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Halloween, Calypso

The school was a hive of activity as Jackie and Kate pulled into the new and improved car parking facilities. The old Victorian part of the Grammar School was now dwarfed by several new additions, including what looked to be a state of the art sports hall.

“I hardly recognise this place anymore,” Kate said as Jackie parked up facing more new buildings; laboratories and classrooms, along with the sports hall now took up most of what used to be the lower field.

“I know! This is going to be great! I can’t wait to see who’s here.” Jackie enthused.

Jackie was genuinely excited, but then she was hoping to bump into the chemistry teacher she’d had a crush on since he started all those years ago. Kate had read that he was now Deputy Head, so there was no chance that he wouldn’t put in appearance. They made their way from the car when someone called out from behind them, “Hey Booff!”

Kate scowled and turned, ready to lambast the one who had dared to call her by that bloody awful nickname. Her retort died on her lips though as Lee and Gary caught up with them; wives and kids in tow. They were her old IT class buddies. They’d just about made that particular class bearable. She grinned and shook her fist at them both, “Why, I oughtta….!”

A few awkward hugs (it had been the best part of 15 years since they’d seen each other face to face) and introductions to wives and kids later they had parked themselves on one of the tables outside of the music tent. Neither of them had changed, maybe a few extra pounds, but they looked like they had at school, even down to the haircuts!

“You’ve changed,” Lee commented. “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something definitely different about you.”

“Good or bad different?” Kate asked.

“Oh, good, definitely good,” Gary grinned. “You just seem surer of yourself, like you’ve grown into whatever it was that kept you so shy and introverted when we were at school. It suits you.”

Kate grinned back, “thanks.”

If only they knew, she thought as conversation switched to current jobs, careers, family, plans that were advertised enough on Facebook, but somehow meant more talking in person. She smoothed her fifties inspired dress over her knees and absently flicked her now waist length and straight hair over her shoulder. Her unruly curls (well, frizz) was what had inspired the “booff” nickname, which combined with the bad glasses, teenage spots and shyness had made school life difficult. She had never been bullied though; even if someone tried she just let it slide, but try it on one of her friends and you better beware.

Jackie had disappeared off as soon as she’d caught a glimpse of Mr Summers heading through the café. Kate thought she’d better do some mingling before it got too busy and she’d have to find somewhere to gather her thoughts; crowds just weren’t her thing, no matter how far she’d come from being that shy teenager. She made her excuses to the boys and their families then headed into the melee of the café, through to the old familiar main corridor of the older part of the school. Just as she passed the staircase leading to the former History, German and IT rooms a chill ran down her spine. She knew exactly what that meant and kept her head down, resisting the urge to glance up those stairs. She weaved through a sudden group of people moving out of one of the classrooms, making it to the end of the corridor and almost to the front entrance when a hand landed on her shoulder. She shrugged it off, hoping that the not so subtle hint would be taken, but alas that hand tightened round her lower arm and span her round.

“Leaving so soon?” The man asked, a smile twitching the edges of his mouth, but the merest hint of anger glinting in his eyes. Ah, those eyes; hazel with flecks of green in a face that looked no different to when she left the school 15 years previously. His light brown hair though was tied back in a neat ponytail, something he had rarely done before. A smart, black shirt was meticulously tucked into equally black jeans. His shirt sleeves rolled to just below the elbows and top two buttons undone. He looked like he should be at a catalogue shoot, not the centenary celebrations of a Grammar School.

“Oh! Mac, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise it was you,” a very thinly veiled lie and by the grin now plastered across his face, one that hadn’t been believed. “You’re looking well.”

“As are you,” using his hand, which was still firmly around her arm, he made her twirl round, which although embarrassing did mean that he had to let go.

She instinctively rubbed at where he had grabbed her and a brief look of regret crossed his face. An influx of half a dozen new visitors made their way through the entrance hall, giving Kate the opportunity to slip out after them, but he followed close behind.

“Did you really think that you’d be able to avoid me all day?” He called after her.

She stopped and turned, her shoulders slumped as she dropped her eyes to the ground. “I honestly thought this wouldn’t be your sort of thing.”

“Ah, I see. So, you didn’t think I’d be here, that’s why you risked coming into my territory without gaining permission first?” He closed the distance between them once more. “Whether I am present or not, you still need to ask. You know that.” He lifted her chin and looked into eyes the colour of stormy seas.

She pulled back from his touch, aware of eyes on them from the school building; Jackie had obviously finished torturing Mr Summers or he’d once again avoided her advances. Mac let her step back, sensing the same invasion of their private moment.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I respectfully request to enter your territory for a period of two days.”

Mac clasped his hands behind his back before responding with equal decorum, “Request denied.”

“What?!” Kate felt his words like they’d struck her square in the stomach. It was one thing to enter a territory without permission (an act that was punished severely if reported), but if entry was requested and then denied there was no way for the visitor to stay. She could already feel the invisible forces at work, surrounding her until she would have no choice but to obey and leave.

Jackie emerged from the entrance hall and was heading purposefully in their direction. “Mr Mac,” she greeted him with the same contempt she had shown him during lessons. They’d never gotten along or liked each other very much. She grabbed Kate’s hand and pulled her back towards the main entrance. Kate made it a few steps before her feet firmly planted themselves on the tarmac and would not be moved.

“Come on!” Jackie yanked at her hand.

“I can’t, I’m sorry.” She replied, pulling her hand free.

“Why? You need to speak more with lover boy over there?!” Jackie knew that her choice of words were likely to cause a degree of hurt. Since that man had started at the school during their GCSE years Kate had been teased about fancying him. All down to her liking guys with long hair and then he’d turned up to teach computing, well the opportunity for a little ribbing was just too tempting.

Kate looked genuinely upset when Jackie turned round and she felt a pang of guilt.

“No, I have to go.” She said as she started walking past Jackie towards the gates, the suffocating feeling that had started with Mac’s refusal was increasing, making her head hurt.

“Go! What do you mean go?” Jackie was getting increasingly angry. She tried to stop Kate by grabbing her arm. She slipped free of her hold, but did turn, so that she was now walking backwards still in the direction of the school gates.

Kate glanced over Jackie’s shoulder at Mac. “I mean I have to go. I won’t be able to make the ball later either, sorry.” She continued backing away. “Say hi to people for me, ok?”

Jackie’s eyes narrowed in suspicion before she whirled round and pointed at Mac. “YOU! This is your fault isn’t it?!” She stormed forward and Kate watched in horror as she jabbed him in the chest with her finger as she spoke. “What did you say to her?!”

“Jackie, don’t!” She called, halting her retreat.

“Well, come on, spit it out!” She continued to poke him on each word, but he continued to just stand there. He wasn’t even looking at Jackie, which infuriated her further. “Oi!! I. AM. TALKING. TO. YOU!”

In the blink of an eye, probably faster if you considered it, Mac grabbed her hand, spun her round, threw his other hand over her mouth and pulled her in against his body, so that they were both facing Kate. Jackie couldn’t move, his vicelike hold prevented any escape and her eyes widened in horror as she realised she could feel his breath on her neck.

“Don’t ever speak to me like that again,” he whispered against her skin. He looked up at Kate, who had managed to move slightly closer, but the strain was evident on her face. His denying of her request was reaching a point where if she didn’t leave then it would start to cause her physical injury.

“Mac, let her go,” she pleaded. Kate forced herself another step closer, tears stinging her eyes as pain shot through her. She felt something warm drip over her lips and knew that her nose had started to bleed, but she took one more step further into his territory. She cried out and fell to her knees. The jazz from the music tent had gotten louder during their exchange, which had obviously attracted all the stragglers around the school to the central Quad, leaving the front car park thankfully free of onlookers.

Kate could see Jackie’s expression change from shock to fear as she watched her friend collapse in front of her, blood smeared across her face. She tried to go to her aide, but Mac’s hold was unnaturally firm.

Mac caught the scent of Kate’s blood on the air and he knew it wasn’t just her nose that was bleeding; tiny vessels inside her body had ruptured and if she continued to stay within his territory she would eventually succumb to blood loss and die. He couldn’t believe how stubborn she was being.

“You know I would never harm her, so why put yourself through this, just leave.” Looking at her, he now doubted whether she could, though she made the feeble attempt to crawl closer to him before the pain halted her.

“Mac, please…” Even with his preternatural hearing he barely caught her final plea.

Mac spun Jackie round so she was looking directly into his eyes. He could see the fear and horror plainly in them, but that faded as he imposed his will on hers. “You will go back inside the school, meet up with your friends, tell them if they ask that Kate will join you later and forget everything that you have witnessed here. Do you understand?”

The slightest of nods confirmed that his instructions would be followed to the letter. “Now, go.”

Jackie turned, heading towards the front entrance without even acknowledging Kate’s broken form, collapsed on the tarmac with blood trickling still from her nose and even more worryingly her ear.

Mac moved forward and knelt by Kate, her body curled into the foetal position, eyes wet with tears of pain and fear. He stroked her hair from her face, “you should have asked permission.”

She was far beyond being capable of speech as her body continued to be crushed by the invisible forces that Mac had invoked with his denial of her request, but her eyes widened with realisation that he was not going to save her. A sigh escaped her blood caked lips and Mac saw the fear briefly flare to anger, before her eyes only held the resignation of one who knows they are going to die. She honestly believed he would let her perish and that struck at his ancient heart more the distance that had grown between them over the years since she’d left. He gently lifted her head; groans of pain escaped her lips before a bout of coughing speckled his black jeans with beads of red. He could hear the speeches beginning in the Quad, keeping any prying eyes far from their distressing scene.

“You’re strong, but you need to learn discipline, my dear,” he whispered, continuing to stroke her hair. “You have an incredible amount of natural talent and you have only just scratched the surface of your potential. Any other would have left without question, but you stayed. All to protect a person who, although your friend, you don’t even really like that much.”

Her breathing was dangerously shallow; he could hear the rattling of her lungs as they began to fill with her blood and her heartbeat was beginning to falter.

“I formally offer you the freedom of my territories.” He felt the shudder ripple through her body as the forces lifted from her. Free from the crippling pain and the restrictions that the denial of entry incurred, her telepathic abilities returned.

‘You bastard!’ Her thought struck him.

He could feel her strength returning, but it would take too long and she would succumb to her injuries far before her natural abilities could heal her broken body.

“You need my help to heal,” he said.

‘Fuck you!’ The message conveyed not only words, but the anger, fear, pain and hate that his actions had provoked.

“If you don’t accept my help, you will die. You’re not stupid, so don’t be stubborn just for the hell of it.” He bit into his wrist, fang teeth easily piercing his unnaturally tough skin; he tore a piece of his flesh from the wound to slow his own healing process and pressed the wound to her lips. Her body jerked as she tried to resist. She had clamped her mouth shut, lips pressed tightly together. He grimaced at her idiocy before brushing her hair back from her neck, exposing her pale skin. Her eyes widened in disbelief. He gently stroked his fingers across her neck, relishing the feel of her quickened pulse beneath those sensitive tips; sharp nails followed the same track and it had the desired effect; she gasped and his blood spilled into her open mouth. The moment the hot, thick liquid touched her tongue her body stiffened in one final act of defiance, but what swiftly followed was as natural and caring as a mother nursing a new born. Mac returned to stroking her hair, encouraging her to drink with soft words. He felt the connection with her strengthen as his blood filtered through her body; vessels and muscles mending, organs repairing themselves. He knew that there was no way for him to prevent any of his memories, feelings and thoughts from spilling into her through his blood, so he made no attempt to block them.

He gently removed his wrist. Her eyes had closed during the feeding; her mind lost in whatever images had been carried in his blood. She gave a satisfied sigh and nuzzled into his lap, curling up like a contented cat. Glancing around them he knew they couldn’t stay where they were for too long, especially considering the state they were now both in; blood splattered and stained.

Mac sent out a silent call. A bright flash before them heralded that it had been received and Nicky approached, hands on his hips, head shaking in disbelief. Short cropped sandy coloured hair was gelled and formed into small spikes; it framed a face that was frozen in time and disguised the fact he was well into his forties. His perfectly formed brows knotted in a frown and unreserved anger blazed in his strikingly blue eyes.

“What the hell, Mac?!” A slight lilt to his speech belied his Eastern European heritage.

Mac felt the wave of Nicky’s anger wash over him, making the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. He was one of the strongest of the telepaths that Mac knew and although it was unlikely that Nicky could or would actually harm him, Mac didn’t want to test that theory right now.

“I’ll explain, but first, we have got to get out of here.” He rose to his feet, scooping Kate up into his arms like she was as light as a small child. He stepped closer to Nicky and felt dwarfed by the telepath, who was over a foot taller than his own five foot nine frame.

Nicky sighed and nodded, “Okay.”

He reached out and placed his right hand on Mac’s shoulder. Another bright flash and the car park was empty; Mac, Nicky and Kate had vanished.

A shadow moved away from the third floor window, the familiar tones of a mobile dialling out cut through the silence of the empty classroom. The line went quiet after only two rings, the recipient of the call having no need to acknowledge that they were listening. “They have her,” the caller said, then hung up.


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