Roomies 4: Part Seven
Jesc had never viewed fire as something malignant or evil. To her, it had always been somewhat of a friend, lighting up dark spaces perched on the wick of a candle, or warming her up from its spot in the fireplace after a long winter day.
But the fire that was consuming the light faerie tower was anything but friendly. It licked the metal staircase, its temperature overpowering, and faeries were dropping like flies, their figures falling to the ground as they fainted from the heat.
And Jesc felt utterly helpless. She was a mere spectator to the horrifying scene, unable to help anybody. All she could do was watch in utter terror.
Jhudora whipped out her wand. “Come on, Illusen,” she said, nudging the sobbing earth faerie at her side. “We have to get out. Maybe we can blast our way out of here, or something.”
Illusen looked feverish, her face slick with sweat, and she was hacking on the black smoke permeating the air. “But w-what if the tower collapses?”
“Blasted!” Jhudora cursed. Jesc looked at the dark faerie’s face, so young yet still determined. She raked her fingers anxiously through her dark choppy hair. “We have to come up with something. Something to get us—ILLUSEN!”
Jesc jerked her head around in time to see the earth faerie’s green eyes fluttering upwards and then falling, her body crumpling beneath her in a dead faint.
“Illusen! No,” Jhudora cried, shoving shrieking light faeries to the side as she knelt down to pull her friend’s limp body upwards. She was heavier than she had thought, the faerie’s weight crushing down on her as she tried to prop her up against the railing.
“Wake up, Illusen,” Jhudora commanded, shaking her friend, but Illusen remained limp in her arms.
“Fine,” she muttered, pulling at her wand and jabbing it at the wall. “I don’t care anymore. I’m blasting my way out of here no matter what!”
However, before she could shout out the spell, a loud voice echoed throughout the tower, booming from below.
“EVERYONE, REMAIN CALM! HELP IS ON THE WAY!”
Jhudora’s hand faltered. “M-Mrs. Pierce?” she whispered.
Jesc’s eyes widened as she squinted through the spaces in the steps beneath her feet. Yes, it was Mrs. Pierce! The young fire faerie was at the base of the tower, gazing upwards at the flames with wide eyes. Then, with her wand, she produced a gush of water, flooding the tower. There was only one problem: The fire wouldn’t go out.
Despite all of the water that she released, it all merely passed through the flames as if they weren’t there, dousing the ground in a slick layer of water but maintaining the flames.
Oh Fyora, Jesc thought to herself, her stomach sinking. This is just like what Jhudora and I did to Mrs. Pierce last year. The fire isn’t real; it’s an illusion, just like the spell had said.
But it was the most realistic illusion she had ever seen. Not only was it visual, with its tantalizing movements and brilliant display of color, but she could feel the scorching heat coming off it and smell the burning air.
Jhudora seemed to have drawn the same conclusion, her eyes widening. “Mrs. Pierce!” she called, hoping that her voice could reach the fire faerie below. “Mrs. Pierce! It’s an illusion! We used a Mad Fire spell! It’s all fake!”
But Jhudora couldn’t tell if Mrs. Pierce had heard her or not. Because it was then that the spell caught up with her, black spots covering her vision and imaginary smoke choking her lungs. And then, dragging a helpless Jesc along with her, everything went black.
Jesc awoke slowly, her eyelids flickering gently in the sunlight. Where am I? she wondered sluggishly.
However, it didn’t take her that long to get reacquainted with her surroundings. The bleach white walls, the windows, the smell of disinfectant in the air: She was in the Faerie Academy hospital wing.
The air faerie sat up quickly, squashing Mr. Snuggles beneath her. “Am I back? Has the potion worn off?”
But then she noticed she was seated on the cold white floor, not nestled in one of the many beds; she was still merely a memory.
Jesc massaged her head, pushing back strands of blonde hair, and wobbly stood up. Her legs were weak and she felt exhausted, but other than that she was completely intact. She could walk no problem, breathe easily, and she was burn-free: apparently the Mad Fire spell really was an illusion despite how realistic it felt.
She glanced around and frowned, realizing for the first time how crowded the room was. A hundred or so beds were crammed into the space, each of them cradling a sleeping light faerie, and the school nurse was roaming around anxiously, tending to the largest crowd of faeries she had ever seen before filing out of the room through the double doors.
Jesc turned her head from side to side until she spotted two faeries that were out of place: Jhudora and Illusen.
The earth faerie was still asleep, her chest rising and falling gently and her long hair splayed messily on top of her pillow, but Jhudora was awake. She sat us slowly, rubbing her heavy eyes with her fist as she examined her surroundings. She was confused, her eyebrows arched strangely, and when she saw the earth faerie in the next bed over, her mouth contorted into a grimace. “Ugh,” she muttered.
As soon as the grunt slipped out of her mouth, Illusen stirred, her face wrinkling as she left the world of slumber and entered the world of the awake. Her eyes flickered momentarily, adjusting to the bright sunlight light spilling into the room from the tall windows, and then her green irises latched onto the dark faerie staring down at her. “Jhudora?”
Jhudora frowned. “Ugh!” she complained, massaging an ear. “Your voice. It’s so... annoying. Stupid earth faerie.”
This caught Illusen’s attention. The earth faerie propped herself up and turned toward Jhudora. “Stupid? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That you’re as dim-witted as a sack of potatoes,” Jhudora growled nastily, her eyes sharp. “Oh Fyora! Everyone knows you don’t just go and drag someone inside of a burning building!”
“Drag you?” Illusen repeated incredulously. “I did nothing! You came with me! And the tower wasn’t already on fire when we got there... at least I don’t think so.” She rubbed her head wearily, as if her skull was throbbing. “What happened back there?”
“How should I know?” Jhudora snapped. She threw off the covers and stood up, straightening her dark blue pajamas and raking her nails through her hair. “All I know is that you better stay away from me.”
“Wait what? Why?” Illusen asked desperately. “Jhudora, you’re not making any sense!”
“Just shut up!” Jhudora barked, swinging herself out of bed. “You’re giving me a headache. I don’t even know how I could stand you before; you’re so annoying.” And with that, the dark faerie turned to stroll out of the hospital wing, leaving a teary-eyed Illusen in her wake.
Jesc stood there, momentarily stunned. “Wh-what just happened?” she asked Mr. Snuggles, her face wrinkled in confusion as she listened to Illusen’s muffled sobs. But when the plushie didn’t answer her back, she shook her head and hurried to follow Jhudora, hoping that she hadn’t gone too far away.
But she hadn’t. Instead, as soon as Jesc pushed past the double doors, she saw the dark faerie immediately. She was a few feet away, her leathery wings raised behind her in an intimidating fashion, as she spoke to the fire faerie in front of her: Mrs. Pierce.
“Jhudora,” the teacher said, a concerned look on her young face, “Jhudora, shouldn’t you be back in the hospital room?”
“Get away from me,” Jhudora growled back. She tried to step to the side, but Mrs. Pierce grabbed her wrist, keeping her in place.
“Jhudora,” Mrs. Pierce muttered, her voice dropping, “if you’re worried about getting expelled, just calm down. I didn’t tell anyone that it was you and Illusen who started the fire. I told everyone it was merely an accide—”
“Me and Illusen?” Jhudora repeated incredulously, her eyes displaying the utter confusion she felt. “What are you talking about? We didn’t do a blasted thing!”
Mrs. Pierce seemed taken aback by Jhudora’s new attitude. “Are you okay? Did that spell hit you harder than everyone else? Maybe you should go back inside.”
“Get your hand off me,” Jhudora growled, wrenching herself free from Mrs. Pierce’s grip. However, as she did, her eyes widened. “It-it was you, wasn’t it?” she muttered, the cogs in her head whirring. “You set the fire and blamed it on us!”
“What are you talking about?” Mrs. Pierce demanded. “That’s insane! Jhudora, you’re delusional!”
“No, you’re the delusional one,” Jhudora barked. “What do you think you were doing? Trying to kill me or something?!” She pointed her finger at her teacher, the dark nail polish as black as her eyes. “Stay away from me.” And with that she stormed away.
Jesc rushed to keep up with Jhudora, but glanced over her shoulder all the same. Mrs. Pierce was standing in a daze, rubbing her head as if she wasn’t sure what was going on.
“I don’t even know what’s going on,” Jesc mumbled helplessly to the air. It had all happened so fast; one second Jhudora was fine, and the next she was a heartless lunatic.
“Stupid Mad Fire spell,” Jesc muttered under her breath, looking up at Jhudora tentatively as she stormed down the hall. The dark faerie still looked like the young sophomore she had been the night before, but everything else had changed. Her eyes were dark and angry, her hands were balled into tight fists, and a scowl was permanently plastered on her face.
“What happened to you, Jhudora?” Jesc asked pathetically. But no one answered her. Feeling more alone than she ever had, she just followed the dark faerie to her dorm room, thankful that no one there except Mr. Snuggles could see the tears forming in her eyes and trickling down her face.
To be continued...