[Fang and Feather
**][The Chosen – Scion
The Chosen – Wendigo
© 2016 by Ben D.
Southside High Students
**]Dacio Thalassa – Club President
Mikayla Young – Club Vice-President
Reggie Washington – Club Treasurer
Oliver Sherman – Club Secretary
Dante Li – Club Member
Ian Tellor – Club Member
Nyx – Club Member
**]Clarice – Parthenon Manager
Kyle Kiske – Parthenon Regular
Tara Fairchild – Scythian Chief
Lucine – Scythian Shaman
Mr. Garner – Southside High Science Teacher
Mr. Webb – Southside High Vice-Principal
The Chosen – Scion[
The loud ringing of the school bell announces to the Southside High students that only an hour and a half of activities remain before the school closes for the night. On the second floor of the barely serviceable building the old and cracked sound system is loud enough to drown out the numerous conversations of teenagers seated in one of the classrooms that serves as a meeting room for after-school clubs.
“Mikayla I think your phone is going off.”
She was no exception as she barely heard her name being called and completely failed to notice her hot pink cellphone wobbling on top of her mathematics book. Rather than shout over the bell she gives them a nod in thanks, retrieves the phone and reads the incoming message:
5:00PM Cant make it to the meeting.
She thumbs in her reply.
No problems, see you tomorrow.
The phone gives it usual tone indicating that the message was sent and read successfully. She slides out of her chair and is mentally glad that she won’t have to spend another hour seated in the uncomfortable hard plastic chairs issued to the school.
Navigating her way past the broken-down projector, the teacher’s desk with the strange burnt-out lamp that looks a hundred years old and finally comes to a stop in front of the old television set that is playing a video for the room. With a nod of her head to the teen closest to the back of the room all conversation comes to a halt with a quick flickering of the lights.
She begins when the lights are flipped back on for the final time, “OK this is a good time for us to get started. Since the President is unable to make it I’m in charge of the meeting this week.”
The wooden clipboard is warm to the touch after it is picked up from the top of the television. “I’m Mikayla Young, Vice-President. Do we have any first timers?”
During the day the classroom is stuffed with too many students and barely enough chairs but now the sea of empty chairs makes the club seem like it has too few members. As her eyes scan the room she doesn’t notice a new face until a single hand raises into the air.
She musters a smile that is as warm as the stuffy room in desperate need of a working air conditioner, “Welcome! Do you have any questions?”
The teen lowers his hand, “Do ya’ll always watch scary movies while you P&P?”
“Well this is the Paranormal Percipient Club so we study supernatural occurrences that are reported on—”
The teen’s eyes nearly bulge out of his head when he hears the name of the club, “I’m out.” In one swift motion he is on his feet and slinging his patch covered backpack onto his shoulder, “Peace.”
As the door slams shut she takes the pen out of the clipboard’s clasp and marks another check down next to “Good start to the week.”
The remaining club members all laugh and start to talk amongst themselves. Looking through the attendance sheet checking off one name after the other until, “Dante Li.” There is no answer and she doesn’t see him anywhere in the room, “Dante?” So she turns her gaze towards the teen in middle of a conversation with two gothic dressed girls, “Reggie. Reggie!”
Reggie looks up from his conversation, “Yo?”
“Have you seen Dante? Or Jason?”
Reggie rests his elbow on the chipped tablet arm of his desk, “Vargas is out with his new girlfriend. Need me to find Dante?”
“No that’s OK, can you finish taking attendance while I go look for him?”
“No problem.” Reggie holds out his hand after he places his afro pick in his curly mass of hair.
As she hands over the clipboard another club member turns up the volume to the television.
The chief of the tribe isolated his daughter on an island surrounded by serpents. It was there she spent the rest of her days alone and miserable and even in death she found no freedom. To this day visitors to the island still say that they see her cursed spirit wandering the island.
From the islands to the waters beneath our next urban legend is of the aquatic nature. This enormous sea beast is known to atta—
She slams the door behind herself and leans against the wall adjacent to the door. She takes a deep breath to calm herself but can still feel her heart trying to burst out of her umber halter-top.
Leaning her head back against the brick wall and lets her gaze fall onto the weathered ceiling. She tries to focus on something else, like the mixture of the aged building, disinfectant and freshly sharpened pencils that fills her nostrils. She feels as if she is starting to regain her composure when she realizes her left hand is rubbing against the beaded bracelet on her right wrist.
Tilting her head downward she stares at the bracelet and thinks back to the day that her father gave it to her. “This was given to me by your grandmother and it’s very special. It’s said that if you wear it our ancestors will watch over you.” He reached out and tapped her on the end of her nose, “So no more nightmares, OK, Mikayla?”
“Dad…” She could still remember the re-assuring smile that he gave her that night. She can’t help but smile remembering one of the few pleasant thoughts left to her.
However, her reminiscing is mercifully cut short by the sound of something being slammed into the metal lockers on the floor below. The sound of muffled yelling can be heard afterwards and the tone does not sound friendly.
At the staircase she leans over the rusted railing to see Dante being held against the crimson lockers.
“What’s this I hear about you hitting on my girl, runt?” A large pulsating vein is on the forehead of the angered teenager.
The smaller teen winces, “Ow. Bro, I think the locker handler is digging into my spine.”
Another loud slam echoes through the mostly empty hallway, “I’m not your bro and you aren’t my girl’s boy either, you understand Dante?”
“Not… really?” Dante is slammed against the locker a final time, “Ok! Ok! I hear you. But I wasn’t hitting on her I swear. She was hitting on me!”
The teen’s face contorts into a furious fever, “You little piece of—“
Before his balled fist can make contact with Dante’s face the booming voice of the science teacher can be heard from the top of the staircase, “Mister Lakes, Mister Li. Would one of you mind explaining what you two are doing?”
The larger teen releases his grip on Dante, dropping him back to the floor in desperate need of a mopping. He yells up the staircase, “We were just talking. Isn’t that right Dante?”
After tugging on the collar of shirt Dante replies, “Yeah he was just trying to see if I had any more tickets for my concert this weekend. I thought we were sold out but I think I can swing two more passes.” Dante reaches into his pocket and produces a pair of tickets.
The teen begrudgingly takes the tickets, “Thanks.” He says in a lower voice, “Stay away from my girl.”
“Tell Gina I said hi, bro!” Dante yells after him as he walks away. The teen stops in his tracks and starts to turn but Dante has already begun dashing up the staircase.
Dante’s jog up the sticky staircase can be heard long before he comes into sight. When he reaches the top she is there to greet him, “Should I ask what really happened?”
“You’re the one that got Mr. Garner? You’re my guardian angel, Kayla.”
“And you need to stop flirting with every girl that looks in your general direction.”
“It wasn’t girl related.” Dante’s eyes become quite shifty. “How’d you know?”
With a quirked eyebrow she responds, “Why else would Grant ‘The Overly Obsessive Boyfriend’ Lakes be throwing you up against a locker?”
“She was hitting on me, I swear.” Her disbelieving expression is enough to cause him to elaborate. “Hey it’s hard being a musical genius. I’m bound to have girls who have boyfriends wanting to hook up.”
She points over her shoulder towards the classroom, “Anyways Romeo, you’re late for P&P Club.”
“Aw snap, you’re right!” Dante quickly makes for the classroom. A second after the door closes he opens it back up, “By the way do you happen to have the notes for Mrs. Russken’s class?”
“They’re in my bag.”
“I owe you one!” Dante exclaims just before the squeaky door shuts.
She walks to the door and lets her hand linger on the handle. Before opening it she stands on the balls of her feet and looks through the small rectangular window. The television is showing something in a forest. With no aquatic creature or tales in sight she murmurs to herself, “I think I’m the one who owes you.”
Rather than return to the club meeting she instead walks two classrooms down and places her hand on the slightly ajar wooden door.
As the door swings open the strong smell of alcohol and what she hopes is raw fish assaults her nose. She peeks her head into the room and asks, “Mr. Garner?”
“Over here,” is the response that she hears coming from a large stack of books.
“Oh I just wanted to thank you for breaking up the thing downstairs.” She looks at the stack of books that look to be older editions than the already out-of-date books they use for class. “That’s a lot of books.”
“Ah, yes. I was planning on taking them to the Industrial District. They have a warehouse that disposes of old textbooks.” He pats the top of the book pile, “I figured it was time to stop letting them clutter the storage room.”
“Oh, do you need help carrying them out?”
Mr. Garner answers with the same friendly smile he always wears. “If you’re not busy, Miss Young.”
She pulls one of the smaller stacks of books off of the desk and follows Mr. Garner out the door and down the staircase. Examining the cover of the old science textbook, she sees the lion and it jogs her memory, “I really liked your lesson on the Panthera family. I learned a lot.”
“You did seem surprised that the Puma do not belong to the same family as the other big cats,” he responds as they loudly descend the staircase.
Every time she walks down this staircase she wishes the janitor came more than twice a week to clean. “If I could ever have a wild animal as a pet I’d take a puma for sure. How about you?”
The teacher takes no time to think, “The lion. One of the main reasons I want to take a visit to Sub-Sahara Africa one day.”
“I found a really cool site about lions the other day. Specifically what to do if you are ever attacked by a lion or other large predator.”
Mr. Garner half-looks over his shoulder, “Hope that you run faster than the other people with you?”
“Running is actually the last thing you want to do. It brings out their predatory sense.” She adjusts her balance to keep the top book from sliding off, “You want to stand your ground, look as big as possible and make lots of noise.”
“Well I would probably be screaming as loud as I can so that wouldn’t be a problem.” Mr. Garner pushes open the door with his hip, “Would you mind if I shared a little advice?”
The breeze of fresh afternoon air cools the beads of sweat on her forehead, “Always.”
He explains, “Since you transferred here you’ve done very well for yourself academically; which is a miracle considering the budget that is afforded to the school district. You are also very well-liked by the staff and your peers but I worry that you are putting your bright future at risk by associating yourself with our more troublesome students.”
She is not quite sure what he means. “Troublesome students?”
“Yes, like Mr. Li and his associates. Low grades, low motivation for achievement and a penchant for troublemaking on school grounds.” He sets his books down on the trunk of the car. “I don’t think it’s their intention but some people just can’t help but drag others around them down to their level.”
She listens silently as he fishes out a pair of keys from his pockets. “I know it sounds harsh but you’re a smart girl. You see the shape this part of the city is in. Failure is the norm. You can be the exception but only if you’re willing to commit yourself to success. Do you understand?”
After she deposits her stack of books into the back seat of the car she takes time to answer him as honestly as she can. “That’s, well, it’s a lot to think about, Mr. Garner.”
After the teacher places his stack of books into the car they both return back to the classroom and gather up the remaining stacks of books. She is silent for the rest of the trip as she is considers what her teacher has told her. But the idea that the others are holding her back doesn’t sit right with her. They all want to get out of Southside just as badly as her… At least, that is what she assumed.
After the final stack of books is deposited Mr. Garner shuts the door. “Thank you for helping me with that. I would have been here all night moving these.”
She wipes her forehead. The sooner the sun goes down the better. “Glad to help. I give Mr. Gonzales a hand at least a couple times a week.”
“He’s one of the last to leave isn’t he?” He adds, “You should be careful around the school grounds after dark.”
She gives a half-joking roll of her eyes, “You’re not going into your troublesome student speech again are you?”
“No, no. This is a bit embarrassing to admit but lately…” Mr. Garner starts to look around the parking lot with an expression of worry that she’s never seen on an adult.
Mr. Garner takes out a handkerchief and pats down his forehead, “You’d just think I’m crazy.”
“I’m the Vice President of a badly named paranormal activity club, Mr. Garner.”
“Touché,” he concedes. He looks around one more time then states, “I saw some kind of thing stalking around the premises.” He wipes his hands on the handkerchief but she is not sure if it’s to remove sweat or relieve stress. “I’m not really sure what else to call it. It moved like an animal but it was bipedal. It walked like a man. It may have had a tail or some other extra appendage.”
Her eyes dart around the parking lot. “Did it see you?”
“That is the interesting thing. I only saw whatever it is after I got into the car. It paid me no mind until it noticed I had stopped to stare at it. It stared back and it was quite unnerving. Its eyes were like a pair of black pools with no bottom.” He stops himself, “That’s odd, I was quite far away yet that is the one detail I can recall vividly.” His voice trails off for a moment until she politely coughs, “Ah, sorry. Needless to say I didn’t adhere to traffic rules driving out of the parking lot when it started to stalk towards the car.”
She looks back at the teacher, she can practically feel his fear oozing out of his body even as he nervously tries to chuckle. “Have you seen it again?”
Mr. Garner shakes his head, “I’ve made sure to be gone long before the sun goes down. I don’t expect you or anyone to believe me. But I know what I saw and I know without a doubt that I won’t survive if I see it again.”
“I don’t think you’re crazy. Lots of supernatural events are witnessed every year.” She reaches into his backseat and pulls out one of the old science books, “Mind if I keep one?”
He shakes his head, “Not at all.”
“Thanks.” She tucks the book under her arm, “Drive safe Mr. Garner.”
Mr. Garner opens the driver’s side door. “Stay safe yourself, Miss Young.”
She opens the door to the classroom and the rest of the club members are all seated and in the middle of a conversation. They all turn towards the door and she gives everyone an apologetic smile, “Sorry. I ended up helping Mr. Garner move some books. What did I miss?”
A bald teen girl that calls herself Nyx answers, “We were just about to go over everyone’s progress in finding any family members. Dante is up.”
Dante has his legs propped up on Reggie’s desk as he responds, “I didn’t look.”
Oliver Sherman is the smallest person in the room which is accentuated by sporting the largest pair of eyeglasses, “What? Why?”
Dante shrugs indifferently, “I was busy writing a new song. I have a concert this weekend.”
She can hear Mr. Garner’s words echo through her head, “I don’t think it’s their intention but some people just can’t help but drag others around them down to their level.”
Nyx, smacks Dante on the leg, “How about you Ian? Last week you said you found your grandfather?”
The rather unkempt teen drinking coffee that is as brown as her eyes looks up, “Yeah…”
When she looks at his worn-out face she sees a weariness in his eyes that matches her own. She feels bad that he’s unable to use her foundation technique to cover up the obvious signs of a lack of sleep. Everyone sits at attention. Reggie is the first to break the silence, “Did you meet?”
“I tried but…” Ian looks down at the steam rising from his cup, “Well, I never met him before, cause of my parents getting divorced. But I emailed him and he was excited to find out he was a grandpa. So I told him about what happened and to see if he could travel from Idaho to Southside to meet, maybe even adopt me. But he never showed up.” He sighs then his tone becomes more ominous, “You know who did show up? The guy that found me and brought me here after the accident.”
The hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She can practically feel the mood in the room change. She is barely beaten to the punch of inquiring why by Nyx, “You mean the Centurion? Why was he there?”
Ian gives a very small shrug, “I don’t know. I made sure I stayed out of sight.”
Dante responds, “Holy crap, dude.”
Reggie continues maintenance on his hair, “Do you think they are spying on us?”
Another club member asks, “How did they find us to begin with?”
Nyx nods her head in agreement with him, “It is super sketch that we all were the only survivors of some kind of accident and rescued by them.”
Ian adds, “It can’t be a coincidence we were all told by the Centurions that they were ‘just in the neighborhood’.”
From the back another teen adds, “Maybe Dacio is telling them?”
Dante hops out of his chair and points his finger at him, “Dude don’t even go there. Dacio’s been the only person that’s been nice to us.”
Nyx pushes Dante’s hand down, “That’s why she could be a spy.”
Another teen contributes to the conversation, “She also paid for our housing.” And is supported by another’s claim, “And sends us money each month to pay for things we need.”
“The only people who go to her skate park are us and the locals. There’s no way she could earn enough money to afford that place and support us.” Ian looks over, “Right, Oliver?”
Oliver thumbs through his notebook, finding the page he was searching for he answers, “Dacio would be in severe debt every month.”
The acoustics in the room carry the sound of a hand slamming on the desk, “So she has to be a spy.”
She finally interjects, “If she was a spy she wouldn’t have enrolled us back in school to get us out of Southside.”
Some of the other club members all murmur together in agreement. Reggie speaks up in her favor next, “I heard her yelling at one of the Centurions. Was saying that all this was the fault of some guy named…” Reggie pauses to sound out the name, “Magistrate up in North End.”
Dante flops back down into his chair and the rusted legs groan in agony, “That’s a dumb name.”
Nyx looks towards her and she feels a knot in her stomach. “How’s your search been going, Kayla?”
The knot tightens in her stomach she can feel her heartbeat starting to loudly thump in her ears, “Well…” The out comes to her rather quickly, “When I was talking to Mr. Garner he mentioned seeing a monster on the premises.”
Reggie nudges Dante, “You owe me five solid. I told you this place was haunted.”
“He said it walked on two limbs but the way it moved seemed like an animal.”
Oliver reaches into his backpack and pulls out a small notebook. He flips through the pages and says, “Bipedal but animal-like movements.”
Dante tries to look over his shoulder, “Think it could be the boogeygeist?”
Ian sets his coffee cup down, “It can’t be. The article we found said that the Southside student fell asleep in class, woke up screaming, said it was the boogeygeist and then died a few days later in their sleep.”
She decides to recite the club’s charter, “There’s a lot of strange and unusual supernatural events that happen all around the world. While most people just like to hear them for a good scare or dismiss them as something for crazy people, we of the Paranormal Percipient Club have pledged to find hard proof of these phenomena.”
Oliver flips to an empty entry in his notebook, “Are we going to investigate Mr. Garner’s monster?”
After she gives him a nod of acknowledgement Ian stands up. His face looks invigorated at the prospect of an investigation. “Did he say when he saw it?”
She tries to recall the details exactly and her meticulous memory does not fail her “He said it was after-dark and he keeps getting an eerie feeling that he should not be on the school grounds after the sun goes down.”
The gathered club members all cheer. Dante places his foot on the chair and points dramatically towards the doorway, “P&P Club assemble! We’ve got a mystery to solve.”
She clicks her tongue on the top of her mouth, “You know I was thinking. We seem to be having a problem with our club name. I know we wanted something that didn’t make us look like a group of weirdoes but maybe change the acronym?” She thinks aloud, “The PP club?”
Everyone turns and looks at her and she regrets her choice of words. She releasees out a deep sigh, “I’m not going to live that down for a while. Let’s start looking around the parking lot before I die of embarrassment, please.”
A chilly wind blows through the deserted back lot of Southside High. She closes up her buckskin jacket to keep the early autumn chill out as she walks through of the freshly cut grass.
Even with the almost full moon high in the sky most of the school grounds is ill-illuminated leaving only silhouettes that her memory and imagination are left to figure out. As she reaches the fence line she jumps in surprise when the street light crackles on for a brief second then turns back off.
As she tries to rub the bright spots out of her eyes she can hear the others yelling across the school grounds. To her left she hears, “See anything Kayla?”
“Just a street light that made me blind.”
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Learn the truth in The Chosen - Scion. Mikayla investigates a report of paranormal activity at her high school and learns that she has a lot more in common with her club mates than she originally realized. The Chosen - Wendigo picks up after the events of Scion. Mikayla attempts to resume what she calls a normal life. However, she soon finds that you can't be normal when you belong to a club that investigates old buildings in the abandoned district of town.