Samuel ran up to the body, kneeling by her to check her over for any obvious injuries. Seeing none, he looked back to see if anybody from the student population was around and, upon confirming that none were, he looked up at the closest Cloaker, the flat face on the underside of the flapping Dracula cloak. While not dangerous inherently, their size made them seem more formidable. The three he was about to face down were each easily seven feet of cloak and eight feet of segmented stinger.
Interrupting their moaning, Samuel clapped once, catching the attention of all three. They reared up to better look at what would dare bother them while they were hunting. What they saw didn’t seem to impress them. They slowly switched their circling of the fallen girl to Samuel.
“Look what we have here boys,” one of them said. “A Magical… reckon that’d fill our bellies a lot more than the flickering soul of the child over there.”
“Her soul is flickering?” Samuel asked, causing the three apparitions to laugh.
“Like a candle in the wind lad, not that it’ll matter to you in a minute. In a minute, you’ll be a soulless husk.” Another said as it passed close enough for the chill of death to wash over Samuel.
“Well, who gets him?” The third asked his voice higher in tenor.
The largest Cloaker lashed out with its tail, stopping the other two from circling, more flapping in place to stay put. This one had obviously been draining a large number of souls dry; its bloated form almost to the bursting point had it been solid. Its eyes gleamed with a wicked flame as it bared its teeth in a flat mouth.
“He’s mine!” The fat Cloaker said spinning and lunging forward to try and wrap itself around Samuel in one bold move, the stinger raised high above its “head”. Samuel reacted, leaning back and thrusting out a palm.
“Dukh tsepi!”Samuel cried out, sending out twelve golden chains from his coats sleeves that connected and wrapped around the creature, sizzling where they wrapped. The expanded and grew in size as they ensnared the Cloaker, glowing with holy light as they bound around the creature tightly. It thrashed and moaned, growling as it chomped at the air, flexing its tail beneath the chains as best it could.
“Oh my God!” Someone said from behind Samuel, a voice that made his heart drop into his stomach.
Turning, he looked at a horrified Belle, standing there staring at the writhing beast, which she could now see as she’d witnessed magic being performed. Samuel had just taken a key and unlocked a part of her mind that was never meant to be opened, and in doing so, made her magical. With a glance from his Mage Sight, he could already see a golden core growing just below her navel and expanding throughout her circulatory system.
Looks like Belle was going to be a Witch.
“Great,” Samuel groaned. “Just freaking great… now we have to be friends.”
“What-what do you mean?” She asked, looking at him and the twisting creature on the ground.
His statement was cut short as a teacher rushed out and moved passed them to the knocked out girl, checking her over as more students seemed to stream by, walking through the thrashing specter. Samuel walked over in that direction and discreetly allowed his hand to fall on the golden chains, which began to contract rapidly, closing around the creature in a horrible squelching noise until the chains formed a golden sphere in the palm of his hand. Walking over to Belle, he tossed her the sphere, which she scrambled to catch.
“Meet me by the front of the school after we’re out for the day,” Samuel said with a sigh. “We’re going on a tour with me as a guide.”
Belle just nodded, still gazing at the golden sphere in her hand. As he walked by her, he smiled. “Try not to lose that. Oh, and before you worry too much, now that there’s a crowd, the other two will run.”
Samuel turned, leaning in close to Belle to watch the other two Cloakers, disgusted with the crowd of people forming around the collapsed girl, turn and fly away, gliding and flapping along currents only they could sense. Looking at Belle, Samuel smiled. “There. All gone.”
“But where to?” She asked, staring at him with newfound awe.
“My guess? Somewhere dark where they can rest. They normally only hunt at night, preferably moonless nights.”
“But what about Sarah? Will she be alright?” Belle asked in hushed tones, turning to walk with Samuel.
“Yes, she’ll be perfectly fine. Cloakers, the thing you have in the sphere there, eat souls and ghosts. They normally don’t attack humans as they prefer ghosts, but they don’t mind making one by subjecting a human to their moans, which have an auditory ability to paralyze. That wicked stinger you saw? It hooks into your soul and allows them to yank it out, like a fishing hook in the mouth of a bass.”
“So it was trying to kill her?” Belle hissed, grabbing Samuels sleeve to stop him. He waiting until several other students went by before answering.
“Yes. That is what they do, that’s what most magical creatures do. They either kill you or drive you mad or are parasites. The magical world is a nasty place, full of all the classic things that go bump in the night, plus the nightmarish ones you would never imagine unless reading H.P. Lovecraft while on LSD. Now can we stop talking about it in public?”
“Why?” She asked, following him to their table. The other two had yet to return, their trays left out with cold, half-eaten food. Samuel grabbed his satchel and slid his copy of Le Nausea into it before finishing off his lukewarm hamburger.
“Because the magical world is a secret, or hasn’t that been made painfully obvious by Harry Potter?” Samuel replied snidely.
“That’s all real?” She asked, suddenly sounding excited.
“No! That was written by a Witch who had too much time on her hands and wanted to write books for a little cash. Most of us make it the honest way, through a hard day’s work.”
“A hard day’s work? Depends on what you are, really. You, you’re a Witch. You have an inner magical core that allows you to modify non-magical substances into magical substances.” Samuel explained as he slung his bag over his shoulder and began walking to the B building for his Math class, which would start in ten minutes.
“A Witch huh… is it because I’m a woman?” She asked, sounding slightly put off.
“No, men can be Witches as well. I’m a Warlock. We hunt down magical creatures and can create excess magical energy that Witches and Wizards can use. We’re also the only one of the three that can detect magical items or presences nearby.”
“That sounds handy, I suppose… so you hunt ghosts?” She asked, still following him into the B building.
“In a sense of the word, yes. I deal with all sorts of misbehaving magical creatures. That’s why I moved to San Antonio.”
“Are there a lot of… things, here?” She asked, looking around conspiratorially.
“It’s an old city, and it has things in it I’ve never seen before. Figured it would be a neat place to set up once I got High School out of the way.” Samuel surmised, heading towards the stairs leading up to the second floor. He stopped and turned, holding up a hand to stop Belle from following him any further. “Listen, we’ll talk later. You’re a sophomore right?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?”
“Trade secret. Now you just hold onto that sphere there, don’t worry it won’t break. If anyone asks, say you got it from a friend.”
“So we’re friends?” She asked with a smirk.
“So far, just don’t say anything completely idiotic and we’ll stay that way,” Samuel said, turning to head up the stairs. Over his shoulder he said, smiling. “You’re going to be late to your next class.”
“What, no I’m not… I still have, what the hell, two minutes!” She shouted out, looking down at her clunky watch.
“Yeah, I planted a post-hypnotic message in your head to have you stand there for five minutes mumbling to yourself. That was for making me have to take on a new Witch. Enjoy!” He said before vanishing, the hall suddenly becoming crowded as people rushed around her at lightning speeds before magically appearing in place, walking normally, the loud den of noise from the crowd preventing her from moving too quickly to get out of the hall and towards her own class, cursing him the entire time.
The final bells blaring ring led to a mass migration of students out of the science room, the teacher shouting to everyone to remember to read through section one of the textbook and do the four questions at the end as homework. Samuel took his time, packing away his spiral and new textbook slowly, seeing no need to move through the crowd of cheery teens as one of the cattle. Having grown bored halfway during the lecture, he’d started to make a list of what he would need to do to get Belle set up as a Witch of her own standing.
First things first, she would need a Grimoire of her own. Samuel knew Mia would be waiting for him at his new home to get home, so he figured they could go shopping together, so long as he was able to layer an illusion or two over himself.
He didn’t want to get recognized while out in the public area of the magical world. That would just lead to questions and admirers, which would inevitably lead to rivals. Samuel didn’t need rivals, seeing as life was enough of a rival on its own.
Finally standing up, he nodded to Mr. Baldwin as he passed by the portly man, the science teacher boasted a moustache that looked like it could take on the better part of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and leave a swath of destruction in its wake. The man was strict but kind and had made it to where the homework would just be at the end of the textbook sections, so as long as you read what you were supposed to, you would get an A.
Not a bad trade-off, in Samuel’s opinion.
Walking out of the room and into the rapidly draining hallway, he started weaving through the crowd until he heard an ear-piercing cry coming from behind him.
“Sam! Sam, over here!” Tiffany called out, waving at him when he did not immediately acknowledge her.
“Oh, Tiffany… what a lovely surprise.” He said as he approached, the two big jocks in letterman jackets and another girl in a short skirt and sleeveless top, baring a great amount of mocha skin, giving him odd looks.
“Sam, this is Rock and this is Kevin, and this is Amy,” Tiffany said, pointing to each in turn.
Samuel gave a weak laugh and waved hello to them, staring at Kevin, a tall, broad-shouldered man who was squinting at him as if he were a parasite. Which at the moment, Samuel didn’t feel too far above that.
“So this is the boy that drives a hearse?” Amy asked, looking him up and down derisively.
“Yup! And he kind of drives like a lunatic, so you better watch out if he gives you a lift.” Tiffany laughed, looking over at Samuel with a smile. This made Kevin’s squinted eyes turn into a full out glare.
“Well Tiffany, it’s been super neat to meet your friends, but I have someone waiting on me outside the school… so maybe we can do… whatever it is you wanted to do, another time.” Samuel said, backing away from the group slowly, so as not to anger Kevin any further.
“Aww… but I was going to introduce you to the Science Team’s coach, see if you’d be interested in joining.” Tiffany said, sounding disappointed.
“For another day, can’t keep a lady waiting,” Samuel said as he turned and walked away, ignoring the disparaging remarks made by Kevin about how no woman would ever wait for him. If there is a God, let that guy get smacked by some karma… Samuel thought as he made his way down the stairs and to the front of the school.