My mother owned a lot of strange, rare objects. The one she’d talked about the most was a necklace with a beautiful white gem. It supposedly held magic. I’d ignored the stories for the majority of my childhood, but she would make up these incredible stories about them as I got older. But with age comes more dissent and ignorance, so I didn’t believe any of them.
The original story was that the world was once shared between animals and spirits. They lived in harmony and there was a balance of magic and peace.
But there was a man named Olivian Zeph who possessed magic of all of the elements. He used his power for terrible things. These things started out small; he stole food and clothing for poor people and he gave them warmth and health. Then, one day, a spirit told him what he was doing was wrong, even if it helped the people. The spirit told him that the poor people were poor and he shouldn’t try to change that. He provoked Zeph for years until Zeph decided he was tired of the spirits.
He used all of his magic to separate the spirits from the world we live in today. He created a special island to be the portal. One thing he forgot to do, though, was to hide it from all view. Apparently, today you can see the island with your bare eyes only, and any information could only be shared by word of mouth, but no pictures, maps, or satellites can show it. If it was drawn or written about, it would automatically disappear.
There are supposedly people now who have had magic from an element that was passed down through their family. For example,the power of air magic was given to a woman and was passed down through her family. Only one of her children would get the power, and they would have to procreate at some point in their lives to pass it down. If they didn’t, all balance would collapse. These powers would be activated by a temple on the portal island, but no one could find the island until a history professor used a device to look for it.
He named it The Island of Kearwood.
Ow! The curling wand burned my neck again. One more curl, I swear. I grabbed the last chunk of hair and wrapped it around the wand, but I was interrupted by a thought, specifically one that’d been kicking at the back of my brain for months now. My friends, Len, Lang, Rosé and Jose, wouldn’t be coming until the winter semester of school. I was going to be alone for the next three months because they were out in Bora Bora having the time of their lives. I wasn’t so sure I would make any other friends while I waited.
I was sure, though, that this island was weird. The hotels were fairly normal; not very spacious, but still comfortable. There was a group of large, sturdy buildings that made up my new boarding school, which was at the end of a small town. The town consisted of three small inns, a bakery, a park, and an awfully small airport. There were only a couple of planes there, and the one I had rode in with my mother was tiny and completely packed. There was also a little kid behind me who kept kicking my seat, so that didn’t help.
My mom was the only one who came to drop me off. We’d stayed at an Inn for the past few days because technically the school wasn’t open yet. It was one of those weird little Inns with five tiny rooms, each room with a merged bedroom, baby kitchen and living room, but the bathroom was the only thing that was separated. Places like that always made me feel cramped and unwelcome, but, oh well! What can you do?
The thing that I found weird was the island itself. The town only took up about one-hundredth of the island and the rest was a vast rainforest and swamp – mostly unexplored. Yes, that was exciting, but I didn’t want to die from some beetle who decided that my shoulder would be a great place to use the bathroom.
“Paige! Are you okay?” yelled my mother.
“Yeah, I’m fine, mama. Thanks,” I said.
“I don’t want you to go to school yet,” she whined.
“You can’t keep me with you. I can always call you.”
I finished my last curl, ran out of the bathroom, snatched my suitcase, and slipped on my white and blue converse. I ran over to the little kitchen and kissed my mothers cheek.
“I love you, mom. See you for winter break!” I shouted on my way out of the inn. I ran down three flights of stairs and burst out into the thick, moist, morning air.
It was my first day on school grounds, and by the time I’d gotten there, I’d decided I should’ve stayed home. All of the people around me were in groups of 2-4. They were with their friends. Friends. I swallowed a feeling of self-pity and took a deep breath. I really didn’t want to wait till winter semester to see my friends again. I really didn’t want to be the awkward girl in the back of the classroom for any amount of time, especially since my four “besties” were basically partying their asses off on a warm, sunny beach.
My train of thought was interrupted when something brushed my shoulder and made me jump. The girl on my left giggled. Her frizzy white hair bounced up and down and her chocolate colored eyes glowed in the sunlight. Her skin was a soft, warm brown color and she had a cute little nose.
“Hello!” A big smile stretched across her face. “My name is Nyah. You looked lonely so I thought I’d come over and talk to you.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I could use a friend. My name’s Paige.”
Nyah’s eyes glistened even brighter.
The two of us walked into the assembly room and sat down on the squeaky wood floor.
“Now,” Nyah said, “There are some people here you’ll need to know about. The girl over there with the black hair, that’s Melissa Chang. She’s the mean girl. The bully. The queen of the school. You know what I mean. Rich, daddy’s girl, thinks she’s perfect… and basically is.”
“The boy over there, that’s Adrien. He’s rich, famous, handsome – basically everyone’s obsessed with him except me.”
“I’ll see if he’s worth my fangirling soon enough,” I chuckled. I didn’t usually fall for people easily. Sure, Adrien, who was standing far away, seemed fairly handsome. He was an average height with a normal-ish jawline and dirty-blond hair. But would I like him? Would I look at him with dreamy eyes? Would I even like his personality? The thought of it made me feel queasy. Love was terrifying. Why would I want it?
A tall man in a suit (Headmaster Hensley, as Nyah had also explained) stood up on a bench and held up a megaphone. His voice reverberated around the room, “Welcome to Kearwood Boarding School. All of you have been specially chosen, as said in the letters I hope you all read. Kearwood Island is full of exotic, undiscovered wildlife, so we advise you not to go into the rainforest or past the beach borders without supervision. Just because you’re all special doesn’t mean you don’t need to take precautions. You will see your family again if you would like to go home for winter and spring break. Of course, you have the choice to stay here during those times, but you must go home over the summer. Also, there is a pamphlet for each and every one of you in your dorms and you will write your names on the whiteboards on your door. Be kind to your roommates, though! No complaining or fighting. I don’t want to have to clean up another body- I MEAN situation. Haha, okay, bye! Go find your dorms! Shoo!”
Nyah and I hopped up and ran toward the staircases. We wrote our names on door 374, level three. I was excited to pick a room to share with Nyah. She seemed really sweet. There was a little pouch on the door that held two keycards. I took mine out, but it said 74 on it. I asked Nyah why and she explained;
“Dorm 374 is connected to 274 and 174, so all of our keycards say 74. It’s like that with all of the last two digits of each dorm. There’s a staircase that runs through the rooms.” She swiped her keycard and opened the door. “I can’t wait to see who’s below us!”
I ran over to the stairs, bent over upside-down, and popped my head into the room underneath me through the trapdoor. Melissa was flipping her hair (I was not happy to be sharing a room with the “mean girl”) next to a boy with short, curly, fluffy hair.
“Hey, Nyah,” I called, “Is this the ‘famous Adrien’ you showed me earlier?”
Adrien turned around and smirked at me and Nyah fell down the stairs as soon as she saw him. “So many fangirls are going to want to kill us. You know that, right?”
Melissa scoffed and rolled her eyes. Nyah’s right. She definitely thinks she’s perfect.
I stood up and walked down a few steps to pick up Nyah, but I peered at Adrien for a second, who I could now see normally.
“Meh. He looked cuter upside-down,” I joked.
Adrien gave me a surprised glare as I strode back up the stairs, pulling Nyah behind me.
“Really?” Nyah squeaked. “You shouldn’t say that in front of Melissa! That’s not-”
Her angry voice was cut out by my airpods, and she sighed hopelessly, leaving the dorm a few minutes later. She probably just needed a little break from me, to figure out what kind of a person I am. I’m not really afraid of proving famous and rich people they aren’t all they seem to be
I put on some of my favorite music to brighten the mood and cleaned and unpacked my part of the room. It took me about five lines to turn cleaning into a full blown dance party. My hips swayed back and forth and I slammed the trapdoor of the staircase shut (because if someone were to see me I would spend the rest of my life hiding under a rock with little blue salamanders). Music wasn’t just a distraction to me. It was something I could count on – something I could relate to. It was my whole life, and, honestly, I would sell my soul to listen to my favorite songs for the first time again.
Once I’d finished unpacking, I spent the next while looking up Adrien’s background. Rich, actor, absent dad, BourneCorp founder mom, millions of fans. Pretty attractive, too, if you ask me.
I was so busy looking at his photos that I didn’t notice Nyah come back into the room. She plucked the airpod out of my right ear and yelled my name. I put down my phone and pouted.
Nyah chuckled. “I’m going to tour the campus. You wanna come?”
I nodded and shoved my phone in my back pocket.
The two of us walked down an empty hall on the first floor, and all I could hear was the echo of the clacking of Nyah’s flats. It was a calming sound, but it sped up when she spotted the Headmaster.
“Excuse me, sir, we would like a tour,” Nyah called.
Headmaster Hensley turned around to face us. “Of course! Come with me, girls,” he said, and he turned on his heel and sped down the hall. Nyah and I half-jogged-half-walked to keep up.
Separated by small torches, textured oil paintings of famous historians hung on the dull, dark grey walls. The middle section of the red gum wooden planks was covered by a huge, wine colored carpet. The carpet muffled Nyah’s steps a bit, and I felt a little twang of sadness. Why did I want to hear them so badly? I mean, why her shoes specifically?
I’d always loved the sound of clicking heels, but hers sounded strangely familiar… almost like my dad’s. My dad. God, I missed my dad. After the accident, I didn’t really know what to do anymore. Being without him was like being without happiness. I wouldn’t eat or sleep or leave my room for any other reason than to go use the bathroom. Mama constantly told me that I needed to go see friends, but I refused to get up. I kept my blinds closed and cut myself off from all social media. Everyone knew that my dad was gone – he was the mayor after all, so the news spread quickly. Mama decided that I would need someone to help me get better, and so, even as she struggled to juggle all of her normal work as well as being mayor, she adopted my brother. He’s amazing.
His name is Nikolas. He was tall, handsome, funny, and very entertaining. He didn’t go to school with me, but he ranted about my fake friends, complimented my hair or my personality, and talked about his relationship with his boyfriend. He basically brought my mind back to life. He was everything I needed; Mama was right.
To be Continued…