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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 26
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 26

The girls choose their beds. Marcia feels a great weight on her mind and body.

Marcia and Naomi joined their classmates up on the open deck of the ferry. There was a steady wind coming off the lake, which cut through their clothes. To beat the wind the girls walked around the deck chatting and playing a game of tag. The headmaster watched the girls, smiling at how easily the varied group members fit together. With all the different races and upbringing, these girls formed a cohesive group of friends who cared for each other.

The headmaster thought, "The next six weeks may break and test some of the new friendships. It will be a difficult time for each of them, but Marcia and Naomi should grow closer and work together as one. That is what we want to see happen."

The wind picked up and blew fiercer bringing spray from the prow of the ferry. The girls found that was too much to bear and went to the lower deck where they could sit and chat. The ferry was on its way to the island summer school. When they went below deck, they split up into smaller groups because the seating was scattered and sparse. Polina and a few other classmates joined Marcia and Naomi. Conspicuously absent was Daria, who sat with some of the orchestra members.

Naomi saw Daria watching Marcia and the group of friends with a blatant look of almost pure hate and contempt. She quickly looked away when she saw Naomi looking but kept a furtive eye on Marcia.

Naomi thought, "This has gone on long enough. Daria will cause some trouble and summer school is the ideal place to do it. I had better be on the watch for something. I cannot let Marcia be hurt or suffer as she did with Sarah. We have gone too far as friends to have us torn apart now."

The whistle from the ferry startled the remaining passengers going to the island. Some of the passengers were permanent residents of the island who maintained the facility. The rest were the students and the instructors for the summer classes. The level of excitement and anticipation ratcheted up quickly as the students returned to the bow of the ferry to go ashore. As soon as the ferry stopped, the gate opened and the students rushed ashore.

The school was part of a small military base purchased by the Bard School when it closed. The student's quarters were old army barracks, which contained lockers and bunk beds. There was a lack of privacy for all the students, which would force them to work together. The duffel bags the students packed sat stacked in the middle of the barracks. When the students entered, they searched for their bag and selected a bunk, which became theirs. Two women who were permanent caretakers supervised the girl's barracks, with their husbands doing the same for the boys.

As the girls got their duffels, they scrambled to the bunks and staked claims to upper or lower. Polina grabbed Naomi and they shared a bunk bed next to the only single bed in the barracks. Daria and Franci shared a bunk at the other end of the barracks separating themselves from everyone. Marcia looked around the barracks and saw all the bunk beds had occupants. The only bed left was the single bed next Naomi and Polina. Marcia reluctantly walked to the bed dragging her duffel and flopped on it.

Marcia lay on the unmade bed, tucked her hands under her head and looked at the open ceiling. Her thoughts drifted to her first year at the Bard School. Things summer school would bring quickly flashed through her mind. She closed her eyes listening to the bustle of her classmates settling into their new home. Naomi crawled out of her lower bunk and sat on Marcia's bed bringing her back to reality.

Before Marcia could react, a whistle sounded from the woman who followed the girls into the barracks. The woman introduced herself and read the names of the students off as if she took attendance in class. When she finished, she droned on in a flat monotone voice, "Welcome, you may call me Kathy, but that does not mean we are friends. I will be with you throughout your next six weeks. If you have any problems, come to me. Now you will follow me on a tour of the school grounds and buildings. Please stay together and keep chatter to a minimum."

Kathy walked out of the girl's barracks and turned left to a group of wooden buildings. "These are the living spaces for the permanent residents who support and maintain the facilities of the island. All the buildings are off-limits to students." The group followed Kathy behind the barracks to a building that was the largest on the island. "This is the dining hall and major gathering area for all the students. Behind this building is the boy's barracks, which is also off-limits to you."

To the right of the barracks, a tall concrete wall stood with a closed heavy iron gate. Kathy continued talking as she walked, "Behind that wall is the area where you will build and test your bombs. The doors remain closed unless there are people in the labs and no live bombs are present. The actual testing area is a kilometer beyond the building to protect everyone. You will get a guided tour of the area in the morning and learn all the rules."

Before the group could move on, the boys from the class joined them. Kathy met her husband who was the boys chaperone and they chatted while the class mingled. Marcia moved closer to the wall with her head cocked as if she heard a noise from the other side. Naomi, Stefan and Polina joined her and chatted about the place. Naomi looked at her friend and noticed that a strange quiet calmness clouded her. Kathy observed the curious behavior of Marcia when she approached the wall.

"Marcia, what happened? You look as if you have felt something different here. You had the same look when we visited the Wiccan altar in the forest. Is something drawing you again?" Naomi asked, but had to poke Marcia to get her attention. Marcia shook as if to shake something off her body, but there was nothing. Marcia passed a confused look to her companions as they joined their classmates.

The quick tour ended with the class assembling in the gathering area for the students. Everyone took a seat at the tables and watched the headmaster stand to address them. Two women passed packets to each student while the headmaster watched. Marcia and her group quickly opened their packets and scanned the pages. Naomi and Polina looked at each other and rolled their eyes at the volume of paper in their hands.

When they finished distributing the packets, he spoke, "You have packets about the summer school and the class schedule. You will divide into laboratory partner groups of four tomorrow morning. These groups will remain your primary partners throughout summer school. It is dinnertime and we shall meet here for all meals and occasional class gatherings. Enjoy your time here and learn well and take what you learn back to the castle with you."

The group at the table ate dinner quietly but watched things around the room. The headmaster walked through the hall stopping at each table talking with the students. When He got to Marcia and her table, he joined them and ate his dinner. When the meal was over, he spoke to the table, "You four students will be one of the laboratory groups. I would like you to be the leaders of the class through summer school. That announcement will occur tomorrow at the general meeting. We will meet at least once a week through summer school to discuss progress and problems. Thank you, I count on you to show leadership with your class." He stood and quickly left the hall.

The four students looked at each other, shrugged and left the dining area quietly. When they were outside, Stefan asked, "What was that? Are we now the class leaders?"

Marcia looked at Stefan and then at Naomi, who spoke next, "It looks as if we are the trusted students. What that means, we will learn as summer school progresses. Right now, we have free time on our hands. Why not explore this place a little more?"

"Let's go walking around, this looks like it might be an interesting place to explore. I saw some other buildings, which were not on the tour. Maybe we can go there and check them out and look further on the island," Polina added.

The group walked toward the wall and turned to walk away from the building along the wall's edge. Naomi watched Marcia as they walked, because of the earlier incident near the big iron doors. She fell into step with Marcia and walked behind Polina and Stefan. Marcia remained quiet, but stillness descended over her as if her body was no longer hers. Her eyes became vacant and her movement's mechanical with her arms stiff by her side. Suddenly, she stopped, turned to the wall and chanted unintelligibly with her voice in what seemed a Gregorian chant.

Without warning, a loud howling of several wolves came from the other side of the wall. Marcia's voice rose in volume and pitch joining the howling as if she called the wolves. Naomi stood beside her friend as fear welled within her for Marcia's safety. Polina and Stefan stopped and turned back to Marcia and Naomi. They stood with Naomi and watched what Marcia did with the sounds heard from beyond the wall. As quickly as the howling began, it ended and Marcia looked at her friends with curiosity.

"What happened? Why are you staring at me? Why did we stop here? Let's get moving further along the wall." Marcia turned and hurried along the wall to the back of the school bordered by the forest. Her three friends scampered to keep up with her pace and walked behind letting her lead.

When they got to the edge of the forest, they found a broad, well-worn path leading into them. Marcia stopped and peered down the path as if she sensed what was beyond. She turned to her friends and asked, "Should we take a stroll down this path tonight? I am curious about it but do not want to put us in danger if we get caught in the forest after dark."

Stefan spoke first, "We can take the path, but keep sight of the compound here if possible. Once we get to where it disappears, we turn around and head back, agreed?" Everyone nodded and proceeded down the path slowly.

Marcia led the group as if she had walked the path many times in the past. She stepped quickly as if some force pulled her. Her steps seemed deliberate and executed with a purpose and an end goal. About 200 hundred yards down the path was a large clearing cut into the forest. Within the clearing was a stone altar with five columns and the same symbols as on the altar at school. Marcia stopped, turned and looked at her mystified friends.

"It looks like we have another group of Wiccans here. What shall we do about this? We cannot watch this as easily as at school, but we need to know who these people are. Maybe we can ask the headmaster at one of our special meetings," said Marcia. The group nodded in agreement. They turned and left the forest for that day.

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

All other rights reserved.

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