A/N *nudges readers to see if they're still alive* Just a quick note to say sorry for the delay and thank you to all my wonderful reviewers! You have no idea how much I appreciate it! :) All mistakes are my own and if you notice one, please PM me as I have absolutely NO idea what I've written here :3
Disclaimer on first chapter as always :3
That night as Constance fell into a deep slumber, prying eyes played a game of waiting in the darkest shadows of the room; watching over the sleeping form of their marked victim like a trained dog watching a piece of meat, anticipating that fine hour when their master allowed them a single droplet of the bitter sweet poison that was their prize… but like every dog, once that tantalising essence touched the tongues of the patient, staining its perfect pink a tasty scarlet, there would be no mercy. Once blood tarnished those pearly white fangs of the once tame, there was no going back… a feast would be had… with or without the master's consent.
Constance winced as the tangy liquid slid down the back of her throat like thick slime, a hot chilli taste following as a burning sensation seeped into her veins, through the 4 chambers of her heart and dispersed throughout her body. Mildred certainly did have a knack for adding a few more ingredients than she ought to.
'Perhaps too many ingredients' thought Constance as she calculated just how close the girls were to her should something go wrong. She momentarily regretted her actions. Mildred Hubble was a girl renown for having an odd aura, a sort of 'bad luck', surround her… god only knew what this potion could do. Constance mentally berated herself 'You know the potion! Confidence and control… you fear nothing' Constance looked at the box of matches 'Well… almost nothing'
"Ok girls, don't crowd round. Stand back a little bit" The girls took a step back, each one still fighting for the best place to get a clear view. Constance smirked. She certainly did have a job that came with perks. After all, what's more exciting and motivating than concoctions and chemical reactions that can did amazing things? Sure there were interesting spells in the world… but there was no real work involved in spell casting. There were words, and arguably a 'feeling' according to Amelia, but to Constance that's all they were, just words… with potion making there was a sort of elegance, an art if you will, to creating and perfecting the perfect potion. There was real work involved, work that required mathematics, ingenuity… a delicate touch. Constance felt this was why witches in the profession of spell casting often got bored, or were boring themselves. The victory at the end was never as sweet without the blood, sweat and tears. With spells, more times than enough, everything turns out the way they are supposed to turn out but with potions, you could be creative with your mistakes.
Constance took a match from the box and set it on the table, a safe enough distance from the blaze that was certain to follow. She inhaled, finding a sense of serenity amongst the raging emotions flowing through her before continuing. A level of calm was paramount to making this work without causing her, or more importantly the girls, any grievous bodily harm. Finding a common ground within herself, she stuck the match against the work top. As the phosphorus coating on the head of the match reacted with the friction against the desk, Constance suddenly felt oddly exhilarated. There was something exciting about fire that couldn't be described. It was chaos… but essential chaos. Without thinking, she forcefully brought the match down on her arm, the flame immediately disappearing within the folds of the cloth and into her very skin.
A sigh echoed around the room "Don't be so impatient". She wasn't so much saying it to the girls as she was saying it to herself. She was anxious, she wanted the flame… she wanted the power. Suddenly a bell began to ring in her ears, cutting off all noise from the outside world. She was left with nothing but the faint whispers of her own mind pleading with her to brace herself. And then it happened. All at once the bell was gone, blasted through by a loud roar as the match ignited the fire running through her veins. Instantaneous combustion. Within seconds her entire world was overtaken in a blur of orange and red as her blood boiled and burst from their prison beneath her perfect pale skin. Darkness sprung to life.
Her heart thumped in her hollow chest, barely acclimatising to the adrenaline and fear as her skin burned and red hot pokers stabbed her once straight back. Her limbs were everywhere and nowhere. She momentarily feared they may have been burned off in the process, severed from the root into oblivion. How would she get back? If she had no arms she couldn't extinguish the fire! Her heart thumped harder. The potion would only last for so long, after that the flames could do as they wished with her.
Constance swallowed back the intoxicating fear of having lost her arms and forced her eyes to meet those of the girls before her. Beyond the fire and the flames she could just about make out the startled faces of her young students. She wracked her sizzling brain for the words of wisdom bestowed upon her by a very wise woman indeed 'Sometimes there are moments when the girls will simply be afraid… when those moments come it's up to you and you alone to shine with confidence. Even if you're more afraid than you've ever been yourself, a sense of safety is all they'll need... a sort of hope, something to cling onto… like teddy bear!" Constance was certain if her tear ducts weren't on fire, they'd be threatening a waterfall. Davina Bat, though crazier in her later years, was a smarter woman than anyone would ever have the privilege to know. She doubted she'd have lasted longer than her first week had Davina not given her those few words of advice.
Out of duty to her retired comrade, she forced herself to stand up straight, her spine sending excited jitters down to her core. She folded her arms neatly across her chest, slightly relieved that they were indeed still there. She took a deep breath of the acrid air around her, the stench of ozone burning her senses. She swallowed back a cough and peered through the flickers of orange tongues. True to Davina's word, the girls faces immediately brightened. She smirked. In the end, any pain was worth it to inspire the future generation to do something great.
Suddenly a sharp pain erupted from behind her delicate hazel eyes as the image before her blurred into a mess of colours, each one streaming over the last to create an abstract effect. Then, with a palpable force that pinned Constance to the very floor, darkness crashed down upon the psychedelic world of colour.
Constance lay there for a moment, the flames still looming around her heaving form, desperate for the oxygen the fire stole from her. A hum of incoherent thoughts penetrated her numb silence, taking life and imitating the laughter of children as she began to feel a bone chilling coldness seep past the heat of the flames and engulf her body. "The girls" Constance mumbled "What happened to the girls?" The laughter grew louder, ringing in her ears as she lifted her head in the distance of the noise.
The girls, each one of them standing side by side behind the desks, unharmed, their faces permanently frozen with awestruck expressions. Constance shakily brought herself to her knees and stared into the pale blue eyes of Mildred Hubble, her eyes looking right through her form mistress. Constance reached out a hand to the girl, only to pull back just as quick as the tips of her fingers touched the raw flames.
"Mildred Hubble" Echoed a stern voice "Do you know now what you have made?"
Constance glanced around at the surrounding blackness. Nothing.
"Yes, Miss Hardbroom" Constance's eyes snapped to the girl before her. "A fire resistance potion" The words were there and yet… the girl's mouth hadn't even moved. Constance pushed herself to her feet and studied the girls. Each one seemed to be in a trance, a state of freeze frame… Constance wasn't even sure they were breathing.
"Girls?" she ventured, she knew nothing would come of it but she had to try.
"In one respect yes" Constance turned around, searching the darkness through the hot tongues once more for the voice she knew was hers "it is a fire resistance potion"
"Show yourself!" She yelled in desperation.
"But I can only assume, Constance, that those extra spider's eggs have given it a little extra strength" Constance spun on her heel to face the girls once more. That one was close, so close in fact that she could practically feel the warm breath on her cool skin. Constance gasped and felt the colour drain from her face.
There on Mildred's right shoulder was a pale bony hand, digging into the black material with its sharp unkempt nails. Constance suddenly felt light headed as the scorching heat suddenly returned to her icy skin. The hand stretched up, its surface puckered with the blue ropes of aged veins, until the wrist, which hid beneath a heavy dark material with indescribable patterns etched into its matted surface. Constance felt a sweat break out upon her feverish brow as she followed the ripples of material up until she met a chin graced with a perfect pair of ruby red lips.
Constance felt sick as she realised the scarlet tinge of the feminine lips wasn't merely a shade of lipstick. Her eyes darted to Mildred once more, just in time to see the teeth marks on her young neck before her face twisted and aged in the space of a second. Her Long brown plats fell motionlessly to the non-existent floor as grey hair sprung from her scalp and came to a halt just below her chin. Constance blinked, the flames drying up the moisture in her eyes. In that single blink the young girl before her had grown old, aged far beyond her time… it wasn't Mildred anymore, it was Amelia. Constance momentarily felt her heart stop at the realisation that she was too late. She could do nothing but burn in raging heat as her headmistress, her friend, her mother, fell motionless to the desk, her head hitting the wooden surface with an unbearable thud. Constance clamped a hand over her mouth and looked to the lips once more.
"I dare say it could be used for defence… or offence" the lips spoke in Constance's voice.
"STOP IT!" She screamed. The lips curled into a cruel smirk "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
A tongue darted out to taste the liquid dripping down the beings chin before smiling once more "Congratulations, Constance, you've failed…again." Constance could do nothing but stare; mouth gaped, as the cloaked figure continued to play out the scene as though she weren't even there, the only evidence of recognition being her name where Mildred's should be. "Go and wait outside Mistress Broomhead's office" Constance's heart skipped a beat as her breath was torn from her suffocating lungs "Perhaps you'd like to explain to her why such a promising student like you ended up in an establishment like this"
A pain unlike any other began to grow within her chest as the potion began to wear off. Her arms stretched away from her body, an invisible force pulling them out straight at either side of her convulsing torso. Her shrill scream pierced the air as her outstretched limbs were torn from her body and discarded thoughtlessly to the side. Blood poured from her arm sockets, catching alight and sending her whole world into chaos.
"HELP… ME!" She screamed, her voice raw with fear and pain. The hooded figure remained ignorant, the crooked smile still playing on her cursed lips. Constance felt her toes curl involuntarily inside her burning leather boots and her cheek scar as the flames bit into her perfect skin. Why was this happening? She was so sure the potion was made correctly. Constance fell to the floor in agony, writhing as the temperature rose to unbearable heights, tearing through every nerve and ligament in her body.
Cracking open an eye, she nervously watched as heeled boots beneath a sea of black material drew nearer, dispersing a barrage of vibrations with each foot fall on the seemingly non-existent ground. Constance drew her eyes up the length of the being before her and gulped as a bony hand rose to the hood of her cloak. Constance flinched as the woman stopped short of pulling the hood back. She merely toyed with its fraying ends and smiled a malicious smile that showed her pure white teeth dripping with blood.
Constance stared into the sharp, white pearls and licked at her painfully dry lips. "Wh-What do you want?"
The smirk curled once again on the right side of the lips "You" she said in a slithery, snake like voice. Suddenly the mouth morphed into a shape Constance didn't even want to begin to ponder. She curled herself into a protective ball and buried her head as far between her legs as she could to stop her ears from bleeding as the being let out an enraged howl. Constance opened her eyes to look at the no-longer-woman towering over her, sharp claws protruding from her bony fingertips. The monster suddenly dived upon Constance, teeth ready to sink into the succulent flesh Constance's frail body promised.
With a squeak Constance bolted upright in the bed, her arms flailing uncontrollably in random directions, sending Morgana off the bed and into the darkness. Constance blinked furiously, trying desperately to rid her sight of the monster that up until a few seconds ago was hell bend on feasting upon her. She forced her arms to the bed and focused on settling her erratic breathing. She was alive, it was just a dream.
Suddenly there was a crash in the corner. Constance's arms flew up, magic shooting in every direction and causing the wicks of unsuspecting candles to ignite in burst of orange, shrouding the room in an eerie glow as shadows cast themselves upon the grey block walls of the aged building. Constance, spell casting fingers at the ready, stared into the corner as a cat emerged from beside the desk, a porcelain saucer in pieces behind her.
Constance sighed in relief and lowered her hands. She had to stop listening to Imogen's frivolous warbling's about made up stories of werewolves and vampires.
A/N Until next time my fellow humans/ secretly-immortal-beings