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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 02
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 02

Marcia meets her classmates. The headmaster points to her as a challenge to her class.

Cricket unpacked her clothes and put them away. She stood at the window and watched the village below. Smoke curled up out of all the chimneys. It reminded her of pictures she saw on Christmas cards her family had. She relaxed and smiled. A voice in her head said, "This is not so bad. You will have fun here and learn a lot."

As she looked around her room, the castle outside evoked dreamy feelings. The castle made her feel like royalty. Instead of being Marcia, she became a teenage princess. This was her world. She grabbed a dress, hugged it and twirled around. She was Princess Marcia, in her domain. In spite of the dresses, she was tough and strong, a true warrior. She was a warrior who fought to keep the strength of womanhood, a fighter not a servant or submissive woman.

It truly was a castle on the outside. The towers, stables, high walls, the huge front drawbridge looked original. The exterior of the castle faithfully resembled the stonework. The barred windows were modern triple paned glass behind the bars. Behind the stonework was heavy insulation to keep in the heat. All the heating and cooling equipment blended with the environment. The satellite TV and communications blended into the trees.

As she stood in reverie, a soft knock came at her door. She took the steps to answer it. Outside was a girl a little older than she was. Marcia gestured for the girl to enter. She entered and sat on the edge of the bed. Marcia closed the door and sat in the only comfortable chair in the room.

"Hello, my name is Marcia. I am a new student here."

"Welcome, I am Chantel. I will be your student guide, while you go through orientation. It is time for dinner. We can go to the dining room now if you wish," the young French woman said in perfect English.

The girls stood and walked to the dining room. There were about one hundred students at tables. Servers bustled between the tables, bringing meals and drinks. The noise of people talking was loud, but typical for this size group. Boys and girls sat together, but there seemed to be no display of romantic affection.

Chantel led Marcia to a table with four girls. She sat and Marcia sat next to her. Chantel introduced Marcia to the other girls. They acknowledged her presence, but kept chatting among themselves. Marcia looked at the girls, but felt that they did not care who she was. It felt rude, but also she was invisible to them. That was a feeling she never experienced. It felt good. She was anonymous, a new feeling.

Dinner passed easily. Two girls at the table introduced themselves to Marcia. They asked where she was from. Once they heard she was American, they stopped their questions. The petulant behavior of the two girls caught Marcia by surprise. When dinner ended, Chantel walked with Marcia back to her room.

Chantel sat on the bed and asked, "What did you think of dinner? This is what it is like at every meal."

"It was not bad. I met a few of your friends. They seemed nice, but they stopped talking, when I told them I was an American. Do you know why?"

"I think they had a bad experience with an American, before they came here. They don't talk too much about it." Chantel did not feel like telling Marcia the truth right then.

Marcia changed the subject. "What will orientation be like?"

Chantel countered, "Wait until morning. I will come get you and stay with you all day. It appears you have yet to unpack completely. I suggest you do that tonight. The next week will be busy and you may not have time for much."

After Chantel left, Marcia finished unpacking her stuff. As she folded her clothes, she thought of home and her friends. They were gone and far enough away that she might never see them again. The best she could do was to write them. That made Marcia think about writing home, but what would she say?

When she finished with unpacking, Marcia got ready for bed and crawled in. It took a while for her to sleep in the strange bed. She lay there and looked around her room. The moon shone brightly through her window. Stars twinkled in the sky, which reminded her of the bedroom ceiling at home. She fell asleep looking at the wondrous night sky. Nothing like that existed in the New Jersey night sky.

When the sun poured through the same window, Marcia stirred. Rather than wait until Chantel came, she got up, dressed and prepared for her first full day in a new school. Curiosity consumed her. This was a new school in a different country. She wondered about everything. Orientation would be enlightening fun for her.

About thirty minutes after she got up, Chantel knocked at her door. They went to breakfast and sat with the same group of girls. It was quiet at the table. Marcia looked at the girls and felt a cold uneasiness around her from them.

After breakfast, Chantel brought Marcia back to her room to get a notebook and pen. They walked back to the central greeting area and entered a large auditorium. The room was like a pit, with chairs and tables in a semi-circle descending toward a stage. The room had about forty students seated in it. Marcia thought, if each student had a guide, there were only twenty students in the new class.

Gustaf, the headmaster, entered and the guides stood up. The new students stood a bit later, following their guides. Gustaf waved for the room to sit. Two other adults entered behind Gustaf. They carried books with them and set them in front of Gustaf on a table. They sat behind him. The students sat quietly waiting for things to start.

Gustaf spoke to the group, "Welcome new students and guides. We start a new freshman class this week. For the next two weeks, you will spend your time learning the rules at the Bard school. School should be fun and interesting. The books in front of me are your handbooks. They contain information about your classes and the school rules. Get to know the rules and you will have no problems."

He continued, "When we selected you, the thought was to challenge you to succeed. There is one person in this class who will challenge you more. I look forward to the spirit of competition. Welcome to the school. My assistants will pass out the Student Handbooks. Orientation begins shortly thereafter."

The students and guides looked around the auditorium. Everyone focused on Marcia. She felt their eyes, as if they drilled into her. Marcia felt like crawling out of the place. Reluctantly, she looked at everybody. She felt as if there was a target on her. Maybe in reality, there was.

Before Gustaf left the assembly, Marcia approached him. She was a bit angry and showed it when she asked, "Why did you say that about me?"

"Some of these students have been together all their lives. They are the top of their classes. You, by far, are superior to all of them. I wanted to challenge them. I expect you to do your best against them. I want them to try and beat you."

"I wish you told me this before you announced it," Marcia coolly replied.

"When you are done for the day, I want you to come to my office. I would like to talk to you. Now that we are inside the school, there is more you should know."

Gustaf turned smoothly and left the room in military precision. Marcia watched him, as he left. She felt a little angry, but it was a good anger, which strengthened her resolve. Chantel approached her. Marcia turned to her and glared, as if to ask, "What are you looking at?" Marcia walked up beside her. They walked out of the auditorium, after getting a Student Handbook.

In the visiting area outside the auditorium, a table of treats greeted everyone. All the students stood around the table. They ate the sweets and chatted. As Marcia approached, the group parted. Marcia took a few cookies and a bottle of juice. A couple of her classmates came up to her. They introduced themselves and asked about where she was from.

When she told them, they shook their heads as if to say, "So you are the one?" It was as if they sized up Marcia as their competition. They had no idea how superior she was to them. "They would learn as classes began," Marcia thought.

She moved away from the table. As she stood against a wall, she watched who looked at her. Several of her classmates stole glances at her. She kept a small smile on her face, if only to distract them. When she finished her snack, she searched for Chantel. Chantel talked with one of the other guides inside the auditorium.

When Marcia walked in, Chantel left her friend quickly. Marcia noticed, but kept quiet about it. She sensed that Chantel was not a real friend. It reminded her of someone else in her life. She thought she escaped that type of behavior.

"Don't expect this treatment at every gathering of students. This is only to comfort and provide additional energy for your orientation," Chantel said apologetically.

They sat together in the front row. While they waited, Marcia scanned the handbook. There were many rules, but enforcement was lax with most. She looked at Chantel and was about to ask a question, when the two assistants spoke.

"Welcome, we shall go over the Student Handbook, as well as some other important matters. Two days could cover most of the rules. We want you to know these rules well. The most important thing that will happen is the distribution of rooms. We will do that today, while you read the handbook."

The class sat with their eyes focused on the assistants. They read names from a list. As they read, the students selected their roommates and rooms. Each room held two people. In the cases of some roommates, the assistants disallowed the combination. Mostly couples, who wanted to stay together.

One name was not on the list. Marcia noticed right away. She had her room and that was where she stayed. She had no choice. Her classmates noticed too. Some whispering rose amongst her classmates. Already, the jealousy started. She did not want special treatment.

Marcia did nothing about her room assignment. She liked her room. It suited her nicely. The fact she was alone concerned her, but not enough to complain. She assumed it could change later. She looked at Chantel who had a quizzical smile.

"What is special about my room?" Marcia asked of her guide.

"It is for special students. I am curious about that too. Mostly rich royalty stayed there. Are you royalty or rich?" Chantel commented.

"Far from it, I am just a common girl from New Jersey. I am no one special."

Chantel shrugged, "Someone has plans for you. Or maybe they think you won't last here."

Marcia shook her head and thought, "This is just another thing to talk to Gustaf about later." Her living alone strengthened her resolve to be the best.

As they read the rules, groans came from the class. Two rules caused the loudest groans.

The first was that there would be no mail, messages or phone calls allowed. The school sent a newsletter to every parent. The newsletter was about events at the school, but very generic in nature. It did not contain a return address and no postal markings.

The second and most hated was no dating among classmates in the whole school. The threat of expulsion came with the rule. The students spoke in hushed whispers about the rule. There was an undercurrent of bitterness within the group. Marcia looked at her classmates with a slight smile. She would never violate this rule.

Lunch came and was over in thirty minutes. Marcia and Chantel sat with two other students and their guides. Chantel knew the guides and talked freely with them. The two classmates were curious about Marcia. They never met an American. Marcia sensed their curiosity and answered all their questions. When lunch was done, the three girls sat together in the auditorium.

More rules filled the afternoon. None of the rules drew any groans of displeasure. There were areas of the school that were off limits to freshmen. The map of the school clearly delineated those areas. Of course, the class wanted to know why, but heard they would find out in time.

When the session ended, the students went to their rooms and moved into the newly selected rooms. Marcia watched the entire bustle from a small lounge area. Her new friends saw her and joined her after they finished moving in together. At five o'clock, Marcia excused herself. They said goodbye, as the two girls went to meet their guides. It was dinnertime.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

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