Addergoole
Bonus Story
Descent

Year Two of the Addergoole School, Day One

Allyse


“This fucking sucks.” The lean blonde girl flopped down on her suitcases, her ponytail bobbing in punctuation.

“It blows.” The second girl, dark where the first was fair but every bit as lean and muscular, echoed the motion, sitting on her own suitcase. “The middle of fucking nowhere.”

“The ass end of nowhere,” the blonde countered.

“This sucks,” echoed a third girl. Allyse put the first two at sixteen or seventeen, a little older than her; the green-eyed one looked maybe fourteen, though her long braided pigtails and freckles did nothing but drive her apparent age downward. She looked like an unfinished copy of the other two.

Or three, Allyse acknowledged, as she added her duffle to the pile of luggage. She know their faces from the mirror, too – the stubborn jawline, at least, they all shared, and a certain amount of athletic musculature. “It could always be worse,” she offered as she flopped next to them.

“How?” the second one challenged. “Hey, didn’t I see you at the Carolina Martial Arts Open?”

“I was there,” she allowed, offering her a hand. “I’m Allyse.”

“Massima.”

The blonde one looked her over slowly. “You ranked pretty high, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but you placed above me. Acacia, right?”

“Yup.” The three of them looked each other up and down.

“Delaney,” squeaked the fourth, breaking the growing tension. Allyse chuckled.

“We’re either going to kill each other or run the school,” she predicted.

A heartbeat passed, tensely, then, all together, they agreed: “Run the school.”

~~

Year Two of the Addergoole School, Hell Night

Acacia


The halls were dark. Blood ran down the walls and the whole place thudded with some sinister heartbeat-pouding drum. Under her feet, the floor buckled and wobbled.

“Sima? Allyse? Del?” She couldn’t see them, but she could feel their presence near her. She had to get them through safely. There had to be an end to this madhouse, an exit somewhere.

“Here.” Sima’s hand brushed her shoulder.

“Here.” That was Allyse, with Del’s answer echoing hers.

“Stay close.” If only there was someone to fight, something to hit.

A screech echoed through the halls, reverberating until it seemed to fill the entire hallway, to come from everywhere, and then ended abruptly, as if choked off. Hands grabbed at her arms, thick, strong hands. A target. She slipped out of the grip – where were the other three? Probably not directly ahead of her. She grabbed the arm with both hands, lined up her target, and kicked.

The impact was like kicking a brick wall, no give at all; the arm twisted out of her grip while she recovered her balance.

“Little girls,” a creepy drunk-uncle voice crooned from behind her. “Out without an escort.”

Del screamed. Acacia swore, and then swore again as pain ripped through her skull. The lights were on, suddenly, blindingly, and her bones were ripping through her skin. Beside her, Sima and Allyse had dropped to the floor, stifling their own exclamations.

A hand grabbed for her again, the shape a blur. She lashed out, hissing, and, swearing, the hand went away. “Thorny little girls…”

~~

Year Two of the Addergoole School, Week Three

Massima


“So, you’re going to Mentor us, right?” The three of them stood, hands on hips, in the doorway of Doug’s office. Acacia was in front; she was always in front now. Massima preferred rear guard. Allyse, with her tendency to go strange now that they’d Changed, stayed in the middle where they could protect her.

“I’m going to what now? Come on in, girls,” the assistant gym teacher added, clearly not wanting them making a scene in his doorway.

Cay waited till the door was closed behind them. “Mentor us. Luke won’t take us. Fridmar’s too creepy. Pelletier would take Allyse, VanderLinden would take Sima, but no-one else will take all three of us.”

“And you think I will. I don’t have any Students at all.”

“That’s why,” Sima put in. “No-one else thinks they can handle the three of us.” She didn’t add, we scare them. It was stupid. Teachers with horns and claws and magic shouldn’t be afraid of three teenaged girls.

“And you can train us,” Acacia took back over. “No-one but Luke and you have the martial background. And we need more training. We’re good, but…”

“But no-one’s going to put a fucking collar around my neck,” Massima snarled. Poor Del, who had gone from their kid-sister/mascot to Meshach’s haunted-eyed pet. Poor Del, who Sima had no intention of imitating.

“Right.” Doug exhaled, looking at the three of them. “You want training. You want to be warriors.”

“Yes.” If he laughed, she’d break his nose.

“I’ll take you.”

Part One of a 4-Part Thornes Series. For Discovery, Part Two, click here

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