User:Mike Mike Mike/Years Of School/Episode:The Ability Traps
|The Ability Traps|
|First aired:||Apr 5th 2011|
|Written by:||Mr. muggles mike|
|Directed by:||Mr. muggles mike|
|Next episode:||The Ability Traps Part 2|
- James, Michael and Jenny head down the trapdoor.
In years to come, James would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his exams. Yet the days crept by, and there could be no doubt that the three headed creature was still alive and well behind the locked door.
It was sweltering hot, especially in the large classroom where they did their written papers.
They had practical exams as well. Mrs Marbloss called them one by one into her class to see if they chad developed a different ability. Mr King watched them levitate a glass jar - points were given for how long it could stay in the air for. Miss Sky made them all nervous, breathing down their necks while they tried to remember how to make a anti-poison medicine.
James did the best he could, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in his forehead, which had been bothering him ever since his trip into the forest. David thought James had a bad case of exam nerves because James couldn’t sleep, but the truth was thatJames kept being woken by his old nightmare, except that it was now worse than ever because there was a hooded figure dripping blood in it.
Maybe it was because they hadn’t seen what James had seen in the forest, or because they didn’t have burning pains in their foreheads, but Michael and Jenny didn’t seem as worried about the Virus as James. The idea of Sky certainly scared them, but he didn’t keep visiting them in dreams, and they were so busy with their studying they didn’t have much time to fret about what Sky or anyone else might be up to.
Their very last exam was History of Abilities. One hour of answering questions about batty old people and they’d be free, free for a whole wonderful week until their exam results came out. When Mr Cribin told them to put down thier pens, James couldn’t help cheering with the rest.
“That was far easier than I thought it would be,” said Jenny as they joined the crowds flocking out onto the sunny grounds.
Jenny always liked to go through their exam papers afterward, but Michael said this made him feel ill, so they wandered down to the lake and flopped under a tree.
“No more studying,” Michael sighed happily, stretching out on the grass. “You could look more cheerful, James, we’ve got a week before we find out how badly we’ve done, there’s no need to worry yet.”
James was rubbing his forehead.
“I wish I knew what this means !” he burst out angrily. “My head keeps hurting — it’s happened before, but never as often as this.”
“Go to the nurse,” Jenny suggested.
“I’m not ill,” said James. “I think it’s a warning... it means danger’s coming...”
Michael couldn’t get worked up, it was too hot.
“James, relax, Jenny’s right, the Virus’ safe as long as Miss Magpie’s around. Anyway, we’ve never had any proof Sky found out how to get past that creature. He nearly had his leg ripped off once, he’s not going to try it again in a hurry.”
James nodded, but he couldn’t shake off a lurking feeling that there was something he’d forgotten to do, something important. When he tried to explain this, Jenny said, “That’s just the exams. I woke up last night and was halfway through my Defence and Survial notes before I remembered we’d done that one.”
James was quite sure the unsettled feeling didn’t have anything to do with work, though. He watched an bird flutter toward the school across the bright blue sky, a note clamped in its mouth. Donna was the only one who ever sent him letters. Donna would never betray Miss Magpie. Donna would never tell anyone how to get past the creature... never... but...
James suddenly jumped to his feet.
“Where’re you going?” said Michael sleepily.
“I’ve just thought of something,” said James. He had turned white. “We’ve got to go and see Donna, now.”
“Why?” panted Jenny, hurrying to keep up.
“Don’t you think it’s a bit odd,” said James, scrambling up the grassy slope.
“What are you talking about?” said Michael, but James, sprinting across the grounds toward the forest, didn’t answer.
Donna was sitting in an armchair outside her house; her trousers and sleeves were rolled up, and he was shelling peas into a large bowl.
“Hullo,” she said, smiling. “Finished yer exams? Got time fer a drink?”
“Yes, please,” said Michael, but James cut him off.
“No, we’re in a hurry. Donna, I’ve got to ask you something. You know that night you created Max? What did the stranger you were playing cards with look like?”
“Dunno,” said Donna casually, “he wouldn’ take his cloak off.”
He saw the three of them look stunned and raised his eyebrows.
“It’s not that unusual, yeh get a lot o’ funny folk in the Eletric Queen — that’s one of the pub down in the village. I never saw his face, he kept his hood up.”
James sank down next to the bowl of peas. “What did you talk to him about, Donna? Did you mention Manaj's at all?”
“Mighta come up,” said Donna, frowning as she tried to remember. “Yeah… he asked what I did, an’ I told him I was cook here… He asked a bit about the sorta creatures I took after… so I told him… an’ I said what I’d always really wanted was a dog... an’ then... I can’ remember too well, ‘cause he kept buyin’ me drinks... Let’s see... So I told him, after my three headed pet, a dog would be easy...”
“What? That three head creature blongs to you? And did he — did he seem interested in the creature?” James asked, trying to keep his voice calm.
“Well — yeah — how many three-headed animals d’yeh meet, even around Manaj'S? So I told him, It's a piece o’ cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus’ play him a bit o’ music an’ he’ll go straight off ter sleep —”
Donna suddenly looked horrified.
“I shouldn’ta told yeh that!” she blurted out. “Forget I said it! Hey — where’re yeh goin’?”
James, Michael, and Jenny didn’t speak to each other at all until they came to a halt in the entrance hall, which seemed very cold and gloomy after the grounds.
“We’ve got to go to Miss Magpie,” said James. “Donna told that stranger how to get past the creature, and I bet it was Sky under that cloak — it must’ve been easy, once he’d got Donna drunk. I just hope Miss Magpie believes us. Lilly might back us up. Where’s Miss Magpies’s office?”
They looked around, as if hoping to see a sign pointing them in the right direction. They had never been told where Miss Magpie lived, nor did they know anyone who had been sent to see her.
“We’ll just have to —” Harry began, but a voice suddenly rang across the hall.
“What are you three doing inside?”
It was Mr King, carrying a large pile of books.
“We want to see Miss Magpie,” said Jenny, rather bravely, James and Michael thought.
“See Miss Magpie?” mr King repeated, as though this was a very fishy thing to want to do. “Why?”
James swallowed — now what?
“It’s sort of secret,” he said, but he wished at once he hadn’t, because Mr King’s nostrils flared.
“Miss Magpie left ten minutes ago,” he said coldly. “She received an message and left at once.”
“She’s gone ?” said James frantically. “ Now? ”
“Miss Magpie is very powerful, James, she has many demands on her time – ”
“But this is important.”
“Look,” said James, throwing caution to the winds, “Sir — it’s about the Shanti Virus —”
Whatever Mr King had expected, it wasn’t that. The books he was carrying tumbled out of his arms, but he didn’t pick them up.
“How do you know —?” he spluttered.
“Sir, I think — I know — that Sk— that someone’s going to try and steal the Virus. I’ve got to talk to Miss Magpie.”
He eyed him with a mixture of shock and suspicion.
“Miss Magpie will be back tomorrow,” he said finally. “I don’t know how you found out about the Virus, but rest assured, no one can possibly steal it, it’s too well protected.”
“But sir —”
“Connol, I know what I’m talking about,” he said shortly. He bent down and gathered up the fallen books. “I suggest you all go back outside and enjoy the sunshine.”
But they didn’t.
“It’s tonight,” said James, once he was sure Mr King was out of earshot. “Sky’s going through the trapdoor tonight. She’s found out everything she needs, and now she’s got Miss Magpie out of the way. She sent that note.”
“But what can we —”
Jenny gasped. James and Michael wheeled round.
Sky was standing there.
“Good afternoon,” she said smoothly.
They stared at her.
“You shouldn’t be inside on a day like this,” she said, with an odd, twisted smile.
“We were —”James began, without any idea what he was going to say.
“You want to be more careful,” said Sky. “Hanging around like this, people will think you’re up to something.”
James flushed. They turned to go outside, but Sky called them back.
“Be warned, Connol — any more nighttime wanderings and I will personally make sure you are expelled. Good day to you.”
She strode off in the direction of the staffroom.
Out on the stone steps, James turned to the others.
“Right, here’s what we’ve got to do,” he whispered urgently. “One of us has got to keep an eye on Sky — wait outside the staff room and follow her if she leaves it. Jenny, you’d better do that.”
“It’s obvious,” said Michael. “You can pretend to be waiting for Mrs Marbloss, you know.” He put on a high voice, “‘Oh Mrs Marbloss, I’m so worried, I think I got question fourteen b wrong... ’”
“Oh, shut up,” said Jenny, but she agreed to go and watch out for Sky.
“And we’d better stay outside the third-floor corridor,” James told Michael. “Come on.”
But that part of the plan didn’t work. No sooner had they reached the door separating the creature from the rest of the school than Mr King turned up again and this time, he lost his temper.
“I suppose you think you’re harder to get past than a pack of ability traps!” he stormed. “Enough of this nonsense! If I hear you’ve come anywhere near here again... well you don't want to know!”
James and Michael went back to the common room, James had just said, “At least Jenny’s on Sky’s tail,” when the door swung open and Jenny came in.
“I’m sorry, James!” she wailed. “Sky came out and asked me what I was doing, so I said I was waiting for Marbloss, and Sky went to get her, and I’ve only just got away, I don’t know where Sky went.”
“Well, that’s it then, isn’t it?” James said.
The other two stared at him. He was pale and his eyes were glittering.
“I’m going out of here tonight and I’m going to try and get to the Virus first.”
“You’re mad!” said Michael.
“You can’t!” said Jenny. “After what Mr King and Sky have said? You’ll be expelled!”
“SO WHAT” James shouted. “Don’t you understand? If Sky gets hold of the Virus, nobody will have abilities! There won’t be any Manaj's to get expelled from! She’ll flatten it! Getting expelled doesn’t matter anymore, can’t you see? D’you think she’ll leave you and your families alone if I get expelled? If I get caught before I can get to the Virus, well, I’ll have to go back to home and wait for Sky to find me there, it’s only dying a bit later than I would have! I’m going through that trapdoor tonight and nothing you two say is going to stop me!”
He glared at them.
“You’re right James,” said Jenny in a small voice.
“I’ll use the ability prism,” said James. “It’s just lucky I got it back.”
“But will it cover all three of us?” said Michael.
“All — all three of us?”
“Oh, come off it, you don’t think we’d let you go alone?”
“Of course not,” said Jenny briskly. “How do you think you’d get to the Virus without us?
I’d better go and look through my books, there might be something useful...”
“But if we get caught, you two will be expelled, too.”
“Not if I can help it,” said Jenny grimly. “Marbloss told me in secret that I got a hundred and twelve percent on his exam. They’re not throwing me out after that.”
After dinner the three of them sat nervously apart in the common room. Nobody bothered them; none of the Bennets had anything to say to James any more, after all. This was the first night he hadn’t been upset by it. Jenny was skimming through all her notes. James and Michael didn’t talk much. Both of them were thinking about what they were about to do.
Slowly, the room emptied as people drifted off to bed.
“Better get the prism,” Michael muttered, as Hollie Wodd finally left, stretching and yawning. James ran upstairs to their dark dormitory. He pulled out the prism.
He ran back down to the common room.
“We’d better activate the prism here, and make sure it covers all three of us – if Mr Cribin spots one of our feet wandering along on its own —”
“What are you doing?” said a voice from the corner of the room. David appeared from behind an armchair.
“Nothing, David, nothing,” said James, hurriedly putting the prism behind his back.
David stared at their guilty faces.
“You’re going out again,” he said.
“No, no, no,” said Jenny. “No, we’re not. Why don’t you go to bed, David?”
Harry looked at the grandfather clock by the door. They couldn’t afford to waste any more time,
Sky might even now be playing the creature to sleep.
“You can’t go out,” said David, “you’ll be caught again. Bennet will be in even more trouble.”
“You don’t understand,” said James, “this is important.”
But David was clearly steeling himself to do something desperate.
“I won’t let you do it,” he said, hurrying to stand in front of the portrait hole. “I’ll — I’ll fight you!”
“ David ," Ron exploded, “get away from that hole and don’t be an idiot —”
“Don’t you call me an idiot!” said David. “I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!”
“Yes, but not to us ,” said Michael in exasperation. “David, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
He took a step forward.
“Go on then, try and hit me!” said David, raising his fists. “I’m ready!”
James turned to Jenny.
“Do something ,” he said desperately.
Jenny stepped forward.
“David,” she said, “I’m really, really sorry about this.”
She raised her hand.
David’s arms snapped to his sides. His legs sprang together. His whole body rigid, he swayed where he stood and then fell flat on his face, stiff as a board.
Jenny ran to turn him over. David’s jaws were jammed together so he couldn’t speak. Only his eyes were moving, looking at them in horror.
“What’ve you done to him?” James whispered.
“Don't worry, I've just made him enter a sedated state,” said Jenny miserably. “Oh, David, I’m so sorry.”
“We had to, David, no time to explain,” said James.
“You’ll understand later, David,” said Michael as they stepped over him and turned on the ability prism.
But leaving David lying motionless on the floor didn’t feel like a very good omen. In their nervous state, every statue’s shadow looked like Mr Cribin.
A few seconds later, they were there, outside the third-floor corridor — and the door was already ajar.
Well, there you are,” James said quietly, “Sky’s already got past the creature.”
Seeing the open door somehow seemed to impress upon all three of them what was facing them.
James turned to the other two.
“If you want to go back, I won’t blame you,” he said. “You can take the prism, I won’t need it now.”
“Don’t be stupid,” said Michael.
“We’re coming,” said Jenny.
James pushed the door open.
As the door creaked, low, rumbling growls met their ears. All three of the creatures’ noses sniffed madly in their direction, even though it couldn’t see them.
“What’s that at its feet?” Jenny whispered.
“Looks like a instrument of some kind,” said Michael. “Sky must have left it there.”
“It must wake up the moment you stop playing,” said James.
“Well, here goes…”
Jenny lifted her arm and began to shake. It was really hard for Jenny, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop. Jenny drew blood from her nose. Slowly, the creatures’ growls ceased — it fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep.
“Keep doing that Jenny,” Michael warned James as they slipped out of the prism and crept toward the trapdoor. They could feel the creatures’ hot, smelly breath as they approached the giant heads. “I think we’ll be able to pull the door open,” said Michael, peering over the back. “Want to go first, James?”
“No, I don’t!”
“All right.” Michael gritted his teeth and stepped carefully over the creatures’ legs. He bent and pulled the ring of the trapdoor, which swung up and open.
“What can you see?” James said anxiously.
“Nothing — just black — there’s no way of climbing down, we’ll just have to drop.”
Jenny, who was still using her power, waved at Michael to get his attention and pointed at herself.
“You want to go first? Are you sure?” said Michael.
Jenny let her power go. In the few seconds’ silence, the dog growled and twitched, but fell back into its deep sleep.
Jenny climbed over it and looked down through the trapdoor. There was no sign of the bottom.
She lowered herself through the hole until she was hanging on by her fingertips. Then she looked up at Michael and said, “If anything happens to me, don’t follow. Send a letter to Miss Magpie, right?”
“Right,” said Michael.
“See you in a minute, I hope...”
And Jenny let go. Cold, damp air rushed past her as she fell down, down, down and — FLUMP.
With a funny, muffled sort of thump he landed on something soft. She sat up and felt around, her eyes not used to the gloom. It felt as though he was sitting on some sort of plant.
“It’s okay!” she called up to the light the size of a postage stamp, which was the open trapdoor, “It’s a soft landing, you can jump!”
James followed right away. He landed, sprawled next to Jenny.
“What’s this stuff?” were his first words.
“Dunno, some sort of plant thing. I suppose it’s here to break the fall. Come on, Michael!”
There was a loud bark from the dog, but Michael had already jumped. He landed on Harry’s other side.
“We must be miles under the school,” She said.
“Lucky this plant thing’s here, really,” said Michael.
“ Lucky !” shrieked Jenny. “Look at you both!”
She leapt up and struggled toward a damp wall. She had to struggle because the moment she had landed, the plant had started to twist snakelike tendrils around her ankles. As for James and Michael, their legs had already been bound tightly in long creepers without their noticing.
Jenny had managed to free herself before the plant got a firm grip on her. Now she watched in horror as the two boys fought to pull the plant off them, but the more they strained against it, the tighter and faster the plant wound around them.
TO BE CONTINUED