy peanut butter, she went to sit down at her normal table but found that it was all occupied. Alex looked around and to her dismay found the only table available was on the boy's side of the room. Sighing she walked to the last table and sat down. All conversation died as she placed her food on the table.
“Well, what do we have here, what did we ever do, o' fairest, to be blessed with your presence?”, a tall, stocky blond with blue eyes broke the silence. The other boys chuckled as Alexandra blushed. The blond boy smiled and continued eating his cereal.
“All the other seats were taken.”, she offered, with a shrug.
“Lucky for us.”, he replied. Alexandra ate her toast as the boys continued their conversation.
“So, what’s your name?” , asked the blond, Alex seriously wanted to be left alone, but answered in a mumble, “Alexandra Kakinan.”
The blond extended his hand. “Ronny Holman.” She took it and shook it ever so slightly.
“I'm new to this school,” he continued, taking a long draft of his orange juice. Alex made no reply, she had no time for idle chatter this morning. She knew the other boys at the table. Ryan Carter, a shorter guy with a stock of curly brown hair and adorable brown eyes was in her class. Patrick O'Burn, a tall Irish lad with fiery red hair and freckles was a friend of her older brother, Leo. And last, Holt Wadsworth, a dark haired boy with brown eyes, he was mysterious to all at Earlfog Boarding school. As far as anyone knew, he had always been at Earlfog, but hardly anybody knew him at all. He kept his head down and always wore a black hoodie with the hood up, Alex only heard of him from the gossip she had heard and only saw him once and a while here and there.
Finally she replied to Ronny's statement.
“Nice, hope you like it here,” Quickly she finished her toast, nearly choking on the thick peanut butter all the while. She gulped her juice in a record time, for it seemed that she was in the record breaking mood, and flew out of her chair and down the hall, ignoring Ronny's “Hey, Where ya going?!” as she fled.
Ronny watched the girl with the long scarlet hair fly out of the mess hall.
“Is she always in a hurry?” he asked Ryan, who nodded.
“Very rarely she sits still, but I think she's in an extra hurry today though,” Ryan replied. Patrick added in a voice that held the slight Irish burr to it. “Aye, she’s going to the science fair.” The others nodded in understanding.
“Everyone is in too much of a hurry in this world,” a deep, masculine voice startled the others, and they turned to see Holt looking at them with keen, intelligent eyes. Ronny shivered. “In this world?”
Alex ran down the neat corridors of the halls and dodged Stanley, their janitor.
It was almost time to get on the bus.
After breakfast she had to run back to her dorm room for a quick tidy, than she had to run an errand for her teacher, Miss Corlynn.
Now she was almost late.
“In my day we took time to walk!” Stanley bellowed after her in a dramatic, soapbox voice. She turned and waved in apology. “Sorry about that, sir!” and ran on. Stanley shook his head. “Teenagers.”
As she fled down the halls, passing many a startled person who dodged out of the way. She was almost out the door when she heard her name being called.
Turning around she saw Headmaster Gordon beckoning to her sternly from the doorway of his office.
'What now?', she thought impatiently as she turned and ran up to the headmaster.
“Miss Kakinan, please join me in my office for a moment,” he said in a posh British accent, and turned into his office. Alex followed, dread filling her like water a cup.
The room was a spacious place, filled with odds and ends and trinkets from around the circle of the earth. It was a bit cluttered, but cozy, with a large hearth blazing on one side. The headmaster sat at a large oak desk, cluttered with papers and documents. The headmaster himself sat in a large red velvet plush chair, smoking a wooden pipe.
He motioned for her sit in the other velvet chair facing him, and Alex sat, finding it very comfortable.
Headmaster Gordon studied her for a moment. He saw a tall girl with curious, intelligent green eyes. Her long red hair was in a neat braid, slung across her shoulder, her face was intent on his own, it was a pretty face, with a flutter of freckles flying across her nose.
Alex studied him in turn. He was a older man with deep, intense blue eyes under large, bushy grey eyebrows. His head was balding with a caterpillar of grey-white hair, and a long grey beard. He was a little pudgy, and his expensive dress suite strained across his middle. But there was a no nonsense air about him, and Alex would not like to be on his bad side.
Finally, he spoke.
“You realize that you will not make it to the science fair, I suppose?” he asked, taking out his pipe to speak. Alex looked to old grandfather clock near the hearth, it read quarter past nine. Her shoulders slumped and she felt a great wave of defeat. She had spent the evenings of every night for the last month working on it, and it was amazing, even if she did say so herself, it was on the science of magic, and now. . . she couldn't think about it, it hurt to much.
“I know how disappointing this news must be, given all the effort you put into it,” Headmaster Gordon started. “But I'm sorry to say that not only must I confiscate it, but you must stay here for the day, as all the buses have left already and all the teachers have gone as well.”
Alex nearly choked.
“Confiscate it, sir!?” she gulped. “But why?!”
“I deemed it an inappropriate subject,” he replied. Alex was about to argue, but the headmaster glared at her from under his brows, giving him a menacing look, and any argument died on her lips. With a sad sigh she handed the headmaster her project, taking it, Headmaster Gordon nodded.
“Wise choice, and I do hope you pick a different subject next year,” his eyes clouded as he leaned forward a bit. “And the school would appreciate it if you didn't meddle in things you don't understand.”
She felt his cold gaze, and gasped as she looked into his eyes, they looked dark and piercing, and. . . different.
They had taken a green tint, almost like poison.
“What do you say?” He asked. She spoke automatically, feeling terrified. “Y-yes, sir.”
“Well then,” He said, rising from his chair, “I must be off to the fair myself, enjoy your free time.”
He motioned for her to stand, and ushered her out into the hall and shut the door with a resounding slam.
Alex stood standing outside the office, staring at the dark wood walls, there were paintings of all the ascended headmasters, all looking dark, and just as menacing as the previous one.
Then the full impact of what had happened hit her.
She wasn't going to the fair, she was staying here, alone, in this spooky old mansion. A shiver went down her spine, and she scurried down the hall and as she turned towards the dorms, she collided with Holt.
She squealed in fright at his sudden appearance, and reeled away.
Holt looked just as shocked, and even angry in the shadows of his hoodie cowl, he stepped back but didn't rush off as he usually did when faced with his peers.
She wondered why he was still here, then remembered that he rarely left the school, even for holidays, she had heard.
“What are you still doing here!?” his voice was deep and worried as he spoke, Alex was shocked, she had never heard him speak before.
“You are supposed to be at the fair!” he added, grabbing her wrist roughly, pulling her down the hall. She tried to free herself, but his grip was too strong, but bracing her legs she managed to stop him and speak.
“Let me go!” she cried angrily, “I'm not going to fair.”
He stopped trying to pull her and looked at her, worry written all over his features.
“Why not?” he demanded. She snatched her wrist from his his hand, rubbing it, she cringed at the bruise he had given her.
“Because the headmaster has confiscated my science project,” she replied angrily, “Now if you'll let me go, I'm going to go to the peace of my dorm,” she added, turning to leave but Holt's deep, somehow dark voice halted her.
“Was your project about magic?” his voice was a low whisper, and she turned in surprise and nodded.
His eyes had gone dark, and his handsome face was somehow turned into shadow it seemed.
“Alexandra,” he started, but Alex just stared at him. She had never even talked to the mysterious Holt before now, and yet somehow he knew her name, then she remembered earlier, at breakfast, he was there.
Holt was talking again, “ The school is unsafe when everyone is gone,” he seemed reluctant to be saying this.
“What are you talking about?” she asked quietly, looking fearfully around, but not seeing anything, turned back to him. Holt's worried, fearful demeanour was making her nervous as well.
“You must understand that things aren’t as they seem around here sometimes.”
Then she remembered Headmaster Gordon's words from before.
'Don't meddle in things you don't understand.'
Holt was looking over his shoulder, then he turned to her.
“We can't stay here,” he whispered.
“Why not?” she asked fearfully.
“It might hear us,” Holt replied, starting to walk swiftly down the hall.
“W-who might hear us?” she stammered. But just then they both froze, as a loud piercing screech emitted from the shadows, and Alex turned to see a large, looming beast, with red, fiery eyes burning from the dark mass.
“That,” Holt breathed.
Alex gasped, then pinched herself, hoping it was just a dream, no, a nightmare. Hoping that she would wake up, and she would still be going to the fair, that she would have never talked to the strange, deranged Holt, that she would not have to look at the haunting, freakish monster.
Holt looked to her and motioned for silence, which came none too soon, as she was about to scream.
Then a great, booming, screechy voice emitted from the dark mass,
“Where are you?”, it's voice rumbled, “I can sense you, O' son of the Moon.”
Holt made no reply. But Alex could hear his heavy breath and saw the sweat pouring down from his head. Then it spoke again, an almost amused tone in it's voice.
“Or is it you, O' son of the Stars?” it laughed, “For if it is, you will die.”
Alex looked at it, and tried to figure out what it was, for it looked like a tall man-like creature, with large eyes, but it seemed to be one with the shadows.
“Go back into the night.” Holt's voice was strained, and it reached a higher pitch then she was sure he would have liked.
It laughed again.
“Well, you are not, indeed, the Daughter of the Sea.”
Holt glared, and Alex could almost feel the anger burning from him, he growled under his breath.
“Nightshade, you are as good as dead.”
Nightshade turned his head, and Alex caught her breath, it was looking straight at her. It let out a triumphant growl, it's shattering force shook the walls and range in her ears.
“And, I see, that you have with you, a daughter of the earth!” he cackled. Alex shivered, and took a step back. Holt took a defiant step forward.
“This is between you and I, Nightshade. Leave the earthling out of this,” he demanded in low voice. Alex turned in surprise, earthing?
Then what is he? she asked herself. A grim smile touched Nightshade's lips.
“O' Son of the Stars, this is between her now as well, for you brought her into this,” he snarled. Holt's shoulders slumped.
“So be it,” he replied.
Thanks much, Master of the school, he thought mordaciously.
He looked to Alex and spoke to her from the corner of his mouth.
Holt bolted to the left corridor, trailing Alex by her arm, his arms ands legs pumping as fast as they could go. Nightshade, with a roar of rage, plunged after them.
Holt ran to a dead end, seemingly to be searching for something. Alex turned to look behind her, as she heard the angry sounds of Nightshade behind them.
“Are you mad!” she screamed at Holt, who ignored her, “We'll be caught!”
Holt didn't turn as he replied, “I haven't been caught yet."
The was a slight 'click' as his hand brushed against something on the wall, and she heard his 'ah, ha!' of relief. A section of the floor dropped into darkness and Holt leaped in, disappearing into the darkness. Alex watched, stunned and unsure she trusted him enough to follow. But Holt's hand shot up and his voice could be heard from in the darkness, “What are you waiting for then. To be torn apart by an angry shadowshade?” he sounded impatient, “Come on!” the last word was shouted.
Galvanized into action, Alex leaped forward and grasped Holt's extended hand, and was pulled into the darkness.
She landed with a thud, and looked to see the light above disappear with a small 'click'. Glowing white eyes startled her from the dark, and as she gasped she heard Holt's voice from the eyes.
“Don't be afraid, Alex,” he said, “It's not me you have to worry about.”
He grabbed her hand and pulled her along what, thanks to Holt's strange glowing eyes, she could see was a long, dark, musty tunnel. Their foot-falls echoed endlessly, making a sad, lonely sound on the hard stone.
“Where are we going?” she asked in a whisper, and stepped nearer to him. Holt didn't answer, but continued ahead.
They walked long into the day, farther and farther into the black tunnel, often descending steep, narrow stairs. After about four hours of silence on Holt's part, and the occasional remarks on Alex's part, they halted. It was just another part of the tunnel, nothing different from the rest, but the urgent manner Holt had adopted disappeared, as he figured that they were far enough away from Nightshade, and could take a break.
Holt's eyes stopped glowing, and in it's place, his fist started to glow. Motioning for her to sit on the wet stone ground, he sat himself, positioned himself in at least a half comfortable position, and sighed.
Alex, casting a doubtful look over the floor, followed suit.
There was a few moments of awkward silence, as the urgency of the situation subsided, and the two youth found themselves in each other's company.
“So. . . ,” Holt disturbed the silence with the age old awkward starting of generations of teen conversation.
“Yeah. . . ,” Alex replied the age old awkward continuation of generations of teen conversation.
There was a few more moments of awkward teen silence, before Alex asked the question that was on her mind since the meeting with headmaster Gordon.
“Whats going on?” she inquired.
Holt cleared his throat once, then twice, before answering.
“Um, well. . . ,” his voice trailed off. Alex glared at him, “Holt, tell me now, I'm a part of this whether you like it or not.”
Holt nodded, seeing as he was not being fair.
“Well, I think, as we have the time now, I will start from the beginning,” he answered.
“It all started in 1802, when the wealthy Ernest Von Gordon bought an old, abandoned estate, with an old mansion. Even though he knew that the mansion was said to be haunted, he put thousands of pounds into it anyway, and made it the Gordon Von Earl boarding school.”
“Gordon Von Earl, why did the name change?” asked Alex.
“Then in 1823, eleven years later, Von Gordon died. Struck down by some strange illness, they say. But no. A year before, after years of strange sightings, and sounds, Von Gordon hired a young scientist to figure out what was happening. James Earlfog was his name, and he ended up meeting one of the ghost, a beautiful young woman. Well, she asked him to let her go home, so he, following her instructions, made a device, a device that opened a rift, a portal one would say, to a darker world, the world of the Shadowshades.
Earlfog didn't know it, but the ghost girl was actually Darkshade, the princess of the Shadow Realm, and had tricked him into opening the door to her home, so that her brother, Nightshade, could launch an invasion. No one knows how Darkshade got into our world in the first place, only that she died, or so is said, as the rift shifted. Nightshade brought twenty of his elite Shadow Force into our world first, to clear the way for the whole nation, but Earlfog, seeing what he had done, changed the rift, trapping the Shadow Force in our world, but letting out a new force, the Elementals.”
“Your an elemental, aren't you?” Alex wondered, remembering his hand and fist glowing.
“Yes,” Holt replied.
“The Elemental King, Wong-Denshi, was released along with his five sons and five daughters. His eldest, The Keeper of the Rain, Ame. The Keeper of the Sea, Umi. The keeper of the Moon, who you heard mentioned, Tuski. The Keeper of the Burning Mountain, Yogen. The Keeper of the Sky, Sora. The Keeper of the Night, Yoru. The Twin keepers of Fire and Snow, Kashai and Yuki. Then there is me, The Keeper of the Stars, Hoshi, or Holt to you earthlings call me, and The Keeper of the Growing Things, Hana.
We arrived to find the Earth Realm in utter chaos, and my father vowed, there and then, that even though this wasn't our world, we were going to protect it. And so we did, we battled those beast until, all of them had been killed, except Nightshade. For he is a master warrior, and is responsible for the death of Hana. Nightshade tried retreated into the Shadow Realm, but my father told James to shut the rift, trapping him and us all here.
We now hide here, in these old tunnels, fighting Nightshade, protecting the students and teachers safe from the shadowshade. My father believes that Darkshade is still here, and alive,” Holt finished, looking disturbed. Alex shivered, all this had gone on, and no one knew it.
“How come no one knows?” she asked, and heard Holt's chuckled reply.
“Because my Father's genius!” he replied, delightedly, “We’re all wearing cloaking devices.”
“Oh,” she nodded, trying to understand all that he had said.
“Wait, I'm confused,”she added, “What happened afterwards, I mean to Von-what's his name and James Earlfog??” she asked. Holt shrugged, “Gordon Von Earl died of a heart attack, my father believes he saw the battle. And James? After the battle he promised to shut down the school, and did. He died in an old folks home at the age of nighty-eight ,” Holt stopped to cough as the damp tunnel air got into his lungs, “The place was abandoned, left to rot and decay. While my father, my siblings and I fought to contain Nightshade. But just twenty years ago Mr. John Gordon and his friend, Landon Earlfog, the last living relatives of the late Von Earl and Earlfog rebuilt the school and renamed it. But that created the problem of you students. So to protect you all I was enlisted to be the eyes and ears of the the school for my father, keeping an eye on all the going on's of the school. Does that now make sense?” He asked, a note of doubt in his voice. He wasn't sure that his explanation wasn't all over the place, for he hadn't ever explained what was going on to anyone before, as most everyone he ever talked to already knew what was going on.
Alex nodded uncertainly, “I think so,” she replied.
Holt rose, stretched and offered her his hand and helped her up off the damp stone.
“Come, my father will explain it better than I,”he said as he lead her farther into the tunnel, farther into the unknown. Alex found herself wishing it were yesterday, when everything was normal, and she had never knew of the dark powers at work in her school.
Another thought struck her.
“How come Nightshade doesn't go anywhere else, there is a whole wide world out there,” she asked, flinging her arms around to indicate the world's wideness. Holt raised an eyebrow and grinned slightly.
“Forcefield,”he replied as that answered all.