Tanner Academy- Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

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Dr Walton sank into a leather chair and crossed his arms on a tidy desk. I ignored his invitation to sit in the opposite chair and walked over to the wide window. I looked over the well-manicured gardens and patches of colourful wild flowers while he talked.  

After awhile, there was a knock on the door. "Ah! Yes, come in Stephanie!" Dr Walton greeted. 

I heard the door open and a clear, confident voice said "You sent for me, Dr Walton?" 

I dragged my eyes away from the scenery and studied the girl who was hovering by the door. The first thing I noticed about her was her hair. The bright gold colour was hard to miss, and it hung in thick ringlets down her back. Her wide, pale blue eyes were done with eyeliner and mascara, and her lips were red and full. A short skirt showed off her long, tan legs complete with a tight blouse.  

Once-upon-a-time I would have been seething with jealousy, but many, many things have changed since then.  

"Cade, this is Stephanie. Stephanie, this is Cade." He shortly introduced then turned to me, "Stephanie will be your school guide for now, just until you settle in." 

Stephanie squealed and clapped her hands excitedly. "This is going to be awesome! We're going to have so much fun!" She promised me energetically. 

She hooked her arm around mine, ignoring me when I shied away, and started to drag me out of the office. I glanced pleadingly back at Dr Walton, who was grinning smugly from ear to ear. Just as the doors swung closed, I shot him a death glare that would freeze the sun.

"You're going to love it here, I promise! Everyone's reeeaaaally nice, well, not everybody, but you know what I mean right? My friends are going to love you! They're really nice too. Oh! Over there is one of our math classrooms. Ugh, I hate math! Don't you? I prefer sport myself..."  

Stephanie babbled on and on while she dragged me down hallways and staircases. I gave up on listening and instead timed how long she could talk without taking a breath. People pushed past us with the occasionally "Hey Steph!"  

We somehow ended back at the foyer and Stephanie was lecturing me about the Academy's history. I drummed my fingers against my hip and quickly formulated a plan. I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned to face me. "Who's that guy over there?" I whispered to her, pointing over to a crowd of boys. "He's really cute." 

She gasped and her face lit up as she stood on her toes. "Ooh! Who and where? We need to get you a date!"  

By the time she turned back to me, I was long gone.

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I wandered around for awhile and eventually ended up near the football field. I watched some teenage boys mess around and could've sworn that one just disappeared. I looked more closely. One boy had dark skin, not dark as in black, but dark as in midnight blue.  

I frowned and shook my head; it was definitely time to leave. I started to walk towards where the forest met open ground and disappeared silently into the trees. I breathed in the fresh air, trying to ignore the burning hunger in my gut. It made me feel tired and sluggish, but there was nothing I could feed on for miles. Well, there was another option but I quickly kicked myself internally. I wasn't going to resort to that ever again. At least I hope I wasn't. 

I sighed, starting to feel the effects of lack of energy. I stared longingly at a comfortable looking tree, and then made up my mind. 'I'll just rest here for a moment' I thought as I nimbly scaled the trunk to a well-shaped branch. I placed my hands behind my head and relaxed into the wood.  

Just ...feeling...so...tired.... 

"What are you doing?" 

My eyes snapped open and I flinched in surprise. With a desperate scramble I managed to fall out of the tree and land on the forest floor with a hard 'thud'.  

I hissed angrily and glared at the creature still clinging to the tree. He was sure something. He blinked at me with wide cat-like hazel eyes and climbed down the tree with grace. He was tall and had long spindly limbs. He reached down to help me up and I noticed that his long fingers and toes had more joints then per-usual. But then again, there was nothing normal about him.  

But the number one thing that really stood out, was his skin. It was covered in a short coat of pale green...fur? There were soft yellow strips that ran up his arms and, I imagine, continued through his dark green shirt.  

I ignored the hand and got up by myself, muttering angrily. "What did you do that for?!"

He frowned. "What am I doing? What are you doing! This is my tree!" He said, gesturing to the tall oak. 

"Oh! Do people have their own trees here do they?" My voice dripping with sarcasm.  

He was about to retort something when he frowned again and studied my face. "Hey, you're the new girl." 

I stared at him. "How could you possible know that?" 

He smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "Gossip spreads like wildfire here." 

"I've noticed." 

He grinned then stretched his long legs. "You scared me for a second up there; nearly fell out of the tree myself! You're eyes are seriously freaky." 

I snorted and gestured to his own pair of eyes. "Says you." 

He shrugged again and then sat lazily on a thick root, reminding me of a cat yet again. "True." 

I sighed and turned away, walking down my own imaginary trail. Behind me, animal-boy started to get up. "Wait! Where are you going?" He called with a touch of confusion. 

"I don't know." I answered truthfully without slowing down.  

He caught up with me easily. "You're not leaving the school are you?" He asked in complete disbelief. 

"Yup." 

He was silent for a moment, matching his long strides to mine. "Why?" 

"Because I want to." 

"Has something happened?" 

I smiled. "I guess you could say that." 

He suddenly stood in front of me, blocking my way. My eyes glinted dangerously and he took a step back. "Look, I've seen some pretty messed up kids here but you take the cake. At Tanner Academy you at least have a home! You have food and water and place to sleep! Why on earth would you want to leave!?" he said, raising his hands up carefully. 

"I have some people I need to have a chat with." I said quietly.

I sidestepped him quicker then he could imagine and went on my way, only to fall face first into the leaf matter. I swore and tried to move my legs, but I found I didn't know how. "What the hell!?" 

'Cade' an extremely familiar and annoying voice in my head said, 'I apologize, but I can't let you do that.' 

'Get out of my head!' I shouted in my mind, hoping to shatter the voice somehow. 

'Oh don't be like that. I'm only here because of what you're trying to do. And if I remember correctly, our dear Ms Brine agreed to release you into my custody.' Dr Walton continued.  

'Curse you!' 

He sighed. 'I'm doing this for your protection and other peoples protection. You cannot leave, and it is final.' 

His voice snapped off and I remembered how to move my legs. I pushed myself off the ground to find animal-boy staring worriedly at me. I ignored him and started to walk slowly back to Tanner Academy.

Walk out of a prison, walk into one.

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