Terry Copper and the Twilight Games Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Pixocero School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise

Bacon Cove, Newfoundland, Canada

Professor Satius Snivly sat in his quarters. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do. All he knew was that he had to protect the children. There was danger afoot and he had to find out what was going on. This Dave Smith was a suspicious fellow indeed. His background check only went back 2 years. How could the Headmaster not be more worried about this?

Satius knew the answer. Professor Stumblemore truly cared about the school. He had been Headmaster for nearly 100 years. The school was truly the only thing that the Headmaster had ever loved. He had been at the school during the height of its glory and he had seen it fall to ruin. He must have felt some sort of responsibility for that. There were very few magic schools left in the world. Snivly did not know of any, but he was sure that they must exist. Wizards and witches continued to exist. And so the schools must continue on as well.

Professor Stumblemore was doing everything he could to keep the school alive. Converting into a public school had been a very difficult decision for him. Snivly remembered it well. He had actually been a student at the school when it had happened.

The school had been in shambles. The staff was minimal. They had been cutting back on classes. Attendance was very low. Professor Stumblemore had called an assembly of all the students and staff to make the announcement, right before everyone left to go home for Christmas.

Pixocero was to become a public school. When all the students returned from their holidays, they would be joined by new students.

New students who didn’t know anything about magic.

New students who were just plain, mundane, vanilla mortals.

Young Satius had been distraught. Having grown up in a wizarding family, he had never really been around regular people. He didn’t really know how to act. He soon learned however. When he returned from break, he had two new roommates in his dormitory. Young Satius belonged to Hall 2. Hall 2 was a hall with an extensive history. It had long been the home of the brightest and best students.

Satius found himself somewhat wary of the newcomers. They knew nothing of magic. They weren’t even planning on studying magic.

Satius began to study alone. He stopped spending time with other students. The other wizards and witches began to be more and more accepting of the new students. But not Satius. He had a legacy to uphold. He would not be caught mingling with such filth.

One spring afternoon, Satius found himself wandering alone through the campus gardens. He often marveled at these gardens. They stayed green and the flowers bloomed all year round in spite of the freezing temperatures. This was some powerful magic indeed to be able to maintain such a spell over such a large area. As he was walking, he saw a girl sitting off to the side on a patch of grass. Satius slowed his pace slightly and found himself admiring her incredible beauty. She had long hair that reminded Satius of the wheat fields near his home. The color a wonderful mix of blonde and brown that seemed to flow endlessly. She looked up from her text book and saw Satius. She smiled, simply acknowledging his presence and he quickly turned his head, embarrassed.

Satius had never been very comfortable around people in general, let alone the opposite sex. He never knew what to say around an attractive girl. He continued his laggardly pace and soon found himself standing in front of her. Before his brain knew what he was doing he extended his hand, “I’m Satius. How are you?”

‘That seemed rather formal,’ he thought to himself. ‘I’ve really done it now.’

“I’m Margaret. I’m new here.” She took his hand and shook it firmly, but delicately at the same time.

At once Satius realized his mistake. He had approached one of the new students. One of the Non-magic students. But for some reason he didn’t care. He looked her in the eye and asked, “Where are you from?”

And that is how Satius and Margaret came to know each other and a very deep bond formed between them. Satius loved Margaret from the first moment he saw her. Margaret of course only loved him as a friend. Or even worse, a brother. The romance that Satius envisioned would never be. No matter how hard he tried. However, because of this love, he continued to be Margaret’s friend. Not because he held on to the wish that perhaps they could be more, but because he truly cared about her friendship as well.

Satius also learned that Margaret was, in fact, not one of the Non-magic students who came in to the school recently. She was raised in a Magic family, but because her own abilities were so weak, she had not been admitted into Pixocero (until of course they became a public school). She was ashamed of this fact. Her own parents were very powerful magic users. They were often called upon by the Great Magical Council of Magic Users to provide advice on whatever issue needed advising.

However, as Margaret and Satius studied together, Margaret found that her magical abilities began to grow. She soon rivaled Satius in pure power alone. Magical tasks that once seemed very difficult, were very simple to her. Satius was happy for her at first. However, he soon grew jealous of her abilities, as well as the attention that her talents brought her. Not only were the professors taking notice of her abilities, fellow classmates were as well. Margaret soon became very popular with her fellow alums, and spent time with them. She always invited Satius to join them, but he never felt comfortable around anyone else like he did around Margaret.

Satius soon fell back into his old habits of wandering the school grounds alone. If he saw Margaret with her new friends he would turn the other way. He grew bitter. He let his hygiene falter. His hair grew long and unkempt. He rarely bathed. His teeth turned even more yellow. However, as his hatred and contempt grew, he noticed that he was able to tap into this emotional energy

Terry Copper and the Twilight Games Chapter 5

My notes before starting to write again. So here I am again. Embarking on this challenge to write a book in 30 days. February only has 28 days, buy since I did this for 2 days last year, that will equal 30. In order to prepare for this, I went back and read the previous chapters. And they are awesome. There are a few typos. And errors. Just keep in mind that this is my writing laboratory. After I am done with this challenge then I will go back and edit and rewrite. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments. You can help write this book.

Day One: Prologue – Chapter 2

Day Two – Chapters 3 & 4

I actually started writing chapter 5 and then I found another version I had written a year ago. It is interesting how I went in a similar direction. I will let you choose which version to use.

And so here is chapter 5.

Chapter 5 (From a year ago)

Pixocero Public School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise

Bacon Cove, Newfoundland, Canada

The sound of the train rolling into the station was incredibly loud as always. Metal grinding against metal as the conductor applied the brakes. Smoke filled the air and billowed around the bystanders on the platform. Munder wondered at all of this. He could never figure out why this top of the line electric train behaved like a 19th century steam engine. This in addition to how it even got to Newfoundland in the first place. He could never quite figure that out either. He had been at Pixocero for many, many years. In fact he was a former student himself. He now worked as the groundskeeper which proved to be somewhat of a difficult task considering he was just over two feet tall.

With his red curly beard and pointed ears it wasn’t difficult to guess where he got his stature. His family never understood why he would take a job. It wasn’t in their nature. As leprechauns, they simply took gold where they could find it and horded it in their secret vaults. Munder was different though. Somehow he had been blessed (or cursed, depending on who you were) with a good work ethic. He always found the thieving lifestyle to be lazy. He never felt good about himself when he was thieving gold. He enjoyed a hard day’s work.

And now it was part of that job to pick up the students for the upcoming school year here at the train station. He could see inside the windows and he was able to pick out a few faces that he recognized from last year. He was glad a few of them had returned. Others not so much. The entire train was filled with students and so it would take a while to get them all situated on the platform and ready to take back to the school. One of the other things that he never really understood was why, since it was a magic train, it wasn’t able to just show up at the school? Why did it have to show up at a train station 20 miles from the school? It was just one of those things that would never make any sense.

The older, returning students were first off the train. They greeted Munder by name, all excited to see him. He smiled back at them and directed them to the staging area before they would all begin the walk back to the school. He saw one boy, a new student, as he was getting off the train. He had white hair and pink eyes. He was an albino. He was dressed in expensive clothing and had brand new luggage. He spoke with a dignified air and one could easily see that he came from a wealthy family. The new boy approached Munder and said, “Oh look at the little wee man! Isn’t it cute! I shall have to ask my father to buy me one! It would make for a wonderful pet!”

Munder stood there fuming. His face turned bright read and smoke started coming out of his ears. He said in his booming baritone, “What is your name boy?”

The boy, sensing his authority, faltered. “Bravo MacCoy sir. I’m sorry sir. I didn’t think that you were real.”

“Of course I am real boy! Haven’t you ever seen a leprechaun before! I can make your life a living hell boy! You had better learn to be more careful about who you are speaking to and how you address them. I can easily teach you some respect!”

The boy cowered and backed away. His friends snickering and giggling at his defeat.

 Chapter 5 (New Version)

PPS, bacon cove, Newfoundland (that’s in Canada)

After the ride on the train Terry was exhausted. It was a ridiculously long train ride. In fact, Terry didn’t understand why he even had to ride a train. Were there really no airports that could get him close? He didn’t want to spend any more time thinking about the train ride. That would be ridiculous. Why would he spend so much time  belaboring something so ridiculous as a train ride where he met some very strange characters who probably won’t even impact his time while at school.

“Terry Copper!”

Someone shouted his name.

The voice sounded very large. And there was a strange accent to it. It sounded like it should belong to a cockney giant. Or half giant at the very least.

Terry looked around but he couldn’t locate the source.

He heard the voice again.

“Over here you fool!” The voice boomed. It wasn’t that it was necessarily loud. It was just a big voice. One that could fill a forest.

Terry found him. He was a tiny man. He couldn’t have been more than 3 ft tall. But his head and hands were much too large for his body. It wasn’t  clear how his neck supported such a mass. His head was nearly as wide as his shoulders.

The man reached out a massive man paw to Terry and said in the strangely booming voice, “I’m Sadgrin. I’m the groundskeeper here at the school. I also like to befriend young male students and invite them to my home. But never in a creepy way.”

Terry hesitantly shook the massive meat hook.

“I’m Terry Copper. I lost my parents at a young age and have very low self esteem which causes me to perform poorly in school. But I usually get extremely lucky when it matters most.”

Sadgrin smiled. It was a hideous site. Crooked teeth and bits of broccoli or perhaps kale. “I know who you are Terry. I’ve been watching you since you were a baby. But not in a creepy way of course.”

“Of course not. I’m perfectly okay with that. You must have known my parents then.”

Sadgrin smiled again, “Actually no.” And he held that smile a few seconds too long.

“Oh,” said Terry.

“Well come along then,” said Sadgrin. There are a lot more students to process. Go get in the carriage.

Terry did as instructed.

As he sat down and looked around, he began to wonder what the next nine months of so of his life would bring. He had researched the school somewhat and M had told him quite a bit. He wasn’t sure if she had actually been here, as teacher or student, or not. But she did seem to know an awful lot about the place.

He knew that Professor Stumblemore was old. Very old. M had told him that many times he came across as downright crazy. He liked to give off the impression that he was a very powerful wizard, but when it came down to it, he could barely tie his own shoes. This didn’t concern Terry very much since he figured he wouldn’t be spending much time with the school’s headmaster. It was not very likely that the headmaster would ever spend an excessive amount of time alone with a student or take him on dangerous adventures.

As Terry sat pensively, he felt the weight of the carriage shift slightly. Again he thought to himself, “Seriously? Carriages? Why not cars?” This wizarding thing was going to take some getting used to.

He looked over at the new passengers who had just climbed into the carriage. As he looked at them, he hoped that these students would not become his best friends over the course of their years together at school. But he also could not help but think that their strategic placement in the same carriage may influence that destiny in ways that were completely out of his control.

The shaggy haired boy spoke first. He looked filthy. He smelled filthy. In fact, he reminded Terry of the homeless man that he had once come across when he was leaving M’s shop. Except he was a kid. He was probably about the same age as Terry. He had greasy skin and bad teeth. His pock marked face was evidence of an all too recent acne infestation.

“Donald Beesly’s the name!” and he stuck out his filthy right hand. It was covered in dirt or grease or perhaps something else even more unmentionable. Terry looked at the hand and grimaced. He didn’t move to shake it, but replied matter of factly, “Terry Copper.”

The boy and the girl blinked and stared. Then they looked at each other in disbelief. They turned back to Terry and then back to each other.

This process repeated itself the necessary amount of times to produce a comedic affect without being overly awkward.

The girl spoke next. She had very long unkempt hair and very large eyes. They seemed to bulge from her head when she spoke. “I’m Morphiana Ranger. Yes I know it is a strange name. But it isn’t strange where I come from. My parents were big fans of the Matrix and they really wanted a boy named Morpheus. Since I am obviously not a boy, I was a huge disappointment and they gave me a name that they hoped would shame me for the rest of my life. But I love it. I think that it is a great name for a mighty witch like me.”

Terry replied, “What is your middle name?”

Morphiana said without hesitating, “Powder. My parents also really liked the movie Powder. However, that would have been a horrible name even for a boy.”

“And you are a mighty witch?” asked Donald.

“Yes.”

Terry said, “So, you as you gain more renown in your witch career you will be known as ‘Mighty Morphiana Powder Ranger’?”

Morphiana suddenly became very quiet. She had a look on her face as if she was contemplating something very serious. Suddenly she shrieked, “That is fantastic!” I love it! It is absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much Terry! It isn’t every day you meet someone famous and they help you find a wonderful witch name!”

Terry felt something odd. He wasn’t sure what the feeling was. He might be able to figure it out with a thesaurus, but he wouldn’t worry about it for just now. He said, “Wait, who’s famous?”

Donald looked at Terry and replied, “Well you are. Didn’t you know? Ever since That-One-Dude killed your parents and you survived.”

Terry felt something other feel that he couldn’t determine. “What do you mean my parents were killed? They died in an accident of now suspicious nature at all.”

At this point Morphiana, who had been musing over her name, cried out, “Oh Terry!” and threw her arms around him. “I’m so sorry you had to find out this way! There are so many things that are probably being kept from you and would make your life so much easier if people would simply tell them to you before it was too late.”

Terry felt sick at these new revelations. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He wished that he could speak with M. He wished that he was back home again, even if that meant putting up with his grandmother. He started to get out of the carriage when it started moving. The doors shut automatically and a voice shouted, “Next stop Pixocero School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise!”

Terry realized that he wasn’t going anywhere so he sat back down. As the carriages started moving, he thought to himself, “Well, what’s the worst that could happen?”

30 Day Challenges Update

So I have been doing this 30 Day Challenge Paleo thing pretty well. I am feeling good. I like the food that I am eating.

I haven’t really had any cravings too bad.

I wanted some junk food and so I got some coconut ice cream. I honestly thought it was paleo, but then I found out after that it isn’t. But it made me sick anyway.

I have lost about 13 lbs so far. I haven’t measured myself. I am pretty sure I have lost a few inches also.

Day Two – Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3

Some place that, in your mind, resembles the United States

She was laser focused. She had the target in her sites. She concentrated on her breathing. There was nothing that was going to stop her from getting her meal this time. She thought that she heard something on the wind. It sounded like some sort of aircraft. She paused, tensing her body. She almost felt that she could focus her hearing on the tiny noise and determine her location.

Then the noise was gone. She remembered where she was and what she was here to do. It had been awhile since she had eaten a decent meal. She focused back on the target. It hadn’t moved. She held her breath, drew back her arm and released. Bullseye! She hit the target dead on, in the exact same spot that she had pictured in her mind. When it struck it made a small thwunk sound. She stopped and stared for a moment. She couldn’t believe it. She had done it. All of a sudden the crowd started cheering. Willow Evergreen had won her high school dart championship.

She knew that she wouldn’t be missing lunch today. She was done. The bell rang and she exited the auditorium amidst the throng of students. Everyone patted her on the back and she just half-smiled at them. Willow wasn’t much of conversationalist. She looked through the crowd and saw his face. It was her best friend in the whole world. The only one that she truly cared about, but never in a romantic way. Sue Thornbush. He was the only one, she felt, who understood her. As she approached him in the crowd, suddenly his face slipped away. Fading into a blur of colors and sounds. And Willow was falling.

She awoke with a start. She sat up straight in her bed and looked at the digital clock display. 1:38 AM. She had been dreaming again. Dreaming of memories from a better time. That had been six months ago. Since then, things had changed for Willow. More people tried to talk to her. More people had tried to be her friend. But she pushed them away. Boys asked her on dates but she made up excuses so that she wouldn’t have to go out with them. She didn’t want to have to make any tough decisions. She didn’t want to think about making any tough decisions.

Her thoughts turned to Sue. She was sorry to leave him. She wasn’t leaving him forever, but still, she was going to miss him. He was her best friend. She started thinking about the school she was going to be attending the coming year. She had never heard of it before – the Pixocero Public School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise – until she had received a letter from them immediately following the darts competition victory.

She had immediately begun researching the school and the nearby town of Bacon Cove. She learned that Pixocero had once been a prestigious school for magic users, werewolves, vampires and other extraordinary individuals. It had reached the height of its success as a private school near the turn of the 19th century. But since then, enrollment and attendance had dwindled slowly until they almost had to file bankruptcy, but instead sought grants from the government in exchange for opening the doors to all. So now since the school had to accept anyone who wished to enroll, administration went out of its way to seek out individuals who were more exceptional than the majority of the world’s population. This way they could maintain their high standards of enrollment and meet the government requirement that they could accept anyone.

There was absolutely no benefit to the school for doing this, they were merely trying to hang on to the past.

Willow also learned in her research that one of the main reasons that the school had lost so much enrollment was that they had ended the centuries old tradition of the Twilight Games. The Twilight Games was a competition that was held annually on the school grounds. Participants were selected from each of the twelve halls on the campus. None of the halls had a creative name, they were simply known as Hall 1, Hall 2, and so on. But each hall was very proud of the participants who participated on their behalf. During the Twilight Games, the selected students would be placed into the school arena at dusk and forced to battle one another to the death. The last student standing was the winner.

The curious thing about these games though was that the participants were removed from the arena each morning so that they could attend classes, oftentimes sitting next to students who they would have to kill the next time they were placed in the arena. No one knew which days they would enter the arena. These days were seemingly chosen at random.

Over the course of the next six months, Willow had become obsessed with learning everything she could about these games. She studied strategies and weaponry. She didn’t know why. It wasn’t as if she was going to be participating. It was essentially morbid curiosity. And now here she was, two nights away from leaving for her new school. Leaving her family and friend. She lay back on her pillow. The cool air coming in from the window had already cooled her pillow and gave her goosebumps as she shivered. Pulling the blanket up tight around her, she couldn’t help but to fantasize about what it would be like if she were given the opportunity to participate in the Games.


Chapter 4

In a small town on the Oregon coast

Stella put the last of her things into a vinyl tote and put the lid on it. She couldn’t believe that she was actually leaving. It seemed that she had just arrived to live with her dad, who just happened to be the town sheriff. But he didn’t understand her. He couldn’t give her the advice that she needed. She was a conflicted teenage girl and her old man of a father just could not understand her. In her mind at least. She was going to move back in with her mother. Wherever that was. Her mother was always on the move. Going wherever her latest boyfriend wanted to go.

Up until recently her mother had been living in Hawaii. This was primarily the reason that Stella Shawn wanted to go and live with her mother. She needed a tan. However, once she had approached her mother about moving in with her, she found out that her mother was moving too. She would be moving to Bacon Cove, Newfoundland. So much for getting any sun she thought as she carried the last tote downstairs.

She placed it on the patio and sat on the top step curling her legs up underneath her and pulling her hands inside the sleeves of her black hoodie. It wasn’t cold, she just did this a lot to appear vulnerable.

For awhile she just sat there watching cars pass. Her mother was supposed to come pick her up and take her to the train station. Stella would be riding the train to Newfoundland alone. Her mother had to stop somewhere along the way at a former boyfriend’s house to pick up some of forgotten things. She was supposed to meet Stella at the train station in Bacon Cove.

Stella really didn’t know anything about the town. But she imagined that it couldn’t be any worse than this place that she had been living in for the past year.

There weren’t any home across the street from her dad’s house, just the beginning of a huge forest. She thought that she saw some dark shapes among the trees. She squinted her eyes to try and see better and the shapes disappeared. She wasn’t too worried about it. She knew that there were animals out there. There were even rumors of the town of giant wolves. But she didn’t believe that.

Stella didn’t believe in anything but science. A self proclaimed atheist at age 11, Stella had broken her dad’s heart when she told him that she no longer believed in God, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. She said that the science just couldn’t prove the existence of any such things. She typically avoided the topic with others in this town, because they tended to look down on her for her lack of belief in anything. This also caused her to not try to make any friends.

Her dad had spoken with her on occasion about making new friends. He had told her that if didn’t look so constipated all the time and bring up her beliefs, then people would be able to relate to her more. She had laughed at him and accused him of trying to censor her. That had been the beginning of her desire to move away from her father.

And now here she was near the end of her stay in this horrible town. It made her physically ill now to look at. She could no loner stand all the people in this town with their pale skin and holier than thou attitudes. The sun was starting to set. She stared into the skyline as it changed colors. She saw a vehicle approaching. It was a taxi. She could barely make out the woman in the back, but she knew it was her mother. Stella stared at the setting sun again. She thought that it was quite symbolic that the sun would be going down on this phase of her life, and the dawn would be breaking on another phase, far from this place.

Her mother jumped out of the cab and gave Stella a motherly kind of hug.

She said, “So sorry I am late sweetie. There were a few people that I wanted to see in town.”

Stella just shrugged her shoulders and half-smiled her constipated mile. Her mother begain throwing the totes and suitcases into the trunk of the cab and then got into the passenger seat. Stella took one last look around and thought to herself, “Good Riddance.”

 

 

 

Day One: Prologue – Chapter 2

So for my first 30 Day Challenge, I am going to write a novel in 30 days. As you saw in the video I posted last week, in order to write a 50,000 word novel, you have to write at least 1,667 words each day. So I am happy to report that today I wrote 2,594.

And here is the best part – I am going to be crowdsourcing this book. If you have any ideas that you want me to incorporate into the book, let me know. Send me an email. Post it on my Facebook Timeline. Whatever. Also, I will be posting some polls now and again that you the readers can vote on to determine the outcome of the book! And BONUS! I will be posting the book here on my blog each day!! You can read the story as it unfolds!

I decided that for my first novel I would write a spoof of young adult fantasy fiction. So my book is going to be a spoof of Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games.

Sit back and enjoy – Terry Copper and the Twilight Games

Prologue

The fire began to die in the fireplace. Using his silver-tipped cane, he prodded the logs, attempting to stoke the fire. It was a chilly night. His ramshackle cabin did little to keep any bone-biting winds out. The best for which he could hope was that the fire would last all night and that his blankets didn’t catch fire from sleeping so close to the blaze. There wasn’t much firewood left. He would soon have to go in search of more in the nearby woods.

 

He spoke and when he spoke it sounded like fingernails clawing at a chalkboard. It was the kind of voice that you could never really get used too. It became bearable, but still gave you the chills each time you heard it.

 

“What do you think of my plan? Not that I truly care what you think, but in case I did, what do you think?”

 

“I-i-i-t… is… a wa-wa-wonderful p-p-p-plan, Master. Truly in-g-g-genious. Truly d-d-devious, Master,” answered the rat-faced man in the corner. He reached up to his face to whisk away the locks of hair that incessantly fell in front of his eyes. As he did so he touched the scars that marred the right side of his face and shuddered. His black eyes fluttering with the memory of his abuse.

 

He added, “M-m-m-master, what is it that you wish me to do to aid you in this plan?”

 

The Master replied, his breath reeking of old copper and garlic, “I will send you instructions once I have arrived. You will carry them out to the letter. Do not fail me again Rooble.”

 

“N-n-no Master,” he stuttered, his hand reflexively returning to touch his striated skin. He flinched once he realized what he was doing. “When shall you d-d-d-depart, Master?”

 

“Before the dawn. No more questions please. I must gather my strength for my journey.”

 

Rooble slinked away to his corner and the Master sat in the battered arm-chair opposite. Its upholstery was torn and its stuffing had long ago lost any fluff. He sighed with exhaustion. The Master wasn’t a large man. His appearance wasn’t altogether frightening so much as was his demeanor. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his mind by reciting his plan to himself. This only served to build his anxiety even more. He opened his eyes and stared into the fire, its flames once again dying.

 

Soon, he thought, soon I will have my revenge for what they did to me.

 

Chapter One –

Pixocero Public School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise

Bacon Cove, Newfoundland, Canada

 

Professor Seamus Stumblemore sat in his cluttered study reviewing the list of upcoming school year’s new students. These first year students had been selected from all over the world to attend PPS. This selection process in years previous had been highly selective. However, in more recent years, due to struggling economies, enrollment had dropped to an all time low. The school’s operating budget soon became non-operational and PPS was forced to become a public school rather than close its doors permanently.  It was perhaps one of the only public schools to have dormitories for its students. This was necessary since the majority of the students were not Bacon Cove residents and still continued to come from all over the world.

 

The headmaster stroked his chin thoughtfully as he looked over the names. He had a dreadful habit of thinking aloud, whether in public or in private, without realizing he was even doing it.

 

He said, “I wonder which students this year will be incredibly gifted?”

 

He continued scanning the pages but none stood out to him until he came across a name near the end of the list, Terry Copper.

 

“Could it be the same boy? The same boy who lost his parents?”

 

It wasn’t an altogether common name, so he decided it must be the same.

 

“This will be a truly eventful year indeed. We will need all professors to be at 100% this year. I am so glad that we hired that new professor this year. Professor Smith will make an excellent addition to the faculty.”

 

He was staring absentmindedly at the sheaf of papers when a knock came at the door.

 

Without waiting to be acknowledged the visitor said, “Headmaster, I wish to speak with you about the newest member of the faculty.”

 

“Yes, Professor Snivly, what is it?”

 

Professor Snivly entered the room with a very smooth gait. It was so smooth that he almost appeared to be floating over the floor. He was dressed in all black and his jet-black hair hung in greasy strands. He came to stand directly in front of the master. His accent reminded the Headmaster of a British newscaster. “You see, Headmaster, it is my duty,” he emphasized the word ‘duty’ pronouncing it ‘dee-oo-tee’, “to conduct all background checks on prospective employees here. Typically I conduct a preliminary check and then inform you of my findings, which in this case I did. I found no black marks on his record anywhere.”

 

“Then what is the problem Professor Snivly?”

 

“You see, Headmaster, after my preliminary investigation, I usually conduct a more thorough investigation of the candidate. It has almost always been the case that nothing new turns up and that is why in the past I have always been able to recommend a candidate based on the preliminary check. However, in the case of Mr. Dave Smith, I have found nothing at all.”

 

Professor Stumblemore chortled and snorted slightly. “Then what is the problem Snivly. I am growing impatient with your games.”

 

“That is exactly the problem Headmaster!” He overexaggerated the ‘t’ in ‘exactly.’

 

“I found absolutely nothing! His record only goes back two years. Before that, it is as if he didn’t exist! I fear this man may be a fraud Headmaster!” He uttered the final sentence in a whisper, even though no one was within earshot. He had merely done it for dramatic effect. Professor Satius Snivly realized that he was somewhat of a drama queen and so he played it up as often as he could.

 

Professor Stumblemore looked at Professor Snivly and said, “Thank you for bringing this to me. I fear however it is too late. Professor Smith will be arriving this evening and the term begins on Monday. It is much too late to find a replacement. I will speak to him of this and I am sure that will clear things up.”

 

Professor Snivly began to shriek, “But Sir! What about the safety of the children! That must be our biggest priority!”

 

The Headmaster grunted and shook his head slowly. “I wish it were that easy Satius. The school board has been on me since the end of last term. They want us to add more classes and more students with an even smaller budget. If we lose the courses that Professor Smith is to teach, the budget will be cut even more. There isn’t much that I can do at this point.”

 

Professor Snivly was nigh in hysterics, “Sir! The Budget! The Kids!” He couldn’t formulate a proper sentence.

 

The Headmaster replied, “Yes, Professor I know. We have to get the kids here in order to keep the budget. After last years debacle with that monster in the sewers, we will be lucky if half of the upperclassmen return. Now, if you would please leave me. I must continue my final preparations. I have a speech to prepare for our welcome dinner. Please ensure that the heads of each of the 12 halls are prepared to receive the newest students.”

 

Professor Snivly bowed his head and shuffled away. His only concern had truly only been his students. He could tell that Professor Stumblemore wasn’t going to take this seriously. He would have to watch this Professor Smith himself.

 

He was in the hall when he heard Professor Stumblemore shout to him, “And for the last time, please stop speaking with that British accent. You’re Canadian!”

 

 

Chapter Two –

Queens, New York

 

“TERRY! GET YOUR LAZY BONES DOWN HERE! I NEED MY DENTURE PASTE!”

 

Sixteen year-old Terry Copper pulled the pillow over his head to block out the ranting of his half-demented grandmother. It was Saturday. He didn’t start school until Monday. He would have to get up soon though and begin packing his things. His train would leave Sunday afternoon and he had to be on time. The letter from the school had explicitly stated that the train would not wait for anyone at all. Still, Terry had to wonder how exactly a train was supposed to get to Newfoundland. He didn’t think about it too much though. He was a wizard. He had recently discovered this during the previous school year.
Even though Terry was sixteen, he was rather scrawny. He wasn’t very tall and his sandy hair was always unkempt, no matter how often he combed it. He kind of smelled bad too. No one really knew why, including Terry. He bathed regularly, but could not rid himself of the smell. Until recently that is. As a ninth grader, Terry was already susceptible to getting hazed by upperclassmen. However, once they realized how easy of a target he was, the hazing turned into a semi-permanent ritual.

 

During a particularly tortuous swirly treatment, Terry found he could not take any more and something snapped inside of him. He mumbled some gibberish and pointed his pinky fingers at the bullies. He unleashed an invisible force that pushed against his antagonizers, throwing them up against the second story restroom wall. Two of them fell into the urinal trough and the third fell unconscious to the side.

 

Terry looked at his hands wondering what he had done and if he would be able to do it again. He ran from the restroom just as a 12th grade history teacher was walking in. The teacher saw the dazed bullies and called after Terry, but he was already gone.

 

He ran from the school grounds and kept on running. He felt energized. For the first time in his life he felt alive. Adrenaline was coursing through his body and so he just kept running. As the adrenaline rush began to fade, he began to slow his pace. He looked around and realized that he didn’t know where he was. The buildings surrounding him appeared old and weather-worn. He looked at some of the shops but most appeared to be vacant. He came upon one shop that has an “Open” sign in the door. He pushed the door open and several bells attached to the inside of the door announced his arrival.

 

The interior of the shop was clutter with random trinkets and chests. There didn’t appear to be any organization whatsoever to the chaos. In case the bells had failed, Terry called out, “Hello? Is anyone here? I just need some directions.”

 

He saw a door at the back of the shop opening up to a dimly lit room. He approached the door cautiously and peeked inside. It was a cramped office with some open accounting ledgers and a safe under the desk. Other than that it was completely empty. He turned to walk back to the front of the shop, and standing there in front of him was a woman. In spite of her obvious beauty, Terry jumped and cried out nearly falling over backwards in the process. The woman grabbed his hand to steady him and Terry felt something. He felt that same energy that had coursed through his body immediately before his conquest of the bathroom bullies.

 

He quick pulled his hand back and stared at the woman. She was tall and thin with dark eyes and light brown skin. Her hair was long and raven black, but she had it pulled up tight on top of her head in a bun. It appeared to Terry that she was the shop keeper, but she seemed really out of place in this dusty old shop.

 

She said, “Allow me to introduce myself child. I am Madame Margaret of the Mysteries. You can call me M.” She had an accent that Terry couldn’t place immediately, but it sounded vaguely Puerto Rican. No matter the origin, her voice was smooth and soft. Terry felt drawn towards this woman. Not in a romantic way, but simply intrigued by her. He wanted to know everything he could about her, because deep down, he knew that she could tell him what had happened to him.

 

Terry stayed in that shop talking to Madame Margaret for hours. He didn’t even pay attention to the time. She explained to him the changes that he was going through, how the emotional stress he had been going through caused his Magic to come out at that moment when he needed it most. Terry learned that he was a wizard. Terry had more and more questions for the shopkeeper, and each answered spawned even more questions. Madame Margaret at last said to him, “Terry, you must go and rest now. Let your mind absorb what I have taught you. I have been helping new wizards like you for years. You may continue to come visit me anytime you wish and I will answer three questions each day. But no more than three.”

 

That had been six months ago. Since the incident in the second story restroom (of which the bullies never mentioned to any school administrator) Terry had visited Madame Margaret, or M as he now called her, almost every day. She was the one who had taught him the spell to rid himself of the foul odor. She also taught him that the odor is actually one of the signs of a wizard (or witch) who is about to snap. M had been the one to tell him about Pixocero Public School for the Incredibly Gifted and Otherwise and submitted his application to the school for him. Despite their difference in age, of which hers remained unknown, they became close friends, similar to the relationship of a nephew to a favorite aunt.

 

Terry had not been close to many people since the death of his parents. He could not relate to his grandmother. He didn’t know if she was really there most of the time, even though her cooking still remained decent. She yelled at him most of the time. Probably due to a hearing impairment, but Terry still thought that she was mean and tried to avoid her as much as possible. He tried to tell her where he was going at all times, but due to her ever-worsening dementia, she would often forget and call the police thinking that he had gone missing. After the third time this happened, he left a piece of paper taped semi-permanently to the phone that read, “Be back in one hour, Terry” and that seemed to stop the 911 calls.

 

It was due to this that his relationship with M grew and he felt very attached to her. She had taught him so much about himself, that it made it very difficult to say goodbye. She would accompany him to the train station tomorrow of course, so until then, Terry just wouldn’t think of it.

 

His grandmother yelled out again, “TERRY!” and he decided that he would just have to get up and spend some time with his grandmother before he left. He wasn’t sure if she would even still be around when school let out for the summer. So he rolled out of bed and stretched and headed downstairs.