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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 25
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 25

The class leaves the castle and takes a ferry ride to the island for summer school.

Marcia and Naomi had returned to their room after a final session with the makeshift orchestra before summer school started. Naomi sat on her bed watching Marcia as she swept up the clothes she tossed on the floor the night before. There was a look of concerned puzzlement on her face as she bent over. Naomi saw the look and wanted to ask about it. When Marcia finished, rather than climb on her bed and sit she came over to Naomi and sat.

"What is on your mind, Marcia? You look as if you have a mystery to unravel." Naomi prodded.

"There were strange things afoot when we were in the forest this afternoon. Some force drew me to the magic circle and kept the wolf away. It felt as if it tried to communicate with me, but I did not understand. I had all the little bruises and cuts from walking through the brush rather than taking the path. When I got into the magic circle, I performed some ritual as if guided by another force. As I stood at the foot of the altar, I felt some force pouring into my body and soul. It held me tightly, and I could not move as my mind received knowledge of some future events. Those thoughts puzzled me as I sat at dinner and as we prepared for bed."

"Well, let's just go to bed and sleep on it. Things might be clearer in the morning after a good long sleep. We have to pack and get ready to ride with our classmates to summer school," chided Naomi. The lights went out, and the girls went quickly to sleep.

After breakfast the next morning, the girls returned to their room to start packing for the trip to summer school. With practiced hands, Naomi finished packing almost before Marcia began. Marcia sat on the edge of her bed with the most frustrated look of utter surrender. Naomi chuckled but went to her roommate's aid and in less than fifteen minutes both duffels sat on the floor fully packed. When they finished, the girls looked at the duffels with pride as they waited for someone to pick them up.

A soft knock alerted the girls that someone came to get their duffels and assign them to the bus for the journey. Marcia opened the door and Hans entered the room and walked to the duffels. He turned to the girls and quietly said, "You will ride with the headmaster in his truck to summer school."

Marcia quickly replied, "No, we want to ride with our classmates in the buses. It is unfair to receive special treatment continuously. We want to get to know our other classmates. Can you put our duffels in with the rest of our class, please?"

Hans shook his head grabbed the bags and threw them one over each shoulder. He swiftly walked from the room and the girls followed him down to the courtyard and the waiting buses. He picked a random bus and added the duffels to the pile of bags. He bid goodbye to the girls and walked to the headmaster's truck. The headmaster came out of the school, went to his truck, looked at the girls standing by the bus and waved as he departed.

The girls and half of their classmates climbed onto the bus. The rest of the class got into another bus behind theirs. Marcia went to the rear of the bus and huddled in a corner where she could watch everyone. Naomi sat in the middle of the bus with a friend she shared some time as a lab partner in the forgery class. As the bus drove along the highway, the droning sound of the tires put Marcia to sleep. The rest of her classmates talked excitedly about summer school and their friends.

Naomi sat quietly as her friend and classmates talked about the school year. Slowly the chatter died and they focused on Marcia and her special treatment. Almost all her classmates resented that Marcia had special classes with the headmaster. The resented that she went into the village whenever she wanted. Some of the classmates looked at Naomi and questioned her involvement with Marcia. Naomi felt uncomfortable but soon convinced the skeptics that she was not a threat.

One of the girls asked, "Was Marcia always special in the schools she attended? How long have you known her? She seems like a nice girl, who stands out for some reason. Does she always attract trouble?"

Marcia and Naomi's eyes met and a smile crossed Naomi's face as she turned to the group of girls. Naomi started, "I have known Marcia since fourth grade where we became friends. When she transferred in her student mentor treated her terribly and bullied her. Marcia got back at her off school grounds and humiliated her badly. Her brother got into the act at school and she and I got even then.

"It seemed as if as soon as she solved one problem with a bully another would appear. She was always the innocent person in all the trouble. The principal saw all this and kept an eye on her for more trouble. When it came, he stepped in and helped clear it up. That was when her special treatment began. It continued, but the trouble escalated until there was a physical confrontation outside school grounds. Marcia stood her ground but refused to fight.

"As these incidents occurred more frequently, Marcia withdrew into herself and became more determined to prevent them. Now, she has become more evil and difficult to agitate. The bullying even continued here and Marcia was the target of it. The headmaster gave her a special room based on her past. He is also spending time with her and now me to figure out why these things happen."

The girls listened to Naomi intensely and their eyes moved between Naomi to Marcia and back. When Naomi stopped talking, the group of girls sat in silence. A few girls whispered among themselves, but no one asked any more questions. Marcia peeked out from under her closed eyelids and saw a newfound look of respect toward her. Marcia relaxed and sighed softly as she drifted back to sleep. Her thoughts focused on the feeling that it was good to ride with her classmates.

Ninety minutes after the van departed the school, it came to a halt in a small town on the edge of a large inland harbor. Three vehicles stopped on a pier with a few other vehicles. The students exited the vans and went into the ferry terminal. Naomi and Marcia hung back from their classmates talking together. They kept looking at their classmates and smiled when they looked back. All the girls huddled together and waited for the word to board the ferry.

The lake was in a valley created by several snow-capped mountains. The water came from melting snow and was too cold for swimming even on the hottest summer days. A cool wind blew off the lake forcing the girls to seek shelter inside the terminal looking for hot chocolate. Marcia and Naomi became the center of the group of girls from their van. The group asked questions of Marcia and kept her talking until the ferry loading time started.

As the girls walked out of the terminal, a strong gale of cold air blasted off the lake. The girls moved quickly to get aboard the ferry and into the small passenger cabin area. When the passengers were aboard, the vehicles moved slowly aboard. The vehicles drove on in the order, which they would get off at their stops. The two buses and the headmaster's car were at the end of the line. The ferry would make five stops at different shoreline towns, but the island of summer school was the last stop. As soon as they drove on, the ramp raised and the ferry pulled away from the pier.

The headmaster walked among the students chatting and answering questions. He made sure each student got money to purchase lunch during the trip. The students drifted away and found places to eat lunch out of the wind and cold. When the headmaster approached Marcia and Naomi, they were alone again. He took the girls back to his truck and produced a special luncheon meal prepared by the school. Marcia quickly grabbed what she wanted, but Naomi surveyed the food and took mostly fruit and cheeses.

She sat with Marcia and the headmaster and ate quietly, but an expression of a problem crossed her face. The headmaster saw her expression, "Naomi, what is wrong? Is there something troubling you?"

Naomi finished the piece of cheese she had and turned to the headmaster. "Several of our classmates asked me about the special treatment Marcia and I get. Can you tell us why? Based on our backgrounds we do not need special treatment. We were normal girls with no special talents or needs."

The headmaster had looked at his feet, before he spoke, "When I interviewed Marcia, I saw a girl who had a troubled past. She was the victim of bullying and singled out for harm. Although the school has small classes and some unusual courses, there is a high level of competition to excel here. We felt that the special treatment would eliminate some repeats of the treatment she left behind. We tried to make her and now your transition into the school easier."

Marcia broke in, "It was easier, but Chantel was a good example of what I faced earlier in school. We saw what happened there. Daria was another problem, but she seems to be quiet right now. Franci, Chantel's roommate also has some ill feeling toward me."

"Yes, we saw those threats and we witnessed how you handled them. You performed as we expected and that was a good thing. Summer school should be like being at summer camp for most of your classmates. Again, we expect that Marcia and you will perform to a level of competence well above your classmates. There will not be any special treatment on the island."

Marcia and Naomi smiled and shook their heads. They achieved what they wanted and did not have to push for it. Marcia still had questions, though, "How will things be different? What makes this summer school so different from school?"

The headmaster smiled as he started to explain the summer school. "There are three buildings of living quarters. There is one with rooms for the staff, one with bunks, group showers for the girls and one identical to the girls for the boys. There is a kitchen with a dining hall, which doubles as a group classroom. There are two labs where the students constructed bombs. There is another building where assassinations can happen. There is no place in the school for any special treatment."

Marcia spoke happily, "That sounds good. I want to mix with my classmates. They are curious about me and they deserve to see I am no different from them. I have one more question, though. If we are building bombs, is there an area where we get to blow things up?"

The headmaster smiled, "Yes, there is an area on the other side of the island secluded by woods. It has a cleared area where you will test your bombs in the relative safety of cement bunkers."

"Thank you for lunch and explaining why we were special and made us fit in with our classmates here for the next six weeks," Naomi quietly spoke. "We need to get back with our classmates for the rest of the ferry ride."

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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