“So is this going to be a problem?” Samuel asked, looking at the secretary, her nameplate signifying her as Mrs. Sanderson.
That seemed to take the wind out of her sails. “What? You mean you’re not here to kill me?”
“Look, I understand the worry. You’re a Class II monster, working around the things you eat, but seeing as the school isn’t plastered with missing persons signs and the candlelight vigil is more of a pep squad, I’m going to guess you’re not doing anything wrong.”
“Well of course not. My husband and I eat veal and raw eggs to satiate our hunger,” she said, her face twisted and gnarled, warts seemingly having sprouted from every conceivable spot on her face. Her hair, which had been in a tight bun while under the illusion, hung around her in a greasy curtain, her mouth full of brown teeth clacking together as she spoke.
“Well, I have no problem with you, other than the way you look. But hey, who am I to talk?”
“Well then, if you’re not going to kill me I’ll just get your schedule,” She said as the bell for the first period rang. “And I’ll write you a hall pass.”
“That would be great Mrs. Sanderson,” Samuel said, gushing a little just to annoy her. Folding his arms and leaning on the counter, he nudged his head toward the principal’s office. “He know? Or is he something?”
“Just a human, though one of the janitors is a zombie,” She said conspiratorially.
“Really? And he’s around kids?” Samuel asked, somewhat surprised this hadn’t made the news.
“I was the one that reanimated him… he died of lung cancer about three years ago, and he was so old that nobody else knew he existed. So I reanimated him and let him keep his job.”
“What happens to his paychecks?” Samuel asked, curious.
“They go to raw hamburger for him to eat and the rest to charity.” She shrugged, turning back with a slip of paper in her hand, her fingers long and narrow. Samuel was quickly growing disgusted by the Ogre’s true appearance so he lowered his guard and allowed the illusion to slip over her once more; making her the brightly dressed if not slightly overweight secretary she’d been before.
“Okay, here is your schedule, your school handbook which I have to have you sign off on and return the back sheet saying you agree to our rules, and a map of the school.” She rattled off, sliding the papers and the thin booklet up onto the counter. “And this… is your hall pass!”
She slapped a hello kitty note on the top of his papers, a hastily scrawled note to his first-period teacher stating that he’d been held up getting his supplies in order.
“Now, Black Warlock or not, you have school to attend so off you go!” She said, shooing him out of the office.
Turning to leave, he stopped and looked over at her. “Mrs. Sanderson?”
“If word leaks out that I’m here in San Antonio, I’m going to blame you. And if I have to go public, I’ll be reaping in a couple Class II rewards, if you catch my drift.” Samuel said a hard look in his eye.
She coughed for a moment before looking at him with a look of horror. “I would never… you have nothing to worry about Mr. Graves, I take my job very seriously. I won’t be leaking this information to anyone, not even my husband.”
“That would be for the best,” Samuel said, smiling. “Ta-ta!”
Samuel wandered through one building to the next, going up a staircase to reach his English Three Honors course, which had apparently just finished taking attendance. The teacher, a willowy man with short grey hair and a grey beard trimmed extra close, stared at Samuel as he entered the room.
“And you are?” He asked, his voice a rich baritone.
“Samuel Graves sir, new transfer student. Was held up in the admin building for a bit.” Samuel said looking around the room, pouring a little power into his eyes to detect if there were any magical entities in the room, something he liked to call Mage Sight.
Looking back to the teacher, he handed him the note and stood there awkwardly as the man read it. Nodding to himself, he motioned over to the one open seat in the room. “Go take a seat so that we can begin our lecture.”
“Yes sir,” Samuel said, moving between the rows of students, trying not to step on their backpacks and feet as he went.
“It’s Mr. Sullivan actually,” the teacher said.
“Alright, thank you, Mr. Sullivan,” Samuel said before dropping his voice. “To putting my seat at the back of the very classroom so I have to climb over everyone like some overzealous monkey.”
“Now that we’re all here,” Mr. Sullivan said, looking at Samuel as he spoke. “We can go over the syllabus for the year. But first, I’d like us all to take a moment of silence for Mr. Nick Bade, who died tragically three days ago. He was a brilliant student and a caring young man whose life ended before it even had a chance to blossom.”
A dead student? Huh… and right when I got into town too, how odd. Samuel thought, pulling a spiral from his satchel and clicking a mechanical pencil twice to extend some lead. The syllabus made the class seems challenging; until Samuel looked at the required reading and realized he’d already read it all.
Slumping forward in his seat, he continued taking notes as his teacher prattled on, comfortable in the fact that he wouldn’t have to waste his time reading books when he could be practicing spells.
Lunch was a chaotic affair where he was shoved and bustled thru the lines to buy his hamburger, which he ate quickly after taking to sitting outside, away from the other students. That is, at least, three students walked up to his spot at a table, standing in front of him, and more importantly, in front of his light.
Putting down his copy of Le Nausea, he looked at the three teens standing in front of him. Two girls and a guy, all dressed in black. One of the girls had purple hair and piercing just below her lip, along with heavy eyeliner and little skull hair clips. The other girl had long red hair done in a single plait running down her back, his skin was brilliantly white, so white it was almost difficult to stare in her direction for too long without risking lens flare.
The guy was a sallow skinned youth with a look of contempt on his face and a leather trench coat, a spiked collar around his neck. Allowing his Mage Sight to bleed into his vision, he saw that they were all mundane, so he switched it back off and went back to his novel.
“Ahem!” The purple haired girl said, leaning forward. She was wearing a sleeveless school uniform top with a hoodie over it, a red tie hanging from her neck loosely.
“I’ve looked at you and I’m quite impressed. Now, what is it you want?” Samuel asked, not taking his eyes off the page.
“We just thought you’d like some people like you to eat lunch with, y’know, stick with your own?” Purple-hair said before elbowing the guy in the ribs.
“Yeah, eating with you and junk,” He said softly as if he didn’t want to be heard.
“How can you eat out here, it’s freezing!” Red hair said, shaking in her sweater. Between them, they all had trays with the same unappealing hamburger sitting in the middle, a small cardboard tray of French fries and an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes. The area that he’d chosen he’d chosen because nobody in their right mind would sit directly between the two unadorned causeways leading to the cafeteria, as it was an alleyway with a constant breeze. Yet here three idiots be, willing to freeze to get to know him.
A part of him pitied them. That part was quickly quashed by the part that distrusted them.
“Take a seat,” he said, indicating the plastic table with the ring seats built into the concrete.
They all filed in, sliding into the seats with ease, the two girls flanking Samuel while the whiny looking guy sat across from him, already chewing on his hamburger, his blonde Mohawk covering half of his face ineffectively.
“So, we heard you came from up North,” Purple hair said, leaning in to bump shoulders with him.
“Really? Because I heard he was from the East Coast?” Red hair said, leaning over the table to look at Purple hair.
The guy mumbled something about the west coast before delving into his meal with lethargic vigor.
Great, two are on speed and one is on enough Ritalin to calm down a meth head, Samuel thought before closing the book and setting it in front of him.
“Whoever guessed East Coast is correct, but only partially so. I’ve gone to school in different countries before and perform a lot of self-study.” Samuel explained, mostly to the two interested girls.
“Self-study huh? What’d you find?” The purple haired girl asked, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
“Inner peace, for the most part, though I did come across a strange phobia of crowds I’ve been trying to deal with,” Samuel said, leaning away from the purple haired girl as she snaked an arm around his waist. “Like now for example.”
“You need to lighten up. How are we going to be friends if you’re going to be this much of a stick in the mud?”
“Friends?” The word seemed alien to him.
“Yeah, my name is Belle,” the purple haired girl said before motioning to the red haired girl. “And she’s Susan. She’s dating Robert over there, the lazy Goth-wannabe that he is.”
“So… Belle,” Samuel said, trying the name out as if it were some foreign tongue. “You want to be friends with me?”
“Of course! You look pretty cool to me, and I dig the trench coat. Plus I love your eyes, sapphire blue.” She said, looking into his eyes for a moment before shaking her head, fighting down a blush.
“Sapphire blue eh? Nobody’s ever described them as that before; they always say that I look like I need sleep, what with the dark shadows under my eyes.”
“I admit it’s a good make-up job, but a little over the top wouldn’t you say?” Susan asked, taking a bite of her hamburger.
“Not make-up, it’s all natural,” Samuel said with a small amount of pride. “This is all from lack of good sleep on my part.”
“No way, nobody has bags that heavy under their eyes. You look like a raccoon!” Susan said, quickly moving her thumb to Samuel’s eye and wiping at the lower half, causing him to flinch. “Oh stop being a baby, just seeing if you’re telling the truth.”
“Why would I lie?” Samuel exclaimed, batting away her probing hands.
“Oh my god, he’s telling the truth! There’s no make-up there.” She said, looking at her thumb.
“I told you I was au naturel didn’t I?” Samuel said, looking at her in apparent disbelief. Her response was cut short as a blast of chilly wind blew through the area, silencing all four teens long enough for Samuel to notice three Cloakers, their stretched out cape-like bodies with barbed tails, fluttering along the courtyard, circling a fallen student like vultures would road kill.
“Go get a teacher, someone’s fallen and hurt themselves,” Samuel said, catching the others attention as they looked at him strangely.
“Where, what are you talking about- oh my God that’s Sarah Abbot!” Belle said, catching sight of the young girls legs.
“Go get a teacher, she’s hurt. I’ll watch over her while you get some help.”