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Author's note: I had a dream! Literally. I woke up and I wrote what I had dreamed. It was weird. And okay...do not even remotely copy what I've written please. I'm very protective of this idea, and if I have to go Anne Rice on you I will. :)
A journal excerpt from Angie Hilversum:
I guess it’s fair to say that I’m not the most ‘normal’ girl. My mom has always said “Angie you just prefer to wear your shoes on the wrong feet”. When I was younger I didn’t know what she meant and actually tried to wear my shoes on the wrong feet. It was actually quite liberating, going against the norm, against what everyone else was doing and what I had always done. But after falling for about the twelfth time that day, my teacher told me to put my shoes on right.
Anyway, I know what my mom was trying to say now. I just naturally go against what others do in today’s society. I enjoy peanut butter and mustard sandwiches. I refuse to use blue pens and always have my yellow galoshes on. I have a rather big obsession with snow globes and can write upside down, backwards and every which way without it having an effect on my handwriting. Those are just to name a few things.
The other thing to know about me is that I go to a school called Holmes Academy. It’s not your average school. It’s a school for…yep, you guessed it, detectives. I was invited to go this year by the Dean himself.
It’s an odd school to say the least. While most kids spend their time on reading and math, we spend it on discrepancy and the art of modern day sleuths.
I guess that’s why I’m going because, well, I’m good at discrepancy and detail. I can spot something out of place a mile away. For instance, if I look at a book shelf and when I’m not looking you shift two books around I will know exactly what you did. Weird huh?
Though it’s a pretty interesting thing, it hasn’t gained me any points with anyone so far. “If your so good at detail,” My mom said after we got back from the school. “why don’t you keep the room clean?” I’m a slob I guess…
Anyway this journal isn’t just about the life of Angie Hilversum, though I bet I could write a best seller autobiography. This is a documentation of Holmes Academy, and what happened there my first year. The year when a boy was murdered and the year three of us really truly knew what it was like to be detectives.
“We’ve never excepted students like this.”
“There’s a first time for everything.”
Two men sat in a large study, facing each other from opposite sides of a desk. The first man, a tall lean man with graying hair sat behind the desk, sorting a stack of papers. He was the sort of man you forgot the name of as soon as it was told to you. His face left no impression other then that he looked pleasant enough to have a conversation with. The other was a big bellied man with a balding head. His watery little eyes moved constantly and as he sat, as if unable to keep still, he kept tugging on his tiny patch of chin hair.
“It’s just odd.” The bigger man said with a sigh. “This girl, you are so confident that she should be here.”
“When she get’s here,” Said the tall man, not looking up from his papers. “You will see why I called her.”
“Right.” The big man scoffed.
As if on cue there was a knock on the door and a girl and her mother entered. Both men stood up in greeting.
“Are you Dean Ames?” The woman asked, walking up to the bigger man.
Before he had a chance to reply, the girl piped up. “No, he is.” She pointed to the thin man.
“And how exactly do you know that?” The thin man asked curiously.
“Well, the way you are slightly behind the desk gives me some clue.” She squinted at the man. “You don’t really look like a Dean though, so it’s easy to get thrown off, unless you count the stress lines on your forehead.”
“Angie.” Her mother moaned. “I’m sorry for her…bluntness.”
“Oh no.” The thin man waved a hand, as if pushing her comment out of the air. “That’s why she’s here. Please have a seat….and yes, I am the dean.” He gave the girl, Angie, a wink.
Angie and her mother sat in the two chairs in front of the desk. The bigger man took to reclining against the wall behind Dean Ames, with some difficulty due to the size of his backside.
“We became aware of your extraordinary gift a while back.” Dean Ames said pulling out some papers from his stack of many. “You knew who took the money from your school’s safe before anyone else-”
“And I got accused of being the one of taking the money because of it.” Angie growled.
“You periodically get in trouble for back talking teachers.”
“Only because they lie to us.” Angie grumbled, crossing her arms.
The girl’s mother, Mrs. Hilversum interrupted, her face contorted in worry. “You said this was a private school, not a reform school.”
“Oh, this is a private school.” Dean Ames said, putting the papers aside. “Pardon me, but I wasn’t condemning Angie’s behavior, I was commending her.”
Mrs. Hilversum’s eyes widened.
Dean Ames turned to Angie. “This school is a very special school for people like you Angie. For someone who is talented in detail and discrepancy. It’s a school for detectives.”
Angie raised her brows. “Really?”
Dean Ames nodded. “I would really like for you to attend. You’re a very good at reading people. Wit this school you will learn how to do it in a controlled way, and better. And you will learn a number of other studies that detectives need.”
“Holmes Academy…” Mrs. Hilversum said, apparently at a loss for much else to say.
“So…so I can come here?” Angie asked, her voice growing more excited.
“Absolutely.” Dean Ames said. “Fully paid for of course.”
The bigger man in the corner cleared his throat. “Fully paid?” He asked.
Dean Ames glanced at him. “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce you to Mister Gregatim. He is our Crime History teacher and school financial advisor.”
“Hi.” He said, and gave Dean Ames a dirty look. “You didn’t tell me about it being ‘fully paid’.”
Dean Ames ignored him and turned to Mrs. Hilversum. “What do you think?”
“Please mom!” Angie gripped a hold of her mother’s arm. “Oh please!”
“I…” Mrs. Hilversum started. “I do need some more information before I agree to anything.”
Dean Ames pulled out a pamphlet from a drawer under his desk and handed it to Mrs. Hilversum. “This should answer most of your questions.”
“It’s college credited, great study programs…but Angie.” Mrs. Hilversum turned to her daughter. “You’ll be living away from home-”
“There’s time to discuss it.” Said Dean Ames. “The semester starts August 9th.”
“Two weeks.” Mrs. Hilversum sighed.
“Come on mom! This sounds so cool!”
“Yeah…and a little hard to believe.” Mrs. Hilversum looked to Mister Gregatim as if he might help her out.
“Yes, it is unbelievable.” He said, looking at Dean Ames.
Mrs. Hilversum stood up. “Let’s go Angie….we’ll talk about this at home.”
Dean Ames stood up and extended a hand. “It was nice meeting you Mrs. Hilversum.”
She shook it and turned to the door.
“See you in two weeks.” Dean Ames said to Angie.
Angie nodded and followed her mother out the door, Angie ‘pleasing’ at her mother until they were too far away to hear. Mister Gregatim went and slammed the door to the study closed. “Are you out of your mind?” He whirled around to Dean Ames, tottering over a little. “Fully paid? We barely have funding for this school as it is!”
Dean Ames sat back down in his chair. “It’s one student.”
“And what happens when word get’s to other parents that this girl’s schooling is paid for by us! They are going to want free handouts for their kids!”
Dean Ames went back to sorting papers.
“Are you listening?” Mister Gregatim asked incredulously.
Gregatim sighed. “I understand why you want that girl here. It’s true, she is…gifted. But as your financial advisor, it isn’t the best decision. And how do you know she will benefit the school? Did you see what she was wearing? The students, as weird as some of them are, will see she’s even weirder. Then what happens? Her mother sues you for a bunch of money because of her daughter’s emotional distress. Money we don’t have-”
Dean Ames gazed up from his papers. His face was lit with such a commanding expression that his normally ordinary face was suddenly unforgettable. He was suddenly the person you would never forget.
“I….I’m sorry.” Gregatim gazed down at his feet, or he would have had his belly not been in the way.
“Let me handle the school, the way I am going to handle it.” Ames said, his voice low and threatening.
“Yes sir…” Gregatim muttered. “Sorry.”
Ames’ face regained it’s passive expression again. “She will be good here Gregatim, just you wait.”
“Valedictorian in her future?” Gregatim muttered then looked as if he regretted his sarcasm.
Ames ignored this and gazed up at the ceiling. “I don’t know what will come of it Gregatim. All I know is she belongs in a school that will help her explore the things she can do. Like Sherlock Holmes once said, she can’t go filling her mind’s attic with the unimportant things they teach at those schools.”
“Then one day she’ll be a detective right?” Gregatim huffed.
“That’s all we can hope for with all our students.”
Gregatim shook his head. “I still don’t understand why you want her here so badly.”
Ames smiled, still gazing up at the ceiling. “Neither do I.”
My name is Jenna Brevies, and I attended Holmes Academy when Angie Hilversum solved the mystery of the murder of Will Porter.
I met Angie on the first day of school and immediately thought she was strange. She looked normal enough, save the yellow rain boots on her feet. She had shoulder length brown hair, a pretty face, and dark brown eyes that I later found out, when she was thinking real hard, they would brighten, as if the intensity of her thoughts transferred to them.
I didn’t come up and talk to her however, she found me, got right in my face, our noses inches apart and said, “You look nice. And they always say you can trust a red head.”
I stepped back a couple of feet. “Do they?”
Angie shrugged. “Well I do. Haven’t met a red head I haven’t liked.”
I didn’t like that she was talking to me. I was trying to stand with the crowd of kids getting dropped off, bending my head down, trying to go unnoticed. Not only was this girl paying attention to me, it seemed like everyone else was paying attention to her. Whispering behind hands, a few people pointing their finger at her, several others giving her dirty looks.
Angie seemed oblivious to all this and held out her hand. “Angie, Angie Hilversum.”
I shook it with my two fingers. “Jenna Brevies.”
“Isn’t it cool to be here?”
“Sure.” I said, shrugging my shoulders.
After that a whistle was blown and a tall woman with huge lips ordered all the first time students to take ’the walk’, and all the upperclassman to follow her to the school.
“What’s the walk?” Angie asked curiously, a smile on her face.
“Initiation.” I sighed and pulled my bags over to where all the other fifteen year olds stood by the woods. That’s all anyone could see from the road, nothing but pine trees as far as the eye could see. I have been to the school for registration, and know there is a road hidden past a couple of trees, but all first timers have to find their way to the school the original way, searching through the woods.
My older brothers, all three of them, have been and graduated from Holmes Academy, and because of that it is easy to torture me with stories of all the dreadful things that went on when they went here.
“They have mud swamps that swallow you whole if you don’t figure out how to get out of them fast enough.” Said Lionel just that morning.
“And the initiation is the worst!” Peter grinned. “Some people get lost in those woods for years! Some never make it out.”
“She’ll be fine.” Kevin said. “If she makes it past the skeleton grave yard.”
Inside I know that they are making it up, at the same time, what if they aren’t. I feel dread come over me as we start to go into the woods. Angie is quiet beside me, gazing around at the trees in the interest a doctor normally takes in a patient.
We all walk for fifteen minutes, maybe twenty. The kids have dispersed, all in individual groups now, some walking ahead, others behind. Though it is through the thick woods, we all stay on the faded dirt path, each fearing they might get lost.
“That’s interesting.” Angie says, her voice full of wonder. “these trees aren’t pine trees anymore, they are oak.”
I didn’t really know why that was so interesting so I made no comment and kept walking. The sooner the walking was over, the better. Maybe Angie would find someone else to befriend when we got to the school. It was a little aggravating to have someone else be so enthusiastic about everything when I didn’t want to be here at all.
My mother is on the school board so it is as doctrine as the commandments in the Bible that all her kids go to Holmes Academy. I begged her to let me go to my normal school, begged my dad too. They both wouldn’t have it, saying that going to this school will help me in job choices later on. Perhaps I could even be a detective for the police one day. I hated the idea.
“Jenna!” Angie hollered. I turned, cringing at the stares I received. “Come here!”
She was still at that tree a couple yards back.
“What?” I said when I got near her. “We’re going to be left behind.”
“If they keep walking they won’t ever find the school.” Angie smiled. “It’s easy. We can’t keep following the path in the dirt. We have to follow the pine trees.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because those are the type of trees that are around the school.” Angie pointed to a pine tree a few feet away, off the path. “Come on, lets go.”
I felt my stomach turn, my brother’s words echoing in my head. ‘Some people get lost in the woods for years!’
Angie was already at the tree, scoping out another. I felt the desire to stay on the path. I had no reason to trust Angie, at the same time, she seemed so sure and her logic made sense. Before I knew it, I was following her, lugging my bags through leaves and running them up against trees.
We traveled for a half hour, then it turned into an hour. We were surrounded by pine trees but to my rising terror, no school.
“Well, that’s interesting.” Angie said, evidently thinking the same thing. “What did I miss…”
I shot her a dirty look. “Now we’re lost!”
“No no.” Angie shook her head. “The school is just past these couple of trees.”
I looked at her incredulously. “Then what are you saying you missed something for?”
“Because I don‘t think I packed all my things.” Angie nodded. “I think I missed a snow globe.”
I raised my eye brows “Right.” I started walking, Angie following, tapping her chin in thought as she lugged her own large suitcase with the other hand.
Angie was right, the school was there. We were in the back part of the school in an open field. The towering black walled manor loomed in the low evening light. We were the first ones back besides a scared looking boy who evidently just ran through the woods when he heard a noise. The tall teacher with fish lips greeted us.
“Congratulations.” She said. “You made it back in one piece.”
“Thank you.” Angie said back.
The teacher withdrew a clip board. “Angie Hilversum I assume. And you must be a Brevies. You look just like your mother.”
“I get that a lot.” I said quietly.
She wrote check marks next to our names. “Okay, welcome to Holmes Academy.” She pushed her huge glasses up the bridge of her pointy nose. “You can go through the back door to the auditorium. Leave your bags out here. You too Charlie.”
The boy dropped his bags and hurried into the manner. It reminded me of a rat scurrying to his hole.
“Hey Angie.” I said as we got near the door. “Thanks.”
Angie shrugged. “I didn’t really do anything.”
We went through the normal looking wooden door and through a large kitchen. The kitchen was huge but dark, lit by lantern which gave it an ominous look. Shadows moved about in the light. The overhanging knives made it almost look like a dungeon. The one thing that kept me from running the other way was the delicious smell of food. I didn’t realize till just then how hungry I was and how good the tables in the middle of the room piled with food looked.
There was everything you could ever want. Pizza, cake, chicken, ribs, sweet potato, spaghetti. I noticed that even Charlie hadn’t run away, but was now chewing on a bread piece.
“I don’t think we are allowed to eat yet Charlie.” I said, my stomach whining at my statement.
Charlie dropped the bread, like a criminal caught in the act.
Angie motioned to the next door at the other end of the room. The three of us, Charlie tailing far behind, went out into an equally dark hall way.
“They don’t believe in electricity.” I whispered. The hall was ridiculously long, decorated in yellow floral faded wallpaper and at the very end of the hall was a staircase.
With so many doors, we decided to just listen to where voices were coming from and went through the door. I was glad we chose right. The first door we opened was the auditorium. It was lit by a bright chandelier hanging overhead. On the stage a big round man beckoned us to take a seat up front, evidently saved for the first timers.
The only person I recognized was the dean, who simply seemed to blend in with the wall up on stage. My mother said Dean Ames had no back bone, and from what I could see, she was right.
We took a seat, eyes staring at us. The round man started talking but I couldn’t concentrate with so many eyes burning into the back of my head. It was about forty five minutes later before anyone else came in. All the ones that came in were very dirty. Some were covered head to toe in mud. Others were scraped up and followed by a woman who I assumed was a nurse.
Once an hour past the teacher Mister. Gregatim announced the welcoming of a new year. He introduced the names of all the teachers most of which I forget, some of which stick in my mind. There was Miss Gog the woman with fish lips who is the detective comprehension teacher. The ‘new’ murderous weapons teacher was introduced. He was a tall lean man with blonde hair that seemed to float and a handsome face. He gave the students a wink. There were a few swoons from the girls and some gagging sounds from the boys.
Then it was the boys turn to swoon when Miss Cathy, the poisons and botany teacher floated on stage. She looked like a beauty queen, her gold hair floating behind her like a veil. She waved to the students and a couple of boys wolf whistled. She flashed a dazzling smile to them and left the stage, the air seeming thinner then before. Miss Drone was another notable teacher. She teaches law and according to Mister Gregatim, she gives out more detentions then anyone else.
All the other names were lost in my brain. Mister Gregatim introduced Dean Ames last who gave a meek wave and disappeared into the wall again. Mister Gregatim then went over the rules and what was expected. Chores which included dish washing and dinner making on the weekend. You have to be in bed by nine o clock unless you have detention. Three tardies to class gives you a detention. No one is allowed out on the grounds except for designated times and no one is allowed to travel outside the grounds under any circumstance.
“And, just so you don’t feel like we are trying to uneducated you.” Mister Gregatim started. “We don’t tell you what to do as much as a normal school, because you are detectives, and you must figure out for yourselves these things. So if you need help, don’t ask us, use your brain.”
The teachers then went around the room and handed out schedules, calling out students names. I looked over mine and Angie compared it to hers. We had the same classes to the t. I gazed around at the first time students. There weren’t that many people. They all probably had the same classes.
I examined my schedule again.
9:00-10:00-Science of Deduction
10:00- 11:00-Clue Class
11:00- 12:00-Murderous Weapons
1:00-2:00-Poisons and Botany
4:00-5:00-Magnify and things
We were escorted to our rooms by the older children, up the staircase we had seen earlier which led to a much bigger corridor. This one equally as dark and equally as ugly but at least you could move without bumping into someone. There was a grand staircase at the end of the hall which led to yet another grandeous corridor.
"I'm going to get lost in here." Someone whispered.
After many twists and turns and several what I felt was a little bit of back-tracking we entered the students quarters. Much brighter then the rest of the school, the student quarters almost made my eyes burn. The large four walled room was as tall as it was wide. Various couches and chairs, all of which mismatched in design, lay sprawled over the room. Tables were set up for what looked like studying. The carpet was maroon and spotted in various stains.
"Ladies, we are this way." An older girl student said and pointed to a door on the left side of the room.
We followed her and the other older girls. I tried to count how many of us we were but being my height all I saw was the back of the persons head in front of me.
The various rooms in this hallway had names engraved with a plaque on the door. At the end of the hall was a bathroom that I assumed had our showers in them as well. I walked past the girls looking at the names on the doors and found mine toward the middle of the hall. I looked at my roomate and to my dismay it was exactly who I didn't want.
"I figured we would be roomies." Angie said, coming up behind me.
"How?" I asked turning to her.
She shrugged, her bony shoulders showing through her shirt.
I walk in to our room with two large four poster beds, a window overlooking the courtyard oustide the manor, and a wardrobe for clothes. My suitcase and Angies lay on the floor. I pick mine up and pick the bed furthest from the door. I feel Angies eyes on me but choose to ignore her.
A bell rings, loud and clanging and from the rush outside I know it's dinner time now.
Angie is still staring when I turn around and continues to stare when I meet her eyes.
"What?" I cry.
"You don't want to be here."
I blink. "So?"
Angie frowns. "It's just, strange to me."
"You should talk." I say, feeling slightly offended. "You are the definition of strange." I know this is the part where I make a dramatic exit, slamming the door behind me, but I can't bring myself to do it. She helped me throught the woods after all.
"Sorry." I say. "I didn't mean it."
"Yes you did." Angie scoffs. "Youre a terrible liar Brevies. Its alright to say what you think." At that she turned on her heels and walked out.
I stay there, stunned for a minute then follow the rest of the girls toward dinner.