Prettyinpinkgal: People are still reading this story, so thank you! Please review and enjoy.
On another note, thank goodness the Document Editor is working correctly again!
Disclaimer: "Sharewood Academy" is based slightly off of the movie "Game Over" or whatever the title is. I think watching that movie spurred on my nightmare.
My journey was far, and the travel was tedious. I sighed impatiently on more than one occasion, and grew restless. I tried to occupy myself by sewing, but only ended up pricking myself when we hit a bump in the road. I tried reading from an old book I've had for quite a while, one of the few things we did not sell, but it was too hard to focus on the words when it was constantly vibrating with the uneven ground.
Eventually, I consented to simply watching the passing scenery.
It was about a week until we reached our destination: Sharewood Academy. It was far from any town or even a farm, but it was a school, and I was thrilled.
The coachman helped me down, and I gazed at my new home. I would most likely stay for only a couple years, but I was still so excited, wondering what sort of new life awaited me beyond the doors.
Needless to say, Sharewood was not the type of place I had expected. As it was an academy for young ladies, I didn't expect it to look as pleasant as my old elegant home, but the appearance of my new home was enough to make me shiver involuntarily.
It had but four hundred students, and only one tutor, a certain Mistress Eyme. Still, the academy was large enough to easily hold a couple thousand people to my guess, and it was dark enough to frighten me. It seemed as though a house from one of those dark novels some girls my age read secretly.
" 'Ere, miss. Careful with 'em, now," the coachman told me, handing me my two rather small bags.
"Thank you," I replied, and I watched him ride off the way we had come.
I breathed in deeply, then turned back to Sharewood Academy. I gasped when I saw faces in one of the windows, looking pale and ghastly, almost as if they were ghosts. I then calmed down, thinking, For goodness sakes, it's just the window. They're just students curious to see who the newcomer is, that's all.
I walked up to the large doors which were double my size. Knocking, I suddenly felt very small. Coyotes howled to the moon that was beginning to appear. "Please answer now," I found myself whispering anxiously.
As if I was heard, the doors creaked open. A woman of about fifty or sixty stood before me. Her hair was raven black, and her eyes were just as dark. "Hello there," she said presently. "I presume you are Alenamra Furuo?"
She smiled. "I am Mistress Eyme. Please, come in. I'm sure you are quite tired from your journey."
I grinned in return, pleased that the woman looking after me seemed perfectly amiable. "Thank you very much."
The inside of Sharewood was as forboding as its exterior, but I was no longer frightened. If the teacher was this kind, surely there was nothing to fear.
Mistress Eyme continued, telling me, "It is time for supper. I'll show you to your room so you may lay down your bags, and then you may join us in the dining hall."
My room was shared by twenty other girls my age. I was impressed with its enormous size. The room was decored simply, and the beds were not exactly designed for comfort, but I was excited to be with so many girls my age.
"Many of these girls are orphaned, or were cast off because their families were too poor to keep them. They have been sent here to live. To tell the truth, only a handful of girls are here because they want to learn, like you," I was informed by my teacher.
"Oh, how sad," I replied honestly.
"Yes. Now, set your bags down; this will be your bed. There you are, now I'll show you were the dining hall is. Pardon the shabby look of our academy; as you can imagine, a school for girls does not have nearly as much funding as a school for boys."
I followed her through the winding hallways. I wondered how I should ever find my way around.
"And this is the hall where we eat," Mistress Eyme said presently, leading me into a room large enough to be mistaken for a room from the castle.
The students had been whispering before it was noticed we had entered, but once it was acknowledged, the room grew almost deathly still.
"Girls," the headmistress announced in a calm voice that contained great authority, "this is the new student, Alenamra Furuo. I expect you all to treat her with as much courtesy as you can muster."
"Hello, Miss Furuo," the girls said in unison in voices almost as soft as a whisper.
"Um, you can just call me Alenamra," I replied, blushing a bit from the attention.
Mistress Eyme told me, "Enjoy yourself. I must fill out some paperwork now, so feel free to make yourself at home. I look forward to your stay here, Alenamra."
"Thank you." I curstied for good measure, but she was gone before I stood up straight again, closing the door behind her.
One of the girls my age approached me. Her face was as pale as the faces I had seen in the window, and this time there was no window to blame it on. "My name is Rhysan. It's nice to meet you," she whispered with a halfhearted smile.
"It's nice to meet you too. Would you mind terribly if I sat with you? I have no where else to sit."
No, she told me, she wouldn't mind in the slightest. She led me passed all the pairs of eyes to two empty seats in the middle of the room.
Not a soul spoke. We took food from the center of the table and ate, but the supply was almost pathetic. "Is this all we eat?" I asked Rhysan.
"Yes," she answered with a whisper.
"Why are we being so quiet?" I whispered back.
A pause. Then she replied in a softer tone, almost so I could not hear her, "She can still see us."
"Who, a ghost?" I asked, taking it as a joke.
She only looked at me, having the appearance of a ghost herself. Finally, she answered, "Mistress Eyme."
Goodness, I thought, dumbfounded. The girls here are mad!
"Mistress Eyme is a perfectly ordinary headmistress, Rhysan. You must be paranoid," I told her in a normal voice, and continued eating. A few minutes later, the headmistress herself walked in. "Rhysan. May I speak with you for a moment?" Her tone was entirely pleasant.
I glanced at Rhysan, ready to tell her it's just a coincidence, but Rhysan had gone even paler. She looked meaningfully at me, her eyes wide with terror. Then she got up and left.
The doors closed, and the silence burst into whispers. "She can't see us now," a girl near me told me quietly. "Not when she's hurting someone."
A sickening feeling overwhelmed me for a moment. Here I had thought school would be so fun.
It was not until bedtime that Rhysan returned. Her face had bloody marks, she had two black eyes, and black and blue marks were all over her body. She walked slowly, brokenly, towards what I understood was her bed.
"What happened?" I asked with a terrified gasp.
All the girls looked at me. "Mistress Eyme. Mistress Eyme happened," one whispered near my ear.
"Why would she do such a thing?"
"Because she's either possessed by the devil, or simply mad," another whispered to me.
"Or perhaps she's the devil himself, in the guise of a woman," yet another told me quietly.
I shook my head in disbelief. "I cannot accept this."
"Accept it or not, it is the truth. Goodnight, Alenamra."
The candles were then blown out, the darkness crushing each and every one of us.
The next morning, class started. I brushed off yesterday's events, sure that Mistress Eyme had not hurt a hair on Rhysan's head. Mistress Eyme has been nothing but kind. Who am I to suspect such cruelty? There must be some other explanation.
This being thought, I slid into my chair behind a large wooden desk. "Good morning, class," Mistress Eyme greeted as she walked in.
Around me, everyone stood. I quickly jumped up and followed the others as they said, "Good morning to you, Mistress Eyme."
"You may be seated."
Class started as I imagined any school class would start. My heart thumped wildly in my chest, excitement pulsing through my veins. I was eager to learn, eager to please. I raised my hand for any question I knew the answer to.
The nightmare started when there came a question no one knew the answer to.
"Who was our first king's queen?" our teacher asked.
Not a peep.
A girl speaks up. "I-I'm not sure, madam."
"You're not...sure." A muscle in Mistress Eyme's jaw twitched.
"I'm so sorry!" the girl squeaked, trying to slide further into her seat.
"Sit up straight!" barked Mistress Eyme, startling me.
The teacher eyed each student. No one dared move, not even the younger girls. Everyone had their eyes open wide, and I snuck a glance and saw that the smaller students looked ready to cry.
I quickly averted my eyes to look at Mistress Eyme. She had an almost crazed look in her eyes. "You've been answering the questions so faithfully today. You should know this one."
I hear myself whisper, "I'm very sorry. I do not know the answer."
The silence that followed was quickly broken by the wailing of a girl not even ten years old. The girls around her tried to silence her, but to no avail. Mistress Eyme whirled on her.
"MARKA!" she shrieked like a madwoman. Then again, I thought numbly, perhaps she was.
I could only watch in shocked horror as our teacher grabbed the little girl by the hair and pulled her out of her seat, causing the poor thing to only shriek more. "YOU SHALL STAY OUTSIDE UNTIL EVENING!" screamed the teacher, slapping the child.
It was pouring rain outside.
It was only seven o'clock.
The girl came back in once the sunset, ill with a terribly high fever.
She nearly died that night.
The next morning, Mistress Eyme acted as if yesterday's incident had not happened.
The little girl had to come to class, for if she laid in bed, Mistress Eyme would get angry again.
And that was just the beginning.