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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 32
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 32

Marcia has spirit troubles and other poisonings rattle her.

While Klaus and Marcia looked at the boat, Kathy and the headmaster talked. "It seems our young woman is more sensitive to the spirits than we initially thought. We will have to monitor her more closely to protect her from harm. You and Klaus have to train her more and quickly. We need to ascertain her capabilities but also her vulnerabilities," the headmaster told Kathy.

Kathy nodded with a thoughtful smile on her face. She sat silent for a minute and sighed as she spoke, "Teaching Marcia is easy, but the spirits on this island are very strong and forceful. Marcia resists but her focus is too broad blocking us as well. What can help to prevent the spirits but allow us to enter her? Klaus searched for a spell or charm, but failed to find one."

The headmaster stroked his chin in thought, "I will have to consult with other members and some of the old texts. I do not remember ever encountering a sensitive like Marcia. She is a puzzle, but she is a good candidate for our coven."

While the headmaster and Kathy spoke, Klaus and Marcia walked to the boat and chatted. She told him that she saw the boat, hidden way up on the shore in the brush. When she uncovered it, she pulled it to the water's edge and examined it closely. Seeing no apparent holes, she pushed it into the lake and climbed in, to row it a bit. After fifteen minutes, no water seeped into the boat, and she returned to shore where she tied the boat to the tree.

Klaus walked around the boat and saw no holes or rotted wood. It appeared in great shape and looked usable. He untied it from the tree and pushed it into the lake. Marcia jumped into the stern. Klaus gently pushed the boat deeper into the water and sat with the oars ready to row. Marcia felt at ease, as Klaus moved away from shore against the current.

As Klaus rowed from shore, he noticed Marcia's demeanor change. The cautious, serious girl relaxed, her body lost its tension and she smiled. She waved her arms and looked at the sky and the water. She appeared as if a great calmness came over her body, releasing her from the grasp of a different world. Suddenly, Marcia shuddered as loud sobs of anguish wracked her body. Her shoulders shook, and she hunched over holding her head in her hands.

Klaus witnessed the dramatic change but did not understand what happened. He stopped rowing and let the boat drift as he watched Marcia. The mood swings confused him, and he wanted to help Marcia. He stood in the boat and gently sat next to her wrapping her in his arms. Marcia hugged him tightly and buried her head in his shoulder. Her cries got louder almost as if they were the shrieks of mourning for the loss of family.

The sounds coming from Marcia reminded Klaus of the wails of sirens calling sailors to the rocky shores. He wondered if the spirits of the dead on the island who escaped only to drown influenced her. What mystified him more was a nagging question, 'Why now?' As the boat drifted toward shore forced by the breeze and current, Marcia quieted and stopped shuddering. The closer to shore, the less Marcia felt the anguish.

As Marcia quieted, Klaus moved back to row ashore. When the boat was back on shore and secure, he sat with Marcia. He asked, "Do you know what happened to you out on the lake?"

Marcia shook her head, "I felt several different emotions overcome me as you rowed further from shore. I never felt that before when I was alone."

"Yes, I witnessed all the changes. Had you ever rowed that far from shore?"

As Marcia answered, Klaus thought, "There must be a neutral area between the lake and shore where no spirits lurk."

"No, I only went out about twenty-five meters from shore. I did not want to go too far, in case she boat leaked. I can swim but rather not have to get into this cold water." Marcia replied thoughtfully smiling at Klaus.

"Well, I like the boat. It seems someone kept it in very good condition. I like your idea of staying close to shore too. There seems to be an area off shore that rings the island where there are no spirits. That area or band is where you can relax and not hold your guard up. Did you notice that the first time you rowed on the lake?"

"I did. I felt I did not need the charms Kathy gave me. I think that was why I left the choker at home. I can hold off the spirits for short periods without the charms. When you rowed out beyond that band, a new group of spirits entered my head and took over. They seemed troubled and wanted to hurt anyone near me. I tried to fight them, but there were too many of them." Marcia quietly lamented.

"I think we need to get back and report these things to Kathy and the headmaster. There must be a spell or charm that will protect you from these new spirits." Klaus told her, as he made sure he secured the boat.

They walked toward the house quickly but paused near the area that Franci used for her practice. Klaus saw the girl dancing, but failed to see the bayonet sword she used. He paid it no mind and continued with Marcia. When they entered the house, the headmaster turned quickly to Marcia and asked, "Are you feeling well? I sensed that you had a troubled time with Klaus."

Klaus answered before Marcia, "Yes, we discovered something interesting about the island and the lake surrounding it. Spirits don't dwell in a band or ring of water off shore surrounding the island. Beyond that ring is another group of stronger spirits who sought revenge and seized Marcia strongly. The charms she wore had no effect on holding them at bay. We need to find something that will protect her there."

The headmaster shrugged as he stroked his chin deep in thought. When he spoke, his voice reflected uncertainty, wonder, and curiosity. "I have never heard or seen anything like this before. In all the years we used this island, no reports of spirit activity offshore appeared. I will call some friends who are sensitive to visit here and investigate. They should also meet Marcia and help educate her."

Klaus and Kathy shook their heads in agreement while Marcia sat listening with a curious look on her quizzical face. The headmaster continued, "I will make the calls now, and we will gather after dinner to discuss the handling of the situation from here on until summer school ends. Marcia will continue her studies with you and her classmates. Her boat trips can continue, but only offshore in the neutral zone." Everyone agreed, and the group split up to continue their day.

Marcia returned to her lab partners as they made small bombs used to frighten unsuspecting targets. Naomi finished ahead of the class and took her bomb toward the lab technicians for inspection. As she approached Daria's table, Franci reached out and knocked the bomb out of her hand. One of Daria's lab partners, an unsuspecting boy, grabbed the falling bomb. When he grabbed it, a small explosion shook his hand and burned his fingers and palm. Daria screamed and fell to the floor seeking cover.

The class laughed at the spectacle but gathered around the burned boy. Blisters covered his hand, but his fingers remained attached. The bomb was more loud noise than harmful. Daria stood quickly and yelled at no one in particular, "Look! She tried to hurt me. I was lucky to escape serious harm. I want her expelled as a menace to this class. She does not belong here." Almost everyone looked at Daria smiling with some laughter in the background. Her fuming and accusations attracted the lab technicians to remove Naomi from the class reluctantly.

The burned boy left the class to get his burns tended. The class continued, Daria fumed and vocalized her displeasure at being a target of a bomb. Her classmates looked at her with disdain at over-reacting to what was obviously an accident. With all the noise from Daria, the lab technicians decided to suspend class for the rest of the day. The students gathered their work in labeled envelopes and placed them into a bombproof chest to store them for a later class.

Dinner was in two hours, so Marcia went to the shore and sat in her boat. Her mind drifted recalling how she felt about the events of the day. As she sat in the boat, she heard the grunts and groans coming from behind. She turned abruptly, as the sounds grew louder and closer. About three meters away, Franci advanced closer swinging her sword over her head, as if preparing to attack. Marcia feared for her life, jumped from the boat and ran from the shore to Kathy's house to seek refuge.

As Marcia burst through the door, Kathy jumped from the kitchen table and rushed to her. Kathy had grabbed Marcia before she fell to the floor in a curled up ball. Marcia shook and cried in fear as she huddled against Kathy. Franci threatened her badly and left her terrified for her life. Marcia did not understand why a young woman could harbor such deadly feelings. She grabbed Kathy and looked pleadingly into the older woman's eyes with an expression of utter helplessness.

As Marcia calmed, Kathy led her to the table where a warm cup of soothing tea waited. Marcia sat staring intently at the tea avoiding Kathy's eyes and hoping not to answer any questions. After a prolonged period of silence, Marcia looked up into Kathy's smiling face. Kathy moved closer to Marcia and held her hand knowing that touch is one of the most soothing things for teens. Marcia visibly relaxed and opened her face in a small grin facing Kathy.

"What happened? When you left class, you seemed joyful and anxious to get to your boat. Did something frighten and threaten you there?" Kathy asked looking deeply into Marcia's eyes.

Marcia pondered her answer carefully. She did not want to alarm Kathy or the headmaster about Franci. She wanted to handle her alone without any interference. It was her task to overcome. "No, there was a cold wind off the water that seemed to carry some ill will toward me. It penetrated my body and shook my soul. It scared me, and I wanted to escape from it." Marcia blurted, hoping that was good enough for now.

Kathy accepted Marcia's explanation but felt there was more to the explanation. She softly spoke, "Time to get cleaned up for dinner. Wash up and I will walk with you to join your friends for the evening meal." Kathy watched Marcia go to wash up and thought about her answer. She knew it was a story and would like to talk to the headmaster about it.

At dinner, Marcia perked up when she saw her friends and Kathy went to the headmaster's office. As dinner progressed, the students ate and chattered. Daria and Franci huddled together plotting something nefarious. Daria continuously pointed at Marcia's table gesturing at the group. Marcia watched intently but did not perceive anything strange. Polina stood with her empty glass and walked to get more juice. As she stood, Daria and Franci stood to follow her.

The three girls stood around the cooler for the juice chatting. Polina and Daria were old friends and bantered about the weeks of classes. As Polina looked at Daria, Franci poured a small amount of white powder into her glass. Franci quickly shoved the empty packet in the trash and returned to her table. Daria soon left as well, while Polina drank some juice and refilled her glass again. Polina returned to her table rejoining Marcia, Naomi, and Stefan.

After a few minutes of eating and loud banter, Polina fell off her chair and lay unconscious on the floor. Naomi and Stefan jumped up and rushed to her aid. Other students gathered, and the serving staff called the medical staff. Marcia stealthily watched Daria and Franci hoping to catch a glimpse of something sinister in their reaction. As she watched, she saw Daria cup her mouth and whisper closely into Franci's ear. Franci's reaction was one of glee and Daria laughed as she turned back to the crowd. Marcia knew in that instant, something sinister brought Polina to be sick and unconscious.

The medics came quickly and took Polina away reassuring the students all would be fine. Marcia, Naomi, and Stefan huddled together. Marcia related her observations of Daria and Franci while Polina lay on the floor. Naomi was angry, and Stefan felt certain that Daria and Franci poisoned Polina. They would wait until morning for the results and decide what to do next.

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

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