C H A P T E R O N E
The birds were singing and the children were laughing, while the couples strolled along gossiping about their so-called friends. As a young man was walking his black lab along a white sidewalk at the bottom of a hillside, he could hear the laughter of the children from the orphanage at the top of the green grassy hill. All of the children’s laughter but one.
Boston was sitting on a tree trunk watching the orphans play in the dirt and chase each other around. In front of her was a sketchbook sitting on her lap where she was drawing a picture of a crow perched on the tall fence. She was covered in dirt from head to toe—just a little bit, but enough to be noticed—and from afar she could have been mistaken for a young boy. She wore dirty brown boy shorts and a tight black tee along with a ratty and ripped baker boy hat. Her hair was long and brown and pulled back into a messy bun below her hat.
A young boy who was involved in the mud fight in the middle of the playground threw a mud ball directly at Boston and hit her in the face. She didn’t mind being hit with mud—she was a bit of a tom-boy—so she just smiled at him, wiped off her face, and went back to her drawing.
“DINNER!” an old woman called angrily. All of the children quickly hopped up and rushed into the large cream colored building. They ran until they came to a humongous room with long wooden tables and a wooden floor. The kids all pushed and shoved each other so they could get in line for dinner. Dinner at the orphanage was nothing like at home—it was run by the church, and they didn’t have as much money as they needed. For dinner they all got a piece of bread and a bowl of vegetable soup. Boston pushed and shoved in a rather immature way for her age and quickly snatched her food. She managed to sneak a few extra pieces of bread into her army green messenger bag.
She sat down at a table—alone—and began shoving food down her throat. Boston loved to eat, and I mean loved. If she could, she would have eaten the entire supply of cafeteria food in one sitting.
After twenty minutes, a tall nun with a raspy voice shouted, “BED TIME!” and all of the children rushed from the cafeteria and ran into their rooms. Boston loved bed time, because that meant she could sneak out and steal some food from the shops and venture about the city.
Boston had always been a rebellious child. She loved to break the rules and any sign that said “No Trespassing” meant “Please Enter” to Boston. She didn’t have any friends to goof around and get into trouble with, so she entertained herself. Almost all of the children in the orphanage were young toddlers, so there really was no opportunity to make friends. The most intriguing conversations she could have were “I have a loose tooth!” or “Ew, you have cooties!” so Boston chose to keep to herself most of the time. Sometimes she wrote, sometimes she doodled, and every night she sneaked out and prowled around the small city.
Since Boston had no money of any kind, she usually stole food from small shops. She learned to become especially talented in pick pocketing and being extremely stealthy. She had only been caught twice, and that was many years ago.
The orphanage had many children, but Boston was the oldest. No couple was ever interested in her because of the trouble she would get into. It had been fifteen years and still no one was interested. She figured she would end up spending the rest of her childhood there, so she made the best of what she had.
There were many tricks to play and places to shoplift from and fences to climb over, but there was one place that Boston hadn’t ventured out to. Yet. This place was a mansion, and not just any mansion; it was the mansion that used to belong to a very old man named Dr. Marvin Ghost, a crazy, mysterious doctor with loads of money. He passed away many years ago, but he made the city promise that they would never tear the mansion down, no matter what condition it may be in. He said it held something special, something with more meaning, and that you just had to believe in it to really see it. Everyone thought he was crazy, but they held on to his words. So fifty years after his death, the old Ghost mansion (Yes, I, too, see the irony with this name for a believed to be haunted house) was still standing—okay, so not really in a literal sense, it was kind of falling apart, but it was, in fact, there.
All the troublesome kids in the neighborhood tried to break into the abandoned house, but they all reported back with spooky stories of how they saw “spirits” and heard weird noises of children laughing and such. They also said it was extremely cold and the whole thing totally freaked them out, so they agreed to never go back there. Boston, however, thought this was all just smoke and mirrors. She wanted to see for herself if it was, in fact, a haunted mansion, or just some old house that is ridiculously feared by the public.
So, one day near the end of the Summer, all of the children in the orphanage were getting ready to settle into bed. Boston pretended to do the same, but she was secretly planning to sneak out her crusty window and slither on over to the Ghost mansion.
Once all of the kids were nestled in their beds, Boston gathered her small bag for smuggling and silently crawled out the window. The wet grass felt cold on her dirty bare feet—Boston preferred to wander without shoes because it made her feel more independent and free. She pattered across the lawn and skidded down the hill. The old skateboard that she smuggled years ago was resting in its usual home under a bush next to a medium sized blue house. She grabbed it and slid it under her feet and was off.
Skateboarding was one of the few things that Boston could do for fun. It was her transportation device and helped her get around while pick pocketing other civilians. She promised herself that someday she would enter a skateboarding competition and hopefully win some money and maybe even get some kind of gig. The children at the orphanage enjoyed watching her skate around and do kick flips and air walks on the playground.
As Boston rode along the sidewalk, the wheels of her skateboard scratched against the hard pavement. She always loved the sound it made and the shaky spark of danger and risk that it spread throughout her body. She tried to risk her safety in any way possible; it was kind of a game for her. As she looked up into the sky, she noticed there was a bright and shining full moon. “Figures,” she said aloud. Boston was somewhat convinced that the moon had an affect on her mood—she felt most rebellious during full moons, and lazy when there was hardly a moon at all.
After about ten minutes, Boston came to a very large spooky hill with a creepy gray mansion sitting at the top. There was an old rusty black fence surrounding the hill, and at the entrance the fence got taller and formed a huge gate with lots of metal designs that made it look like it should have belonged in a creepy horror film. There was a large silver chain wrapped around the handle and a huge padlock attached to it. Boston studied the border, looking for a way into the lawn. She decided the only way in would be to hop the fence, so she did just that. She was very athletic and could climb over anything and crawl under anything. She probably could’ve picked the lock, too, but that would take too much time.
Once she managed to climb over the fence, rather easily, I might add, Boston threw her skateboard over her shoulder and walked up the cracked and crooked cement stairs. When she arrived at the top, she felt a cold chill, but thought nothing of it. The mansion was a lot larger up close, and had a strange, dusty smell, like an old basement. The front porch seemed almost as big as a normal sized house. Everything was made of stone, except for the few rotting wooden benches randomly placed here and there. The floor was made of cement and there were large stone pillars supporting the roof above. The outside walls were made of rough gray stone and looked to be about six stories tall. The front door was huge; it was a set of double doors and was made of dark wood with glass windows with designs engraved into them so you couldn’t see inside. On either side of the doors was a wall lamp made of foggy glass and metal that came to a point at the top and looked like it belonged in a castle. Cobwebs crowded every corner and bit of empty space that could be filled. A thick layer of dust was placed lightly on almost everything, except for the few wooden tables that said “CLEAN ME” or random curse words written in the dust from troublesome trespassers.
The door handle was the only thing with color on the whole building; it was a shiny golden color that was surprisingly clean. When Boston reached out to grab the handle, a sudden chill slithered through her body. She jumped a little, but then shook it off. She went back to what she was doing and grabbed the knob. As soon as her fingertips touched the hard gold, her entire body jolted backwards—the knob was colder than ice. She stared at the house for a while, considering the spooky stories that the people were telling, and then went forward again. This time when she grabbed the handle she didn’t let go. She twisted the knob and it creaked as if it hadn’t been used in years. A heavy but short breeze blew out at her as soon as she opened the door. The door squeaked loudly as she gently pushed it open.
When Boston entered the mansion, she couldn’t see a thing. The entire room was pitch black, and she was beginning to feel a little spooked. As she was about to take her flashlight out of her pack, the door slammed shut behind her. She quickly spun around to see if someone was there, but she was alone. By now, she was a little more than spooked. She started to breathe heavily and got the feeling that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. She reached for the handle, but couldn’t manage to find it. Eventually giving up, she started to walk around the pitch black room. She couldn’t find a thing, and no matter how much she walked forward, she didn’t touch anything. She started to run, and still nothing. She knew she would have ran into a wall by now, but she didn’t. Boston was terrified.
She ran faster, faster, faster, until she felt some strange force and couldn’t run anymore. Something was pulling her, trying to take her away, she could feel it. A wind started blowing her hair around and almost blew off her hat. She tried to grab on to something for balance, but couldn’t find anything. It felt as if a catastrophic tornado had hit right where she was standing. She wished desperately that she could at least see the chaos around her. Boston began to feel woozy, and it felt like the entire world was spinning around her. Her head was starting to feel fuzzy and everything was beginning to fade away. She then lost her balance and collapsed onto a rug, and then sunk deeper and deeper into the vortex that was sucking her into the floor, away from the world around her.
C H A P T E R T W O
ASTRID ELEANOR PARKELLINE
There was a horrid light gleaming through Boston’s closed eyelids, making the sudden headache hurt even more than it should. She felt a cold hard surface below her, but had no idea what it was. Maybe it was just a dream. A terribly realistic dream, Boston thought hopefully. She attempted to open her eyes, but couldn’t. Her lids felt heavy as rocks and eventually decided she didn’t want to see what was behind them. She thought she heard muffled voices and other strange noises, but her head was ringing too much for her to determine what it was. Boston felt a little bit unconscious, but wasn’t exactly sure whether she was. Everything was so confusing, and her last memories weren’t very vivid. She could remember going to the mansion, sneaking in, and darkness—lots of darkness—but everything else after that went fuzzy.
“So who do you think she is?” an unfamiliar and perky female voice asked.
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” another voice, male, asked. Boston wanted desperately to see the faces behind these voices, but she couldn’t seem to move.
“Excuse me! Let me through! You kids should really be in your dorms. Excuse me!” A shouting woman was fighting through a crowd of very interested kids, all looking curiously at Boston. When she finally managed to get through the crowd, the woman gasped, “Oh, my, what have we here?”
“We found her lying here just minutes ago,” the same male voice said.
“She fell from the ceiling!” Shouted the female voice. “She just appeared out of thin air!”
“Everybody, move!” Shouted another distant female voice. “What is all this commotion about? Ah, Doris, what’s—” she paused when she noticed Boston lying flat on the floor. She looked as if she was about to ask something, but didn’t. Her face turned from concerned and confused to stern and professional. “Doris, take her to the infirmary. I’ll be there shortly, I need a cup of coffee.” And to that, the powerful woman dashed away. Boston could now understand the words around her; they were no longer muffled sounds. But she could still not open her eyes, for whatever bizarre reason.
“You two, you say you found her? Come with me,” the woman named Doris commanded. She gently picked up Boston and carried her down the hall, the girl and boy following swiftly behind, whispering their incomprehensible thoughts to each other. Boston seemed to be almost completely aware of everything going on around her, though she still had no idea who these people were or why she couldn’t open her eyes. Actually, she really, really wished she could open her eyes. She wanted to know who was carrying her and why and where she was and how long she had been gone and—oh no, she was going to get hit with an uncomfortable ruler when she got back to the orphanage. Great.
Boston felt a soft cushion like surface under her as Doris placed her on a hospital bed in the infirmary. Boston could tell where she was immediately; all the hospitals have the same exact smell. They are always exceptionally clean smelling, but also have a hint of medicine and plastic. And they are always cold. She felt strange wires and needles being pushed into her in awkward places by very cold nurse hands. After a few seconds passed, there was a weird beeping noise coming from her right.
“Is she going to be okay?” asked the male voice.
“I think so,” said a female voice, probably the nurse, Boston thought. “When she wakes up I will give her some medicine. She’ll have to stay in here for a few days before I can let her out. Have you told her teachers what’s happened?”
“She’s not a student,” Doris said slowly. Boston felt a chill overcome her, and the room suddenly became tense. After a long pause, the nurse continued.
“Very well. I’ll keep a close eye on her while she’s here.”
“Thank you, Hortense,” said Doris. “Now,” she continued, “as for you two,” she pointed to the boy and girl, “I suspect the headmistress will be wanting to hear from you when she returns.”
“Yes, she will,” said a strong female voice.
“Oh, there you are, Astrid. Hortense says she should be okay. Wha—” The powerful woman named Astrid held up her hand, signaling Doris to stop.
“Thank you, Doris, you’ve been of much help. Why don’t you go get some rest, it’s been a long day.”
“Yes, M’am.” Doris left the room.
“So, tell me, what happened?” asked Astrid, looking at the both of them. Boston was now listening intently—she didn’t exactly know what happened either.
“Well,” said the female voice, “I was dancing in the dining hall, and—”
“Dancing?” Astrid cut her off.
“Yes, M’am,” the girl continued perkily. “Anywho, as I was dancing, Devon was sitting at the table eating a muffin and coffee reading a book.”
“And then I looked up,” said the boy called Devon, “because I was talking to Harper, and I saw that girl appear and fall through the ceiling. She went right through it, like a ghost. Harper didn’t notice, because she was dancing, but when I ran over to the girl she quickly followed to see what happened.”
“That’s pretty much it,” said the girl named Harper. “After that I ran to get Doris and students started filling the hall and—”
“That’s enough, dear, thank you both,” Astrid said in a motherly voice. “You two had better go off to bed, too. It’s late you know.”
“Yes, M’am. We’ll just be going, then,” said Devon. And to that, the boy and girl pattered out of the room. Boston listened for any other form of information, but the only one left in the room was Astrid. A few minutes passed, and they seemed to drag on and on, but Astrid still hadn’t left. She glanced at the clock and gathered herself, but before rising from her chair she grabbed Boston’s hand and stared at her for a long moment before she said, “Could it really be you?” and then she glided out of the room and left Boston in the cold darkness.
Boston was totally and utterly confused at this point. Who were all these people? And what did Astrid mean by “Could it really be her”? Who? Who am I? Boston demanded an answer immediately, but it looked like she was going to have to wait until the morning. Since she seemed to already be somewhat sleeping, or in some strange coma, she let her mind drift away and fell into an even deeper sleep.
When morning came, Boston was usually used to being woken up by screaming children and loud nuns yelling for the rest of the orphans to wake up. It was nice to wake up peacefully for a change. The mind normally wakes up before the body does, so when Boston’s mind was awake and away from the dream world, she suddenly started remembering the night before. Her headache was even worse, and she could feel a small bump beginning to bloom on her scalp. She was afraid of opening her eyes, and was still not sure if she would be able to, but decided she would have to get up eventually. Boston squinted her eyes tight, and then let them fall open.
Everything was blurry at first until her eyes adjusted. The room was quite bright, and the walls were painted with a soft baby blue. The floor was tiled with white squares with little colorful specks in them. The hospital bed she was laying in was one of many lined throughout the room. Boston was in the bed closest to the wall, and farther along the wall was a gray door that said “STAFF ONLY.” That was probably where the nurse was, she thought. On the other end of the room was another gray door with a small rectangular window at the top. She wondered what time it was and what the women at the orphanage were thinking. As soon as that thought crossed her mind, she noticed a dark blue clock on the wall across from her. The hands said that it was nine forty-two in the morning. Wow! She had never slept past seven in her entire life. The women in the orphanage were strictly opposed to sleeping in, and they made it their job that every child there was sure of that.
When Boston pulled the covers off, she realized she was connected to a big machine with a bunch of strange cords. She also wasn’t in her original apparel—instead, she was dressed in a papery like white robe and underwear. She wanted desperately to get out of that smelly cold room, but didn’t know how to do it. She considered pulling all the wires out, but figured that probably wasn’t the best idea. Instead, she coughed loudly, hoping to get the nurse’s attention. However, the door that opened was not the one she was expecting.
Astrid walked through the door on the far right of the room with a tray in her hand that contained a big stack of pancakes and a glass of milk. Boston thought it smelled delicious.
“Good morning, Dearie,” she said with a smile, “Would you like some pancakes?” She offered the plate to Boston.
“Some what?” Boston asked, very confused. They never served “pancakes” at the orphanage. Astrid laughed at her unfamiliarity with the common food, and then continued.
“You’re telling me you don’t know what pancakes are? Here, try a bite.” She cut a piece of the round mysterious object, smothered it in some syrup, and handed the fork to Boston. She looked at it skeptically, then took a bite. Her face suddenly brightened.
“Oh, wow! That’s gotta be the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life!” exclaimed Boston.
“So you like it, I presume? Wonderful. Here, you can have the whole plate.” Astrid handed the plate of what looked like ten pancakes to Boston. She looked at it strangely, then at Astrid. That was more food than Boston had in a week. But before she could say anything, Astrid introduced herself.
“I’m Astrid Eleanor Parkelline, the headmistress of this school,” she said.
“School?” Boston asked curiously.
“Yes. Welcome to the Mazark School for Others,” she explained. “You have no idea where you are, do you?”
“Er… No, not really,” Boston admitted.
“Well,” the headmistress began, “how about you start by giving me your name.”
“Uh, I’m Boston.” Astrid Parkelline waited for a last name, but none was given. When Boston realized what the woman was doing, she started to explain her situation.
“I don’t have a last name. I live at an orphanage, and the nuns never supplied me with a last name. But Boston is unique enough, I probably wouldn’t even need a last name.” Astrid chuckled at her explanation. Boston was a little confused; no one ever laughed at her unintended comicality, or even listened to her talk.
“Well then,” said Astrid, “Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions?” Boston nodded unsure. “Why don’t you continue eating your breakfast while I ask you a few questions.” Boston had no opposition in the matter and she continued to eat her delicious pancakes. Astrid watched for a moment as she enjoyed the wonderful taste of the pancakes before she began to speak.
“Have you ever heard of Mazark before?” she asked. Boston shook her head as she stuffed another mouthful of pancakes into her mouth. “Have you heard of the Others?” Boston looked confused and shook her head again. “That’s what I thought. Tell me, Boston, do you remember how you got here?” Boston chewed quickly and swallowed down another bite of her pancakes, wiped off her mouth, and began to answer Astrid’s question.
“Well, it’s all kind of fuzzy, but yeah, I think I remember it for the most part.”
“Could you explain it to me, please, in the most descriptive way you can?” asked Astrid.
“I can try,” she said doubtfully, but Astrid smiled and nodded. “Well, yesterday after dinner I went to bed and once all of the other kids were asleep I, uh,” Boston felt odd confessing to an adult, “well, I sneaked out.” Boston was expecting the headmistress to look at her scornfully in that “you should know better” way, but she didn’t. So, she continued. “I crawled out the window and grabbed my skateboard and then rode until I came to a mansion on this big hill.” Astrid’s expression seemed to get much more interested. “You see, there’s this old mansion that everybody thinks is haunted, and people are always trying to break in, but they usually get too spooked.” Astrid chuckled, which sort of surprised Boston, but she continued, “Anyway, I decided I wanted to see it for myself to see what all the fuss was about. I hopped the fence and went up to the porch and looked around. Quite honestly, I was a little spooked myself, but I had no desire in giving up. I opened the door and walked inside, but the door slammed shut behind me. It was really freaky. The house was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything and I started running but I wasn’t going anywhere and eventually I felt something pulling me down to the floor and I fell into a big hole or something and then I just went unconscious. You probably think I hit my head too hard or something… Must think I’m crazy…” Boston started muttering under her breath, but Astrid Parkelline just smiled.
“Not at all, Boston. I don’t think you’re crazy one bit.” Boston looked at the headmistress with a confused and curious expression on her face. “I think,” continued Astrid, “that it’s time I explain to you what’s really going on.”
C H A P T E R T H R E E
THE ROOM WITH MANY DOORS
Boston looked at Astrid Parkelline with a very confused and interested expression, while Astrid looked at her grinning like a mother looks at her child when she gives him his birthday present surprise.
“Boston, do you believe in magic?” Boston stared at the woman like she was crazy, but another part of her thought she was perfectly sane.
“Magic? Uh, I don’t really know, I’ve never thought about it. I suppose it could be real, due to previous events…” Boston recalled when she fell through a black vortex in the middle of a haunted mansion. Yeah, magic was definitely a possibility. Astrid chuckled again.
“Well, that ‘haunted mansion’ you were in isn’t haunted. It’s enchanted.” Boston just stared at her with a very strange expression on her face. Astrid continued. “Hundreds of years ago, a man named Viktor Mazark Ghost was granted magnificent powers. He—”
“Wait, Ghost? That’s the name of the man who used to own the mansion. Marvin Ghost.”
“Yes, I know. Marvin Ghost was a descendant of Viktor’s. You see, Viktor was what we call an Other. An Other is anyone who appears to be human, for the most part, but however is not a human at all. For instance, witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and so on all belong to the Other family. Viktor was believed to be the very first Other to walk this earth, and he belonged to the class known as the Zarens. A Zaren is a creature that has characteristics of more than one breed. When Viktor discovered his abilities, he used them for good. He protected humans from evil and kept them from harm. One day he saved a young woman named Rose Hart from a vicious murderer, and they immediately fell in love. They eventually got married and had a beautiful baby girl, but no one knows her true name. She is now known as the Zeno, the leader of the Others. You will learn to know much about her during your stay here at Mazark. Anyway, When Viktor heard of more and more humans turning into different creatures, he decided he would build a school. He lived in a very large mansion, the one you managed to stumble upon last night, and he created this hidden school inside of it.” Astrid moved her hands around as to present the school to Boston. “Eventually, he created an entire new world on the other side of the mansion’s front door. The Ghost mansion is nothing more than a portal into the Other world.”
“But, how?” Boston asked curiously.
“Well, Viktor cast a spell around the entire building so that nobody could see into the other world except for the Others so that it would be protected from those who would not approve of witches and vampires roaming their streets. He hired older Others to teach the young new Others how to grow and become powerful and to learn the ways of their secret civilization.
“He named the school the “Mazark School for Others”, and eventually different schools were spread throughout the world, all secretly hidden in old forgotten buildings. He named the secret world of the Others Olindarver, after his two deceased brothers, Oliver and Darvin.
“Viktor’s goal of the school was to unite all of the strange creatures of the world with odd abilities and help them to grow and learn how to become strong, independent Others of the Olindarver community. The Mazark school teaches the Other students how to master their abilities, for example, werewolves are taught about combat and morphing, and vampires learn about bloodlust and their extraordinary strength and powers. Witches and warlocks are taught a large variety of spells and how to mix potions, and shape shifters learn how to transform themselves and others into different creatures. Artists are taught about everything in the magic world and the things they can learn to do to tap into their own hidden talents.
“Viktor seemed to think of himself as a superhero, but after a while his abilities overcame him. The power that he held was unimaginable, and it came to be so much that he lost himself along the way. One day, Viktor was having an argument with his wife. She told him he was turning into a monster, and he eventually killed her out of pure anger. His young daughter was terrified, and he tried to kill her, too, but he failed. His abilities were transferred into her when she was born, along with some other new talents. She held some kind of shield, and he could not harm her in any way. Out of frustration, he fled from the home and never returned. The power he held eventually became so powerful that he couldn’t stop. He fed himself on human blood, keeping him alive for many, many years. He traveled the world, killing innocents everywhere. He was grown to be feared by all creatures in Olindarver, except one. The Zeno had grown older, too, and she was at no limits to stop her evil father, even if it meant having to kill him. When they met, she thought she was prepared, but he had been far too strong for her. He killed her, his own daughter, and she was believed to be his very last kill.
“The stories say that he went far away because of the trauma that he caused himself from killing his own daughter, but they should know better. He wanted everyone to think he was dead, that he killed himself. He wanted them to make up some ridiculous story of his rejoiced death, but he knew better. He hid for thousands of years, and planned to one day return. As soon as the Zeno returned, so would he. And he would try to destroy her again. Forever.”
Boston didn’t know what to say. She was still lost in this new world she had discovered, trying to piece it all together. All she wanted to do was go on a little adventure to see what was inside of the mansion. She thought the most she may find was a bloody knife or a broken mirror, but this? No, no, she did not intend on discovering a whole new world, what was it called? Oliander or something? And who were these mysterious Others? Warlocks, vampires, this was just absurd. Boston had to collect herself before she finally spoke.
“You said the Zeno would return someday?” Astrid nodded. “How?” The headmistress smiled.
“The Zeno became extraordinarily powerful, because her father taught her well and she was a Zaren like him, which is very, very rare. Zarens can learn how to do almost anything, and that’s exactly what the Zeno did. The Spirit killed her body, but no one could kill her soul. Though her body may no longer exist, her soul still lives on. The prophecy says that one day she will return in another Other’s body, even more powerful than before, to destroy The Spirit once and for all.”
“Okay. Wow.” Boston tried to collect all of her thoughts before her head exploded with unimaginable confusion and surprise. “Um, can I have a glass of water?”
Astrid smiled in her motherly smile. “Sure.” Boston was expecting her to get up and pour her a glass of water, but instead she tapped the glass sitting on the tray that used to hold milk and turned it into a glass of ice cold water. “Ice?” she asked, calmly. Boston nodded, not taking her wide eyes off of the glass. With another tap of her finger, Astrid made three perfectly square ice cubes pop into the glass.
“That—was—amazing! How did you do that? What are you?” Boston blabbered out all sorts of questions. Astrid laughed and held up her hand to stop her sputtering.
“I am a witch. My mother was a witch and my father was a warlock. Magic runs through my veins.” She smiled at Boston, then began a new topic. “Boston, are you feeling well?”
“Better than ever after eating those delicious pancakes. Did you make them? They were amazing.”
“Thank you, yes, I did make them. That’s great. I’ll go tell Madame Hortense that you’re fine. I’m going to take you on a little field trip.”
“A field trip?” But there was no answer. Astrid Parkelline had already glided into the nurse’s office faster than a speeding cheetah.
About twenty seconds later, she came walking swiftly out of the nurse’s office with a bag in her hand.
“What’s that?” Boston asked pointing to the bag.
“Well, you can’t go roaming about the school with that on, now, can you?” Boston looked down at her hospital clothes and nodded. Madame Hortense came in and took all of the uncomfortable wires from Boston and scurried back into her office. Astrid pointed to a smaller room Boston hadn’t noticed before and handed her the bag.
“You can go change in there.”
“Okay,” said Boston. She pattered over to the small bathroom. It felt weird to walk; as soon as she got out of the bed she thought she was going to fall over. Her head felt all dizzy, but then it got clearer again.
In the bathroom, she looked at her new clothes. For once in her life, they weren’t tattered and worn. They were perfect for Boston, the precise style of clothing that she enjoyed to wear: brown boy shorts and a cream colored top. Along with that was a pair of black Converse shoes, but Boston ignored them. She hated wearing shoes. There was also a new hat similar to the one she wore before at the bottom of the bag, along with an abnormally large red brush. I guess she noticed the old rat on my head, Boston thought, looking in the mirror at her messy hair. She grabbed the huge brush and quickly ran it through her hair. As soon as she touched the brush to her scalp, she gasped. Her entire body tingled for a second as a jolt of cold, but refreshing, shivers ran down her back. She looked back at the mirror and saw that her hair had magically combed itself and even pulled it back into two low pigtails. She gaped at her new style for a moment, and then threw on her new outfit, turned off the light, and walked out the door.
“There, much better now.” Astrid looked Boston up and down and stopped at her feet. “Why aren’t you wearing shoes?” Boston knew she would ask this question.
“I don’t like to wear shoes. Bare feet are more free, I feel kind of independent. It’s just something I do.”
To Boston‘s surprise, she smiled. “Alright then. Right this way, now, follow me. I’m going to give you a tour of the school.” The headmistress walked from the room, and Boston followed close behind her.
When they walked from the infirmary and into the lobby, Boston gasped. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. Since she was half unconscious when she arrived, she didn’t exactly get the opportunity to look around. Now that she had the chance, she took in every single design on the wall, every candle, every scent, and every unfamiliar face.
In the corner of the room was a wooden desk where a very plump lady sat, scribbling on the many papers that cluttered her desk. At the corner of the desk was a small, gold sign engraved with the name, “Madame Loupe.”
The walls were made of stone and decorated with intricate designs that no human being could ever imagine. There were swirls and squiggles and circles and diamonds and many shapes Boston could not even name. They were mostly brown, but some of them were made of gold, and very few shapes here and there were made of dark burgundy rubies that Boston had never seen before. The walls themselves were made of dull colors, but the designs erased any dullness that could have been there before. The windows were stain glass, also with many darker colors, but the pictures on the windows were beautiful. The floors were made of dark wood and across the floor was a very wide red carpet with gold fringes and more designs. Boston was too distracted to realize that Astrid was staring at her.
“Beautiful, isn’t it? This is nothing, wait until you see the dining hall.” Boston’s entire body was filled with excitement; this was the most amazing thing she had ever seen.
Astrid walked to the wooden door at the end of the room and turned the shiny gold handle, and Boston swore it was identical to the knob at the front door of the mansion. When they emerged from the dark infirmary, Boston had to shield her eyes from the great surprise of bright lights beaming into her eyes. She was expecting to go out into a hallway, but instead she seemed to be standing outside on the side of an extremely tall hill, staring out into a place that didn’t look at all familiar.
“The school is split up into buildings, all placed across campus, similar to some college campuses and boarding schools across the globe. If you look down you can see the entire school campus stretching all the way to the bottom of the hill, and if you look all the way up to the top you can see the dining hall.” Boston squinted to see the top of the hill—it was a bit foggy up there—and saw an amazingly large domed building that looked like it belonged at the top of a very rich chapel. “If you look just there,” Astrid pointed at a group of long buildings that looked like they stretched all around the entire hill, “you can see the dormitories. That is where all of the Other students live for the year.” Boston looked at the long buildings and admired the unique styling to them, along with every other building on campus. She noticed that each building, though all a little different, had the same similar features to them. They all looked very old fashioned, and they also all resembled log cabins. Each had at least one stone chimney emerging from the wooden roof, but none were letting off smoke (probably because it was still Summer). There were also many strange looking trees all over campus. At first glance, Boston thought they were pine trees, but when she looked closer she saw that they had very bizarre flowers blooming from the branches, and what looked like the needles were actually long green hairs, making the tree look like some kind of strange animal-plant.
Boston also noticed that there were hardly any students on campus. There were occasional students and teachers who walked by every few minutes and waved to Astrid, saying things like, “Good morning, Headmistress!” or “Nice day, isn’t it, Astrid?”, and the headmistress would just smile and nod in return.
“Why is this place so empty?” asked Boston.
“Because school hasn’t started yet,” answered Astrid. “It’s the twenty fourth of August. School begins every year on September first.” Boston just nodded in understanding. Then Astrid looked around and said, “I think first I’m going to take you to the library.”
“You have a library? That’s great, I love to read!” Boston exclaimed with a large smile.
“That’s good, because we have loads of books. More books than you could ever imagine, really.“ Astrid and Boston walked down the hill and to the right until they came to a very tall wooden building that was in the shape of a cylinder. “Ah, here we are,“ said the headmistress. The library was a very odd looking building; it looked like a wooden tower. It still had the same log cabin touch to it, but the ten story tower made it a little strange. At the very top of the roof was a stone chimney that was very tall and very crooked. It bent this way and that like a stone snake. They came to a large set of wooden double doors with the same golden trim and golden knob as all of the other doors that were twice the size of Boston (although, she wasn’t really that tall). Above the doors was a rectangular black sign with golden letters engraved that said, “LIBRARY”. Boston entered and her mouth almost seemed to fall to the floor. Her eyes zoomed around the room as she gaped at what seemed like millions and millions of books. Hanging from the ceiling was a black and gold sign that read, “FEATURED”. She didn’t know where to start first. She began running up and down aisles looking up and down at the thousands of books that cluttered the shelves. There were books on everything anyone could imagine. There were human books, like books on cooking and books on cleaning and books on history and books on culture and books and books and books! Then there were very strange books such as “The History of Vampires” or “The Werewolf’s Moon” or “The Book of Spells: Beginners” or “Potions for the Intermediate Warlock”. Behind the shelves was a large area full of wooden tables where several students sat reading and drinking their morning coffee. She then saw a set of wooden spiral stairs in the corner and quickly ran up to them. Next to the stairs on the wall was a large wooden sign with, yet again, gold letters printed on them, which said:
2 SPELLS, CHARMS AND POTIONS
3 WITCHES AND WARLOCKS
She ran up the staircase to the second floor. This floor was just like the first, but it held different books. There was another hanging sign that said, “SPELLS, CHARMS AND POTIONS”. She looked around and found hundreds upon hundreds of spell books, such as “The Winkleton Spell Book for Wizards” or even “Spells and Charms for Dummies”. Boston couldn’t fathom the extremely wide variety of books that were there, and they were all free! She didn’t have to steal them from a cheap book store down the street, she could walk into the library in broad daylight and just pick up a book and leave without any trouble at all.
“Would you like to check out a few books?” asked Astrid.
“Me? Can I? Oh yes, please!” Boston was almost jumping up and down like a little child with excitement. She grabbed tons of books and then decided to go up to the third floor. This floor had a hanging sign that said, “WITCHES AND WARLOCKS”. She grabbed a few books from this section and then climbed up to the fourth floor. This floor’s sign said, “VAMPIRES”. Boston was strangely interested in this section more than others, so she grabbed the three most interesting books she could find. She then ran up to the fifth floor, “WEREWOLVES”, and grabbed another. Her pile was beginning to feel extremely heavy. She then hurried up to the “SHAPESHIFTERS” floor, then to “ARTISTS”, and then up to “INFORMATIONAL”. This floor had all kinds of history books and, hence the name, informational books, such as, “What is a Gantoljay?” and “The Art of the Abnerkees.” Boston took a few more books and then climbed the stairs to the next floor, feeling very tired from all of the weight. There was another hanging sign that said “FICTION”. This section of the library seemed to intrigue Boston the most; she loved to read fiction. She even recognized some of the books, which she was surprised to notice. She added a few more books to her towering stack and headed for the final staircase.
When Boston was about to step up the first stair, something pulled her back; it was like she had hit a brick wall. She tried again, but it wouldn’t let her through. It was as if there was some strange invisible force field holding her back from whatever mysteries may be hidden on the tenth floor. Boston tilted her head up until she could see the last hanging sign, which said, “STORAGE: STAFF ONLY” in shiny gold letters. She was extremely curious as to what was hiding up there. Boston lived off of curiosity.
Disappointed that she couldn’t look any further, Boston clumsily climbed back down all eight spiral staircases until she once again reached the lobby. She felt her face turn a little red from embarrassment when Astrid came out from behind a shelf and found Boston with a pile of books that went all the way over the top of her head.
“Uh, is this too many?” she said uncertainly.
“Of course not. Just one minute…” Astrid Parkelline glided over to the empty desk and tapped her finger on a pen and it magically stood up and began writing something down on a sticky note. She then came out from behind the desk, snapped her fingers, and the heavy pile of books was lifted from Boston’s arms and floated next to her as if a small invisible man was carrying them at her side.
“I only have enough time to take you to two more buildings,” said Astrid. “I’m quite busy today, just like any other day.”
“Okay, that’s fine. Um, where will I go after this?” Boston asked the headmistress.
“That depends. Would you like to stay here, Boston? Would you like to attend the Mazark School for Others?” Astrid asked this with what looked like a glint of hope. Boston couldn’t seem to find words. Yesterday she was convinced that she would have to live in the orphanage for all of her life. Today the headmistress of an enchanted school was inviting her to live and attend the school where witches, vampires, and werewolves also attended. Never in a million years did Boston think she would get this opportunity, the choice to either stay at the awful orphanage or live among magical creatures at a secret school she’d never heard of in a secret world she‘d never heard of. Boston didn’t even have to hesitate before she gave Astrid her answer.
“Yes, yes, yes!” she yelped. “But, Astrid, how can I attend a school such as this one when I don’t have any powers? I can’t do magic or fly or do whatever it is they do here.”
“Don’t worry, Boston, you’ll fit right in.” Boston was still a little confused, but couldn’t ask any more questions when Astrid began to speak again.
“Ah, this is wonderful! Come then, let me show you the dining hall, and then I will show you the dormitory where you’ll be staying. I know just the room for you.” Astrid led her out through the big wooden doors and into the sunlight again. They turned left and began walking up the mountainous hill. Everywhere Boston looked she saw all kinds of strange little buildings. One building was a little hut that, just like the others, looked like a small log cabin. Another golden sign that hung above the wooden door said, “POTIONS 1.” An identical hut was placed right next to it, but this one said, “POTIONS 2.” As Boston looked around, she realized that there were tons of little clusters of cabins, all very small, and each group was for a different subject. She wondered how all the students fit into that little hut.
“Astrid?” she asked.
“How do all of the students fit in those small cabins?” she asked curiously.
“Magic,” Astrid replied, smiling. Boston could tell that this was the end of that conversation, but she was still very curious. She looked back at the building and stared at it with curved eyebrows, trying to figure out what it was like inside, and then lost her focus when she tripped on something in front of her.
“Ugh,” she moaned as she hit the hard ground.
“Are you alright?” Astrid asked motherly. “Go away, you Wrongel!” she screamed with so much authority that Boston jumped. “Sorry about that, dear. These darn Wrongels seem to be everywhere lately. No worries, though, they’re completely harmless. They just like to cause trouble is all.”
Boston looked over to catch a quick glimpse of what looked like a fuzzy goblin. “What’s a Wrongel?” she asked.
“It’s in the goblin family. They don’t have any powers, but they’re fast and nasty little buggers. They love to play tricks on people, and they’re very small.”
“Oh. Weird.” Boston tried to imagine a group of Wrongels scrambling around her neighborhood back home. She imagined one jumping on one of the nuns’ head back at the orphanage. She let out a small chuckle, but Astrid didn’t notice.
They kept walking and walking for quite a long time. When they were almost at the top they passed a very tall tower, much like the library, but it was a little wider. The doors were shaped like circles and it was leaning slightly, like the tower of Piza. A large wooden sign hanging from above the doors was engraved with golden letters that said, “ADMINISTRATION.” When she looked closer, she could see that every inch was carved with amazingly detailed designs that went all the way to the top. She wondered how long it took to make that, then wondered if it was carved by hand or just made with a quick spell. She seemed to be wondering a lot lately.
Astrid and Boston finally reached the top of the hill, where they could finally see the very large dome that rested there. Boston felt like she was visiting the gods at the top of Mount Olympus; it was so beautiful. The sun shone on the top of the marble dome, making it glisten marvelously. This was the only building on the whole campus that wasn’t made of wood. Around the dome were extremely tall columns made of marble and carved with many miraculous designs. There were white marble stairs leading up to the dome that went all around the entire building. Astrid led Boston up to the dome and into the shade. There was a wide porch like rim around the dome, also, and scattered every few feet were beautiful benches made of something that Boston could not recognize. In the very center were two very tall doors that made an arch in the dome. They had shiny gold handles and above them was yet another sign that said, “DINING HALL.” Boston was so excited to see what it looked like inside. Astrid slowly opened the door and Boston gasped as she led her into the amazingly beautiful dining hall.
The ceiling was about as tall as the Eiffel Tower—okay, maybe not that tall, but it seemed that way. The floor was made of shiny cream colored tiles and on them rested several large round tables made of dark wood with gold trim. Around each table was a round bench that wrapped all the way around the table and made of the same dark wood and gold trim. At the front of the hall was a large moon shaped table draped with a red velvet tablecloth that wrapped around one end of the hall. The table was elevated so high on a marble ledge that it was barely visible. From where Boston stood it looked like a giant moon in the sky. Behind the table were many beautiful chairs and in the middle was a huge chair that looked like a throne. It was made of gold with a red velvet cushion on the surface and the back. On the very top of the chair was a glittering silver star. Boston realized that from the angle she was standing at, all of the chairs looked like stars around the giant moon table.
There were beautiful stain glass windows all around the hall with colorful and intricate designs and pictures. She noticed suddenly that the images on the stain glass windows weren’t standing still—they were moving! One of them was of a beautiful woman who was dancing like a hula girl, and another was a dragon blowing flames of vibrant colors. Under every window was a huge beautiful flower that Boston was sure didn’t exist in the human world. Three colossal chandeliers hung from the tall ceiling and made the entire dining hall shimmer in candlelight. The walls of the hall were made of marble stone and the trim was also gold. They must have a lot of money, Boston thought. Then she thought of the marvelous food that must be served there. She thought the pancakes were the most delightful thing she’d ever tasted, so the breakfast lunch and dinner served in the dining hall must be unfathomable. Boston was so interested in the hall that she didn’t notice Astrid staring at her from behind her.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Boston jumped at her startling appearance.
“Yes. Yes, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“Are you ready to see your room?”
“Definitely.” Boston was extremely excited to see her new place of residence. The beds must be so much more comfortable than the creaky ones in the orphanage, and it must smell nicer, and there won’t be as many screaming kids…
“Well, come on, then,” Astrid said, interrupting Boston’s fantasies. They walked out of the dining hall and down the marble stairs. Astrid led her to the right and they walked until the other side of the hill was revealed. It looked almost identical to the other side, except that the buildings were shaped differently. There were a few more towers and two extremely wide buildings that were circular and looked to be about five stories high. Both of the strange looking buildings were joined with a little closed hallway that looked like a bridge except for the fact that it was touching the ground. It also had diamond shaped windows covering all surfaces. As they grew closer, Boston saw that at the front of each building was a tall diamond shaped door and above each door were two signs, one which said, “BOYS’ DORMITORY,” and the other which said, “GIRLS’ DORMITORY.” They walked to the right to the girls’ dormitory building and entered the strangely shaped door which, yet again, had a golden handle.
The room that it led to was beautiful, but that didn’t surprise Boston. The floor was covered in red carpet and there was a gigantic stone fireplace against the wall. Surrounding the fireplace was an arched sofa that wrapped around the area. In front of the sofa was a short table with a few books placed on it and a piece of crumpled paper.
At another side of the room there was a flat screen TV hanging from the wall with a sofa and two armchairs facing it. In front of the sofa was a wide fuzzy cream colored carpet that looked like polar bear fur. Next to the couch was a dark brown end table with a blue mug placed upon it.
There were also many paintings placed on the walls, along with some more moving stain glass windows. On the ceiling was a beautiful golden chandelier which made the room flicker in candlelight.
Another side of the magnificent room had a long moon shaped table that had a coffee machine, a bowl of fruit, a microwave, and a mini-fridge. Under the counter were many cabinets and drawers, which Boston figured held silverware, dishes, and snacks.
To the left of the television area was a dark wooden desk with a fancy black computer made by a company Boston had never heard of. There were also a few books on the desk along with a gold cup holding pencils and pens.
Near the door was a strange plant in a black pot next to a beautiful black grand piano with golden trim. Behind the piano was the only window she had seen that wasn’t stain glass. Instead, it was shaped like an octagon with a lighter wooden trim.
“This is the girls’ lobby,” Astrid said, interrupting Boston’s awe at the room. “The kids usually like to hang out here in their free time. You can watch TV, do your homework, read a book, or just relax. That counter over there,” she pointed at the moon shaped table, “is full of food and it never runs out. Ever.”
Boston was awestruck. “Never?” she asked.
“Awesome,” Boston whispered. She turned back to the fireplace and noticed something she didn’t see before. About a foot away from the stone fireplace was a tiny black button that said “PRIVACY.”
“What does this button do?” asked Boston.
“That is the privacy button,” Astrid replied. “It is there so that the room doesn’t get crammed with too many people. It’s for your own comfort. For example, if a student needs to study but everyone else is being loud, she can press this button and it will take her to an identical room just like this one. But to leave the room she must press it again and then exit, otherwise the whole world would be barren. This way, there could be five different people watching five different movies on the same TV all by themselves.”
“Wicked,” Boston said.
“Very. Alright, let me take you to your room,” Astrid said as she led Boston to the back of the room. She led her to a spiral staircase and they crawled up to the second floor. This floor was one big room and it was the strangest room Boston had ever seen. The carpet was black and the walls were wooden but there were not windows. There were rows and rows of doors that were all a different color, but they didn’t lead to anything. Behind every door was just empty space, and then another door. Boston looked up at Astrid with a confused look on her face.
“All of these doors are portals that go to the dorm rooms. When you enter a door it will take you to this same room, but it will look completely different. In a way, it’s kind of like a bunch of layers, and every layer is a different room, but they’re all in the same spot.” Boston looked totally confused, yet fascinated at the same time. “It’s just to save space,” Astrid added casually.
The staircase continued above them and Astrid led Boston up to the third floor. This floor looked just like the second floor, and the next floor did, too. Finally, they reached the floor of their destination. It was the fifth and final floor. Astrid began walking and Boston followed. As they walked, Boston noticed the strange patterns on the doors and that every door was numbered. One was lime green with a big blue smiley face, the number four printed on it, and a black door-knob. Another was white with red hearts and a pink knob and read the number sixteen, and another was black with rainbow polka dots, a white knob, and the number twenty. Finally, they came to a black and white checkered door with the number twenty seven printed on it and a bright pink knob.
“You will be sharing a room with Harper Monty,” Astrid said. “She’s one of the students who found you last night; she’s your age.”
“Okay. Wait, how do you know how old I am?” Boston asked skeptically.
“You’d be surprised how much an experienced witch will know, Boston,” she replied with a smile. “Now, go along inside and introduce yourself. I’ll come get you tomorrow and we can discuss which classes you are interested in taking. Good-day, Boston.”
“Good-bye.” But she was already gone. Boston turned to face the tall checkered door that led to the dorm room. Boston was a little afraid to enter the room—she had never had any friends. The thought of introducing herself to some strange girl scared her a little, but she thought if she could sneak into a haunted mansion she could surely do this, so she grabbed the pink handle and slowly opened the door.
C H A P T E R F O U R
THE MAGICAL HARPER MONTY AND THE MONSTROUS DEVON LIGHT
“Hi!” Suddenly a skinny perky girl was dancing towards Boston with a wide smile on her face. Boston recognized her high pitched voice from the night before, and it was odd to put a face to the mysterious voice. The girl looked to be about five feet three inches tall, and her hair was short, spiky, and hot pink. She was dressed in a short black skirt with rainbow striped leggings. Her shirt was bright neon green with a strange looking fish on it. On her hands were black fingerless gloves and around her neck was a cross hanging from a chain. Her eyes shone a bright violet that was amazing to Boston. She looked extremely excited to see Boston, which seemed very odd to her. “I’m Harper Monty,” she continued. “I’m one of the people who found you last night! What’s your name?”
“Boston.” She could see the confused expression on her face, just like Astrid’s. “No last name. I’ve lived in an orphanage all my life and I wasn’t supplied with a last name.”
“Oh, wow, that’s cool. Kind of weird, though. It must get confusing when you have to fill out papers and stuff, you must get asked a lot of questions.”
“I’ve never had to fill out any papers,” Boston replied.
“Never?! Wow, lucky you. They’re incredibly boring and useless. Whatever. Here, let me put your books down,” she said, pointing at the stack of books that was still floating next to Boston. Harper swooshed her fingers through the air and the books glided over to a nearby table. Boston just stared in amazement, but Harper didn‘t seem to notice. “Anywho, how did you get here? Are you an Other? You must be since you were able to get through the portal. Your entrance was pretty unique, though, usually we just walk through the door and we’re here. Most people don’t fall out of the ceiling like you.” Harper giggled.
“Yeah, I guess there must be something wrong with me,” Boston said calmly. Harper giggled again, yet Boston was still confused at people laughing at her unintended jokes. Boston was about to start answering Harper’s many questions when a boy entered the room with a small Black Lab.
“Hey, Devon!” Harper called, and the boy waved. “Boston, this is Devon Light. He’s a first year Other like us. And this is his adorable dog, Elvis. Hello, there, Elvis!” Harper smothered the dog with affection as she stroked his fur excitedly. “Dev, this is Boston.” Devon Light was a very tall fifteen year old. His hair was black and shaggy—a little messy, actually. In a way, he looked kind of like his dog, Elvis. Maybe it was just the hair. And the strangely identical eyes that were shining a magnificent green that Boston had never seen before. He was wearing baggy jeans, a black T-shirt, and a black leather belt. Harper turned to Boston. “This is the kid I was with when we found you. Isn’t he just adorable?” Harper squeezed Devon and he made a disgusted face but had a hint of a smile, like deep down he wanted to say the same about her. “You’ll learn to know that he hangs out here most of the time, along with his dog. If he’s not here he’s probably in the library. He is the biggest book nerd I’ve ever met.” Devon rolled his eyes at her and walked up to Boston. He held out his hand and said,
“Nice to meet you, Boston.”
“You, too,” she said in return, and grabbed his hand to shake it. “Are you allowed to keep a dog in here?”
“Oh, yeah, all the students are allowed to have pets,” answered Devon. Boston was extremely surprised. She had never gone to a real school because the nuns taught the kids at the orphanage, but she had heard stories about them and never heard of pets being allowed in the building. Let alone live in the building.
“I have a pet too,” Harper said. “He’s a hummingbird. His name’s Spimmer. Speaking of him, where is the little bugger?” She looked around trying to find her tiny bird. Devon rolled his eyes at her, and then she shrugged and turned back around.
“Aaaanyways, before you oh so rudely interrupted us, Devon,” Harper said as Devon looked at her as if to say Oh, please, you know you love me, and then continued, “I was asking Boston about how she got here and for all the juicy details. Nobody has ever entered here the way you did. We’d love to know your story.”
“And when she says that,” Devon said, “she means she wants to hear everything.” Harper smiled.
“It’s true.” So, Boston went on to telling them everything she could remember and how she had never heard of Mazark or the Others. She told them everything she had told Astrid, but with a little more detail because her memory was starting to get less and less fuzzy. Harper and Devon sat there looking extremely interested, and Boston thought she noticed Harpers hair turning a little bit purple.
“Wow, that’s weird.” Harper said after listening to her story.
“So, what, some kind of vortex sucked you into the floor?” Devon asked as Elvis sniffed something in the corner of the room. “That’s very odd…”
“I thought that was how everyone got in, isn’t it?” Boston asked curiously. “Isn’t that the portal?”
“Well, yes,” Devon answered. “but it’s usually not that crazy. Normally we would enter the house and snap our fingers twice and then we would be descended down through the floor like an elevator. The entire floor turned into what seemed to be some sort of liquid so we could pass through, but it isn’t wet at all. It’s very strange, really, but its how the portal works. No one has ever been sucked into a violent black hole before.”
“Huh,” Boston said. “I wonder why it sucked me down in the first place. I mean, I’m not an Other.” Devon and Harper exchanged glances.
“Well,” said Harper, “considering the fact that the school took you in, you must be. It would never make a mistake.” Boston took in her words and a small shiver was sent down her spine. Could she really be an Other? It seemed that way, but she had never experienced any strange powers beyond the ordinary. Unless you counted her magnificent pick pocketing skills and the ability to sneak out without ever being caught. Most of the time.
“You’re probably an Artist,” said Devon as he pet Elvis gently. “A really strange one, but an Artist nonetheless.” Boston was suddenly even more confused than she already was.
“What’s an Artist, exactly?” She looked at them both puzzlingly. She remembered Astrid talking about it before, but there was so much information being poured into her that she was having trouble remembering all of it.
“An Artist,” replied Devon, sounding like he was about to give a long speech, “is a special class of Other that doesn’t have any specific ability. For instance, a vampire has the ability to control people’s thoughts, a warlock is able to cast spells, and a werewolf can morph from a human into a giant wolf. But an Artist is not born with any of these gifts. However, they are born with a special gift that allows them to learn things normal humans would be incapable of learning.
“When an Artist first appears at Mazark, he does not have any abilities whatsoever. But over time he is able to learn almost anything. In a way, an Artist is the most talented of all Others, but along with that comes much concentration, practice, and patience. A fully successful Artist could be able to take every ability that any Other has and combine it into his own arsenal of abilities, but that is an almost impossible task to complete. It would take years to complete that kind of challenge.”
“So basically what Devon’s saying is that an Artist is the ultimate Other,” Harper said with a smile.
“And I’m one of these ‘ultimate Others’, am I?” asked Boston.
“Seems that way,” replied Devon.
“Sweet! There’s not very many Artists in Olindarver, so you’re one of the special ones,” Harper said grinning.
“Neat. So, uh, what are you guys, then?” Boston asked, looking at the two of them. Harper decided she would go first.
“Well,” she began enthusiastically, “I am a purebred Witch. My mother is a Witch and my father is a Warlock. They also went here and were high school sweethearts, isn’t that cute? Anyhoozle, you’re probably wondering why my hair is pink. See, some Others are born with special gifts. Not all of us, but it isn’t unusual for someone to be born with super speed or mind reading abilities. My gift really isn’t much of a gift at all, more like a fashion statement.” Harper laughed a little at her own joke. “Depending on my mood, my hair changes colors. Normally, it’s pink. When I get excited it turns purple, when I get angry it turns red, and so on. It’s pretty festive, but hard to hide my mood. Especially when I’m embarrassed, because it turns a really bright green, attracting even more attention to me. Ick.”
Boston smiled and said, “That’s cool, though. At least it looks really neat.”
“Thanks! Okay, now it’s your turn, Dev!” Harper pushed. Elvis seemed to be getting bored because he walked to the other side of the room to sniff a strange looking plant by the window.
“Alright,” he said. “Unlike Harper, I am not a purebred. My mother is a vampire and my father is a werewolf. Its kind of ironic, really, because werewolves and vampires are said to be sworn enemies, but that’s all lies, of course.”
“Oh, yes, of course,” Harper interrupted, mocking Devon and rolling her eyes jokingly.
“Anyways,” Devon continued, staring at Harper looking annoyed, “I took my father’s genes and was born a Werewolf. The only ability I picked up from my mother was super-speed, and let me tell you, it can come in a lot of handy sometimes.” He smiled happily.
“I can’t even tell you how much I wish I could trade abilities with him,” Harper said. “I think pink would be a good look for you, too, don’t ya think?” She teased Devon and he just rolled his eyes at her.
“I don’t know, I think it suits you better. Really brings out your eyes,” Devon said smiling. Even though they were just joking around, Devon was right. The pink really made her crystal violet eyes pop out beautifully.
“So, what are all the classes of Others here? What can they all do?” Boston asked, looking at Devon; he seemed to know a lot about all of this. Harper was right, he was a bit of a nerd. But this didn’t seem to bother Boston. She was already beginning to like him—and Harper.
“Well,” he began, “there are a ton of classes here at Mazark. I think I have a list of them in here somewhere…” He rummaged through his bag until he pulled out a folded up piece of paper and handed it to Boston.
The top of the paper said Mazark School for Others: Classes for All. Under the title it said, Students may enroll in up to three electives. As she read further, she found a list of classes, all organized into small groups on the paper. The first said this:
Study of Music
Poetry & Writings
Other Home Economics
Life After Mazark
Boston was surprised at how similar these subjects were to normal high schools. A little disappointed, she read on, hoping to find some more interesting classes. The next group said:
History of Others
History of Dark Arts
History of Magic
History of Werewolves
History of Vampires
History of Shape Shifters
Life After Mazark
“Devon,” Boston said, “you said I’m an artist, right?”
“Well, that’s what I’m assuming,” he replied. “We can’t know for sure. You should ask Parkelline.”
“Okay. Well, if I am, does that mean I can only take these classes?” She pointed to the Artist section.
“Yeah, but you can also take three electives along with it. And since you seem to be a little more special than the other Others here, you could probably take any class you wanted.” Harper snickered when he said “other Others.”
“Really? Huh.” Boston said as she continued to read the paper. The next few groups were these:
History of Werewolves
History of Others
History of Others
History of Vampires
Spells and Charms
History of Magic
History of Others
SHAPE SHIFTER COURSES:
History of Others
Shape Shifter Combat
History of Shape Shifters
“Wow,” Boston said, “there’s a ton of classes.” She couldn’t wait until September first to try out all of these interesting and unbelievable classes.
“Yeah,” Devon said. “You should make your schedule soon, though. They’re collecting them tomorrow.”
“We’ll help you!” shouted Harper excitedly. “And we can compare schedules so we have all our classes together! Well, as many as we can, anyways.” Boston felt a sudden warmth spread over her, something she had never felt before. And then she realized what it was. She had friends.
C H A P T E R F I V E
A Wonderful New World
Boston awoke the next morning at the crack of dawn. At first she was expecting to be surrounded by screaming children and angry nuns, but then she realized the recent adventures that had fallen upon her.
As she looked around the room, she noticed the hint of light that was sneaking itself in the window through a crack in the curtains. The beam of light, which would normally reveal floating dust particles hovering in the air, instead created a light patch of glitter sparkling and dancing throughout the room. It was a beautiful sight, along with the accompanying birds singing a beautiful tune on a tree branch outside the window.
While Boston fathomed at the lovely situation, she was interrupted by a loud snort coming from the bed to her left. She then remembered the other part of her adventure—Harper Monty, her new roommate and friend.
She laughed quietly as she watched Harper snore and twist beneath her covers. Realizing that it would be an hour or two before her roommate awoke, Boston decided to go for a nice morning walk, something she had longed to do for quite some time.
As she tip toed out of her bed, she quickly changed into a pair of comfy red shorts and a white tee—no shoes, of course. She snatched her black sweater from off the hook and tip-toed out the door as quietly as she could, trying not to wake Harper.
Boston was in the room of doors again, and looked around still amazed by how magical her new home really was. She then walked out of the door and down the long staircase into the girls’ lobby. The room was still and silent. Boston remembered that school didn’t start for a few days yet, and the girls who were there early mustn’t have woken yet.
She went over to the mini fridge and grabbed a bottle of water, not thinking to get something to eat, for she was so used to going long hours without eating a crumb. After a moment of enjoying the silence of the dormitory, Boston decided she was ready to go out into the morning light.
The sky still had a hint of orange and pink left from when the sun rose not long before. Boston stared up in awe at the beauty of her new world and realized that there was still much to learn about Olivander and the Mazark School for Others. She decided to take a path she hadn’t taken yet to see what discoveries she could find.
The path was made of light bricks, like every other path on the mountain, but this one led to a different direction than most of the others. It was long and windy, getting farther and farther away from the school. Finally, the path came to something interesting—a forest. Boston couldn’t wait to see what was inside; she had always enjoyed the woods. The smell of morning dew on the leaves, the sound of the leaves crunching beneath her feet, and the dark mysterious endlessness that surrounded her. It was a feeling she would never forget.
But for Boston, a new memory was blossoming. The woods were unlike any forest she had ever experienced. Not only were there green leaves, but beside them were leaves of every color you could name. The trees were taller than the empire state building, supported by thick trunks covered in glittering green moss. Butterflies and dragonflies and flies that Boston couldn’t even name danced and fluttered everywhere and sparkled in the sunlight that seeped in through the treetops.
As she watched the beautiful creatures fly through the air, she examined one of the butterflies as it perched itself on the most amazing flower Boston had ever seen. She then realized that she was surrounded by flowers of spectacular character and was overwhelmed with awe.
One had only three petals, but they were extremely huge with both beauty and size. On each blue petal was a yellow four pointed star and blue designs that cannot even be described in words. Another was similar to a rose, but instead of being red it was golden with silver veins sparkling from every angle.
Amazed by the beauty of the forest, Boston was anxious to continue along the path to see what else she could find within the trees. She skipped with joy and let the warm air comfort her in a way it never had before. She let down her bun and let the wind caress her cheek and sway her hair in a wonderful breeze. The smell of the forest made Boston smile—it was as if rose petals, cinnamon, and every other delicious smell had blown together and formed a rich, luxurious scent that made her nostrils tickle and her head spin.
As she skipped and gazed at the magical forest, Boston came to a turn in the path which led her to something even more beautiful—if that was even possible—than what she had already seen.
In front of her was a pond, but not a mucky moss-filled pond like the ones back home. This one was fit for the gods. The water was so clear that it had a hint of a blue color that was so shiny it was almost silver. Surrounding the pond were shimmering rocks and glistening pebbles with neighboring blue mosses and purple grass. More flowers appeared here as well, along with the strangest mushrooms Boston had ever seen.
Each one was a different color, separating each from the other with a unique characteristic. The first she spotted was perfectly pearl white, with one single green dot on its top. Another was so intricate that it looked like it was hand painted with every color imaginable with such finite detail that it didn’t even seem real.
Suddenly, a loud splash distracted Boston from the mystical mushrooms. As she looked up to see what caused the noise, her jaw dropped when she saw a huge, glistening fish jumping out of the water. Its body was yellow with orange fins and red whiskers coming out from its nose. It looked like a giant fireball shooting out of the silver pond. When Boston saw this, she quickly ran to the edge of the pond and leaned in, making sure not to accidentally fall in, and looked into the water to see what other magical creatures she could find.
She couldn’t believe what she saw.
It was like a completely different world, filled with civilization and life. There were so many different creatures that all seemed as if they had places to go and people to see. Most of them traveled in groups, while the others swam alone.
Boston was even more surprised when she realized it was extremely too deep for a pond. It must have gone down into the center of the earth! She suddenly wondered what other kinds of animals could live down there. She was extremely curious about mermaids. But before she could think about it any longer, something slimy jumped onto her bare foot.
“Ah!” she screamed when she felt the little amphibian squirming on her foot. When she looked down, she saw a tiny, perfectly white frog. It looked as if it was made of plastic; it had not one bump on its back. It was perfectly smooth and had a slick, perfectly straight blue line along its back. Its eyes were also blue and looked almost human.
“Hey there, little guy,” Boston said as she stroked her finger down the blue line of its back. It looked up at her in response, with an expression of comfort and, to Boston’s surprise, understanding.
Boston then remembered that students were allowed to have pets on campus, and she instantly knew that the little frog was going to be her new pet.
“I’m gonna take you home, buddy, how does that sound?” The little frog almost seemed to smile and closed its eyes with satisfaction as Boston stroked it under its chin.
“I’ll call you…Nuppy,” Boston said to the frog. She was still amazed by how beautiful he was and how much he seemed to understand his surroundings.
However, there was something that mystified Boston even more than her beautiful new pet. As her gaze shifted, her eyes landed upon something wonderful, the most beautiful thing she had ever seen in her fifteen years.
C H A P T E R S I X
I suppose the term “boy” would suit him more appropriately, but to Boston he looked like a beautiful God who had fallen from the Heavens. She wasn’t even sure he was a human; he was so beautiful. No human being could ever be as beautiful as he was.
The boy was wearing long, green shorts and nothing else. Around his neck was a silver pendant that looked similar to a butterfly, but Boston was too far away to see. His hair was a perfect shade of blonde and had a choppy but clean look to it. It went about an inch below his ears and stopped. His skin had a perfect tan that looked completely natural and had a golden tint in the sunlight. She couldn’t stop staring at him, but then she realized he was looking at her, too. He turned, and Boston gasped at what she saw.
On his back, two silver wings stuck out of his skin. What is he? Boston wondered. Is he a fairy? She was so mystified by his beauty and extremely curious as to what he could be.
He stared at her in wonder, his bright blue eyes glistening with curiosity. Boston only stared back, for she was too mystified to do anything else. Then, an expression of knowing and excitement crossed his face. He cocked a slight crooked smile, and Boston became utterly confused.
But, before she could say anything, he spread his wings and flew up into the treetops faster than a speeding bullet.
Boston was so awestruck that she jumped when Nuppy sprawled onto her left shoulder.
“Was that weird or what?” she asked her frog, and then decided it was time to go back to the dormitory. Harper would be awake by now.
Boston walked back to the dormitory, instead of skipping like she had on the way to the forest. She was so confused; her mind was still processing everything she had seen. Who was that strange boy? Questions wouldn’t stop racing through her mind, and she couldn’t let go of the image he left in her brain.
He was definitely the most amazing, magnificent, wonder—
“Boston!” Boston was distracted from her fantasy when she realized she was standing in the girls’ lobby, Harper staring at her with a great big smile stretching across her face.
“Oh, uh, good morning, Harper,” Boston said as she tried to control her thoughts.
“You look distracted. What’s up?” Harper asked with giddy curiosity. Boston went over to a chair and sat down, staring into nothingness.
“Well,” she began, “I went on a morning walk through the forest.”
“Oh, isn’t it just amazing? The first time I was in there I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Did you see anything cool? I bet you did.”
“Yeah, it was wonderful. There are so many different plants and—“
“Oh, gosh, what’s that on your shoulder?!” Harper suddenly exclaimed.
“What? Oh, right I forgot. I found this little guy in the pond. I named him Nuppy.”
“Well aren’t you just the cutest thing!” Harper said as she picked up Nuppy. “You’re keeping him?”
“I figured I would. Since we’re allowed to have pets and all. Plus, I think we made some sort of a connection. He seems so understanding.”
“Well, that’s great.” Harper continued to play with the little frog. “Anyway, what were you saying?
“Right. Well, as I was playing with Nuppy, something extraordinary caught my eye.”
“Ooh, what was it, what was it?” Harper asked excitedly.
“Well, that’s the thing. I don’t really know. I just know he—or it—whatever it was was beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“He? You saw a man in the forest?”
“I think he was a man. Or something. He definitely wasn’t human.”
“What did it look like?” Harper suddenly gave her undivided attention to Boston.
“Well, he looked like a normal man, except the fact that he was gorgeous, and he had wings.”
Harper’s eyes suddenly got wide and she stared at Boston with surprise. Her hair turned a bright purple.
“Boston, you saw a fairy!” Harper was suddenly extremely excited.
“A…a fairy?” Boston knew Olivander was different, but she didn’t know they had fairies.
“Yes! They’re really rare…I didn’t know there were any here in Mazark. I thought they stayed in places with less civilization. Oh, Boston, this is great!”
“What’s great?” Devon said as he walked through the door.
“Devon, Boston saw a fairy!” Harper said. Devon was suddenly extremely interested.
“Really? Are you sure? They’re extremely difficult to come across.”
“Well,” Boston started, “I think it was. I mean I described it to Harper and she seemed to think it was a fairy.”
“I know it was, Devon,” Harper said. “Only a fairy could dazzle someone that much.”
Boston felt her cheeks get a little red, but she couldn’t deny she was utterly dazzled.
“Wow,” Devon said, “I just can’t believe it. Were there others?”
“No,” Boston answered, “just the one. He flew away before I could even say anything.”
“Did he see you?” asked Devon.
“Yeah. Kind of embarrassing, really. I just gawked at him and he smiled back at me like he was amused or something.”
“He smiled?!” Harper seemed even more excited now. “A gorgeous, delicious fairy smiled at you! Oh, I am so jealous.”
“Yeah,” Boston sighed as she daydreamed about the beautiful fairy boy. She realized that she wanted to see him again, and decided she would go back the next morning and try to find him.
TO BE CONTINUED…