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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 05

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 05

Marcia explores outside the castle and finds something is missing.

As the sun rose, its light poured brightly on Cricket's bed into her happy face. She slept happily dreaming of the dress in the milliner's shop. She wanted to return and buy it or at least try it on. Her hazel eyes shone brightly as she got out of bed to face another day. She twirled on the floor imagining she wore the dress. As she twirled and spun, she hummed the song "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story."

She bathed quickly and dressed. She wished she had more of the pastry Gustaf shared with her the night before. It would be special with her morning tea. It was the lightest streusel she ever had. The meal seemed so special. Her attitude was light and pleased. Thoughts of home consumed her, as she walked back to her room after dinner. Her thoughts were not of her family, but of her best friend Naomi.

She wondered where Naomi was and what she did. Marcia missed her best friend and confidant. The girls were practically inseparable. Now they were thousands of miles apart. It was difficult to imagine they were the same girls. Marcia changed and grew up fast on her own. She dealt with some of the same problems, but made new friends to share things.

Rather than wait for Chantel, Marcia locked and left her room. She walked to the dining room and sat with Daria and Polina. She looked in the direction of Chantel's friends, but Chantel was absent. Suddenly, there was a loud commotion, as Chantel entered the dining room. She was angry and stormed toward Marcia. She stopped abruptly, when she realized every eye in the room watched her. She sheepishly skulked to her friend's table and sat quietly.

Marcia watched the incident gleefully. She outsmarted Chantel and annoyed her. Soon, Chantel would want Marcia to join her group. They needed her because she was free to come and go. They knew she would help with their plan. Exams came up in three weeks. They needed Marcia and her friends. They would be the best students to steal the exams. If they succeeded, it was wonderful. If they failed, they were in trouble not Chantel and her group.

Marcia and the headmaster talked about infiltrating the group. The thought was, if she angered Chantel enough Chantel would try to get Marcia expelled. It appeared that Marcia was creating the correct scene. Humiliation was the best way to provoke Chantel. After breakfast finished, Chantel walked up to Marcia.

"You didn't wait for me this morning, why?" Chantel confronted Marcia.

"I wanted to walk around on my own with no escort," she ruefully replied.

Chantel stood there mollified by the reply. "Ok, from now on you are on your own. We will meet for meals and in the auditorium for orientation."

Marcia felt she scored a big victory in her heart. She might get to explore inside and outside the school without her shadow. She suspected Chantel would approach her to join her group. She waited for that to happen. Marcia knew Chantel had a need that only she could fill. Marcia gathered her friends and moved quickly toward the auditorium.

Daria grabbed Marcia and stopped her. "What are you trying to do? Chantel is one of the nastiest students here. She demands respect and if she doesn't get it, you are in trouble."

"If you want to know what I am doing, come to my room tonight. It is part of a plan. I will explain it all."

Marcia continued into the auditorium and sat in the front row. Daria and Polina reluctantly joined her. The girls whispered, as the rest of the class filed into the room. The guides sat in the back of the room because the boring part of orientation started. The day would cover each class the students took throughout the year. Marcia noticed there were no breaks for holidays or vacation.

Marcia raised her hand, "When do we have holidays or vacations?"

The moderator replied, "You don't."

Marcia shrugged. She thought, "This is a strange school, but then it is a different country with different customs." She wanted to protest, but let it drop.

The afternoon went quickly with the students allowed to roam the school. Marcia grabbed Daria and told her about going outside into the forest. Daria pulled away and caught up with Polina. When they met, Daria said something to Polina and pointed at Marcia. Polina looked shocked, as she listened to Daria. Marcia waved, as she proceeded to her room to drop off her books. Once she left her room, she went out the main door and walked to the edge of the forest.

A lone figure watched Marcia, as she walked out of the school. The person knew about Marcia's love of wolves. He also knew that the wolf in the forest was tame and waiting for her. He saw the wolf almost daily from his window, as it waited at the edge of the forest.

Marcia walked out of the castle, but instead of entering the forest, she walked the perimeter of the castle. At the base of the wall, were piles of broken rocks. These rocks formed a barrier preventing ladders placed close against the wall. As she walked, the white wolf kept pace with her at the forest edge. He watched, as if protecting her from an invisible enemy.

The wolf knew her scent, before she arrived. He smelled her, as soon as she arrived at the castle. Marcia never noticed that fact. Cal had taken something from her in New Jersey. When Cal cared for the female wolf, he cut his hand. Marcia took a kerchief from around her neck and gave it to Cal. He played with the young white wolf using it. The wolf knew her smell right away.

Marcia continued around the wall. At the back of the castle hidden by overgrowth and more piles of rocks was a lot of piping and cables. Marcia followed them into the woods. The cables and piping entered a stone-enclosed compound. The compound was where all the electric and environmental controls for the school emanated. This was the only external sign of modern upgrades. Marcia wanted to enter the compound, but locks and security fencing protected it.

As Marcia entered the forest to go around the compound, the wolf joined her. His presence relaxed Marcia. She continued walking around the castle. The edge of the castle ground was void of trees and shrubs for a distance of thirty meters from the wall. What filled that area was well-manicured grass. Marcia wondered about that. Why the bare patch with only grass?

Part of the wall obtruded right up to the edge of a cliff. The cliff was several hundred feet above the valley. Almost one full side of the castle was on that edge. That side overlooked the village below. Marcia saw the headmaster's office and her room on above her. She looked out from the edge where she stood and felt scared.

As Marcia walked back with her wolf, she watched clouds drift up the river valley below the castle. She looked over the edge of the cliff and felt as if she could float on the clouds. It felt almost mystical when the clouds surrounded the castle. The feeling that castle nestled and slept in the clouds was very strong. A light film of water coated everything the clouds touched. Marcia felt magical, as the clouds came and stopped.

The clouds hovered close to the ground, leaving the towers and top of the wall exposed to the sun above. This temperature inversion slowly cooled the area. As the area cooled, a slight breeze swirled around drawing the clouds with it. The clouds slowly disappeared as the breeze went down the valley.

Marcia sat on the ground just inside the forest. The wolf laid his head in her lap. She took a roll of paper, which was a note to Cal from her pocket. She hoped he would read it.

It read, "Dear Cal, Thank you for the note. This wolf is so gentle and loving. You have a way with wolves. They seem to migrate to you. That is an asset, which may be usable in the future. I know we will meet in the future. How or when is not important. I will wait for the day to come. Cricket"

She rolled the note tightly, took the tube and stuffed the note inside it. She placed it carefully in the collar holder. She rubbed the wolf behind his ears, as he whined his good feelings. He licked her hand. Marcia stood and petted him, as she said goodbye.

She walked again to the wall. The wall was not smooth. Jagged pieces and bumps covered the wall. The wear on these pieces showed very little from the time the castle builders put it together. The stones fit tightly with no leaks or mortar visible. Marcia examined the stone looking for flaws. She found none.

She noted that something seemed amiss. There was no back door visible. Her thoughts drifted, "Shouldn't there be a back door? Where is it? I need to find the back door."

Marcia quickly walked to the drawbridge entrance. Cold air blew around the outside of the castle making her shiver. It was early evening and dinner would be soon. Her afternoon was good and she learned about the castle exterior.

Dinner was quiet. Daria and Polina sat with Marcia. Chantel kept observing the trio. Marcia noticed and smiled back each time Chantel peered. Marcia enjoyed this duel with Chantel. Dinner ended and Marcia walked up to Chantel.

"Goodnight Chantel, see you in the morning," Marcia ruefully said.

Chantel glowered and left quickly.

Marcia laughed softly, as Daria and Polina joined her. They walked slowly to Marcia's room. Daria took her usual position in the visitor's chair. Polina lay on her stomach again, head propped up by her hands. Marcia sat at her desk.

"OK, what is going on Marcia?" Daria said, jumping right to it.

"Chantel is a bad influence in this school. Her gang bullies other students. I cannot tolerate that. With the headmaster's permission, I will try to take down Chantel and her gang. There is no place for bullies at this school. Are you girls with me?"

Polina, "Yes, I am with you. There is no place here for bullies."

Daria, "I am not sure that is a good idea. She seems to have a groundswell of support. If we take her and her group down, would there possibly be other groups to take over?"

"I suspect that 'groundswell of support' is the result of her bullying and threats. If we take her down hard and publicly, that might be enough to discourage others from taking her place. I think we may only have to discredit Chantel, as her group seems to follow her, but they do not like to bully other students. Chantel has a hold over them too."

Her friends nodded in agreement.

Marcia continued, "Over the next few weeks I will put together a plan to take her down and disband her group. All of this must remain within our group, just the three of us."

The girls agreed and did their homework for a while. When they finished, Daria and Polina left for their room. Marcia sat at her desk wondering if she did the right thing.

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

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

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