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User:Mike Mike Mike/Years Of School/Episode:Detention Part 2

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Detention Part 2
Volume: One
Episode Number: 12
First aired: Apr 4th 2011
Ren silhouette.jpg
Written by: Mr. muggles mike
Directed by: Mr. muggles mike
Next episode: The Ability Traps


Summary

  • James and Jenny find out what detention is really like.

Synopsis

“I bet you’ll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won’t you, eh?” he said, leering at them. “Oh yes… hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me… It’s just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I’ve got the chains still in my office, keep ‘em well oiled in case they’re ever needed… Right, off we go, and don’t think of running off, now, it’ll be worse for you if you do.”

They marched off across the dark grounds. David kept sniffing. James wondered what their punishment was going to be. It must be something really horrible, or Mr Cribin wouldn’t be sounding so delighted.

The moon was bright, but clouds scudding across it kept throwing them into darkness. James kept wondering if this was Miss Sky's doing. Ahead, James could see the lighted windows of Donna’s house. Then they heard a distant shout.

“Is that you, Steven? Hurry up, I want ter get started.”

James' heart rose; if they were going to be working with Donna it wouldn’t be so bad. His relief must have showed in his face, because Mr Cribin said, “I suppose you think you’ll be enjoying yourself with that oaf? Well, think again, boy — it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece.”

At this, David let out a little moan, and Tom stopped dead in his tracks.

“The forest?” he repeated, and he didn’t sound quite as cool as usual. “We can’t go in there at night — there’s all sorts of things in there - that Donna's created, I heard.”

David clutched the sleeve of James’s robe and made a choking noise.

“That’s your problem, isn’t it?” said Mr Cribin, his voice cracking with glee. “Should’ve thought of them nightmares before you got in trouble, shouldn’t you?”

Donna came striding toward them out of the dark. He was carrying his large shotgun.

“Abou’ time,” she said. “I bin waitin’ fer half an hour already. All right, James, [User:Mike Mike Mike/Years Of School/Jenny Scarlet|Jenny]]?”

“I shouldn’t be too friendly to them, Donna,” said Mr Cribin coldly, “they’re here to be punished, after all.”

“That’s why yer late, is it?” said Donna, frowning at Cribin. “Bin lecturin’ them, eh? ‘Snot your place ter do that. Yeh’ve done yer bit, I’ll take over from here.”

“I’ll be back at dawn,” said Mr Cribin, “for what’s left of them,” he added nastily, and he turned and started back toward the school, his lamp bobbing away in the darkness.

Tom now turned to Donna.

“I’m not going in that forest,” he said, and James was pleased to hear the note of panic in his voice.

“Yeh are if yeh want ter stay at Manaj's,” said Donna fiercely. “Yeh’ve done wrong an’ now yeh’ve got ter pay fer it.”

“But this is servant stuff, it’s not for students to do. I thought we’d be copying lines or something, if my father knew I was doing this, he’d—”

“—tell yer that’s how it is at Manaj's,” Donna growled. “Copyin’ lines! What good’s that ter anyone? Yeh’ll do summat useful or yeh’ll get out. If yeh think yer father’d rather you were expelled, then get back off ter the castle an’ pack. Go on.”

Tom didn’t move. He looked at Donna furiously, but then dropped his gaze.

“Right then,” said Donna, “now, listen carefully, ‘cause it’s dangerous what we’re gonna do tonight, an’ I don’ want no one takin’ risks. Follow me over here a moment.”

She led them to the very edge of the forest. Holding her lamp up high, she pointed down a narrow, winding earth track that disappeared into the thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair as they looked into the forest.

“Look there,” said Donna, “see that stuff shinin’ on the ground? Silvery stuff? That’s reality dust. This stuff gets left behind when one of my creations are killed. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We’re gonna try an’ find the killer.”

“And what if whatever killer finds us first?” said Tom, unable to keep the fear out of his voice.

“There’s nothin’ that lives in the forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me,” said Donna. “An’ keep ter the path. Right, now, we’re gonna split inter two parties an’ follow the trail in diff’rent directions. There’s dust all over the place,” said Donna. “So me, James, an’ Jenny’ll go one way an’ Tom an’ David’ll go the other. Now, if any of us get into trouble, we’ll send up a signal using our abilities, right? Practice now — that’s it — let’s go.”

The forest was black and silent. A little way into it they reached a fork in the earth path, and James, Jenny, and Donna took the left path while Tom and David took the right.

They walked in silence, their eyes on the ground. Every now and then a ray of moonlight through the branches above lit a spot of silver-blue blood on the fallen leaves.


They walked past a mossy tree stump. James could hear running water; there must be a stream somewhere close by. There were still spots of dust here and there along the winding path.

“You all right, Jenny?” Donna whispered. “Don’ worry, it can’t’ve gone far, an’ then we’ll be able ter — GET BEHIND THAT TREE!”

Donna seized James and Jenny and hoisted them off the path behind a towering oak. She pulled out her shotgun and loaded it, raising it, ready to fire. The three of them listened. Something was slithering over dead leaves nearby: it sounded like a cloak trailing along the ground. Donna was squinting up the dark path, but after a few seconds, the sound faded away.

“I knew it,” she murmured. “There’s summat in here that shouldn’ be.”

“A animal?” Harry suggested.

“That wasn’ no animal,” said Donna grimly. “Right, follow me, but careful, now.”

They walked more slowly, ears straining for the faintest sound. Suddenly, in a clearing ahead, something definitely moved.

“Who’s there?” Donna called. “Show yerself — I’m armed!”

And into the clearing came — it was a woman. A woman, with red hair.

“Oh, it’s you, Rose,” said Donna in relief. “How are yeh?”

She walked forward and shook the woman's hand.

“Good evening to you, Donna,” said Rose. He had a high, sorrowful voice. “Were you going to shoot me?”

“Can’t be too careful, Rose,” said Donna, patting her shotgun. “There’s summat bad loose in this forest. This is James Connol an’ Jenny Scarlet, by the way. Students up at the school. An’ this is Rose, Rose Parry. She has the ability to see far distances and also see in the dark.

“Good evening,” said Rose. “Students, are you? And do you learn much, up at the school?”

“Erm —”

“A bit,” said Jenny timidly.

“A bit. Well, that’s something.” Rose sighed. She flung back his head and stared at the sky. “Mars is bright tonight.”

“Yeah,” said Donna, glancing up, too. “Listen, I’m glad we’ve run inter yeh, Rose, ‘cause there’s something out here — you seen anythin’?”

Rose didn’t answer immediately. She stared unblinkingly upward, then sighed again.

“Always the innocent are the first victims,” she said. “So it has been for ages past, so it is now.”

“Yeah,” said Donna, “but have yeh seen anythin’ Rose? Anythin’ unusual?”

“Mars is bright tonight,” Rose repeated, while Donna watched him impatiently. “Unusually bright.”

“Yeah, but I was meanin’ anythin’ unusual a bit nearer home,” said Donna. “So yeh haven’t noticed anythin’ strange?”

Yet again, Rose took a while to answer. At last, he said, “The forest hides many secrets.”

A movement in the trees behind Rose made Donna raise her shotgun again, but it was only a second woman, red-haired and looking a bit like Rose.

“Hullo, Lilly,” said Donna. “All right?”

“Good evening, Donna, I hope you are well?”

“Well enough. Look, I’ve jus’ bin askin’ Rose, you seen anythin’ odd in here lately?”

Lilly walked over to stand next to Rose. She looked skyward. “Mars is bright tonight,” she said simply.

“You're sister's said,” said Donna grumpily. “Well, if either of you do see anythin’, let me know, won’t yeh? We’ll be off, then.”

James and Jenny followed her out of the clearing, staring over their shoulders at Rose and Lilly until the trees blocked their view.

“Never,” said Donna irritably, “try an’ get a straight answer out of a Parry. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin’ closer’n the moon.”

“D’you think that was Rose or Lilly we heard earlier?” said James.

“Nah, if yeh ask me, that was what’s bin killin’ the animals – never heard anythin’ like it before.”

They walked on through the dense, dark trees. James kept looking nervously over his shoulder. He had the nasty feeling they were being watched. He was very glad they had Donna and her shotgun with them. They had just passed a bend in the path when Jenny grabbed Donna’s arm.

“Donna! Look! David's sparks, the others are in trouble!”

“You two wait here!” Donna shouted. “Stay on the path, I’ll come back for yeh!”

They heard her crashing away through the undergrowth and stood looking at each other, very scared, until they couldn’t hear anything but the rustling of leaves around them.

“You don’t think they’ve been hurt, do you?” whispered Jenny.

“I don’t care if Tom has, but if something’s got David... it’s our fault he’s here in the first place.”

The minutes dragged by. Their ears seemed sharper than usual. James’ seemed to be picking up every sigh of the wind, every cracking twig. What was going on? Where were the others?

At last, a great crunching noise announced Donna’s return. Tom and David were with him. Donna was fuming. Tom, it seemed, had sneaked up behind David and grabbed him as a joke. Tom had panicked and sent up the sparks.

“We’ll be lucky ter catch anythin’ now, with the racket you two were makin’. Right, we’re changin’ groups — David, you stay with me an’ Jenny, James, you go with this idiot. I’m sorry,” Donna added in a whisper to James, “but he’ll have a harder time frightenin’ you, an’ we’ve gotta get this done.”

So James set off into the heart of the forest with Tom. They walked for nearly half an hour, deeper and deeper into the forest, until the path became almost impossible to follow because the trees were so thick. James thought the dust seemed to be getting thicker. There were splashes on the roots of a tree. James could see a clearing ahead, through the tangled branches of an ancient oak.

“Look —” he murmured, holding out his arm to stop Tom.

Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inched closer.

It was the animal all right, and it was dead. James had never seen anything so beautiful and sad. Its long, slender legs were stuck out at odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spread pearly-white on the dark leaves.

James had taken one step toward it when a slithering sound made him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered... Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the ground like some stalking beast. James and Tom stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the animal, lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood.

“AAAAAAAAAARGH!”

Tom let out a terrible scream and bolted. The hooded figure raised its head and looked right at James — blood was dribbling down its front. It got to its feet and came swiftly toward James — he couldn’t move for fear.

Then a pain like he’d never felt before pierced his head; it was as though someone was digging at his brain. Half blinded, he staggered backward. He heard footsteps behind him and something jumped clean over James, charging at the figure.

The pain in James’s head was so bad he fell to his knees. It took a minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure had gone. Lilly was standing over him.

“Are you all right?” said Lilly, pulling Harry to his feet.

“Yes — thank you — what was that?”

Lilly didn’t answer. She had astonishingly blue eyes, like pale sapphires. She looked carefully at James.

“You are the Connol boy,” she said. “You had better get back to Donna. The forest is not safe at this time — especially for you.


Michael had fallen asleep in the dark common room, waiting for them to return. James roughly shook him awake. In a matter of seconds, though, he was wide-eyed as James began to tell him and Jenny what had happened in the forest.

James couldn’t sit down. He paced up and down in front of the fire. He was still shaking.

“Sky wants the Virus... and she wants to use it so she can be the only person with powers."

Jenny looked very frightened, but she had a word of comfort.

The sky had turned light before they stopped talking. They went to bed exhausted, their throats sore. But the night’s surprises weren’t over.

When James pulled back his sheets, he found his ability prism underneath them. There was a note pinned to it: Just in case.


TO BE CONTINUED