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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 17
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 17

Daria walks and finds her music. Stefan reunites with Marcia and Naomi.

Soft sunlight leaked through the shades covering the windows of Daria's room. It softened her appearance and almost made her look angelic, as she slept. With her leg suspended, she could not roll around, as she normally did while sleeping. The light coming in the window came from sparkling reflections off the newly fallen snow. Daria moaned in discomfort, as she groggily lay trying to get comfortable, but it just made her hurt more. Finally, she stopped moving around and woke to pain in her lower back.

She looked at the muted green and brown walls, which raised her discomfort and desire to get out of bed. Daria was awake and yelling for nurses to wait on her as servants. The nurses performed their required duties in the most efficient manner, but Daria kept yelling. The doctor listened to her whining and decided he would take her down to get an x-ray of her leg. When he took her down, she had to wait for the doctors to remove her cast and set up where they took the x-ray.

The doctor stayed with her and examined the final prints to check the healing process of her leg. The two minor breaks knitted well and were well on the way to healing. The third break, which had the steel rod, healed, but the leg was not straight. Daria would have a pronounced limp, as she walked for the rest of her life. As she sat and waited for the doctor, she looked at the continuing muted green and brown walls. She thought about why they have those putrid disturbing colors throughout the whole hospital.

On the way back to Daria's room, the doctor took her to the orthopedics department to get a new smaller cast. Daria was happier with the smaller cast because it allowed her to get out of bed. When she got back to her room, the doctor left a wheel chair for her to use. She rolled around her room practicing and when she was ready, she rolled down to the nurses' station. They took care of her, but made her wait for care. The doctor prescribed physical therapy to get her walking again. In no time, Daria got up out of the wheelchair and used crutches to get around.

The first thing Daria did, when she was up and around was to take a shower and do her hair. She had not showered for over a month, bed baths only. Taking a shower and doing her hair made her feel almost human and reasonable again, if she ever could. Her mind was blank from all her time in a coma or at least she thought it was. All knowledge of the wraith and her treatment of Stefan disappeared, gone forever. The only thing she thought she remembered was that Naomi distracted Stefan as Daria fell from the horse. Daria thought about Naomi and if the distraction happened purposely or accidentally.

The first thing the doctors told Daria made her unhappy, three more weeks would pass, before she returned to school. She moved well using crutches, but the doctors wanted her to undergo physical therapy for her walking. They knew she would limp or walk awkwardly from her injury. She needed time to learn walking again with a slight pronounced limp. Daria was not happy with the news, but three weeks compared to three more years with Naomi, Marcia, Polina and Stefan was nothing.

To soothe her anger and sadness, Daria found a room where doctors and patients sought outlets by playing music. No one knew that Daria was an accomplished flutist or that she ranked as one of the top musicians in Belarus. She looked through the shelves of instruments in the music room and found a well-kept flute. She sat in a chair in the middle of the room, raised the instrument to her lips and played a scale run. When she felt how comfortable the instrument was in her hand, she started playing music that calmed her. Several doctors and nurses stopped in the hallway and listened to the beautiful music played by Daria.

As Daria played, her mind wandered and she remembered how she tormented Stefan. Tears rolled down her face, but she continued to play. After forty-five minutes playing, Daria stood with her crutches and went back to her room. The dry tracks of tears stood out on her face, but she made no effort to remove them. She felt better than she had since she left home to attend the Bard school. She mentally vowed to be a different person when she returned to school. The nurses and doctors found a changed young woman when they treated her the next morning.

While Daria spent time in the hospital discovering herself, Polina wrestled with the changes she saw in Stefan. She did not like what happened to his treatment of Marcia and Naomi. He avoided them, as if they were contaminated and he never spoke of them either. His behavior resembled something Daria wished would happen. Polina was still friends with him and knew he liked Marcia and Naomi as friends. She saw Stefan walking his horse in the courtyard and decided it was time to approach him. She left her room and descended the stairs into the courtyard.

"Hey Stefan, come here, I want to talk to you about something."

Stefan rode his horse over, dismounted sliding off the saddle, held the reins and walked closer. "What is on your mind Polina? We have not talked for a few days, is there something wrong?"

"Yes there is. What is wrong with you? You shy away and avoid all contact with Naomi and Marcia. What did they do to you? You don't even talk about them anymore. They are your friends as much or more than I am. You are a different person. You need to get a grip and stop this bad behavior."

"Well, I would but every time I want to see them I get beat up by some invisible being claiming to be Daria. If I talk about them, she flicks my ear. I keep seeing her in my room and other places, as she floats around. I feel safer if I ignore them, but now I have not seen her for about a week."

"What are you afraid of now? You go back to the stable and put up your horse. I am going to get the girls, come down and talk to you. I want to get you out of these feelings. You have to conquer these fears and you will do it today."

"I will do as you say, but if anything happens, you won't be welcome either." Stefan turned reluctantly and walked his horse back to the stable.

Polina entered the school, went to Marcia's room to get the girls and return to Stefan. Reluctantly the girls went with Polina because Marcia yearned to search the tunnels and explore the chapel in detail. Her curiosity ran in circles since the headmaster told her Chantel killed herself. Marcia's thoughts of that story were that it was false, Chantel was too proud to end her life in disgrace. She needed Stefan's knowledge and assistance to explore safely in these old tunnels and the crypt. He was also a good friend whom she wanted to spend time just having a good time.

Entering the stable where it was cold, the breath of the horses appeared as a fog floating to fill the air. The girls entered and Stefan stopped his brushing of his horse. He walked over to the girls slowly expecting to feel a hard slap from the wraith. When nothing happened, he smiled and felt better to be with them. They started talking and laughing and it seemed as if the wraith was not there and things were normal. Stefan relaxed, sat on the hay bale next to Naomi and took her hand. He rejoiced openly that he touched her hand and no pain came. He mouthed the words, "thank you" to Polina and blushed at Naomi's smile.

Marcia looked at Stefan, smiled and asked, "Are you ready to show me the tunnels and further explore the crypt. I heard what happened to Chantel and there will be a service for her, as soon as the headmaster can arrange it. I am suspicious though about how she died, it seems not right."

Stefan asked, "How did she die? The only thing she would ever do would be to have a tragic accident."

"We were told she committed suicide, but I know she loved living too much to die that way even with the disgrace she suffered. If she is still lying in state, we may be able to check it out for sure."

Stefan smiled, gave Marcia thumbs up and reached for Naomi's hand to hold it next to him. Naomi blushed and tried to yank her hand back, but Stefan held tight. He was not going to let go of her no matter what Daria or her wraith did. Stefan spoke to Marcia, "We will go exploring tomorrow. It is almost time for dinner and we should go inside where it is warmer."

Marcia and Stefan waited two days before entering the chapel to explore the crypt. The ground in the courtyard was wet and when they walked through it, they left footprints and a trail. It would not be a good thing to leave a message that someone violated the chapel. The snow melted quickly, but the dirt and stone paths were muddy and wet. Stefan grabbed Marcia after their last class and walked with her to her room where they left their books.

"I want to show you the tunnels under the castle, which crisscross the courtyard," Stefan declared.

"I have two flashlights here we can use, they are emergency lights in case the power fails," Marcia informed Stefan.

"We can take them, but the tunnels are well lit because the staff uses them every day."

Stefan led Marcia down into the bowels of the tower where she lived. When they could go no further, a large door swung open easily that allowed entrance to the tunnels. Inside the tunnels, it was quiet, but Marcia felt a constant flow of air rushing by her. Stefan motioned her to follow him into the tunnel and led her away from the door quickly. He walked swiftly down the tunnel to where another tunnel intersected with it. Marcia followed Stefan gawking in awe of the maze, but also the tunnels interconnected easily to keep things flowing. As they walked, Marcia noticed that some tunnels descended while others ascended. When they reached an intersection, a letter and number appeared on the wall of each corner.

Marcia stopped at one intersection and held Stefan back because she was curious. "What are these letters and numbers and what do they mean?"

"The letter is the closest building and the number is the tunnel that goes toward the building. I managed to find an old map of the system in an old storage room. It showed how the designations fit together and made it easier for me to get around. I think there were more maps there and when we get there I will give you one."

Marcia in a voice quavering with excitement said, "This is neat and to imagine these tunnels were built when the castle construction went on above them. It is an engineering feat, but its real purpose was not to move between buildings, but to allow residents to escape capture."

The last tunnel Stefan took came upon another large door, which opened as easily as the first. When Marcia exited the tunnel, the odor of cooking food invaded her nose. Stefan led her from her dormitory building to the building, which contained the dining room. Marcia laughed and clapped her hands, as they climbed the stairs into the building proper. They entered the dining room and sat with Naomi and Polina, who looked at the pair mystified. Marcia felt a strong feeling of satisfaction at learning about another facet of the mysterious school.

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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