Chapter 13: The Ventriloquist

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He was fucking stupid. It was as simple as that. He'd forgotten how many times people had told him, "Don't mess with them. Ravenna's different than Alec." He'd also forgotten how many times he'd scoffed at those warnings by saying, "A girl? Seriously? She's their first female clique leader as far as I know, and you're trying to tell me she's also the worst? Come on, dude. Grow a brain and some balls while you're at it."

Now, it wasn't that he was a misogynistic, little prick. In fact, thanks to Beatrice, he was a firm believer that women were just as capable as men. But that remark struck him as stupid. Like seriously, come on. Alec, whom was the Inquisitors' ringleader when Blake had been a freshman and sophomore, was always a gentleman, cool, down-to-Earth. He didn't strike as an illegal gang leader; just a nice, clever young man with admirers following him like loyal puppies. Heck, Blake would've been loyal to him too, considering they were somewhat friends for a time. Alright, more like friendly acquaintances, but he still knew Alec more than most people. He was like the king of Summerfield High in his senior year. But he wasn't a tyrant, nor a dictator.

So when Ravenna first came to power the year after Alec's exit, the school hadn't expected much; after all, the previous ringleader had reigned for a solid three years with a smile, bro-hugs, and a shit ton of fangirls. And Blake shared the same fond opinion of Alec as the rest of them.

That is, until Ravenna started taking things to another level, summoning students to the Inquisitors hideout, doing whatever she did in there with them, until they came out deceased. Well, not really. Actually, he'd known a few people who'd dealt with Ravenna and came out of the storage room unscathed. They seemed fine on the outside; no bruises, scars, or any signs of struggle. It wasn't obvious unless you knew the person on a personal level; how they withdrew whenever you tried to ask what happened, how their eyes were somehow more hollow and lifeless.

Ravenna was fucking brilliant. She knew that if any student left her presence with any physical damage upon their body, then she was screwed. But psychological damage, places where the sun don't shine, not only served as difficult evidence of harassment, but also hurt the victim more. Just because the damage wasn't physical didn't mean it hadn't left an impact.

Blake, to his full knowledge, had been called "stupid, impulsive, and a plain asshole" by many of his close friends. And they weren't wrong. He didn't believe these rumors about Ravenna and the Inquisitors were true. Alec chose her as one of the candidates for ringleader, did he not? Well, alright, so Blake himself was never a part of the Inquisitors and didn't know their inner workings or succession methods, but that's what most people assumed went on. And he believed them. But the part about the Inquisitors being the new boogey monster of the school? Bullshit, he thought.

He didn't start to believe in Ravenna's cruelty until the end of his junior year and her sophomore year, when her mental kill count was said to have reached at least fifty people at the minimum. But that was also the time of summer vacation, where he was given space to reflect on the events of the school year. Surely, it was just Ravenna who was bad. Alec gave the Inquisitors a respectable reputation, because he himself was admirable. Now that Ravenna had taken his place and served as Head of the Inquisitors, she gave them a feared reputation, replacing kinder, older members with brutes she thought would be intimidating to the student body, such as Winston or Maurice. Just because the leader painted them in a certain way did not mean all the members were like that. Griffin Stewart and that Draven Ambrose kid were two examples of people who didn't seem to belong with that sort of crowd.

But Blake had been stupid and made a mistake. A stupid, impulsive mistake that he should've never done.

So now, fast forward to his senior year, he sat in the legendary storage room inside the auditorium, in a chair stuck in the middle of the dim-lit room. At least fourteen members placed their chairs in a circle around him at a considerable distance, making him shift with discomfort. He glanced upwards, staring at the single light bulb that lit the room. There were no windows, which made sense, because it was a storage room within the auditorium.

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