Panerva's school for the Gifted
Author's note: This is relatable to any new kid at a school, and then some. I get all of my inspiration from... Show full author's note »
Chapter 4: Giving in even though it’s wrongI woke up in the same meadow I had when Sarah had last visited. Unlike last time, however, Sarah decided not to be elusive. Instead, I could see her the instant I opened my eyes and found myself there.
“Well hello again.” Sarah said to me. Today she wore black slacks and a white t-shirt under a black jacket. On her, it looked very business-like.
“Hello...” I said slowly. “What do you want?”
“My daughter alerted me of the whole Dorm-Fire-Fiasco. My my, I rather like
“My friends think I’m insane. They think you’re lying.” I told her.
Sarah’s jaw tightened. “And what do you think?” she asked me. There was a hint of a warning note in her voice.
“I believe you. I mean, what’s not to believe? I was shown that magic is real. I set my room on fire with it! It’s obvious you are telling the truth.”
“Or maybe you are quick to believe.” she warned. “Or the proof was pointing towards something else.”
“Do you want me to believe you or not?” I asked her.
“It does not matter what I want, it matters what is best for you. I am just simply warning you for future cases. Not everyone you meet is friendly. Not everyone you meet is telling the truth.” Sarah looked at something behind me with a wistful look but I kept my eyes trained on her.
I knew she was telling the truth, I could just feel it. I knew I could believe her. I could trust her.
And so, I took a breath and told her what I knew.
“My friends, they’re on Panerva’s side.” I said slowly.
Sarah’s head snapped in my direction so fast that it’s odd she didn’t get whiplash. “What do you mean?” she growled.
“I mean they think I’m a lunatic and they are on Panerva’s side because they think he’s helping them. I tried to tell them, but...” I hung my head in defeat. “I don’t want to hurt them when the time comes. Especially not Joseph.”
“Is this Joseph person special to you?” Sarah asked me.
“Yes, very.” I replied. “He was the first one to show me kindness here. But if he’s on Panerva’s side...”
“I once had to fight the person I loved. So did Benjamin.”
“Mr. Denozo.” Sarah clarified.
“Yes, he and I both went through our share of troubles. Then we were dating, madly in love. CeCe is the product of such... But then, he got a call, had to go under cover here. He said I could help, but I want no part in dealing with the devil.”
“I could teach you.” Sarah suddenly offered.
“Teach- teach me what?”
“Magic. You need help. You could learn to do this. Fire can’t be your only attribute, can it?”
“I’m not following you on this, what?” I admitted.
“Good grief!”Sarah exclaimed. “I know you aren’t this clueless!”
“Magic is new to me.” I told her.
Sarah gripped her temple in agitation. It seemed that I was weary her patience thin.
“Very much so...” she agreed. “I don’t have much time left. Besides, it looks like someone else wants to talk to you.” Sarah slowly started to fade. “I’ll talk to you soon. Until then, be safe, Nikita Brownston.” and then she disappeared entirely.
“Hey...” someone else whispered. The voice sounded familiar....
I spun around. “Joseph!” I shouted. “What do you want?”
“I want to apologize.” he told me. “I should have believed you.”
“And you just came to this realization now, on your own?” I asked sarcastically.
“Do you think I’m crazy?” I asked him. “You have to be honest here. I need to know.” I was scared of the answer, but it was true, I had to know.
Joseph shook his head. “You are many things.” he told me. “Captivating, beautiful, smart, many other things.” My breath caught at ‘beautiful’. “But crazy is not one of them.” he came a step closer, but no more.
“I-I’m sorry...” I whispered.
“What for?” Joseph asked me, giving me a dazzling smile. Even in a dream, he was amazing.
“Thank you.” he suddenly said.
“Huh? Oh, right. Mind reader.”
“Sorry, force of habit.” Joseph told me. “I’m used to doing it that now so it’s kind of instinctual.” he explained.
I shrugged. “I guess it can’t be helped. And I’m sorry for hurting you.”
“I’ll admit, the fire was scary, sure, but what you did besides that was scarier still. You’re just so sweet and innocent. It surprised me.”
“I surprised myself, too.” I told him, tucking a piece of my hair behind my ear.
“I like your shirt.” Joseph said suddenly.
“Huh?” I looked down. It was the one shirt that Amber had helped me ruin, before lunch time. It had the pink splotches from my poor pomegranate, but nothing else. “Oh, thanks.”
“So, I was wondering if...” Joseph broke off. He started going fuzzy, too.
[Oh no.] I thought. [Not now!]
Then he was gone and I opened my eyes to bright sunshine.
I was back in my dorm. Someone must have me carried me there while I had been asleep. Jean was sitting at the foot of my bed.
“Hey.” she said.
“What do you want?” I growled.
“I wanted to apologize. Joseph and I talked and we believe this Sarah person. She is, after all, CeCe’s mom and despite how crazy CeCe is, she usually very reliable. I would’ve told you this sooner, but I’m not a Dream Walker, so...”
I nodded. “I understand. And I accept your apology.”
“Awesome! So what are we going to do?” Jean asked.
“I have no clue.” I replied. “But first thing’s first. How long was I out?”
“Not long. A few hours at most.”
“I was talking to a couple of Dream Walkers for a few hours? It didn’t even feel like half an hour!”
“I can guess that one of them was this Sarah person, but who was the other one?”
Jean arched her eyebrows at me.
“No, really!” I told her.
Jean pursed her lips thoughtfully and was silent. “Well, I did not see that coming...” she finally said.
“To be honest, I didn’t, either.” I slowly sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. I was still in my plaid skirt and I looked through my dresser for something else. At last I found my green cowl neck shirt and put that on with a pair of jeans.
“What time is it?” I asked Jean.
“Almost time for dinner.” she replied. I took a couple of minutes to brush my teeth and put on some lip gloss.
“Want to go get dinner?” I asked.
Jean nodded. “You bet! I’m starving!” she told me. I had turned the handle on my door and had just opened it when something from the other side sprang at me, knocking me to the ground. I heard an ‘oof’ and knew that the same was happening to Jean. I caught a glimpse of brown hair before I kicked out at my attacker. I heard my foot connect with something so I rose to a sitting position and gasped.
I had been attacked by Mr. Denozo. He was rubbing his nose. When he caught me staring at him, he gave me a sad half-smile, as if telling me he hated having to do this, and then he knocked me to the ground again.
Panicking, I kicked him again and again. This time he didn’t budge. He flipped me over and zip-tied my hands together. He then lifted me into a sitting position.
“What are you doing?!” I exclaimed. I looked over at Jean and saw her putting up a better fight than I was. Her attacker was Ms. Reese.
Well, this was a surprise.
Jean bucked her head back, catching Ms. Reese on the temple before standing up and jumping back. My glance darted from Jean to Ms. Reese when Ms. Reese started to give a muffled scream. Her head was surrounded in an orb of water.
Mr. Denozo gave me a look before tackling Jean, sure that I was no longer a threat.
“Stop!” I screamed.
The water around Ms. Reese’s head plopped to the floor, Mr. Denozo dropped his fist mid-punch, and Jean stopped moving.
[How did I do that?] I thought to myself.
[Nikita!] Joseph screamed inside my mind. [Help!]
[What’s wrong?!] I asked him.
[Being attacked... Damien’s knocked out... I can’t hold out much longer, Nikita.] There was such desperation in Joseph’s mind voice that I instantly felt bad for what I was about to say.
[What do you mean?]
[I kind of have something to worry about here, too. Me and Jean are being attacked as well and I’m not holding out so good.] I told him.
[Come when you can...] Joseph told me, even though we both knew that by then it’d be too late.
[I’ll try.] I told him, swallowing back tears.
Then all in my head was silent. I cast a glance between Jean, Mr. Denozo, and Ms. Reese.
“What are you doing?” I hissed.
“That is classified.” Ms. Reese told me and came over to inspect my zip-ties.
“I’ll secure this one.” Mr. Denozo said, gesturing to Jean, who was still struggling. She looked over at me.
I shook my head and she stopped, allowing Mr. Denozo to tie her wrists together. Then sacks were thrown over our heads. We were carried off, stopping only to be thrown into the back of... I want to say a car. It was hard to tell.
“Nikita?” Jean whispered.
“Where are they taking us?”
“I don’t know.” I felt so helpless right then. I was also really terrified. Why had our teaches attacked us and carried us off? Was that what had been happening to Joseph as well? Was this all Aldridge’s doing?
Those questions swirled around and around in my mind with continuous motion. But even still, the racing of my mind couldn’t stop me from falling asleep.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t pulled into another Dream Walker visit, which sucked because it could’ve proven useful.
No, instead my sleep was blank and empty as we bumped around in the car... or truck... or whatever it was we were in. A couple of times I woke up and wondered why it was dark before remembering what had happened and falling back asleep.
However, the third time I woke up, there was no room for sleeping again in the near future. We were dragged from where we had been sitting and placed in a couple of seats. Then the sacks were taken off our heads and the ties were removed from our hands.
Turns out we were on an airplane. The seats were arranged in blocks of four and each block was set in one of the two rows.
To my complete and utter astonishment, Joseph and Damien were facing us.
“Jean!” Damien cried, rising from his seat and taking Jean in his arms. “You don’t know how worried I was...” he whispered.
“I’m so sorry...” I said to Joseph.
“It’s not your fault.” he assured me.
“I tried so hard!”
“I know.” he told me.
“Sarah was right.” Jean suddenly said, crushing any romantic moment that had been building between Joseph and I.
“Passengers! If you will take your seats please, the plane will taking off soon. Thank you.” said the flight attendant from the intercom.
Jean and Damien looked at me both with a pleading in their eyes. I rose too, so that Damien and Jean could sit together. Then I took the now-empty seat next to Joseph.
“We need to get out of here!” Jean growled to us. The teachers who had kidnapped us weren’t close enough to hear us, but they were close enough to keep careful guard.
“I know!” Damien agreed. “I can’t believe I was taken so easily!” he frowned and tightened his hands into fists.
“Easy,” Jean chided.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “there are probably a bunch more sorcerers here. Even if we do get past these ones, which I highly doubt, then there’s the rest to go through.”
“What if the plane flooded?” Jean asked .
“What?” I asked before remembering that Jean controlled water, at least, from what I’d seen. “Oh... Well, you have to remember: We need to do something that won’t kill us as well.” I told her.
“What if Nikita burned one of the engines?” Joseph suggested.
“I just discovered that I had these powers.” I reminded. “There is no way I can control them yet. I’d need to find another pyromancer and who knows where that person is and-and...” I forced myself to take a breath. “I can’t...”
“We need to wait until we land.” Damien advised.
“What’s a pyromancer?” Joseph asked me.
“Fire user.” I replied and then we fell silent. I thought for a minute.
“I got it!” I suddenly cried, a little too loudly. The teachers gazed at us curiously before coming over to us.
“You, Nikita, Damien, come with us.” Mr. Denozo said, taking us further up the row. We were still permitted to sit together, but not with the others. Good thing I could still talk to Joseph.
“Nikita,” Damien urged. “what’s the plan!”
“I have to talk it over with Joseph first, okay?”
[You’re still with Jean, right?]
[Because I have a plan.] I smiled to myself as I thought of it.
[What is it and will it get us killed?]
[You’re kidding, right?]
[In this situation? Sadly, I am not.]
[Whatever. Anyway, we have to wait until we land in order for this to work. Tell Jean that as we are being let out, flood the plane.]
[Won’t they be able to get out?]
Dang. I hadn’t thought of that.
[Well... Right as we’re landing, then.]
[But we’ll drown! Nikita, I refuse to lose you again!]
[You won’t. Please trust me!]
I could tell that Joseph was trying to keep calm and I hoped that the influence I had on him would help.
[Please?] I added.
[Fine. But if you die, I’m going to revive you just so I can kill you.]
]Well ‘meow’ to you, too.] I growled. I almost started laughing out loud and had to smash my lips together to prevent it.
“Well?” Damien asked me. I quickly relayed the plan to him and he nodded in agreement.
“We should be able to get out as they’re drowning.” I added.
“And if we can’t?”
“Then we’re all dead and it was great knowing you.”
Damien arched an eyebrow and chuckled. “No wonder Joseph only has eyes for you.” he told me. This made me arch my eyebrows and laugh as well.
I leaned back in my chair a little and smiled. “Get some rest.” I advised. “You need to have all the strength you can get.” Damien opened his mouth to argue but I shook my head. “Now don’t argue with me. I’ll keep watch.”
“Alright. And thanks.”
“For helping us out. And for trying to protect Jean. You don’t know what she means to me. Did she fight hard?”
“To the best of her ability.” I replied.
Damien smiled sleepily and closed his eyes.
“Tell Joseph to tell Jean that I love her and I’ll see her soon.”
“Will do. Now go to sleep.”
I quickly relayed the message to Joseph and then watched Damien as he slept. In its own sense, it was kind of creepy. But now, it was of utmost necessity. I had to make sure Damien stayed safe, for Jean’s sake.
Shortly after Damien fell asleep, the plane took off. I didn’t know where we were going, but for the sake of everyone, I didn’t want to know.
After about half an hour in the air, Mr. Denozo came over to check on us.
“How is my favorite student doing?” he asked me.
I gave him the most disdainful look I could manage before recalling Sarah’s words. But then, he got a call, had to go under cover here...
“Why are you doing this to us if you’re under cover?” I asked him.
Mr. Denozo frowned and came closer.
“How do you know that?” he whispered.
“Sarah told me. Sarah Dessen.”
Mr. Denozo’s face darkened. “I regret taking this job. Both because of what I’m being forced to do and because it took me away from her.” he told me.
“Where are we going?” I asked him.
“I can’t tell you.” Mr. Denozo said, remorse gleaming in his eyes.
“All right.” I acknowledged. “By the way, I have it under my knowledge that the plane will flood as it’s landing.” I warned him. “Just thought you should know.”
Mr. Denozo and rose. “Good to know.” as he was walking away, he gave me one last look. “It was nice knowing you, Nikita.” he told me and I couldn’t tell if he hinted that he was going to die or I was.
I instantly regretted telling him about flooding the plane, but I had to tell someone, right? I trusted Mr. Denozo and so did Sarah, and I didn’t want either to die.
I looked back over at Damien and smiled. Still asleep, still safe and sound... For now.
Frustrated, I kicked my seat and groaned.