Chapter 1: Chapter 1: The Truth About The South Wing Class

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 72

Magic school isn’t as fun as it ought to be. A couple of days ago, I set out to change that with some harmless, magical and completely epic fireworks. Now, I’m sitting in the headmaster’s office. He’s furious.

“I ought to expel you!” he shouts.

“Sir, I know fireworks are against the rules, but you must-” I began to plead my case, but the headmaster cut me short.

“Fireworks? Fireworks?! You think this is about your pathetic light show?!” he yells ferally.

I think pathetic is rather harsh.

“I haven’t done anything else” I say, defending myself.

“You nearly burnt down the entire school!” he shrieks.

“Oh…”

He might have a point there.

“Oh? Oh?!” the headmaster repeats furiously, “have you any idea the number of letters I have received in the past hour alone about your reckless actions? You endangered all of your peers!”

“Sir, I-”

“And for what?!” he continues to shout at me, “so you could brag to your friends?”

I shrink back into my chair, my cheeks blushing a furious red.

“Or perhaps so you could look cool?” he says, judgement thick in his voice, “you need to think about your actions, Alec. I’m transferring you to Ms. McConnell’s remedial class”.

“But sir-” I say.

“That’s final, Alec,” he says coldly.

Ms. McConnell’s remedial class is the only class with only four students in it. I hear it’s where they put all the dangerous students that are too unstable to be around the normal student body. Everyone knows who they are, they stick together, and they never talk to anyone else. Their names are Alistair, Zeeke, Rex and Micah.

According to the rumours, Alistair has turned several students into animals. No one is quite sure what Zeeke did, he has a mysterious aura about him and seems to appear from nowhere and disappear just as quickly. Rex is said to have gotten into more fights than anyone in the entire history of the school. Micah is known for creating the strongest and strangest potions and testing them on unwitting members of the student body.

I set one measly fire by accident and know I’m being labelled a danger to the school? I’ll be a social refugee, no one will come near me once they find out I’ve been transferred to Ms. McConnell’s class. Worse than that, what if the others don’t want a new student to join them? I could wake up victim to one of Alistair’s spells or Micah’s potions, or maybe Rex will try and fight me, I don’t know how to fight and who knows what Zeeke could do, I’d never see him coming.

“Is this the boy?” Ms. McConnell says, entering the headmaster’s office with poise and grace.

“Alec, meet Ms. McConnell,” the headmaster says, gesturing towards where she stands by the doorway.

“Hello, Miss,” I say nervously.

“Well, he’s certainly polite enough,” Ms. McConnell says, “it’ll be refreshing to have a student with manners.”

“I’m sure it will,” the headmaster says, nodding his head once.

“Come along then, boy,” she says, taking her leave.

I stumble to my feet and follow her down the long, dark corridors. Each step taking me further away from the dorms and classrooms I’m used too and taking me the tallest tower in the school. The south wing.

“I heard all about your fireworks,” Ms. McConnell says, “quite an interesting idea, though poorly executed.”

“I-”

“No one was hurt,” she tells me, “I’m sure you must have been worried about your peers.”

It was nice to hear that no one had been hurt. No one had told me anything about the incident.

“You’re a bright student,” she says, “you’re just lacking in control.”

I shrug my shoulders in response.

I wasn’t so sure about that. I was failing most of my classes. I should have known the fireworks would blow up the way they did, nearly every spell I did blew up. Magic is supposed to be delicate, mine is more… destructive.

“It was quite nice of the headmaster to wait for classes to end before placing you in my care,” Ms. McConnel says, “it’ll be good for you to meet the others before joining the class.”

I shudder at the thought.

“Oh, don’t act so nervous,” she says, “they’re just boys, like you.”

I doubt that they are anything like me. Nothing I did was intentional. But those four… they did terrible things… I think… I’m not so sure about Zeeke.

“You’ll be bunking with Zeeke,” she tells me, “Rex and Micah already share a room and we like to give Alistair his space, wouldn’t want to wake up with one less student and a new pet.”

She smiles at her own joke.

“The five of us will have Dinner in an hour, so get settled, I’ve already had your things brought over, you’ll find your suitcase on your bed and books in the desk right next to it,” Ms. McConnell says.

She knocks on the door sharply. The door is opened by a boy with black hair with peculiar eyes. He looks at Ms. McConnell, and then at me, and then back at Ms. McConnell.

“Good afternoon, Zeeke,” Ms. McConnell says, “this is Alec, he’s going to be your new roommate.”

Zeeke continues to stare at the two of us. I become uncomfortable under his unwavering stare.

“You didn’t-” he starts, but hesitates for a moment, “you didn’t tell me he was arriving today.”

“The less you know, the less you can protest,” Ms. McConnell says calmly.

The look on Zeeke’s face changes from one of surprise, to one of annoyance.  He sighs deeply and steps out of the doorway, gesturing for us to come inside.

“Thank you, Zeeke,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Right,” Ms. McConnell says, “I’ll leave you to get settled in, don’t be late to dinner, Zeeke will lead you to our dining hall. Oh, and Zeeke, no disappearing. If I see Alec by himself looking lost and alone for just one minute, there will be trouble.”

Zeeke rolls his eyes at her, drawing my attention back to their strange colour. One is blue and the other is green. It’s kind of cool.

“So, I heard you set fire to the school,” Zeeke says, tossing a shirt from his bed into a laundry basket and sitting down on the bed in one swift movement.

“That was an accident,” I clarify.

“So, what were you trying to do then?” he asks.

“Fireworks,” I tell him.

“Well, you got the fire part right,” he says.

“That’s not funny,” I tell him.

He shrugs.

“What did you do?” I ask him, “to end up here I mean.”

“I show up places I shouldn’t, disappear from places I should be, hear things I shouldn’t, see things I’m not meant to, honestly, I’m here because I make the other teachers uneasy, Ms. McConnell is the only one who would take me, and the headmaster couldn’t expel me just because he thinks I’m creepy,” Zeeke says.

“Why do you do it?” I ask him.

“How else would you learn things that are worth learning?” he asks, “I know for a fact that your little fire show wasn’t taught in class.”

He’s right. I got the spell from a scroll in the back of the fire master’s personal storage.

“I may have stolen the spell,” I tell him.

“Amateur mistake,” he says, “always make your own copy, and leave the original untouched, that way, they think you’ve memorised it and they can’t confiscate the spell.”

“That’s genius,” I say.

“I know,” he says.

“Can I ask you something?” I ask.

“Shoot,” he says, nodding his head.

“Does Alistair really turn people into animals?” I ask.

“That he must certainly does, but only if they upset him,” Zeeke says, “no matter what rumours you hear, never call him Alison, and definitely don’t make any jokes about him being girly or anything remotely close to feminine.”

“Why?” I ask.

“Because if you do, you’ll end up as animal,” Zeeke tells me.

Weird, being called girly doesn’t seem so bad, why would that upset him so much?

“What happened to the students he turned into animals?” I ask Zeeke.

“As far as I’m aware, the headmaster turns them back into people, personally apologises to the family, and the student ends up in special treatment for the side effects, depending on how long they were transformed for before the headmaster or one of the teachers found them, Alistair doesn’t exactly go telling people when he turns someone into a crow or a ferret, but he is the first person to get questioned when a student goes missing,” Zeeke says, “now quit asking me questions and start unpacking, Ms. McConnell well throw a fit if it isn’t done before dinner.”

“Right,” I say.

I unpack my things while Zeeke scribbles furiously on some paper.

The door burst open, and someone strolls in casually.

“Hey Zeeke, have you seen- who’s that?” they ask.

“Alec, new student, he got here about half an hour ago,” Zeeke says.

“We have a new student?!” they exclaim.

“Yep,” Zeeke says bluntly.

“I’m Rex,” he says to me, “nice to meet you.”

Rex… the one who got into all those fights.

He turns back to Zeeke.

“Have you seen Chloe? Alistair’s starting to freak out about it, and you know how he gets,” Rex asks.

“Chloe’s missing?” Zeeke asks.

“Yeah, Alistair and Micah have been looking everywhere for her,” Rex says, “if we don’t find her before dinner, Alistair’s going to lose it.”

“Who’s Chloe?” I ask.

“Alistair’s cat,” Zeeke says, “watch Alex, Rex, I’ll go find the cat.”

“Why do I need to watch Alec?” Rex asks.

“Ms. McConnell said I couldn’t leave him by himself,” Zeeke says, “so I’m leaving him with you.”

“I’m not sure that’s what she meant” Rex yells out, as Zeeke had already disappeared.

“How did he do that?” I ask Rex.

“Not a clue, I’ve known that guy for the past three years and I still haven’t figured out how he’s doing that,” Rex says, “heard about your fireworks, shame the whole school went up in flames.”

“Ugh,” I groan, falling back onto my bed, “does everyone know about that?”

“Everyone in the south wing or everyone in the school? Doesn’t matter, either way, yes,” Rex says.

“I’m going to go down in history as the lamest wizard to ever live,” I complain.

“Do all your spells turn into fire shows?” Rex asks, “’cause I’ve got a highly flammable sticker you can borrow.”

“I am not wearing a highly flammable sticker,” I tell him., annoyance clear in my voice.

“Suit yourself,” he says with a shrug.

“How about a danger one,” he says, cracking a wide grin.

“Found her.”

“Ah!” Rex yelps, “Jesus, Zeeke!”

Rex puts a hand over his chest.

Zeeke steps out of the shadows holding a white cat with golden-brown markings.

“How did you do that?” I ask him.

“Magic,” he says.

Well, duh.

“Where’s Alistair?” Zeeke asks.

“Come on, I’ll lead you to him, you better come to Alec, since we can’t leave you by yourself,” Rex says.

Rex leads the way and Zeeke and I follow closely behind him, Zeeke is still carrying the cat, who purrs contently in his arms. This must happen a lot.

“Alistair, you’re overreacting, I’m sure Chloe is fine,” I hear Ms. McConnell talking nearby.

“You don’t know that” Alistair argues, “remember what happened to-”

“Oh, Zeeke,” Ms. McConnell says, interrupting Alistair, “I see you have found Chloe.”

“Chloe?!” Alistair says whipping around, the cat jumps from Zeeke’s arms up onto Alistair’s shoulders.

“She likes the shadows,” Zeeke says.

He is a little bit creepy.

“Oh, thank God,” an unfamiliar voice says, “I thought Alistair was going to melt down and tear the building apart looking for her.”

“Sup, Mikey?” Rex says to the owner of the unfamiliar voice.

“Don’t call me that,” they say flatly.

Mikey… this must be Micah.

“Wait, who the hell is that?” Micah asks pointing at me.

“Uh, hi,” I say nervously.

“This is Alec, he’s part of our class now,” Zeeke says nonchalantly.

“What?” Micah says looking at Ms. McConnell.

“Oh, come now, you were all new here once,” she says, “it’s not that shocking. Now, lets go enjoy a fine dinner, you can get to know each other at the table.”

The six of us walk to the dining hall together – seven if you count Chloe.

The dinning hall, while smaller than the grand hall, is just as every bit grand. Candles and banners decorate the room, and the table is full of delicious food. My favourite is potato, tonight, the potato is hot chips.

“So, did you really set half the school fire?” Micah asks.

“That was an accident,” I tell him.

“How does one accidentally set the school on fire?” Alistair asks with an air of superiority around him.

“I was trying to make fireworks,” I say defensively.

“Would have been cool if it worked,” Rex says, “what colour where they going to be?”

“Purple,” I say.

“Why purple?” Rex asks.

“It’s my favourite colour,” I answer honestly.

“Cool, I like red,” Rex says.

“Oh, you’ve given me an idea,” Ms. McConnell says, “tomorrow we’ll start class with a bonding activity!”

Zeeke groans.

“Another one?” he complains.

“Well, perhaps if the four of you got along better, we wouldn’t have to have these bonding sessions so often,” Ms. McConnell says.

“She’s right,” Micah says, “the only reason we had to have the last bonding session is because you and Rex where throwing punches at each other or using nasty spells on each other every time you crossed paths.”

“You’re no saint either, Micah,” Zeeke retorts, “before that it was your fault, you used a potion on Rex.”

“Alright, boys,” Ms. McConnell says sternly, “do not start arguing at my dinner table.”

Zeeke and Micah glare at each other but drop the issue.

When dinner was finished, Ms. McConnell sent us to our rooms. Zeeke went back to scribbling furiously on his paper, I had no idea what he was writing, but it must be important. I decided to do some writing of my own, I opened my journal and wrote about the day’s events.

A few hours later all the candles went out.

“Lights out,” Zeeke says, “bedtime.”

He told me that Ms. McConnell used her magic to blow out all the candles in the south wing at the same time every night. That’s how everyone knew when to go to sleep.

The sun peeking in through the window woke me up. Zeeke was already dressed in his school uniform and writing away.

“What are you writing?” I asked him.

“I can’t tell you,” he says.

I shrug my shoulders and get ready for the day. We have breakfast in the hall, just like the regular students in the grand hall would. Different from the other students, however, is that we have class at the very top of the south wing tower. It takes ages to walk up the spiralling stairs.

“Good morning, students,” Ms Mc. Connell says when we arrive.

“Good morning, Miss,” Rex says cheerily.

“Morning,” Zeeke says with disinterest.

“Good morning,” I say politely.

Ms. McConnell clears her throat loudly.

“Good morning, miss,” Micah and Alistair say in unison.

“For today’s bonding exercise the five of you are going to play a game of truth,” Ms. McConnell says.

Zeeke raises a sceptical eyebrow.

“How do you know were going to tell the truth?” Rex asks.

“I’m glad you asked, Rex,” Ms. McConnell says, “you can all thank Micah for his wonderful invention of the truth potion.”

Micah shrinks down into his chair.

“Each of you is going to drink this potion,” Ms. McConnell says.

“And if we refuse?” Alistair asks.

“You’ll fail the lesson,” Ms. McConnell says.

“And how exactly are you justifying this?” Zeeke asks.

“I’m teaching the five of you honesty and integrity,” Ms. McConnell says, “the headmaster was quite pleased with the idea.”

She hands each of us a cup with a glowing blue liquid in it.

“Does it work?” Rex asks.

“It does,” Micah confirms.

I sceptically sip the potion, it tastes minty. Rex shrugs and follows suit. Micah grimaces and drinks the potion as well. Zeeke sighs and downs the whole cup and Alistair simply stands still holding the cup.

“What happens if I fail the lesson?” Alistair asks.

“Just drink the potion, Alistair,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I don’t want to,” Alistair says.

“The five of you need to be able to trust each other and be honest with each other, I’m sure you’re already aware of how the rest of the school views you, it is important that you have each other’s back,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Relax man,” Rex says, “no one’s going to pry, we’re all in the same boat, just drink the potion.”

Alistair hesitates but drinks the potion anyway.

“I blame Micah for this,” Alistair says, presumably honestly.

“Is it working?” Rex asks.

“Let’s find out,” Ms. McConnell says, “Rex, what is your real name.”

“Reginald,” Rex blurts out, immediately slapping a hand over his mouth.

“Reginald?” I repeat.

“Shut up, Alec,” Rex says, before turning to address Ms. McConnell, “and you, how could you?!”

“Oh, Rex, don’t be mad,” Ms. McConnell says, “I think Reginald suits you much better.”

“This isn’t over,” Rex says, glaring at her.

“Alright, I can sense a lot of tension in the room right now, how about we ease things up with some simple questions, and just get used to the potion?” Ms. McConnell suggests.

“That would probably be best,” Micah says.

“Alright, alphabetical order, favourite colours,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Purple,” I answer.

“Yellow,” Alistair says.

“Blue,” Micah says.

“Red,” Rex says.

“Black,” Zeeke answers.

“Favourite spell?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“Every spell I cast explodes,” I answer, “I don’t like any of them.”

“Transformation spell,” Alistair says.

“Potion enhancing spell,” Micah answers, “I like my potions to be potent.”

“Hair styling spell,” Rex answers, “it’s how I keep my hair perfect all of the time.”

I snort with laughter.

“Shut up, Alec,” Rex says again.

“No, no, he’s right,” Zeeke says, “that’s funny.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” I say.

“What about you Zeeke, what’s your favourite spell?” Rex asks.

“Shadow spell, it lets me use move through shadows unseen and unheard,” Zeeke says, “dammit”.

Zeeke covers his mouth with his hand to late.

“So that’s how you’ve been getting around,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Do all your spells really explode?” Micah asks me.

“Yes,” I answer, “all of them.”

“Then why on earth would you try a firework spell?” Alistair asks.

“Fireworks are basically explosions,” I tell him, “I figured if I was going to do anything right, it would be that.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Alistair says, “I’m sorry, that just slipped.”

“It kind of makes sense,” Zeeke says, “if his magic is explosive, an explosive spell should be right up his ally.”

“No, Alistair is right, it was dumb,” I say.

“Alec, you aren’t dumb,” Ms. McConnell says, “you just need more control over your magic, it’s clearly very powerful.”

“It doesn’t matter how powerful the magic is if I’m to dumb to use it,” I tell her.

“You just need some confidence,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I doubt that,” I tell her.

“Maybe you should try fire magic,” Zeeke says.

“That’s a wonderful idea, Zeeke,” Ms. McConnell says.

I wasn’t sure when I became the focus of the class, but I was uncomfortable with it.

“What’s the next question?” I ask Ms. McConnell.

“How about a nice one? Who’s your favourite person in the class, other than yourself?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“Zeeke,” I answer against my will.

“Why?” Zeeke asks.

“You’re the only one I’ve spent any time with,” I say with a shrug.

“That makes sense,” Zeeke says.

“Chloe,” Alistair answers.

The rubs against his leg.

“Of course, it’s Chloe,” Rex says with a laugh.

“Micah?” Ms. McConnell presses.

“Rex,” Micah answers, before groaning.

“I knew I was your favourite,” Rex says cockily.

“Shut up, Reginald,” Micah says.

“Hey!” Rex protests.

“Rex, your turn to answer,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Oh, Micah,” Rex says, “duh.”

I’m not sure what’s going on with those two, but something is definitely up.

“And Zeeke?” Ms. McConnell says.

“Alec,” Zeeke says.

“I’m hurt,” Rex says dramatically, “you’ve known us all this time, and you’d still pick the new kid after us.”

He feigns hurt.

“You’re annoying,” Zeeke says.

“Huh, all this time I thought he was just saying that to hurt my feelings,” Rex says, “turns out he really meant it.”

“Alright, last question, do you think you deserve to be here?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“No,” I answer.

“Yes,” Alistair answers.

“Maybe,” Micah answers.

“No,” Rex answers.

“Probably,” Zeeke says.

“Does everyone feel like they bonded?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“No,” we say in unison.

“… you don’t appreciate what I do for you boys,” she says.

 


Submitted: October 19, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Ian M. Haddock. All rights reserved.

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